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New Zealand is a nation of small and micro businesses – including self-employed ones. We are innovators and we do small business very well. 89% of businesses in New Zealand have less than 5 employees which means companies become very skilled in their own core business. If additional skill sets are required, they are forced to spend resources upskilling internally, hiring an expert, or finding a collaboration partner.

Rather than wasting time, money and resources many small businesses can’t afford, there is an opportunity to collaborate and lean on each other’s skills. Chances are, there is another small business in New Zealand that has the skills that you need to produce successful outcomes for your business.

This is what Timescapes did when they approached Blender to help them. Timescapes is a visual intelligence platform for remote construction monitoring. They capture high-resolution, live, timelapse images and uses powerful AI to provide valuable project insights and analytics based on past and present images. This allows construction professionals to better understand and manage costs, schedules, and risks—and improve collaboration and communication with project stakeholders. As a company that was made up of software and electronics engineers, Timescapes were purchasing their mechanical enclosures off the shelf. These didn’t match their brand and were low quality and expensive. Timescapes came to Blender with the expertise to build the software, electrical components and service. We brought industrial design and mechanical engineering expertise to design the product that met their hardware requirements.

We asked Timescapes how this collaboration worked out for them as a growing business in New Zealand.

Where was Timescapes at when you approached Blender for this project?

We are a hardware-enabled software solution. Starting out we had decided to focus on software and use an “off-the-shelf” hardware product. We had developed the basic software solution, had validated in market and were gaining traction. We had reached the point where the hardware was slowing us down being expensive and unreliable and we didn’t have control over the future development roadmap/functionality. We couldn’t scale. So we started experimenting with building our own and had gone through a few stages of iterations for the electrical components but were still using the old external hardware shell. We were reaching a point where we could see a path to the end product but we needed a partner to work with to get there.

What were you looking for in a partner?

A similar cultural fit was important – a team that was smart, direct and willing to come on a journey with us. We needed a partner with expertise that we didn’t want to invest in building ourselves, as that wasn’t part of our long-term strategy. It was important for us to focus on what we were good at and lean on others who were experts in their field to produce a really high-quality product. It was also important that we could find a partner that was willing to take the whole process off our hands, from conceptual design, prototyping, engineering design through to procurement, supply and assembly, a one-stop shop.

How did you know you needed to outsource? Had you tried to do this yourself?

We scoped the project and immediately knew that we would need a partner for key parts of the project, that trying to invest in building that technical expertise and sourcing it would slow us down and it wouldn’t add a lot of value to the company in the long term. We were also well aware that we wouldn’t get the quality or scale we needed fast enough. We decided to develop the key electrical components in-house so that we had ongoing control to iterate and find a partner to help develop everything else.

What has been the biggest impact of partnering with Blender for your business?

Speed and expertise into the project, we couldn’t have achieved what we did without Blender at the speed that we did. It would have taken us much longer and taken valuable resources away from other key areas of the business. Because we outsourced and invested in product development and supply, early and fast, we are now in a position where we have a market-leading product and have moved well ahead of the competition.

It's been a game changer for us - it really allowed us to focus on what we do best and feel confident knowing that we have an expert partner taking care of that part of the process for us.

What was the best part of collaborating with Blender? Were there any challenges?

The best part is the teams’ willingness to listen, learn and constantly iterate through the process. They have been incredibly patient and have really bought into what we are trying to achieve. We have had challenges along the journey, but we quickly address them and work together to find a solution. There are no egos – it’s just about getting the best possible outcome.

Any other feedback on this collaboration?

It’s been a game changer for us – it really allowed us to focus on what we do best and feel confident knowing that we have an expert partner taking care of that part of the process for us. The result has been a significant reduction in time to market, a higher quality product, and more internal resources allocated to our core product development. Every part of the business has moved faster because of our collaboration – we wouldn’t be where we are today without that decision back in 2020, and without a doubt has been one of the core decisions that has led to our ongoing success.