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He sold lost golf balls at 11. Now he wants to sell software to miners

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It is hard to imagine mining to be at the cutting-edge of computing technology. Rather, it is more easily thought of as the last frontier for Internet- or cloud-based technologies.

Regardless, it is this frontier that has caught the attention of a smart entrepreneur with a penchant to spot the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The case in point: Mike Boyd’s Applicate, a software firm to exploit opportunities in the mining, resource, engineering and infrastructure industries.

Boyd, a co-founder and managing director, has virtually no background in mining. But he has been a savvy serial entrepreneur – starting at the young age of 11 by selling lost golf balls.

He established seven businesses before the age of 25.

What Boyd has come up with at Applicate is RedEye, a software that helps mining companies manage their drafts – a complex task requiring inordinate amounts of labour and involving large amounts of data.

This labour-intensive, and costly, task leaves behind a lot of inefficiencies in the form of outdated and marked-up drawings, and multiple versions.

$100 million domestic market

“RedEye was designed to address this challenge by removing drafting workload from sites and guaranteeing a fast turnaround of drawings,” says Boyd, who estimates the market for RedEye to be worth $100 million annually in Australia alone.

RedEye’s intelligent software needs initially tutoring, especially its “drawing conversion search engine.” Over time, it learns from users’ drawings and begins to become more and more accurate.

The software brings additional value in its ability to quickly meet compliance standards. Australian laws require mining and industrial sites to maintain accurate engineering drawings that directly reflect the physical environment on site – primarily to set high standards for safety.

Applicate says it chose the cloud-based approach because “it offers a sophisticated document management platform, allowing red pen markups to be scanned and sent directly to a database.”

Once the drawings are stored in the cloud, a draughtsman can take down the revised drawing in PDF format and its associated AutoCAD file, edit it and resubmit.

RedEye is to be distributed worldwide by Waterline Projects, an engineering firm in the Mackay area.

“Our typical clients have 30,000-50,000 drawings for each site. The RedEye software, with its intelligent learning search engine, gives much faster access to the correct information across all phases of a project life design, construction, operation and decommissioning,” says Randall Makin, Waterline’s managing director. “The ease as which data is entered provides the foundation to provide more accurate and timely display of that information.”

Considering the global size of the mining and energy sectors, Makin says RedEye presents an “exciting business opportunity and demonstrates Australian pre-eminence in mining technology.”

RedEye, founded in January, is in beta testing with a number of tier-one mining companies.

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