Canada's Plantiga to set up Brunei HQ


CANADIAN companies are eyeing Brunei as the next hotspot to enter the Southeast Asian market, with two companies confirming their interest to work with the Brunei government.

With BlackBerry service already available in Brunei, and the BlackBerry 'Playbook' set to enter the country in the next few months, Canadian companies are set to amp up their presence in the Sultanate this year.

High-tech IT specialist company, Plantiga International Pte Ltd and provider of vertical lift aircraft, Bell Helicopters, are also looking to get a foot into the local market, said Sanford. These Canadian companies are following the example of Canadian company, Viva Pharmaceuticals, which is solidifying its presence in Brunei with the setting up of a plant in Lambak Kanan. Bell Helicopters, who has previously supplied to the Royal Brunei Army, will be looking to extend its relationship with Brunei's airfare said a representative, but said discussions are still ongoing.

"We're actually looking to set up our international headquarters," said Brian James Tracey, President and Chief Operations Officer of Plantiga Technologies Inc. "We're a Canadian Information Technology company and we have some transformational rather than 'disruptional' technology. We're about to change an enormous component to the security and biometric world," he said of what Plantiga has in store for its Brunei debut.

"Everything from your DNA to your fingerprint, to facial recognition, scans - all those are biometric and they're a very pervasive way to identify, rather than smart passes or passwords, but all of the current existing technologies are being copied, even your DNA technically could be cloned and we've developed a really next-generation biometric called 'Gait Pattern Recognition' in that, no two people walk the same." We now have the technology and the materials, he said, adding that the company has just finished a year of research and development between Canada, Singapore, Finland and Australia is now in the full commercial phase. "So we're bringing our Canadian IT company for our global headquarters into Brunei," he said.

"I was already here for about six months setting up infrastructure," explained Tracey, who has been communicating with an ICT and Telecommunications company and another unidentified party, for "a lot of very complimentary reasons that the Wawasan program for the Vision 2035 (has outlined) and we will have continuing research and development for which we will look at having a facility here". He has been meeting with Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB) throughout the past year in regards to this, he added. "We would be sort of looking at collateral, not just on economics as far as establishing our international headquarters here, but continue with value-adding for academics."

"We're going to see how our negotiations go," added Tracey when asked if Plantiga would be looking towards a joint-venture in Brunei to establish their headquarters. "The Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) last year and (former Acting Chairman) Dato Timothy Ong, were tremendous assistance to us and they just laid out everything that we could bring in exchange with a Bruneian company, from an academic perspective, setting up our international headquarters here. So it'll have quite a number of fronts that way."

Tracey also expects Plantiga's new technology to have an explosive impact on the global security market. "We're transforming the global homeland security market, which is a US$78 billion annual market, and we're about to redefine it. We are about to become the next gold standard in a collateral, instead of a competitive, industry."

"We're looking at making friends with some of the world's largest security integrators and that they license our technologies," he added.

"I've been in Singapore for about 12 years," he said, noting that people often wonder at how such a small country with no resources can have such a global impact and presence.

"Now our goal, is to start doing that in different domains in Brunei, and it's a very secure country, we're not worried about corporate espionage that might occur if you have transformational technologies, and you're looking at putting multi-billion corporation's technologies completely redundant and you have to be careful how you do that. So, Brunei's got a tremendous amount of (advantage) with what its long-term programme's worth in about 25 years, and what a high-tech security company would want in a home base," he said.

Plantiga's plan of action will be to first establish its offices, he said, as well as its Research and Development components liaising with ITB and UBD. Final commercialisation for a global partnership, with eight major security integrators, will also be happening, he added. The Brunei Times
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