6 June 2016, Written by Paris Faint


TECH entrepreneurs Samuel Conway (pictured) and Roger Noble are on a mission to change the way we view big data.

The Adelaide-based duo recently secured a deal with the University of Oxford to develop Zegami, a visualisation platform that allows users to analyse and sort tens of thousands of images, movies and 3D objects in real time.

Conway and Noble were recruited by Oxford subsidiary Isis Innovation to add Zegami to the ranks of university spin-out companies. It's an unprecedented move considering Zegami's original concept or software was not developed within the university itself.

Conway says this backing has helped to validate the product, providing a springboard into new global markets.

"The relationship with the university has been vital for us," says Conway.

"We are obviously new to the UK business market, but this partnership will be able to help us with networks and connections, also giving us an idea of other potential organisations that could benefit from the software."

For a snapshot of Zegami's capabilities, picture this.

Zegami can contain up to 60,000 images within a single database, sorted and tagged, which a user can then dissect in an ad hoc way based on the information that's held within the image itself.

Still can't quite picture it? In that case, imagine a photo of each individual subject within a research experiment, labelled with relevant stats, performance figures, test data and so on. 

Users can then filter through these subjects to find a needle in the haystack, create visual graphs or physically map out trends, all at the click of a button.

"You have the ability to attach everything associated with something or someone, to a single image," says Conway.

"This information can come from multiple databases, it could come from a live dashboard performance, it could be all of their documentation or vital statistics, those sorts of things."

Adelaide-based agricultural science company The Plant Accelerator is already using Zegami tech to help identify patterns in crop growth, connecting the performance of plants to their genetic make-up.

Likewise, a number of human resources (HR) teams and schools are engaging with Zegami to keep tabs on in-house populations, creating visual diaries that list personal performance stats, working track records and other necessary general information for each individual.

According to Conway, Zegami has only just begun scraping the surface of its potential in the fields of HR management, database organisation and even medical research.

"I think that we are right at the tip of an iceberg, particularly with regards to research and medicine," says Conway.

"There will become a time where users can feed an image of a mole or lesion on someone's back into the software, and it will bring up 10 similar images in real time along with clinical diagnoses and prognoses."

Conway says that with the Oxford backing, the future of Zegami is multi-faceted as there is a considerable amount of resources within the institution to leverage in taking the software to the next level.

Author: Paris Faint





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