LlamaZOO Interactive Software A Mining Innovation Competition Finalist

April 4, 2018

By David Holmes

VICTORIA – A Victoria technology firm successfully made it to the final four in a national competition organized by one of the country’s largest mining companies. LlamaZOO Interactive Inc., a developer of interactive and immersive 3D communications, training, and digital twin visualization software for industry, was vying for a $1 million prize being offered by Goldcorp Inc. a leader in the Canadian mining sector.

“We recognized that BC has a very large resource sector, industries that could benefit from the type of systems that we were developing,” explained Charles Lavigne, LlamaZOO’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

“We reached out to a number of companies, testing the waters to see if industry would be interested in the sort of technology we were developing, with Teck Resources being the first to see the potential value. We started working with them about a year ago and that’s how we developed our software for the mining industry MineLife VR.”

In an effort to spur innovation in the sector while serving as a catalyst for the development of new ideas, Vancouver-based Goldcorp Inc. has for the past two years sponsored an innovation expo called #DisruptMining.

A key component of the Canadian resource sector, mining is an increasingly important part of the nation’s economic mix. But as with virtually every other industry in the country emerging technologies and contemporary methodologies are changing how the industry operates.

The #DisruptMining Innovation Expo was created to help encourage the fostering of new ideas – developments that in turn will help to empower the mining industry as it moves forward. “Our goal was to uncover the next revolutionary concept that will truly disrupt our industry.

We were incredibly impressed by the caliber of submissions we received this year and look forward to engaging in discussions with all the semi-finalists and finalists,” Goldcorp’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Todd White recently explained.

“The four finalists represent the innovative thinking and collaboration our industry needs to ensure mining stays relevant and does its job to fuel the 21st century economy efficiently and responsibly.”

Launched in 2014, LlamaZOO currently has a staff of about 18 and maintains offices in both Victoria and in Vancouver, creating a wide range of interactive 3D software applications. A tech start up and one of the true success stories of the VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council) community, LlamaZOO has carried out ground-breaking work using interactive technology to help solve real world problems.

“We essentially developed a platform for distributing interactive 3D content, initially for veterinary medicine. But the technology platform that we developed is now being used for the mining sector, through a product we called MineLife VR, which is what got us into the #DisruptMining competition,” Lavigne explained.

MineLife VR is a software platform which enables companies to represent a mine plan throughout its existence, from exploration to reclamation, in an interactive 1:1 scale using virtual reality.

This technology allows its user to create greater efficiencies (and ultimately cost savings) across a full spectrum of factors such as resource management, mine planning, reclamation, exploration, community engagement as well as business development.

From Goldcorps’ point of view, for a company to even make it to the finals in the #DisruptMining competition means they must already be an industry leader in their own right.

“Every year we run this competition and it’s our way to look into companies that we don’t normally do business with, while opening new opportunities for people that might not otherwise have access to a firm our size,” explained Luis Canepari, Goldcorp’s Vice President of Technology.

With more than 15,000 employees worldwide, and assets of more than $21 billion, Goldcorp is one of Canada’s largest mining enterprises. “There’s a lot of innovation coming from the smaller firms, so this competition provides them with a forum for exposing their new ideas to a much bigger audience.”

While LlamaZOO didn’t actually win the competition (Newfoundland-based Acoustic Zoom Inc. did) merely being part of the process has dramatically increased the company’s industry exposure.

“Being a finalist in this competition definitely has some weight to it. We’re already using the MineLife VR system with multiple Tier One mining companies, and have about five projects on the go right now all over the world,” Lavigne said.

From Canepari’s perspective his company’s sponsoring of the #DisruptMining competition will ensure the mining industry’s expansion and perhaps even its survival in the years to come. “I believe that we need to be a catalyst for innovation in the industry.

As a major mining company we have the responsibility to lead the way for the smaller mining companies to follow. For us to be relevant in the next 10 years we need to make an investment today to ensure a positive future tomorrow,” he said.

www.goldcorp.com & www.llamazoo.com

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