Media release

Snobal opens first global office in Singapore to serve growing client base in South East Asia


Snobal, Australia’s leading technology company working in spatial computing, virtual reality and augmented reality has launched its first global office in Singapore to serve its growing client base in South East Asia and to expand its footprint in the region. 

Singapore skyline. Photo supplied.

“We’re really excited about expanding Snobal’s reach into South East Asia with the launch of our Singapore office,” said Co-founder & CEO, Murray James. 

“A Singapore office has been on our roadmap for a while. We have a growing number of global clients there and it made sense for us to look at ways we could better serve them. Also increasing our global footprint is vital to scaling Snobal and building a world leading technology company. The traction we’ve seen in Singapore and SouthEast Asia the last few years shows there is an increasing appetite for our digital twin technology. It felt like the right time for us”.

Ann Nolan and Murray James
Snobal was founded by Ann Nolan and Murray James in 2014 and is one of the Australia’s leading VR/AR companies and one of the world’s earliest working excusively in virtual reality for business applications. Photo: Chris Hopkins.

To lead that expansion, Snobal has appointed Richard Sugandha. an ex-GoogleX backed Helix executive and veteran of Jacobs Engineering Group – as General Manager to lead the South East Asian team. 

Snobal will focus on enabling its Singaporean and SouthEast Asian based clients  to create, deliver and analyse digital twins of their built environment, information or processes through use of the Snobal’s proprietary spatial insights (virtual reality and augmented reality) platform and products for design collaboration, stakeholder and public engagement, virtual training and asset planning and maintenance.

Existing Snobal clients in the region include Capitaland, one of Asia’s largest diversified real estate groups,  Singapore government-backed infrastructure firm Surbana Jurong and clients at the Digital Capability Centre (DCC) a collaboration between consulting firm McKinsey and the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre.

About Snobal

Award winning Snobal is Australia’s leading technology company working in newer technologies such as spatial computing, virtual reality and augmented reality.

Snobal was founded in 2014 by Murray James and Ann Nolan with a vision to make it easy for business to communicate, understand and manage complex built environments, information and processes  using transformative technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

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Snobal Weekly

Five reasons mixed gender teams are critical to VR & AR development

It’s common knowledge that gender diversity is essential in technology. And if you’re a company like Snobal working in newer technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality (XR), not to mention spatial computing and artifical intelligence building gender diverse teams is critical.

Here’s our top five reasons why.

01. Ensures default design is not male

We know that gender diversity matters in product and technology design and development because women are 50% of the worlds population. Need we say more?

Not including their unique perspective, needs and requirements means you’re basically building something that only caters for 50% of your users i.e men.

Let’s look to the past and at car design as an example.

Female drivers are 47% more likely to be seriously injured in a car crash and 17 per cent more likely to die because seat belts were not designed with women in mind. Crash test dummies and by consequence car belts were designed with the average man in mind with no account taken of pregnancy or women’s anatomy.

End result? Car seats designed for men, by men.

You can read more about this topic and what happens when you don’t design with women in mind with Criado Perez fascinating book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. 

02. Means better business performance

Gender diversity in technology has been shown to lead to better business performance.

Studies published in Science found that teams’ collective intelligence increased with the number of women in the group.

One explanation is that the presence of women “enhanced collective social sensitivity, leading to higher collective intelligence”.

On an unrelated but also to a certain extent related note, the above research did make us think of highly influential BlackRock Chair and CEO Laurence D. Fink annual letter to CEO’s released in January.

In the letter he outlined how climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects. That companies “cannot achieve long-term profits without embracing purpose and considering the needs of a broad range of stakeholders”.

Finks comments herald to business that increased social senstivity (consideration of others needs) is now needed to survive. And with the study above indicating that the presence of women in teams “enhanced collective social sensitivity” it does lead to an interesting question. Are businesses with more gender mixed team better placed for sucess in this evolving landscape where purpose will be valued just as much as profit by the investment community?

03.Means better sales and profits

Teams with an equal gender mix had better sales and profits than male-dominated teams found a field experiment published in Management Science. The research shows that teams with mixed gender teams tend to me more “generous and egalitarian” but not only that :

Business teams with an equal gender mix perform better than male-dominated teams in terms of sales and profits.

04.Means better products

We know that there appears to be significant differences between male and female “on all presence (i.e the sense of immersion or that something is “real”) subscales”.

The subscales include Spatial Presence, Realness, Sense of Being There.

Research has shown that men generally reported a higher sense of spatial presence, more perceived realism and higher levels of sense of actually being in an experience or environment than women. Although this research had a small sample size the findings has obvious implications for XR development especially for those working in health and gaming / entertainment applications.

If you want to design and develop better XR products and solutions you need to include and design for women.

05. Means more innovation

Research at the University of Granada in Spain have shown that product and process innovation is more positively influenced when the management team of a business is more balanced in number of men and women.  As the paper reported:

Gender diversity in the top management team thus seems to encourage a work climate that stimulates development of new ideas, exchange of knowledge, communication, and trust, while also favoring execution of more processes and routines, and use of resources that are more effective in achieving innovation in products and processes.

