Join us at the Biarri Applied Mathematics Conference at UQ

Biarri Applied Maths Conference

Join us this year at the BAM2019 conference to find out how to make better decisions with maths.

It’s only been one year and it’s back on again by popular demand: the Biarri Applied Mathematics conference – BAM 2019. This event has been heralded as the top applied maths conference in Australia. You’ll find out how you can apply maths at all levels in an organisation and academia to make better decisions. The who’s who in mathematics and industry are coming. Have you got your tickets yet?

Get your tickets here now.

Over 230 tickets have been sold with only a few remaining. The best part? The tickets are FREE.

Why come?

Strategy, innovation, operational success and a good bottom line all rely on one thing – good decisions.

At BAM2019 you will learn how people are harnessing the power of well-known optimisation, machine learning, artificial intelligence and cloud based techniques to scale automated, powerful and objective decision support tools to help us break out of decision paralysis.

It will showcase some of Australia’s best real life examples of the use of mathematics to drive amazing business outcomes by making better decisions at scale.

Join us at BAM2019 on the 20th of November 2019 to discover the new simplicity of now.

Get tickets here.

Check out the BAM2019 website.

BAM 2019 logo

BAM2019 is on!

Join us at the most fun maths conference of the year

Strategy, innovation, operational success and a good bottom line all rely on one thing – good decisions. Not only that but fast, data driven decisions too. As time runs out, the data sets are multiplying creating the paradoxical situation of making decisions harder.  But there is one easy decision this year – attend BAM 2019

The Biarri Applied Mathematics conference – BAM 2019 – is the top maths conference in Australia and due to popular demand we’re holding it again this year. There are a limit of 250 spots of which are number are already gone. So grab your tickets now so you don’t end up on the waiting list like dozens of people did last time. The best part? The tickets are free.

Get your tickets here now.

Why come?

This year’s event will again see industry leaders from Australia’s top companies as well as top researchers from UQ and other universities presenting their latest insights on making better decisions. This year we’ve decided to change the format and have the whole event happen on one day on the 20th November, at the beautifully accommodating St Leo’s college at UQ.

You’ll discover expert discussions, see maths in action at the demo table, rub shoulders with thought leaders and talk to your peers in an intimate environment.

Time to decide: automating solutions to your business challenges

The theme of this year’s BAM is making better decisions. At the event, you will learn how mathematics is powering the best decisions making tools on the market.

Not only that but you’ll discover how by harnessing the power of well-known optimisation, machine learning, artificial intelligence and cloud based techniques we can scale automated, powerful and objective decision support tools to help us break out of the decision paralysis facing so many companies today. It will show you how to data into value.

You’ll learn:

  • How can you use maths in your job to make better decisions?
  • How can you use maths to save costs and be more efficient?
  • What is the pathway to better decision making with maths?

At BAM2019 you’ll discover the answers to these questions and much more so get your tickets here now.

Check out the BAM website here.

Rostering workforce

New Workforce Rostering Feature – Leave Management Calendar

Biarri has now released the first new feature as part of the wider demand from our customers around management enhancements. Specifically, the web-based calendar view of roster requests is now available as a potentially more intuitive alternative to the existing table view. For those who have seen the mockups of this screen it should look familiar.
The screen is very similar in look and feel to the rostering Gantt, with the items in the Gantt instead representing roster requests per person/date. Some included features are:

  • View customisable time ranges and periods.
  • Toggle additional employee data (group and roster pattern) in the fixed columns.
  • Right click on an employee name to view their profile in a new tab.
  • Standard filtering, sorting and colouring options to customise the view and drill down into the data that interests you. This applies to both the employees and requests in the view (similar to the rostering view with employees and shifts).
  • Total unavailable/available KPIs per day calculated from requests on that day. Note that these numbers are calculated using the filtered employees and requests – e.g if you want to filter for only annual leave requests, the KPIs will only show total number of people with annual leave requests per day.
  • Hover over requests so see their key details in a popup menu.
  • Click on requests to open up the standard screen which allows you to action the request (add to roster, approve or reject).

We are still working on other additional request management features – specifically to allow rostered users to more intuitively interact with their requests, as well as have a view of other employees requests.

Stay tuned here for further updates. To learn more about our workforce tool, check out our blog post on it here.

