The NSW Department of Industry’s Division of Resources and Energy (DRE) has tasked Singapore-based data startup Latize with helping it transform mining safety and incident analysis processes using data intelligence.
While the value of the contract has not been disclosed, Latize said DRE is the first local government client it has acquired since opening up an office in Sydney in June.
The deal comes at a time when the Australian mining sector is challenged to think laterally to improve profitability and sustainability, including through the use of emerging technology, Latize said.
While the mining sector remains a significant primary industry in Australia — delivering revenues of AU$184 billion in 2016, according to IBIS World — it is experiencing a steady decline in growth. According to research firm KPMG, the sector is struggling amid an environment of excess supply, low commodity prices, and limited access to finance.
DRE went to market in August looking for a data analytics solution that can be applied to areas such as mining safety, licensing, compliance analysis reporting, and more.
The division will initially be leveraging Latize’s solution called Ulysses — which uses semantic processing and linked data to provide insights that otherwise remain buried in an organisation’s databases — to address mining safety, with plans to integrate the technology into other systems.
Latize has worked with a number of Singaporean government agencies including the Economic Development Board, the National Library Board, the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore, and the Network for Electronic Transfers.
The startup is has raised more than $3 million to date from investors such as Singapore’s ACP, Spring Seeds Capital, and Tembusu ICT 1 Fund.
Latize is also looking to close between SG$5 million to SG$7 million in Series A funding in the first half of 2017.
The NSW government has increasingly been turning to technology to improve industries such as transportation, as well as internal processes and the public service experience for Australian citizens.
At the end of November, the NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello revealed the state’s innovation strategy aimed at fostering a culture of new ideas and innovation within government in partnership with technology entrepreneurs, startups, and small to medium-size enterprises.
Data has been a particular focus for the NSW government, with Dominello calling it the currency of the digital age and pushing forth a range of open data initiatives including a “data marketplace” in 2017.
He first announced the state’s plans to create the Data Analytics Centre in August last year, saying at the time that data is one of the greatest yet most underutilised assets held by government.
Since then, Dominello has introduced a bill that requires each of the agencies and state-owned amenities to give his department their data within 14 days; appointed an advisory board charged with overseeing how the state government uses that data; and announced the addition of a chief information and digital officer to drive the government’s digital agenda.