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Optimation secures $1.8m investment in Equip

Optimation secures $1.8m investment in Equip

Foundation support recognises global potential for billing software

Optimation has secured a $1.8 million investment from the Foundation of Research, Science and Technology for on-going development of the Equip utilities billing software.

The investment, made through the Foundation’s Technology for Business Growth programme, is being used to help fund research and development of leading edge energy sector software technology. This will position Equip at the forefront of an emerging global market for next-generation software that can support widespread implementation of smart meters and other energy management strategies.

“This is a large and complex project that creates world-leading IP in an enterprise-scale application with enormous international market potential,” says Optimation Utilities Group director Alistair Owens.

Globally, the energy sector is characterised by de-regulation and the increasing costs of energy, making sophisticated metering and billing of energy viable. To balance growing demand and limited supply, large scale implementations of smart meters that enable smart billing are an emerging trend internationally, and legislation is being introduced in many countries to stipulate their use.

In addition the emergence of strong technology standards based on Services Oriented Architectures (SOA) is changing the way businesses think about IT.

“This research and development project will result in a unique, next-generation software suite that supports the end-to-end business processes required to handle the volume and complexity of large scale smart billing,” says Owens.
Foundation Business Manager, Robert Matheson, says the investment is already creating new development jobs at Optimation and has potential to deliver substantial returns to the New Zealand economy.

“This is an exciting step for Optimation, building on its existing strengths in software development to launch a scaleable utility billing product, and positioning it to attract major customers in new markets,” says Mr Matheson.

“Optimation’s business model, of leveraging off a solid domestic base to grow sales offshore, is a good one. They are also forming strategic partnerships with key international players, which are linking them with new opportunities and markets.”

The current version of Equip is used by Genesis Energy and Meridian Energy to bill over 50% of New Zealand’s major energy users, and has recently been sold to the Maldives. Optimation is also working with its international partner, Satyam Computer Services, on a number of other opportunities in Asia and Middle East.

About Optimation

Optimation ( designs, develops, integrates and manages business-driven solutions that reduce cost, risk and complexity and create an optimal technology environment.

We collaborate with customers to create business value. By drawing on our global alliances, we offer scale and world-leading expertise combined with unparalleled agility, experience and local relationships.

Optimation was founded in New Zealand in 1992 and has a solid track record in delivering solutions across a wide variety of technology platforms and business domains. Our customers include leading organisations such as Vodafone, Inland Revenue Department, Westpac, Meridian Energy, the Ministry of Social Development, Vero, TelstraClear, Telecom New Zealand, the Ministry of Education and Genesis Energy.

About The Foundation:

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology invests over $460 million a year on behalf of the New Zealand Government, in research, science and technology. These investments are made to enhance the wealth and well being of New Zealanders.

The Technology for Business Growth scheme (TBG) can provide substantial investment (from $50,000 to over $2,000,000) for leading edge, applied research and experimental development that stretches businesses beyond their existing technical capability.

Applications are considered by a team of independent business and technology experts which makes approval recommendations to Foundation management.

TBGs provide up to 50% of eligible project costs. The company must show that it can fund remaining project costs, including a cash contribution of at least 20%, and pay for subsequent commercialisation.

Payments are made as reimbursements for actual costs incurred by clients, who must supply progress reports to the Foundation. TBG projects are randomly selected for auditing.


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