Capstone meets cattle in industry partnership
Information Technology students bring project to market
Tracking cattle is getting a high-tech makeover as SAIT students, working with an industry partner, prod their capstone project into a marketable product.
Working with Element Labs — a software and technology company — three Information Technology students showed they can succeed beyond the classroom when working to develop the company's cattle monitoring system.
"The students demonstrated preparedness for industry work," says Andrew Hillson, President of Element Labs. "Their eagerness, levels of engagement and ability to contribute innovative thoughts has added value to the project's overall success."
An idea worth sharing
The partnership with SAIT allowed advisory committee member, Dean Brennan, Element Labs Vice President, Technology, to approach students in the program with the trackable ear tag product idea. They then assisted Brennan and the team by coming up with ways to track an animal's location while monitoring its body temperature, says Hillson.
"This tracker effectively gets the information back to the base station on the owner's land," he says.
Though still in development, the team continues to work on commercializing the product — field tests will begin in the fall.
SAIT's affiliation with Element Labs provided the students with the chance to have real world exposure, an experience invaluable to learners and reaffirming to industry partners.
"Working alongside of the team has shown us how to apply our skills in the most effective way," says Gleb Ponyu, one of the students who continues to work with the company on the product. "Putting what we've learned into practice has been an amazing opportunity."
Brennan, a SAIT alumnus and former ARIS employee, has sponsored several capstone projects in the past and was looking for an opportunity to work with students on another.
"I've had a great path with SAIT and really enjoy working and mentoring students," he says.
Building a future foundation
Answering the "What's next?" question after completing a capstone project can be challenging, but industry partnerships like this one demonstrate how collaboration and innovation can be a benefit to students and companies alike.
"We're really impressed with not only their knowledge, but their persistence and positive attitudes," says Jacky O'Sullivan, Vice President, Finance of Element Labs. "They've worked hard to come up with creative solutions and to make sure the system's coverage is as high as it can be."
Kevin Demone, Academic Chair, appreciates the support received by industry partners such as Element Labs.
"It's opportunities like this that enrich the educational experience for our IT students and better prepares them to meet the demands of industry," he says.
With the capstone completed, the students can either leverage their experience to pursue other avenues or officially join the Element Labs project team and continue working on the product — bridging from school right into industry because of this partnership.