On a final note, we look to the words of Karen Sparck Jones, a pioneering British computer scientist who specialised in natural language processing and information retrieval. As Spӓrck Jones once said:


Want to work in a fast growing technology company?

Speaking of gender diversity in newer technologies, Snobal currently has a number of career opportunities open in its engineering, creative and delivery team.

If working in spatial computing, VR and AR are of interest to you or you know someone who might be interested – reach out.

Instructional Experience Designer (currently accepting applications)
XR Developer (Unity / Unreal) (currently accepting applications)
QA Engineer (coming soon – accepting EOI)
Backend Web Software Engineer (coming soon – accepting EOI)
Web Application Software Engineer (coming soon – accepting EOI)

More info –

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Snobal Weekly

How VR & AR is transforming training across engineering & construction

How is virtual reality and augmented reality (XR) disrupting  industries such as engineering and construction across the planning, design, delivery, operations and maintenance phase and more specifically in the the provision of high consequence and safety related training?

This morning at the BICSI annual expo in the Melbourne Convention + Exhibition Centre the conversation was all about the business applications and impact being created by leveraging newer technologies like XR for the building environment and safety related training. [BISCI is a professional association supporting the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, which covers the spectrum of voice, data, electronic safety & security, audio & video, and building automation technologies.]

Key takeaways from the panel and audience questions revolved around three areas.

  1. XR – all about enterprise: XR has moved beyond the narrow focus of consumers and gaming applications from a few years ago to enterprise applications. And when you look to enterprise applications it’s the engineering and construction sector, as well as high consequence training, where Snobal is seeing tremendous appetite in Australia and globally said Murray James, Co-founder & CEO, Snobal.
  2. Eye on the ROI: An organisation needs to be guided by its strategic vision and the required business impact when applying newer technologies like XR was an area touched on by both speakers Andrew Heinrichs,  Director Safety, Community Safety Building Authority; Dept of Justice and Community Safety and Damien Taylor,  ANZ Manager – Health, Safety, Environment & Quality, SMEC (Member of the Surbana Jurong Group).

    For moderator Paul Stathis, CEO BICSI South Pacific, the topic of organisations being open to embracing risk was acknowledged as an area important in digital transformation and innovation.
  3. The future is now. Leveraging newer technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality will in time become part of an organisations toolbox in delivering learning and development. For Shane Darwin, General Manager – Product and Delivery of registered training organisation JB Hunter, the move to launching a suite of XR training modules – through JBHXR – in 2020 across the telecommunications and safety related market was obvious. It was also inspired by the knowledge that XR holds the ability to enrich workplace training and make the accessible more cost efficient, engaging, measurable and convenient for its clients.

    JBHXR powered by Snobal, will launch a suite of XR training modules like Pole Top Rescue, CPR, First Aid in an ESI Environment and Low Voltage Rescue in Q1 2020 with more to follow. More information here.
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Snobal Weekly

Bold moves and swinging for fences.

This week some of team Snobal are in the City of Angels at a client kickoff event. The theme? Digital transformation.

It’s timely as this week global management consulting company McKinsey & Company’s annual Global Banking Reviews came out and it sounded a death knell for traditional banks.

According to McKinsey & Co. nearly 60% of the world’s banks may not be “economically viable” because their returns aren’t keeping pace with costs and that banks must innovate or risk “becoming footnotes to history”.

Innovation archetypes?

The report divides banks into four banking archetypes or categories and the responses they should take to these broader market forces:

  • Market leaders (reinvest capital in innovation and scale);
  • Resilients (focus on expanding customer base and product offerings and differentiating through innovation);
  • Followers (act quickly to achieve scale, cut costs and transform business models);and;
  • Challenged (merge with similar banks or find a buyer).

Lessons for construction industry

Banking like agriculture and construction is one of the oldest industries and has been around in one form or other since ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Babylon. And yet here it is, according to McKinsey & Co. an industry in turmoil. Changing consumer behaviours, digital disruption and a growing number of players and products all seen as playing a key role.

When we study disruption across industries, there are always clear stages to the lifecycle of a typical attack—from faint signals of experimentation to validated business models to critical mass or at-scale plays. And repeatedly, the reason many incumbents fail, irrespective of their strong ingoing balance sheet and market share, is because of their inability to acknowledge a trend.

According to the report, digital disruption is now occurring at pace, [pp11] and banks need a plan of response. And one of the biggest challenges for traditional banks is the need to invest in overhauling operating models in order to be able to compete with digital offerings. As the report says the amt traditional banks spend on research and development (R&D) is telling when compared to digital disruptors:

while fintechs devote more than 70 percent of their budget to launching and scaling up innovative solutions, banks end up spending just 35 percent of their budget on innovation with the rest spent on legacy architecture.

This finding is as reflected in the recent Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2020 report, sponsored by KPMG, which found companies are allocating more resources to developing and scaling more ambitious and transformational business models and services.

It is a challenging and volatile time for all industries and it shows no signs of abating. It requires as the report says nothing short of some bold moves.

You can read KPMG’s report here and McKinsey’s annual Global Banking Reviews here.

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