From tech newbie to industry advocate
Taking an information and communications technology (ICT) company from start-up phase to market leader is no easy task – particularly if you come from a non-technical background – but Maree Adshead made it happen.
Adshead is the co-founder and chief executive of MobileIP, a Queensland-based ICT company, which has developed an award-winning wireless data system.
MobileIP, which began about seven years ago, develops routing software that delivers access to vital communication tools at otherwise challenging locations.
The software, which provides constant wireless coverage regardless of where a person is located, played a key part in the emergency services effort during the Queensland floods last year.
“Our Free2move software has won a number of state and national awards as well as an Australia Day award,” Adshead says.
“The Free2move router is very versatile and efficient. It depends how it is configured as to what wireless communications it can access.”
“It can be configured according to the customer’s needs and set up to automatically choose the most cost-effective or most appropriate form of wireless use available for that business.”
“The great advantage of the system is that transitioning from one form of coverage to another is done seamlessly without any loss of data.”
“Mobility is the word on everyone’s lips now. It’s all about enabling people to get away from their desks to do their job and not have to come back to upload or re-enter data.”
Prior to the success of MobileIP, which now has a team of six, Adshead had a tough time getting the company’s product noticed, particularly as she came from a non-technical background.
“I am a mid-career shifter into the ICT industry. I came from the legal profession,” Adshead admits.
“I think the reason for MobileIP’s success is the faith we all had in the product, and this is something I stress with people who have ICT ideas and concepts.”
“You have to have faith in your product and be determined. I’ve had a lot of doors slammed in my face and have banged my head against the wall in frustration many times.”
“But I always had faith in our product and I believe that is ultimately why we succeeded – that and of course the fact the product is excellent.”
Adshead has taken many of the lessons learnt at MobileIP and applied them to her role as the Queensland chair of the Australian Information Industry Association.
In addition to MobileIP and the AIIA, Adshead also manages another growing ICT business, TLC iT Solutions.
According to Adshead, members of the AIIA account for about half of the 426,100 people employed in ICT occupations, and almost $20 billion in annual revenue for Australia.
“Roughly 70% of the AIIA’s membership in Queensland are SME ICT businesses. I can understand first-hand the issues and challenges they face,” Adshead says.
“Quite frankly, with ICT covering every sector of the economy, the industry is critical in the… transforming economic vision for the state.”
“I’ve heard it said that we Queenslanders get it wrong in promoting Queensland as a great place to come to for a holiday.”
“What we should be saying is that Queensland is a great place to do business in. Oh, and by the way, it’s also a great place to come to for a holiday.”
“Queensland is certainly a state where companies with good ICT products and services, which are driven by people with faith in them, can grow and prosper.”