Hosted annually by the BC Tech Association, the Technology Impact Awards celebrate the innovators and change-makers who build the fabric of our province’s vibrant technology ecosystem. This year, we were thrilled to secure a spot as one of three finalists for the Excellence in Global Export category – an award that acknowledges technology companies that have succeeded on the world stage through the export of technology developed in British Columbia. To celebrate, we gathered at the Technology Impact Awards Gala to enjoy a few other Canadian exports – Okanagan wine and a lovely locally-sourced meal.
Global export success has been a critical element of our growth strategy, but this isn’t the case for most businesses in our province. Although 98% of all BC businesses are small- or medium-sized, less than two percent of those organizations export their goods abroad – and an even smaller proportion expand beyond the United States. We think these companies are missing a huge opportunity. As a local exporter, we hope that sharing our success story will assure future entrepreneurs in our region that their aspirations need not be limited by borders.
An Opportunity to Make the World Better
Without the materials produced by mining, there would be no technology industry. And yet, technology adoption has lagged across the global mining industry. Mining workflows are still prone to significant dangers and inefficiencies that threaten the viability of the industry in the face of environmental concerns, skilled labour shortages, and other adverse social and economic trends.
Motion Metrics was founded to ensure that mining is safe and energy efficient. We believe that artificial intelligence and sensor-based technologies are the key to providing insight into and optimizing mine operations, and that these solutions are most likely to be implemented when they are easy to use, do not interrupt existing workflows, and are supported by hands-on, local teams. The mission began in our backyard, but it soon spread across the globe.
Our Strategy for Global Export Success
Doing business internationally presents inherent challenges. Our team needed to overcome language and time zone barriers, navigate different cultural contexts, and operate within new legislations. We’ve mitigated these obstacles by deploying foreign teams coordinated from our Canadian headquarters.
Our hub-and-spoke business model, where fundamental business activities are centralized and support is delivered regionally, has been key to our expansion. In the last few years, we’ve grown to a team of 100+ across four continents – but all Motion Metrics research and development, as well as hardware production, is carried out locally in Vancouver.
Today, we export to more than two dozen countries. Some of the countries we’ve recently provided solutions to include Papua New Guinea, Laos, Norway, Guadeloupe, Kazakhstan, Zambia, and Panama.
Throughout this expansion, we’ve learned both the value of keeping essential functions in-house as well as the importance of establishing a physical presence in the regions we do business. Our sales and support teams travel extensively to build and maintain relationships with mines around the world, while third-party distributors and local translators give us insight into local markets.
Clients frequently tell us that our exceptional service and support is what sets us apart from the competition. Being physically present isn’t just about handshakes and system maintenance, but also positions us to better collaborate with clients on future product and feature development.
The Challenge of Going Global
Exporting has also posed challenges from a technical standpoint. Our solutions need to succeed on a range of equipment types and under extreme conditions – from the dry, dusty deserts of Western Australia to the frigid Lapland of Northern Sweden.
Using deep neural networks instead of traditional computer vision techniques enables our solutions to learn and adapt to a range of operating environments and equipment types. Assembling our products locally also provides an additional layer of quality assurance and control over the finished product that differentiates us from many competitors.
Although we’ve exceeded our revenue targets for several continuous years, we are careful not to take success for granted. Sustainable growth will require an organization-wide commitment to achieving strategic objectives and maintaining the relationships we’ve built with clients, partners, and suppliers. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy these images from the Awards Gala.