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Innovation at Work


Conversation with Mark Ploughman, General Manager  - Lotek St John’s operation (3 minutes, 18 seconds)

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A high definition version of this video is available on YouTube





Transcript: Lotek Wireless

We are in the business of making measuring devices that are used by researchers to gain new knowledge and every question we help them answer leads inevitably to new questions.

My name is Mark Ploughman, I’m the General Manager of Lotek St John’s operation.

We make electronic devices for tracking and studying wildlife.

We’re designing products for really harsh environments and huge challenges in terms of establishing the reliability of a product when we’re sending it into environments where we can’t get at that product. Some of these animals are going as deep as 2 000 meters in the ocean. It’s almost like you are designing for space: the birds are scrubbing the electronics off rocks, other birds are pecking at it. This is why we have to work so closely with researchers because they are the ones who fill us in on the types of behaviours that we need to design for.

The ACOA funding has been great for our innovation agenda. It’s helped us build a capacity. In this facility we have been able to recruit and retain some very highly skilled individuals. This is a knowledge business. It has also helped us build some of our capital infrastructure here. We have capabilities here now that are fairly unique. It’s hard to do it all on your own. Technology is just moving so quickly and there’s only so much that we can afford to put into a facility like this and still have a viable business.

If governments are helping build that infrastructure that ultimately leads to products and services for the market and I think that that’s an important place for them to be.

With government funding it allows us to enter into these riskier areas. And so, when we do that, we move the frontiers of technology, we start shifting the landscape and it creates a whole new set of rules for everybody. Sometimes you’re going to fail; if you’re not failing, you’re probably not trying hard enough. But sometimes you succeed and if you succeed it’s a beautiful thing.

To learn more about Lotek Wireless Inc., read: Miniaturized wildlife tracking tags deployed worldwide collect crucial data.

Additional videos of innovative Atlantic companies are available on the Innovation at Work page