"The museum sector is famous for amazing digital visitor experience, but has lacked innovative technology for operational support systems behind the scenes," says Dexibit chief executive, Angie Judge. "We saw clicker counters being used to track visitor numbers, information written onto a clipboard, copied into a spreadsheet and turned into manual reports.
"By the time the information reached the decision makers (the museum executive) it was out of date and of limited value. It was a time-consuming and costly manual process," says Angie.
"We centralise disparate data feeds from onsite presence, online traffic, social media, sales (from ticketing, café, shop, membership) and even weather, and provide clients in-the-moment information and powerful insights.
"Onsite, our software anonymously analyses visitor presence through their mobile phones’ MAC address being detected by sensors positioned within the museum or gallery – there may be a thousand data points for each visit.
"We can accurately track their movements – which route they took, how long they spent in different areas, whether they shopped in the store or ate in the café, and how often they returned,’’ says Angie.
"In this way, Dexibit delivers timely and accurate information for the executive team to make better decisions on million-dollar exhibitions, staffing and other operational matters. The cultural sector largely relies on grants, donations and endowments, and it needs to show it is providing value for money.
We want to change the way people think in the sector – from using gut feel to making data-driven decisions.’
Chief Executive, Dexibit
"We want to change the way people think in the sector – from using gut feel to making data-driven decisions," says Angie.
"Dexibit is more than a visualisation and reporting tool; our innovative data science algorithms deliver new, meaningful knowledge using the latest in artificial intelligence. We are looking to personalise insightful recommendations to the museum team."
Dexibit, which was established in 2015, has quickly become a leader in the musedata community. It is providing customers in New Zealand, Australia, United States, Canada and the United Kingdom with personalised dashboards, automated reporting and data concierges, and the information can be shared on all mobile devices.
Within two years Dexibit has grown its staff from three to 15 including two software developers in Australia and two salespeople in the United States, its key market. "We hire skilled people, data scientists, architects and analysts, who are passionate about the cultural sector, and we are lucky to be the first data company to build momentum and a brand in the sector," says Angie
She was invited to present at the Museums and the Web conference, and American Alliance of Museums annual meeting in the United States. Angie was joined at these events by Te Papa Museum which runs the Mahuki digital innovation accelerator programme for the cultural sector.
"This is a really cool story of putting New Zealand on the map for `musetech` and we have helped advise start-ups in the Te Papa programme," says Angie.
Dexibit was a finalist in three categories of the 2017 New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards – for hi-tech start-up company of the year, best technology for the creative sector, and best technology for the public sector. It also won the Fintech Innovation Challenge in 2016.
Fast-moving Dexibit has received strong support from economic growth agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), government agencies and angel investors.
Dexibit’s exciting journey ignited at the Lightning Lab, a four-month national business acceleration programme that operated out of the GridAKL innovation precinct. It was one of 10 start-ups accepted from 130 applicants, and it was the first one to attract full angel investment, which supported research and development (R&D), and sales and marketing.
"We had some beta customers and we knew what we wanted to do,’’ says Angie. "Lightning Lab gave us a clearer vision for the product and target market. We developed new skills particularly in sales and marketing, and the networking opportunities were incredible.
"Our focus now is less on starting up and more about scaling up to grow Dexibit as quickly as possible. We’re investing heavily in R&D for innovative visitor behaviour insights delivered via our unique data concierge. Our museums want a browserless data experience in natural language."
ATEED facilitated a Callaghan Innovation Getting Started grant to develop a proof concept; two Fellowship grants for Masters students to complete further research, the first in onsite visitor behaviour analytics using WiFi and the second in forecasting visitor numbers based on weather; and a R&D Project Grant worth $500,000 – Dexibit cofounded 60 per cent of it – to deliver deep insights into the relationships between datasets.
"We turned to ATEED early on and they became `a litmus test’ for what we were doing. They helped us accelerate our R&D programme, and they created important connections for us. They knew our digital product was novel and innovative," says Angie.
Dexibit is also working with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) in its Focus 700 programme, which supports the country’s leading exporters in their growth and market validation. With the support of ATEED, Callaghan Innovation and NZTE, Dexibit is making a significant impact on our cultural future – both here and overseas.
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