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Ectus technology set to make international splash

15 September 2004

World-first Ectus technology set to make international splash

It’s truly world-leading online communications technology from Waikato University that’s set to make an international splash.

The technology is unique, with no competitors who are able to offer within one seamless multimedia environment the integration of live (synchronous) and recorded (asynchronous) communication.

Ectus Ltd, formally launched by Research, Science and Technology Minister Pete Hodgson in Hamilton today, is offering unique products which:

Allow organisations to stream live video conferences to the personal computers of staff, clients, stakeholders, students or users, with the participants able to interact and provide feedback in real-time via an integrated chat facility.

Enables video conferences to be archived for on-demand use after the event allowing users to interact with other interested users around the content and build or maintain a community based on the content.

“The software is generating amazing international interest,” says Ectus chief executive Mark Topping. “For example in the e-learning context, universities are recognising that we’re re-engineering the lecture.”

With its products Ectus MEDIA and Ectus PLACE, the company is developing a world-leading collaboration platform which integrates video-conferencing, video-streaming and asynchronous collaboration including on-line discussion. The software has international applications in government, education, healthcare and business.

“Ectus MEDIA and Ectus PLACE are world-leading products because they combine very sound and proven educational practice with top-of-the-line technology. Our research shows significant international sales potential,” says Dr Topping.

Ectus Ltd is receiving a $300,000 boost from Technology New Zealand to help it research and develop Ectus MEDIA and a $20,000 grant from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise for branding strategy. The funding was also announced by Mr Hodgson today.

“These grants assist Ectus to become a major national and international player in the online consultation, collaboration and learning products market,” says Dr Topping.

Ectus Media is a simple and effective tool that allows users to seamlessly add asynchronous collaboration to high quality streaming media presentations generated automatically from a live video conference or existing media. For example, a company will be able to simultaneously inform all its shareholders through a live video conference and live broadcast via streaming media, then allow them to discuss the implications in an online discussion forum integrated with the streaming media after the event has concluded.

Other established Ectus Ltd products include the CD-based education tool CD-Drives, developed with the Waikato University psychology department’s Robert Isler. This teaches novice drivers crucial higher level driving skills developing situational awareness.

Ectus Ltd, based at Hamilton’s new Innovation Park, involves a meshing of the university’s intellectual property and $1.2 million in funding from Endeavour-icap, one of the venture capital funds created out of the government’s Venture Investment Fund. The $1.2 million will be used to further develop products and take them to the market.

The shareholders in Ectus Ltd are Endeavour-icap, the university’s commercialisation company WaikatoLink and Ectus Ltd staff.

Endeavour-icap’s executive chairman Neville Jordan says: “Our investment in Ectus Ltd fits in clearly with the government’s Growth and Innovation Framework, given that Ectus Ltd involves private sector collaboration with advanced technology from a university.”

WaikatoLink’s commercial manager Mark Stuart says Ectus Ltd is the first company WaikatoLink has launched directly from Hamilton’s new Innovation Park, which was set up by business and the university to help commercialise new hi-tech ideas. “We’re confident Ectus Ltd is the forerunner of more new companies that will feature Waikato University ideas and private sector funding,” says Mr Stuart.


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