In the latest of a series of profiles on the team here at GeoSLAM, Roberto Vargas, discusses his role as regional manager for the APAC region.
Tell us about your career history
I’ve worked at a number of technology companies over the years, ranging from software development and system architecture, to database design and project management. Much of my career, though, has been spent in the mining industry.
Among other opportunities at GeoSLAM, I have had the chance to manage a programme of work for a mine in Spain, whereby we delivered a MOS (mine operating system) solution comprising six different products. I have also worked as a consultant in mining, including deploying laboratory information management systems and mine production management systems.
What route did you take to get your job at GeoSLAM?
I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to build my career at GeoSLAM through my connections in the technology industry. Even from a young age, I wanted to work in IT – I have a great passion for technology and was fascinated with programming and database design.
While my role prior to GeoSLAM was very interesting, I really missed the human connection that came with working at a larger, more established company. I was first introduced to GeoSLAM by my previous manager, who encouraged me to join the team and felt I would find the role rewarding.
What does your day-to-day job entail?
Every day is different at GeoSLAM! My role involves managing operations in Australia and New Zealand, ensuring the region continues to flourish. I take a hands-on approach with customer and dealer queries, which is a particular element of the job I really love.
When customers or dealers in the region need help, I’m their go-to guy; enabling them to get to grips with the technology, as well as helping to understand their requirements through their sale stages.
What do you enjoy most about working at GeoSLAM?
Freedom – freedom to be creative, to offer your input and importantly, freedom to travel. As a member of the team, we have the opportunity to visit countries across the globe, experience how each culture interprets geospatial technology and spend time speaking to people immersed in the industry, exchanging insights.
I love seeing people’s faces marvel at the innovations our teams work hard to create.
Where did you go on your favourite GeoSLAM work trip and why?
Last year I had the opportunity to visit Dallas in the United States of America to attend a dealer conference. This was a great way to talk to different dealers and find out how they are using GeoSLAM to solve complex problems. The trip was very rewarding, to bond with head office colleagues and to experience the great BBQ restaurant and life of a local American.
What is the most interesting placed you have scanned?
GeoSLAM technology can pretty much go anywhere, there are two places I found especially interesting. The first was scanning a Silo, it took much longer to climb up the ladder than it did to do the scan. The results were fantastic, the volume of the contents could be calculated from the point cloud, as could the thickness of the metal Silo itself.
The other was one of the many underground mine scans I have done. Dark, waterlogged underground tunnels aren’t renowned as being good places to use LiDAR, but the ZEB Revo collected a useful digital twin of the tunnel network really quickly and easily.
How is SLAM/mobile mapping technology helping people in the APAC region?
The SLAM devices are simpler to use than traditional surveying equipment, making the technology more accessible to less experienced operators, and the user has options including vehicle-mounted, handheld, backpacks, and UAV. With GeoSLAM scanners it is all about speed of capture and the quality of data. With everyone wanting a digital twin of their environment or assets, GeoSLAM provides faster scanning and data capture which opens new opportunities. As built drawings and renovations, GeoSLAM is 10 times quicker and allows customers to push the data into Revit and other applications. We provide the end to end solution on site with 2D layouts to ensure nothing has been missed before leaving site.
Where do you see SLAM/mobile mapping technology going over the next few years?
Having an enterprise software platform allowing customers to collect data in the field and be sent back to a central location having it processed automatically. The point cloud, maps, floor plans and volumes sent back to the customer while still in the field. Having teams working in different locations moving data automatically within the organisation. Becoming more automated and having SLAM as a payload on equipment and Robots.
What is your best achievement, personally or professionally, to date?
Moving to Australia was a huge challenge for me, and it involved months of getting to know and understand the market here. I’ve now been here for one year, and I’m really starting to build some strong relationships, both inside and outside the office. It’s been an incredibly rewarding process for me personally and professionally, and the team at GeoSLAM have been so supportive along the way.
Who inspires you professionally or personally?
I am inspired by the owners of the company, Dr Graham Hunter & Nicole Hunter, not only are they passionate and family orientated people, but the innovative drive the two have with technology. What we have brought to market in the last 2 years has been a game changer to the industry. I look forward to the journey we are on and what we bring to market next.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
My hobbies include cycling and spending time outdoors with my family. There’s nothing better than to experience the fresh air with those you love!
An interesting fact about you people may not know?
Although I come from South Africa, I am definitely not a Rugby fan. I always thought that I’d love a crowd of people around me, until the first time I ended up with a Rugby ball in my hands. I’ve never felt as claustrophobic or in danger as at that moment when I looked up, and everyone were coming straight for me. It was the quickest in my life that I have ever gotten rid of anything.