Australian innovation is alive and well, if this year’s iAwards are any pointer. The awards, held in Melbourne last week, have a number of categories including three ‘Young Innovator of the Year’.
This year 23-year-old Brad Lorge won the ‘Data’ section of said accolade, based on his work on a number of projects. The latest is logistics start-up Premonition, which was spun out of NICTA earlier this year.
Premonition, as its name suggests, applies predictive logic to logistics. Lorge says the idea came to him when he developed Foodbank Local, a system for moving left-over food from restaurants to the hungry.
“Existing logistics tools were not able to handle the high-frequency changes required by an application like Foodbank Local,” Lorge told InnovationAus.com.
“Foodbank relies on very quick response times – sometimes food would become available at 4pm and had to be picked up by 5pm. We had real peak hours, with one or two hour windows to turn things around.”
Foodbank Local is a volunteer organisation that sees the “Millennial mindset” being applied to charitable work, Lorge mentioned. Younger people nowadays work in shorter timeframes than traditional volunteers, who might put in a full day or half a day.
“They do everything – work, leisure, study, entertainment – in bite-sized chunks.
“Traditional logistics and supply chain management don’t work that way. As the world has changed many pressures have been placed on the traditional logistics model. Things like the rise of online retailing, and more sophisticated consumers, have transformed the whole logistics industry. That has made room for disruptive new players.”
Premonition is just such a company. The algorithms Lorge and his team built to handle the real-time demands of Foodbank Local were extended into a new logistics paradigm, using the big data provided by modern supply chain management systems to, as Lorge puts it, “re-think the entire software ecosystem.”
Which sounds like rather an ambitious aim. It is, says Lorge.
“Our philosophy is to find the right problem, and the right partners, and focus our efforts to make the maximum impact. By containerising our attention we have been very successful.”
Premonition, when it was still FoodBank Local, was part of NICTA (now merged into CSIRO as Data61). It was spun out earlier this year and was immediately cashflow positive, with 3000 clients globally using its cloud-based predictive logistics technology, which can model when roadblocks might occur or free capacity become available in an organisation’s extended supply chain.
The development work has led by Premonition’s chief data scientist Robert Newey, who works with Lorge and a team of seven developers and a group of contractors, to extend the technology of the core data analytics ‘premonition engine’.
It uses a machine learning approach to “learn, look ahead, and optimise, using on-the-fly predictive technology.”
Premonition is based in the Fishburners incubator in the Sydney suburb of Ultimo, between Sydney University and UTS. It is an increasingly funky precinct that is becoming Sydney’s answer to San Francisco’s SoMa (South of Market Street) area. It has the same combination of good public transport, inner-city living, proximity to educational institutions, and lots of old warehouses that make neat new-age offices.
Lorge has won a number of other awards, including reaching the Australian Final of the Microsoft Imagine Cup and an Innovation Award from India’s NASSCOM.
Other notable winners on the night were Startup Company winner Maestrano, Cloud Young Innovator of the Year When That and Mobile Young Innovator of the Year, SMS Secure.
The following is a full list of winners and you can read more about the iAwards here.
Development Domain – Research and Development
- Winner: Aquaria, CSIRO and Garvan Institute
- Merit Recipient: AutoDensity, CSIRO and University of Melbourne
- Merit Recipient: Targ Safetape, Sotaeria Pty Ltd and NICTA
- Winner: Maestrano, Maestrano Pty Ltd
- Winner: PayDirect, MYOB
- Merit Recipient: Biologically Inspired Climbing Robot, UTS and Roads and Maritime Services
Industry Domain – Industrial and Resources
- Winner: AutoBagDrop, ICM Airport Technics
Industry Domain – Applications, Tools and Platforms
- Winner: Maestrano, Maestrano Pty Ltd
- Merit Recipient: Wholesale Cloud IaaS Platform, OrionVM
- Merit Recipient: WORKetc, WORKetc
Industry Domain – Financial
- Winner: Payreq, Payreq Pty Ltd
- Merit Recipient: Daily IQ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Services Domain – Education
- Winner: IntoScience – Virtual school excursions, CSIRO & 3P Learning
Services Domain – Consumer
- Winner: Cricket Australia Live Streaming, Accenture Australia and Cricket Australia
Services Domain – Government
- Winner: National Map, NICTA, Dept. of Communications and Geoscience Australia
Services Domain – Health
- Winner: Population Health Intervention Management System, Ajilon Australia Pty Ltdand NSW Health
Society Domain – Regional, Inclusion and Community
- Winner: COVIU – Digital Service Delivery Platform, Coviu Pty Limited and NICTA
Society Domain – Sustainability
- Winner: BuildingIQ, BuildingIQ
Student Domain – Secondary Student
- Winner: Bin I.T!, Mosman High School, North Sydney Girls High School, Sydney Boys High School
- Merit Recipient: When That, Mosman High School
Student Domain – Undergraduate Tertiary Student
- Winner: VibroMat, NICTA
- Merit Recipient: Foodbank Local, UNSW and NICTA
Student Domain – Postgraduate Tertiary Student
- Winner: Yalut, NICTA and University of New South Wales
Hills Young Innovator of the Year Award – Cloud
- Winner: When That, Callum Predavec, Mosman High School
Hills Young Innovator of the Year Award – Data
- Winner: Premonition, Brad Lorge, UNSW and NICTA
- Merit Recipient: Sonder Keyboard, Francisco Serra-Martins, Sonder Design / University of Sydney
Hills Young Innovator of the Year Award – Mobile
- Winner: SMS Secure, Andrew Suber, Allapp and The University Of Wollongong