Qrious, New Zealand’s market-leading data, analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) business, is investing in building capability among the next generation of talent through its successful summer intern programme.
The initiative has given eight New Zealand university students a rare opportunity to extend their skill-base and develop solutions for real-world problems before entering the workforce.
The intern programme, which began in November last year, has seen eight students selected from universities in Wellington and Auckland work alongside Qrious staff in its Q.Lab Research Division.
The interns assisted on a range of projects that were designed to facilitate the development and deployment of AI in New Zealand. The focus was to build solutions that use AI to enhance the capability and effectiveness of New Zealand organisations, and that also have the potential to be offered as Qrious services in the future.
Qrious CEO Nathalie Morris says that the Q.Lab interns made a valuable contribution to the development of new ideas and applications of AI technology, and that the company is proud to help shape and support emerging talent in this way.
“AI is evolving at an exponential pace. The interns have contributed to our use of the latest AI innovations and have brought fresh ideas to the table. Having such talented people dedicated to exploring alternative ways of solving problems, combined with the expertise of our team, has led to the development of some exciting new solutions.”
“We’re operating in a fast-growing industry that is also facing a local skills shortage. If we are to harness the potential of AI and enable New Zealand organisations to take advantage of it, we need to build these solutions here and invest in nurturing the academic talent that will help to ensure that, as a country, we stay ahead of the curve.”
Among the projects the Qrious interns worked on was an initiative using deep-learning models to train Amazon Web Services’ DeepLens to read face and emotion recognition in real-time. This has a potentially wide range of applications, from being able to detect security passes in an office environment and send alerts if an unauthorised person is identified; to monitoring if safety gear is being worn on a construction site and alerting supervisors if it is not. This same technology could even be applied in the environmental field to detect predators.
Another project used AI to extract data from training videos for two of our national sports teams. This data can then be used to analyse training versus match performance as well as for biomechanics.
Several of the projects have been so successful that there are now plans to progress them from incubation to product development, with two students being given the opportunity to stay on with Qrious to further develop these products and other initiatives.
Summer intern Rhaz Solomon says that the experience at Qrious has helped to build his understanding of practical applications of AI technology.
“Spending my summer at Qrious has made me think practically about AI and how it can be used to solve real problems. It’s been especially exciting writing software and then presenting that work to clients”, says Rhaz.
“I’m really grateful to organisations like Qrious that support students in this way and provide an opportunity for us to give it a go in the workplace – and I believe what we’ve developed can have a genuinely positive impact for New Zealand. I can’t wait to be part of that next stage of development.”