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Bird catching fish rostering

The New Automated and Optimised Rostering State of the Art

In this post we wanted to introduce everyone to our new and updated workforce rostering tool.

Biarri Workforce is a cloud-based rostering solution that exists to simplify and automate the production of rosters for shift workers.

The sophisticated auto rostering module produces cost optimised rosters that cover demand, while considering and balancing multiple objectives. Rules and constraints considered include fairness, staff preferences, availability, skills and competencies, safety, roster ergonomics and training requirements.

How does Biarri Workforce help you?

  • Up to 80% faster roster production – less time and effort for rostering teams and less burden on roster specialists.
  • Generates a cost optimised roster which meets required skill mix considering staff availability and leave requests.
  • Easy to use planning web app highlights uncovered work and provides roster KPIs.
  • Mobile app staff staff submission of leave and availability preferences

Proven Features

  • Customisable to capture working rules and payroll requirements.
  • Can generate preferred shift patterns with night shift blocks & weekend, day off grouping.
  • Minimum break rules based on type and time of shifts.
  • Rosters account for staff requests (RDO’s leave, availability times & specific shift requests).
  • Creates equitable rosters with required training and appropriate mixture of shift types.
  • Demand driven shift generation rostering only those staff required.

Customer Testimonials

Biarri Workforce is sensational. Being able to solve something that took
2-3 days in 5 minutes. We solve a month solution in 15 minutes
that would have taken us 8 days to roster. It is phenomenal.

Manager Resource Optimisation Swissport ANZ

More Features Coming Soon

Stay tuned to future posts where we’ll be revealing some of our new innovative features.

To find out more about our applications and benefits of rostering, check out our article on automated rostering here.

If you want to know more or have some features that you’d like to see, reach out to us at

Big ben and bus in london

Biarri Expands to Europe

2019 has been a big year for Biarri. All divisions have been growing strongly with over 20 new team members in 2019 alone. The largest part of this has been in Australia but the growth has also seen the establishment and solidification of our overseas bases – especially in Europe.

Welcome Our New London Office

This year saw some of our most talented employees take the leap and establish a new home in London. They are spearheading a number of supply chain, workforce and health care activities while setting up base in the nation’s capital. This has brought Biarri closer to our customers in Europe, especially in the UK, now with the local team able to help them in their time zone.

It also means they now can enjoy Marmite instead of Vegemite as well as sleet, slush, whiteouts and snow instead of sun, sun and more sun. But best of all, London brings with it some challenges even for high calibre mathematicians such as standing on the left in the corridors but right on the escalators in the Tube.

If you happen to be close to the Big Ben, then drop by the team at 16 Great Chapel Street, London, W1F 8FL.

Welcome To Oslo

To complement the English team, Norway has also become a stronghold for the Biarri expansion. We are working there closely with a number of customers and in fact will be at one of the world’s largest shipping events in Norway, the Nor-shipping conference at stand A1-50.

The team has been preparing by eating surstromming (fermented fish served in a ready to explode tin that tastes like soap), cloud berries and elk tongue. They are more prepared than ever to meet the vikings in June at the shipping expo.

Where Next?

As Biarri continues to grow we will continue to add hubs around the globe to help serve our customers close to where they are. Apart from Europe, there has been a lot of activity recently in North America so expect further updates on the additions to our offices in Denver and Chicago.

Brisbane AI at night

The Current Status of the Brisbane AI scene

Brisbane has always been the home of good weather, great beaches close to the city and an enviable outdoor lifestyle, however, now it has something new – a blossoming Artificial Intelligence (AI) scene.

From the outside sunshine, now to the inside monitor glow, read on to discover some exclusive insights on the Queensland capital’s thriving ecosystem. 

Brisbane AI

With recent investments by the Queensland government in Brisbane-based AI initiatives, like the AI Hub ($3M as part of a larger $650M commitment), there has been significant growth in the number of companies: using AI, building products and services based upon the new technology, or simply consulting in the field.

To understand how big this growth has been, Biarri has gone out and put its finger on the pulse of the burgeoning industry to understand how far we’ve come over the last decade and the direction of Brisbane’s future trajectory – based on the graphs below, the numbers are phenomenal. For example, we’ve seen over 2500% increase in the number of people employed in companies working with artificial intelligence or similar technologies (from around 20 to 500+).

