Virtual reality goggles and robots aren’t a usual part of Prime Minister Bill English’s day, but Christchurch tech businesses were keen to show the PM the cutting-edge technology being developed in the city and showcased as part of Techweek’17.
Christchurch has a thriving tech sector which contributes $2.4 billion to the city’s Gross Domestic Product annually and employs almost 15,000 people. The Innovation Precinct was designed as part of the city’s 2012 blueprint and has resulted in a vibrant cluster of knowledge, software, electronics and other tech-type businesses.
On the eve of Techweek’17 Mr English was welcomed to EPIC – the Enterprise Precinct Innovation Centre – by Corvecto CEO Henry Lane and Ministry of Awesome’s Chief Awesome Officer Lauren Merritt.
The aim of the aptly named Ministry of Awesome is to connect and activate entrepreneurs and social innovators. They do this through providing tailored support to early-stage ideas, a comprehensive events programme to connect business, education and entrepreneurs and co-working spaces.
Mr English was shown the virtual and augmented reality work being done by Corvecto. The Prime Minister was fitted out with state-of-the-art virtual reality goggles, which can be used to assist training for a wide range of trades and professions, including surgeons.
At Cerebralfix, game developers for The Walt Disney Company and DreamWorks, the Prime Minister had the opportunity to talk to some of the New Zealand’s most talented and creative developers who have worked on projects like Transformers and Toy Story as well as trying his hand at some of their games.
Final stop on the visit to EPIC was Christchurch tech-heavyweight SLI Systems who provide e-commerce solutions for the world’s top retailers. SLI operate on five continents, in 20 languages and across more than 1,000 websites and is the most chosen cloud-based site search provider to US Internet Retailer Top 1,000 retailers.
Canterbury Development Corporation, as an official partner of Techweek’17, is proud to help showcase and celebrate the Christchurch tech sector.
For more information on the inspiring events during Techweek’17 see techweek.co.nz