Rob Foster, former head of mining at Australian digital twin technology company Willow, has co-founded mining-focused start-up, Geminum. InvestMETS spoke with Foster about where Geminum aims to win, and why, and about how the mining digital twin market could fundamentally change this year.
InvestMETS: You were heading Willow’s digital twin push in mining/metals. You’re now focused on the same market under your own banner. Firstly, is there still some connection with Willow, given you’re now competing directly with them, or was it a clean break?
Rob Foster: We don’t think there will be any direct competition, for two reasons. One, Willow has exited mining and is doubling down on smart buildings, and we’re focusing on helping miners build the digital twins they need, and we are not yet going to market with our own SaaS product. Our product vision is also quite different to Willows, with an emphasis on supporting decision-making, as opposed to helping asset owners digitise their assets. We very much hope that we do meet again in the market though, because the work Willow is doing is really fundamental to creating strong foundations for asset owners to get a hold of their data and asset performance, and our solutions would be very complementary to each other. We definitely don’t see the digital twin landscape as being “red ocean” at this time, despite the proliferation of vendors. There are far more problems than viable solutions at this stage, and we need more people building and creating value to give the industry confidence to embrace these kinds of changes.