Searidge Spreads its Wings in Asia and Across the Globe
LIKE THE INDUSTRY it serves, Searidge Technologies delivers its solutions and services safely and efficiently to destinations around the world. And it does so with an unrivaled degree of success. So much so that Searidge is now universally recognized as a global leader in the delivery of remote tower and digital airport solutions.
In just 10 years, innovative technology developed by the Ottawa-based company has enhanced safety and efficiency throughout the aviation industry. For example, Searidge was the first company to place an operational video system in an air traffic control tower. And it was the first to introduce Artificial Intelligence (AI) for air traffic control (ATC) and airport efficiency.
But while naturally proud of his company’s many achievements, CEO Moodie Cheikh recognizes that the company must continue to act boldly and decisively if it is to build on that success. The market for remote tower and digital airport solutions is large in terms of potential revenue but has a relatively small number of target customers, he explains, and Searidge is not alone in its desire to attract what is a limited number of customers.
One of the things that separates Searidge from its competitors, Moodie believes, is its insistence on hiring people who bring an entrepreneurial spirit to the company’s diverse workplace. “We expect our employees to think originally, to weigh risk against reward, and to support and accept support from fellow workers,” he says. “Entrepreneurial thinking created this company, entrepreneurial thinking will sustain us moving forward.”
To secure its position as an industry leader, Searidge decided to adopt a global strategy (only 10 per cent of its business comes from within Canada). So two years ago, it began seeking new opportunities in the booming Asia Pacific (APAC) market. “The demand for aviation services in that region is already high,” says Moodie. “And it’s growing. In fact, the Asia market is now experiencing faster growth than Europe and North America combined.”
The move to APAC required some nimble moves on the part of Searidge and its talented team of workers. The company transferred one its senior managers to the United Kingdom and moved another manager out of its European office to Singapore. “We are, by necessity, a 24-hour-a-day company,” says Moodie. “But because we deal in a small market, we’re not a particularly large company. At the moment, the Searidge workforce totals about 50, adding an average of four or five new employees annually.”
In addition to the personnel moves, Searidge enlisted the support of two major players in the air traffic management industry—NAV CANADA and NATS, the United Kingdom’s leading provider of air traffic control services. The two companies assumed joint ownership of Searidge in the spring of 2017. The deal, says Moodie, has been a key factor in Searidge’s success in Asia.
“Although NAV CANADA and NATS are now major shareholders in Searidge, we continue to operate as an independent business. And that allows us to better service our customers, help drive innovation and expand our reach into key markets.”
Key markets like APAC.
In Hong Kong, the Civil Aviation Department selected Searidge to install its Digital Tower solution for a trial at Hong Kong International Airport. As part of the trial, 28 fixed cameras and two pan-tilt-zoom cameras will provide coverage of both of the airport’s runways and terminal apron areas.
In Singapore, NATS—with Searidge on board—was asked to develop a smart digital tower prototype for Changi Airport. With 58 million passenger movements a year, Changi Airport is the largest and most complex in the world to test such a prototype. Searidge provided advanced camera and video stitching tools during the trial. Cameras will be able to track, pan, tilt, and zoom, to enable a closer look at objects or areas of interest, while radar and weather data can also be augmented on screen to provide greater situational awareness.
For Hong Kong and Singapore, Searidge turned out to be the solution. For Searidge, Hong Kong and Singapore turned out to be the beginning.