Pitching with big Microsoft hitters
Asset and Materials tracking may not seem like a topic worth pitching to a million people, but it’s paid off for a Perth entrepreneur who has rubbed shoulders with some Microsoft heavy hitters at the company’s Inspire event in Washington.
Track’em CEO Kashif Saleem and Ertech Chairman Gavin Miller talked up the asset tracking system and how it helped Ertech keep tabs on thousands of pieces of equipment that needed to be moved from Barrow Island back to the mainland.
Getting equipment on and off Barrow Island, home to one of the world’s largest natural gas projects, required a comprehensive quarantine regime as the island is a Class A Nature Reserve.
The contract resonated with Saleem, who started Track’em because he realised there had to be a better way for companies who were ‘losing’ equipment and having to replace it because no system seemed to keep track of it all.
He said Track’em can manage items as large as forklifts, trucks and shipping containers to those as small as nuts and bolts: “On an average job site, we save the client approximately $500,000. On larger and more complex implementations, we can save millions”.
Being invited to the Microsoft partner event, which attracts 18,000 people and is streamed to more than a million people around the globe, affirmed Saleem’s vision that his business was on the right, well, track.
The journey with Microsoft began when Saleem received a 1am phone call from someone he thought may have been purporting to be from software giant.
“Initially, I was not sure whether it was real or maybe it was a prank ‘deposit the money in this bank account’ kind of call. But then I got an email from Microsoft at 4am and realised it was fully legit,” he said.
“They really loved my story and asked how I felt about doing a keynote presentation. I remember thinking ‘I haven’t done a keynote before but to do one at a Microsoft Partner Conference is going to be unbelievable’.”
“The story was not just about technology but about how it makes a difference – how it creates efficiencies, how it saves the environment.”
Presenting to the worldwide audience was the culmination of years of hard work and months of preparation.
While not easy to bring a computer program to life to a studio audience, the presentation was helped along by a drone which popped out of the crowd to scan barcodes into a computer and reveal the true power of Track’em, which uses Microsoft Azure Platform.
“We did hundreds of rehearsals online to make sure we were ready to be on the stage because the amazing thing with Microsoft is they have a backup plan of a backup plan and they don’t leave anything to chance,” he said.
It was a surreal time – not just to be the only Asia Pacific company invited to the event, but also to be in the same room as Microsoft Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Business Judson Althoff and Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group (WPG) Gavriella Schuster.
“It was global validation in terms of who we are and the scale capabilities of a Perth-based company,” Saleem said.
“It all comes down to our values of how we can help people and the planet. Seeing the wastage of resources through reordering of lost or misplaced items was the inspiration behind Trackem to begin with.”