To carry out our analysis we approached our Brisbane networks, including key individuals active in the AI scene, to reach out to their AI contacts and let us know the current state of the industry. We then cross-referenced this with LinkedIn, job boards such as SEEK and Indeed, as well as various websites to ensure the data was as accurate as possible (at the time of writing). Based on this we were able to put together a comprehensive list on the state of AI-ffairs in Brisbane.

However, before we present the data showing the surprising results, we asked ourselves: what has driven this growth in activity around machine learning and artificial intelligence?

We hypothesise that there are four main factors that we discuss in the following:

  • Enhanced ease-of-use of tools to build AI solutions
  • Improvements in the power of the available AI technology
  • Increased number of people with AI skills
  • Increased awareness and interest in AI


In the last 10 years we have seen the barrier to entry for using AI tools reduce considerably. This has been driven largely by a strong open-source community and cloud-based tools that have led to:

  • Orders of magnitude cost reduction for at-scale AI deployments
  • The commoditisation of cutting edge AI algorithms such as neural nets, boosted decision trees, etc.
  • Programmable infrastructure for the deployment of web based applications
  • Simple APIs providing access to leading open-source machine learning and artificial intelligence libraries such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, MXNet, etc.

Improvement in power

In addition to the lower barrier to entry, we have witnessed an unprecedented improvement in the quality of algorithms powering AI inferences. The new algorithms are able to converge to solutions faster with less training in much smarter ways (for example pretrained models).

In addition, the cloud architectures available now provide the ability to store and analyse massive data sets, further improving the quality of these algorithms. The storage of a Terabyte of data in the cloud costs on the order of $20 per month with a number of providers.

Growing talent pools

Almost unlike any other area, online courses for machine learning and artificial intelligence have exploded. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) offered by edX, Coursera, and Udacity provide courses delivered by leading AI experts – many of which are completely free. There are also countless large, well-known, and high-quality blogs providing up-to-date information on AI.

Beyond that, universities around the globe have caught onto the trend and are offering Masters in Data Science for students to cater to the demand. Many of the courses are quite new, for example the one at the University of Queensland in Brisbane is less than 2 years old at the time of writing.

Looking further abroad, Georgia Tech have teamed up with Udacity and AT&T to offer the first accredited Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS) that students can earn exclusively through the MOOC delivery format. This is changing the landscape of education globally.

Increased awareness and interest

Another big contributor is the general interest in AI. Looking at Google Trends, the following graph shows the number of searches for AI-related terms over the last 10 years. The graph shows an up to 10x increase in interest artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science in the last five years, so we are truly entering a period of increasing awareness and interest.

What effect has this had on the Brisbane AI market?

The effect of the above has been noticed in all sectors. The following graphs show what we discovered.

If we just examine companies offering AI services, this first graph shows the simple growth in the number of companies:

We can see the hockey curve style growth starting to kick off in 2014. However, where is this growth occuring?

To figure this out we need to better understand the types of companies operating in this space. To help understand the types of companies that have grown out of the trend, we split them into the following categories:

  1. SME that provides consulting
  2. Non robotics AI startup
  3. Incubator
  4. Robotics AI startup
  5. Larger company that provides mostly AI consulting

In the following graph we show the growth of such companies with the above split:

We can see that the growth has largely been due to robotics and non robotics AI startups.

Naturally this proliferation of AI companies has led to a large increase in the number of people employed in companies driving the AI agenda as the following graph indicates:

The number of people employed in these areas is being felt beyond employment with Meetup groups like Queensland AI (2,900 members) and Brisbane Data Science (1,800 members) thriving in recent years.

Another interesting development has been the congregation of such companies, leading to the government’s choice of the location of the AI Hub to be a prudent one. There is a strong collection of such companies around the Fortitude Valley as the following heatmap of Brisbane demonstrates:

Number of Brisbane AI companies by location in Brisbane

The colour coding is such that there are now 11 companies in the valley, 7 in the city and elsewhere either 1 or 2.

So if you want to join the blossoming AI scene then come and join us down in the Valley.

What’s next?

