Calgary is home to a number of world-leading, innovative high-tech companies led by visionaries helping to promote this city’s brain power.
Nancy Knowlton and David Martin have built Nureva into a company that hires a lot of those bright minds, and last week CEO Knowlton was in London and Paris telling audiences of the benefits of its newest product, a new approach to audio conferencing that fills a room with thousands of virtual microphones.
Always pushing the boundaries of technology, the couple who built SMART Technologies — which put interactive whiteboards into millions of classrooms and boardrooms around the world — have been successfully launching new products under the Nureva name for the past five years. Its spacious office in Gulf Canada Square is home to 100 staff made up primarily of highly skilled software and hardware engineers, with another 20 in its Ottawa location that continues to grow.
Martin says he was well aware of the frustrations of holding meetings between locations where directional microphones often made it difficult to hear conversations clearly. He gave his engineers the task of improving the system and the result is Microphone Mist technology, which allows meeting participants to be heard clearly no matter where they move in a room or which direction they face.
Advanced processing power picks up more than 8,000 microphones simultaneously, zeroing in on the predominant sounds and optimizing them for clear conversation. Unwanted sounds such as HVAC noise are identified and the technology simply stops picking them up.
The system, which is easily installed in less than 30 minutes, also gives front-of-room speakers freedom from having to use lectern or hand-held microphones.
Nureva products are sold in 20 countries to some of the largest companies around the world. Two-thirds of Microphone Mist technology systems have been purchased by North American users and the other one-third in Europe, where Knowlton is promoting the product and visiting with Nureva’s wholesalers and its logistics operation in Amsterdam.
The next step is for the company’s engineers to enhance the systems, allowing them to be used in larger auditoriums and event spaces.
But there is still lots of action at the office/laboratory with its other leading-edge products, including the Nureva Wall system creating collaborative workspaces spanning the length of a wall or wrapped around an entire room, and Span Workspace that allows people to have input on the screen from a variety of devices to post written notes, plans, sketches, photographs and videos that can be easily added to or altered, and through cloud technology can be reached by participants from anywhere.
Nureva Wall, Span Workspace and Microphone Mist technology can be seen in the new Nureva Design Studio and InceptionU, a tech-enabled collaborative workspace in a back-of-house space on Level 3 of the Central Library.
It is a not-for-profit learning space where teams can come together to solve problems, hatch innovative business ideas, plan projects and help build new economic sectors in Alberta.
“We are pleased to play an active role with InceptionU in contributing to Calgary’s innovation system,” Knowlton says. “We have seen organizations around the world use our solutions to become more agile, accelerate their processes and enable creativity in countless ways, and we can’t wait to see what amazing new ideas are born at this studio.”
• Many were disappointed when the owners of La Chaumiere Restaurant decided it was time to retire and close down what was certainly one of this city’s finest dining establishments. Ultich Kuenz, owner of Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, is pleased to have hired Antonio de Angelis, who was executive sous-chef at La Chaumiere for almost a decade, as his new executive chef. Born in Italy on an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, de Angelis worked in the kitchens of fine restaurants in Italy and Switzerland before moving with his family to Calgary in 2010.
• Congratulations to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary commemorating its 80th anniversary by revitalizing its original space — the historic Rutledge Hangar — into the Renfrew Hub, an inclusive centre with programs and services for kids from preschool to adulthood.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.