2012 Winner: Innovation In Information And Communications Technology Sponsored By TELUS
Changing The Game In Cloud-Automated Learning
When Guy Hummel was in high school, he was called into the vice principal’s office — not because he was in trouble. The school had lost its entire database of student grades, and report cards were due in a week.
“They’d already called in the computer science teacher, but he couldn’t fix the problem,” Mr. Hummel recalls. “Back then everything was on a floppy disk, so I took it home and fixed it that night.”
Inspired by da Vinci
Mr. Hummel has always been captivated by science and technology. He remembers his youthful fascination with Leonardo da Vinci — not because of his art, but for the breadth of his scientific explorations. So, it’s no surprise that Mr. Hummel studied computer science at university. Within 10 years of graduating, he founded his own company, called Hatsize Learning Corporation — a reference to an individual’s intelligence.
“It’s what we do,” Mr. Hummel says. “We help people learn better so they can be more knowledgeable.” Founded in 2000, Hatsize is a privately held industry pioneer in the design and delivery of custom online labs for IT environments. Hatsize clients include some of the largest hardware and software vendors in the world.
Benefits of Being Virtual
A former sales engineer, Mr. Hummel knew that millions of dollars were spent each year shipping expensive products, and that highly skilled people were spending their lives in airports travelling around the world to provide training, demos and product trials. The company’s hosted cloud-based service allows users — whether they are instructors, students, customers, employees or partners — to preview, evaluate and train on any computer, anywhere in the world, at any time.
Business interest in virtual labs has grown over the past decade as companies look for ways to realize efficiencies in a global marketplace. Hatsize’s advanced cloud automation solutions have been a game-changer in the virtual lab concept, providing the ability to incorporate physical devices, live collaboration and custom integration into their design and operation.
Making Learning More Effective
Mr. Hummel says the advantages from a learning perspective are also substantial.
“We are bringing positive changes to the world by making learning more effective and enjoyable,” he says. Hatsize provides each learner with their own hands-on environment where they can work at their own pace to complete a course or practice before taking a certification exam. For live classes, instructors can help students do their lab exercises in a hands-on environment even if they are in different cities.
Hatsize has delivered more than two million hours of cloud-based training and demos worldwide to leading technology and training companies, such as IBM and Symantec who use Hatsize when they want to cost effectively offer hands-on virtual software or hardware training to their staff, customers and partners.
Hatsize has 25 employees in Alberta and another five in cities in the U.S. The company has built an industry-leading development team with unique expertise and new skill sets to enable advanced product development. Based in Calgary, Hatsize is helping to diversify Alberta’s economy in the high tech sector, one of the top three growth industries in Calgary.