As can be seen from the above, the current AI scene is blossoming with more and more companies entering the artificial intelligence fray. If the numbers continue as above (although bottlenecks like talent shortages will most likely arise soon) then by extrapolating the data with an exponential curve, we could see a doubling of the number of people working in AI by the end of 2023 to over 1000 people.

So although the industry started slowly we expect it now to now have doubled within four years.

This bears well for the graduates coming out of universities but also to service providers to the AI industry as it would be expected that similar trends exist worldwide. With a wealth of resources already existing online to help people enter the industry, we only expect speed of adoption of AI to increase.

Get your hands on this data

To access the data, click on the link here to view the spreadsheet with the information that we have collected.

But in the meantine, what are your predictions? Did we miss anything?

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SaaS Optimisation vs Traditional Approaches

SaaS Optimisation solutions have become a necessity in modern business. These solutions don’t just result in lower costs, better products, and ease of use, but better customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and streamlined business processes.

Gartner predicts the SaaS market to be $85.1 billion globally by 2019, up from $72.2 billion in 2018. While much of this growth will be the continued adoption of infrastructure such as CRM and ERP, point solutions will continue to emerge to fill gaps.

What are point solutions and why should they matter?

Unlike ERP systems that provide end-to-end solutions for problems that you might not have, point solutions are targeted to specific pain points within your business. This might be: The best way to route your vehicles, the best way to manage your employees, or, the best way to build your facilities (location and size).

Point solutions also give you the capabilities of integrating with larger ERP systems.

A unique problem requires a unique solution.

The Key Benefits of SaaS

The benefits to a SaaS solution over a traditional approach can be evident by looking at these 5 key areas:

  • Reduced time to benefit. SaaS development reduces the feedback cycle to the point where anyone, anywhere in the world can test software on a web browser.
  • Lower costs. You don’t require expensive IT infrastructure and big IT departments, these worries are outsourced to the company offering the solutions.
  • Scalability and integration. SaaS solutions can be scaled up and down based on your requirements. This means you can drive more powoer in peak times or seasonality.
  • Faster releases (upgrades) as it reduces the feedback loop and allows for much easier troubleshooting.
  • Easy to use and perform proof of concepts

These benefits have allowed Biarri to develop world class tools for operational and strategic business requirements.

SaaS vs Traditional Software at Biarri

Beyond the above generic benefits, there are a number of specific benefits that we see at Biarri. We believe that the SaaS approach is far superior to ensuring the client gets a solution into a production environment sooner rather than later, it also makes the job of support much more efficient as well. Biarri’s specific benefits it sees are outlined in the below table.

SaaSTraditional Software
DevelopmentEasy to get constant feedback using the Mitigation by Iteration approach. More iterations and feedback from clients can significantly reduce development timeframes.The client either needs to wait for the final version to be installed in their testing environment. If iterations are used they are usually far less frequent (and more difficult to manage) than a SaaS approach.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT)All the client needs to do is use a testing environment URL. No UAT specific hardware is required by the client.Often clients need to setup different computers and/or databases for the UAT environment.
DeliveryClient usually only needs to type the production URL into a web browser. Sometimes their firewall needs to be configured to allow access to our servers.Software has to be installed on each machine which requires more resources from IT departments.
Hardware Clients only need access to an internet connected device. It does not need to be powerful. It could be a desktop or mobile device.Each user needs to have computing power, and memory, required to run potentially resource hungry optimisations.
Software CostOur optimisations sometimes use expensive third party tools (like Gurobi) which are on our servers. This cost gets distributed to all our clients in the form of licensing fees.Each user would need to have the expensive 3rd party software installed on their computer which has the potential to massively increase the final price if there are many users.
SupportWe can easily replicate issues because your data and logs are on our server. This often results in issues being replicated, addressed, and a fix delivered all in the same day.Often it can be difficult to even determine if an issue is caused by the software, or the complex IT environment that it may be running in. Complex IT environments may have internal firewall issues, database issues, Citrix issues, authentication issues, timeout issues, etc. If the problem is with the software it is sometimes required to export the client database and transfer it to the vendor (via ftp, or if it’s too large via snail mail). Sometimes replicating the issue can be difficult because the client’s and vendor’s environment are different (e.g. different database versions, different patch versions or operating system versions). This process can often take weeks even for relatively simple issues.

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