Ian was brought up in a small East Coast village on the North Island of New Zealand. He was seven when electricity arrived at his home. It was 1957. The telephone arrived a couple of years later. He didn't know it at the time but three years after he got electricity at his house, New Zealand got its first computer.
Ian founded Animation Research Ltd in 1990 on nothing more than a handshake with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago. They bought their first hard drive to make their first TV commercial in 1991. It cost $15,000 and had 1 GB of memory. The computer they used for the America's Cup in 1992 was the size of a small fridge and cost $500,000. Everything they did on that computer they can now do a mobile phone.
Today, working from their base in Dunedin, ARL covers sports events all over the world. They also have a joint venture with Airways New Zealand, who market the Air Traffic Control Simulator they built for them. They continue to service the F1 Race Car simulator they built for one of the world's leading F1 Race Teams. They built an online Risk Assessment platform for one of the world's largest mining companies. They built an online application to demonstrate the power of the IBM cloud-based analytics engine, which they presented to a conference of 22,000 delegates.
Ian holds an LLB from the University of Otago and was inducted into the New Zealand Hi-Tech Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2010, he was named North & South magazine's New Zealander of the Year. In the same year, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the New Zealand Computer Society, the top honour of the ICT sector in New Zealand. He was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2012 New Year Honours, for services to television and business, and won the Creative sector of the World Class New Zealander Awards. In 2013, he was named Outstanding Maori Business Leader of the Year. Ian was awarded 2019 New Zealand Innovator of the Year.
Kindly sponsored by Otago Faculty