Acquisition adds to Company-X capability

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Software specialist Company-X adds virtual reality capability.

Company-X has added augmented and virtual reality expertise to its offering with the acquisition of Pepper Creative.

Company-X acquired augmented and virtual reality expert Pepper Creative, its team, clients and assets on Friday, June 21. Pepper Creative will now operate under the Company-X brand.

Founded in Hamilton in December 2012 by directors David Hallett and Jeremy Hughes, Company-X immediately began growing the business, winning work with a Silicon Valley-based multinational and New Zealand government agencies.

Company-X’s acquisition of Pepper Creative, also based in Hamilton, adds new, and highly specialised, capabilities to Company-X’s offering and grows the team to more than 50.

Pepper Creative founder Lance Bauerfeind and his team have earned a reputation for their work using virtual and augmented reality for advanced scenario-based industry training, real-time maintenance solutions and content for sales and marketing. Since the company started 10 years ago, clients have included Fisher & Paykel, Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) and Westpac, with international clients as far away as Sweden and the USA.

Lance is joining David and Jeremy on the Company-X management team and is excited about the opportunities that this will bring for his talented staff.

“Pepper Creative and Company-X share some fundamentals that really confirm to me that this decision is the right one,” explains Lance. “We both listen to our client’s blue-sky ideas and help form them into a tangible project. And, just like Company-X, we have been at the forefront of using advanced technologies to bring those ideas to life. Also, we both foster innovative software experts keen to advance their careers, who have so much knowledge and commitment to share.”

A number of Pepper Creative’s recent projects that piqued Company-X’s interest have been in the training and education space.

For e-learning business Workbright, Pepper Creative developed a game-like training exercise for fire wardens, guiding them through how to clear spaces, teaching them to have outside inspections after a site is cleared and identifying all sorts of risks and hazards.

Company-X

IN GOOD COMPANY: Company-X co-founders Jeremy Hughes (left) and David Hallett (right) celebrate a virtual reality with Lance Bauerfeind.

A recent project that epitomised Pepper Creative’s expertise involved food safety and biosecurity firm, AsureQuality.

Recognising the rapid changes in the science and technology fields, AsureQuality decided, as part of their normal research initiatives, to investigate technology options for both internal use and for customer solutions. Not only did they consider what was needed but they also looked more broadly at what was possible.

With Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality already included in AsureQuality’s Science and Technology plan, they wanted a proof of concept. After working together with Pepper Creative to investigate possibilities from both user and customer experience views, AsureQuality elected to use their audit process for the project to see where improvements could be made.

Audits and inspections can be complex and diverse in AsureQuality and are used in the many areas of their business activity in the field, in processing, manufacture and distribution, and in their engineering and biosecurity services.

Focusing particularly on wearable computer headsets and voice recognition, it was clear to AsureQuality that there were two areas where this technology could have immediate impact for their business, for staff training, and for improving existing services and products.

Their vision was to see a tangible impact of the technology on productivity, efficiency and efficacy, as well as the ability to process information faster, smarter and to be more mobile.

After crunching through seemingly endless possibilities, the starting point was to use a hands-free wearable computer headset to enable AsureQuality’s people the freedom to perform their work and record comments, photos, videos for an inspection by voice alone.

This development improves the client experience, which is crucial in what is a people-centric business. Clients can still see the person they are talking to without the obstruction of heavy glasses or visors, and the inspector has clear vision at all times, conforming to safety requirements.

The application of Pepper Creative’s solution has been a great success with AsureQuality planning to roll it out as a tool in their business.

“The work done for AsureQuality is a great example of how this evolving and highly specialised technology can add amazing value to a business,” says Jeremy. “We can’t wait to get stuck into more projects together.”

“We’re very excited to be growing the Company-X team with exceedingly clever people enabling us to deliver a whole new world of solutions” adds David.

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