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AWI Wool Exchange Portal on track, working on an E-speci

by Terry Sim, 11 August 2017
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WEP working group chairman Will Wilson

AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovations Wool Exchange Portal is on track, with the completion of the project’s discovery phase this week.

In June this year AWI announced that Australian-based technology company Levo has been contracted by AWI in a “discovery phase” to build the online portal, potentially within 16 months, at a cost $3-$4 million.

WEP working group chairman Will Wilson said he and Levo would take their discovery phase findings to the AWI board meeting on September 1.

“Given that they are still comfortable with what we’ve provided, I think the timelines and budgets remain as they were earlier this year.

“We’re hopeful of moving into the build phase pretty much straight away.”

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The WEP discovery phase involved researching the viability of the WEP functionalities, which included:

  • Develop and manage a national wool grower registration system, which will enable growers to access information such as their historical data, or the supply chain to better track provenance
  • Provide an industry information forum and repository to link wool growers nationally and promote industry trends and innovations
  • Provide a central repository of wool test and wool price data for the industry
  • Deliver information and education tutorials on how to get the most out of the WEP
  • List and evaluate all current selling options
  • Connect with those selling options to allow for transactions to occur
  • Provide a proprietary bulletin board, listing bids and offers, with 24/7 access

Mr Wilson there were no major issues discovered, although it has been decided to develop an E-speci for in-shed data collection by wool classers.

“When our technology partner looked at that whole journey, they said there is a bit of gap here, and that is the data that is collected in shed by the wool classers.

“So they decided on our behalf that we would need to digitally collect data in the shed,” he said.

“So for want of a better term, a digital or E-speci.”

Mr Wilson said the E-speci development could potentially involve collaboration with AWEX or others, who have been working on a digital speci capability for classers.

“None of them have really been taken up, so there is not much data from the shed that is available electronically.”

Mr Wilson said Levo advised that the only way it could see shed data being delivered to the WEP would be if it developed its own digital or E-speci. The WEP working group organised some workshop with wool classers and asked them what they would like to see.

“One of the things they (the classers) were adamant about was that they were able to enter information in a shed on a mobile facility; not a computer, but on an i-pad or iphone, and that’s what we’ve developed.”

AWEX has said its own digital speci would not be developed until early next year, he said.

“But we couldn’t be waiting for that.”

Mr Wilson said the WEP working group was discussing with AWEX on how they could work together on an E-speci.

“It could well be a collaboration between the two of us, but given our timelines… we are still hoping to deliver the first phase – the first five functionalities — of the Wool Exchange Portal by August next year, so we need to move ahead.”

Mr Wilson said negotiations with AWEX and AWTA on data access were moving ahead.

“They’re not completed, but everyone is on board.”

AWEX and AWTA have representatives on the WEP working group, he said.

Mr Wilson said wool growers will need to give permission for AWEX data to be released when they log onto the proposed WEP and agree to its terms and conditions, but AWTA data has to be released by brokers.

“The broker must retain control of that data until you give consent because they are the ones who paid AWTA for it.”

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  • Peter Small August 11, 2017

    After all that, what does this really boil down to? How much would have evolved anyway with normal market forces and technology innovation? And how do growers evaluate if the final investment perhaps, $10 million all up, is going to yield a positive return?

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