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Kiwi AgTech firm teams up with Microsoft AI

Agricultural testing company Techion has announced a partnership with Microsoft AI and Awanui Labs with the aim of becoming a global leader in healthcare.

Techion and Awanui Labs are partnering up and collaborating to develop a testing solution through the use of Microsoft’s cloud and AI technology.

The combination of their tech will allow for remote analysis of a range of microscope-based tests from regional clinics and hospitals.

Techion is known for its digital imaging technology that is used to detect parasites and other diseases in farm animals, which will now be developed to make testing human medical samples faster, more accessible and cost effective.

“The integration of a digital diagnostic solution will be a transformational change that once realised, will complement Awanui’s regional diagnostic services. We have proven how powerful this approach can be in animal health and I believe it will energise the conversation around how we deliver the future for regional healthcare in New Zealand,” says Techion CEO Greg Mirams.

Mirams says that this tech will be most helpful in rural areas with smaller populations where it can be difficult to recruit, train, and retain staff.

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He adds that the use of Microsoft AI will be “transformational” to automate and assist scientists and technicians to analyse samples, improving repeatability, standardisation, and accuracy.

With this partnership, digital imaging technology will be more available and remove the transportation off-site in the process.

“The constant challenge is samples degrade when they’re sent away for testing. You can’t transport fluid from a spinal tap, for example, because the quality deteriorates so quickly. That means people outside our biggest cities sometimes have to travel for these procedures, adding stress, inconvenience and cost,” says Awanui Labs Head of Strategic Business Development, Trevor English.

“This approach has the potential to solve this issue, and also reduce the pressure on our urban based teams and spread the testing load across our network,”

Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand, says that their AI technology will be used to transform the healthcare of Aotearoa and later the world.

“This a true New Zealand Inc. story, where the technology is locally designed, developed and manufactured, giving New Zealand the ability to optimise, trial and test its own technology, while delivering an affordable solution for regional centres.”

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