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No more working in data silos in underground mines

Sudbury software designer creates digital solution centralizing all of a mine's functions into one system
Founder and CEO of MineIQ, Jennifer Sloat, showcases her new software, D8tascape, at Cambrian College's Applied Research Day in Sudbury in September. (Colleen Romaniuk photo)

Jennifer Sloat, founder and CEO of MineIQ, believes that digital transformation is about simplicity. 

Armed with a technical background and a desire to work on her own terms, Sloat founded her software company in Sudbury in 2013.

She wanted to create a data aggregator to solve a lot of the problems she was seeing in the mining industry. 

“We need minerals and we need metals,” she said. “Mining is important, but it's so inefficient. What are we doing? Is there another way to mine better and faster?” 

At its core, MineIQ is a software suite. It can pull data from all available sensors and technologies available in a mine. The data is culled, stored, and finally presented in a way that's useful. It was designed with the intention of making siloed systems work together. 

MineIQ is completely centralized. It offers asset management, fleet management, dispatch, location services, material tracking, inventory management, and more. It works with any infrastructure and can process any available data or diagnostics. 

The software simplifies existing systems and processes in underground mines. 

“We are creating landscapes of data,” said Sloat. “Ours is a tool for digital transformation.” 

As an example, Sloat described ventilation systems. In any underground mine, ventilation is closely monitored, but unfortunately, many of the systems in place do not communicate with each other. 

There are systems to detect air quality, and then separate systems to notify workers if there is a change or emergency. 

Sloat hopes to make these processes centralized and instantaneous. 

“If there's a problem with the air, our software detects it. Then, in the future, when digital transformation is complete, everyone will be immediately notified of a change. Workers will be able to say: oh, I need to get to the refuge station because there is an air issue. It happens right away.” 

While there are many different companies working on similar data aggregators, MineIQ is unique for a few reasons. 

Sloat created the software to be a white label product. A company can purchase the MineIQ suite and put their own brand on it, display what they need to display for their clients, and then resell it.

There is no reason that companies have to create their own software, according to Sloat. MineIQ works with what you already have.

MineIQ is sold on a subscription basis. For one yearly payment, her clients get the software licence and continuous customer support.

Sloat and her team are responsible for upgrades, uptime and security. It also makes cancellation simple in the event that the software is not showing the desired results. 

Finally, the company does not sell hardware. They are strictly a software company. 

To date, Sloat is working with some undisclosed mining companies in Sudbury and overseas in France and Turkey.

She credits her success to her passion for what she does. 

A new version of her software is in the works that's transferrable for surface applications. D8tascape is currently being trialed at Cambrian College through the applied research program

“We took a bunch of Bluetooth sensors and installed them around the school,” explains Sloat. “Then we created an app for the students.” 

The app offers a wide variety of services. It lays out a map of the school so that students can find their way to their classes. It offers location services so that you can see where people are. 

Sloat also wants to incorporate safety into the mobile app. For example, if a student needs a security escort to their car, they can push a button and the security guard will come to them. 

“There are so many opportunities (for this software),” said Sloat, who would also like to play with gamification in the future. 

“If a student is shown to have gone to the library every day for two weeks, maybe they can attend a school function for free.” 

As Sloat continues to develop her software in the future, she also wants to incorporate AI and predictive analysis into her work. 

And in the process, she wants to change the face of business. 

“The future of MineIQ will be smart, diverse, technical, but really simple,” she said. “I want to simplify everything so everybody can win.”