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“We were much more successful in implementing this. One of our future targets now that we’ve got a more and more robust product now that we’ve been developing over the years. We’re hoping to make it that it’s quick enough, cost effective enough for the Tier 2 and Tier 3 minors to use.”
Headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, Sentient Computing was founded in 2007 and it started off as an experiment, but now has evolved to become a trusted brand offering a variety of products and services which are competitive in the market. The Australian based software development company specializes in providing powerful and immersive virtual environments to deliver solutions including Digital Twins, blended Training packages and other ESG communication solutions both technically and professionally. Doug Bester, Managing Director said, “It was an experiment to see if I could create a workplace where people enjoy going to work. The reason wasn’t to make profit but to create something that was sustainable for a very long time and lived for very long.”, he said.
Some of its products in the market includes virtual reality (VR) training, 3D interactive training, Digital Twin, SCADA as well as MAVI (interactive communication tools). The InDI platform can bring together all data sources, allowing seamless integration with the mobile device to enable Compliant workflows and best practices so that one can enjoy effortless data access, better decision making and powerful visualizations. The company brags about their muscle in bringing their good technology into the market saying their platform is the best and ever since they have started it has been successful. He said, “We were much more successful in implementing this. One of our future targets now that we’ve got a more and more robust product now that we’ve been developing over the years. We’re hoping to make it that it’s quick enough, cost effective enough for the Tier 2 and Tier 3 minors to use.”
The platform has been used to provide onboarding and training for staff before they go to a site, and to conduct training exercises in the virtual environment without exposing personnel to high-risk scenarios or requiring costly interruptions to operations. The company is trying to create an environment where it provides a one-stop home page that enables compliant workflows and promotes best practice where anyone access any one of those data sources just with one click and “That is our digital solution offering and it’s good. It’s powerful because we are trying to solve something, we are just trying to expose your data that you already have in a much easier way.” With the InDI platform, customers experience powerful visualizations, integrated workflows, better decision making as well as effortless data access. Australian software developer Sentient Computing is also a member of the Digital Twin Consortium, to collaborate with other industry groups in this developing field.
Additionally, nobody really wanted and appreciated digital technologies like virtual reality (VR) but during the pandemic (COVID-19), Sentient provided VR Trainings to several companies. It is a preferred training platform used by industries where many jobs and tasks are undertaken in high-risk, non-stop working environments. Doug said, “Our customers understood the training, but since COVID it’s been great because people suddenly realized, well, we can’t get to site. Well, we can use our virtual environment that’s interactive, immersive. You can work that out. You can do things better; you can collaborate better,” said the company’s managing director.
Some mining companies have remote operation centers where they operated from so if they have an interactive virtual environment, it is much more powerful, especially for people starting. It does not necessarily need one to be on the site but even if they are not at the site, they can still execute tasks so digital technologies are good.
Also, gone are the days that learning is limited to textbooks and lectures, the company has a wide range of 3D Training tools to assist its consumers in showcasing and visualizing their projects, to assist in presenting processes to staff, or to help staff familiarize themselves with equipment. They also have the Process Flow Visualizer which allows one to take complex 3D engineering models and use them to present processes and systems to staff in a virtual representation of the real-life environment for better understanding. The system allows one to show and hide different layers including structural components to isolate systems. The processes are highlighted in various colors for easier distinction between interwoven systems and navigation can be set to free exploration or guided fly throughs to allow the user to learn at their own pace. Sentient’s Equipment Familiarization Tool is an interactive way of displaying 3D models of equipment on the web where users can click on hotspots displayed on a model to view complex and important information specific to that area of the model. Doug said, “This interactivity and information specificity helps users learn about unfamiliar or complicated equipment easily especially in mining, it will familiarize staff with different parts of complex equipment.”
Meanwhile, the company has recently launched their latest product called MaVi, which is an interactive communication tool. MaVi presents as an exciting tool for the Australian community due to its ability to support better-informed decision-making when it comes to mining impact on country. The tool is designed to inspire more transparency and co-design practices between organisations and stakeholders.
However, the software developing company is making strides in the mining industry as far as technology is concerned, it has provided the immersive VR training packages and accompanying computer-based training modules covered a wide range of areas, from High-Voltage Switching, to Fatigue and Sleep Awareness to the futuristic Gudai-Darri Laboratory. They also allowed Rio Tinto to train staff remotely, from over a thousand kilometers away before the mine had even been built. Because of that, the Sentient team was nominated and recognized for their work with the Gudai-Darri Operational Readiness Team and the Site Capability and Development Team to build and construct numerous Virtual Reality Training Modules during the design and construction phase of the Gudai-Darri Mine.
Furthermore, what sets Sentient Computing apart from other companies is their innovative game, which is par excellence, and their extremely good technology, which is different from others. Despite Rio having other suppliers like them, the company still prefers Sentient company services over their other suppliers, and they even won the innovative award for the year as a preferred supplier. He said, “We were recognized as being a supplier that was nice to work with in the most innovative category and we have been around for quite a long time. We like building trusted relationships with companies. So, I think our key differentiator is that we use extremely good technology. We are locally based in Perth, so we can access those large Tier 1 organisations very effectively. We are cost effective, and we care about what we do”
Whilst technology is constantly evolving with the future intelligence, the software developer company is already a step ahead where they have routine where all their developers can work whatever they want on a specific time frame to advance their technology game. He remarked that it was a long journey to be where they are today for there were a lot of setbacks. Doug said, “When we first started it was very bad, there was a lot of pushback but for the past 2-3 years, we are now doing fine”
Conclusively, for sentient computing company one can see that hard work really pays and one should not give up on their dreams for one day the dreams will become a reality.