Technopark Expansion Boosts AOT and Cosmogence
Cutting the Ribbon
Speeches and congratulations abounded as dignitaries, co-founders, and staff attended a ceremony to open AOT Technologies’ expanded facilities at Technopark Trivandrum in the Indian state of Kerala.
The official ribbon-cutting was performed by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, member of parliament for Thiruvananthapuram and a former United Nations undersecretary-general. Speeches from near and far followed.
With AOT’s global headquarters in Victoria BC, it was natural that the first two speakers joined the ceremony remotely from Canada. Victoria-based Don Fast, consultant and former deputy minister in the BC government, recalled how he had been immediately impressed by co-founders George Philip and Praveen Ramachandran when he first met them, and their reputation had only grown.
“I can tell you AOT is highly respected in the business community and within the British Columbia government and the province of BC,” Mr. Fast said, adding that he was particularly impressed by formsflow.ai “and the real difference it’s making for the people of British Columbia and the work that the province does in serving its citizens.”
Mr. Alistair MacGregor, member of parliament for the constituency that includes AOT’s Victoria headquarters, spoke from Ottawa and said, “I always look forward to these amazing opportunities to strengthen ties between Canada and India.”
Mr. MacGregor lauded AOT’s technological partnerships, citing his own experience with a user-friendly food-ordering system designed by AOT for Moduurn Mobility. When ordering from a local restaurant that uses Moduurn’s product, he was impressed by the online choices and ease of use.
“And it’s that kind of technology which I think is really grabbing people’s attention,” he said, “and that’s one small example of where AOT Technologies’ partnership with another company has really brought the internet leaps and bounds ahead of where it was even just a few years ago.”
A Decade of Growth
Besides performing the ribbon cutting, Dr. Tharoor gave a speech in which he noted that “it’s delightful to walk into a space that doesn’t look like an office, and yet is considered to be one.”
He said he considered himself to be “a bit of an evangelist and technophile” as he felt “it was so important that we showcase to our foreign friends what we offer that others, frankly, are not able to match.”
Other dignitaries at the ceremony included Dr. Rajasree M.S., vice-chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Kerala; Mr. John M Thomas, chief executive officer of Kerala State IT Parks; and Mr. S N Raghuchandran Nair, president of the Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Co-founders George and Praveen thanked all those in attendance and recounted AOT’s whirlwind expansion from its founding in Victoria BC just over a decade ago. They particularly cited their work with the BC government, the introduction of open-source, low-code formsflow.ai, and their growing startup Cosmogence, which matches talent to employers around the world.
AOT’s work with the provincial government was noted in a letter from Minister of Citizens’ Services Lisa Beare, who congratulated AOT on its new office space and wished the co-founders best of luck with Cosmogence.
“The work you are currently doing with the Ministry of Citizens’ Services to streamline and automate our government’s Freedom of Information service is top of mind as I think of our partnerships,” wrote the minister, who also thanked AOT for its work with the province’s Digital Exchange Lab Community.
A Transparent View
As they pondered what to emphasize for AOT’s new Technopark space, George and Praveen pushed for a design that would break free from assigned cubicles, instead relying on a more transparent approach, both literally and figuratively. Much of the new office space is designed for collaboration in group workspaces separated by transparent walls. Especially after so much isolation during the pandemic, the co-founders wanted to foster a sense of togetherness.
Reaction from staff has been positive. Aditi Narayanan, a member of Cosmogence’s marketing team, said this was her first time working in an office space.
“It is so incredibly set up and I am sure everyone who comes and works from that space would find their own comfortable spot,” said Aditi, “be it the cubicle, or the more open spaces where we’ll be able to interact more with the people we work with.”
Senior software developer Shibin Thomas joined AOT during the pandemic, so “meeting the team members for the first time was a real pleasure.” He added that “the office space is well organized with common seating areas and separate team workspace.”
AOT Technologies’ new space is located in the Nila Building at the Technopark located in Kazhakoottam, a suburb of Kerala’s capital of Thiruvananthapuram, also known as Trivandrum.
Employing nearly 60 people in its India branch, and roughly the same in its operations in Canada and the US, AOT anticipates more hiring in the future as it continues developing formsflow.ai, expanding Cosmogence, and pursuing projects in Canada and around the world.