News and Success Stories

Published 27 June 2024

Contacts, customers and collaborators: RoboticsPlus on Victoria Market Immersion

Robotics Plus Product Manager Hayden Briscoe joined us on our latest market immersion to the state of Victoria, Australia, before heading to the annual Hort Connections conference.

Robotics Plus, an innovative technology company from New Zealand, has garnered awards for its advancements in robotics and automation within the Primary Industry, specifically in agriculture and forestry. Read more about their work here.

We caught up with Hayden to chat through how Robotics Plus used the immersion to further their reach into the Aussie market.

What made you want to get on the Victoria market immersion?

We’ve been looking at Australia as a market for a little while, and have been doing demos and other customer engagement activities in South Australia since about August last year.

In our main markets of New Zealand, the United States and Australia, we’re initially targeting apple orchards and wine grapes, but also anything with a two-dimensional growing structure, so this also includes some stonefruit and cherries.

So we have a lot of potential customers in Australia, particularly in Victoria and South Australia.

And what did you want to get out of the trip?

My main purpose for the trip was to be introduced to some companies I hadn’t met and to be able to go to their sites to see their operation in person, and then use that opportunity to do a deeper dive into the area.

I wanted some insights into how the Australian market really is; there’s only so much desktop research you can do. I had been in South Australia previously, but Victoria around Melbourne is also a plentiful horticulture growing area.

On top of meeting people in-person, it’s really good to get into the market and just see what the terrain is like; is it hilly, is it flat, how large are the planted areas? What kind of growing structures do growers use, and what challenges are they facing? What research is being carried out, and what solutions are people interested in trying?

What surprised you about this market immersion?

What I found interesting is that there’s a range of different organisations on the trip with different focuses, and this diversity leads to a range of different questions and perspectives. The immersion trips are really well planned to optimise time, packing in visits as well as hosting dinner guests, and provide plenty of opportunities to network within the industry.

It also helps develop those relationships with other New Zealand companies so you can support each other and cheer each other on. And sometimes there’s some quite good synergies between what we’re doing, so you can find potential collaborators.

What advice would you give a company looking into a market immersion?

Do a bit of research beforehand! Have a look at the websites and around the areas you are visiting once you have the agenda. Personally, I spent some time on Google Maps and discovered a few additional companies I could connect with later. By being in the country, it gives you a nice excuse to reach out to potential customers for a meeting, or invite them to any trade shows you might be exhibiting at.

I actually stayed for a couple of extra days so I could follow up with as many of the market immersion and trade shows contacts as I could, and I would really recommend that – it’s a good opportunity to combine it with a trade show so you can really make the most of the opportunity since you are in the area. It also makes it easier to really maximise the business benefits of the trip, so does help when it comes to getting the trip approved!