“Why Here?” Small Community, Global Reach: VDTS Chooses the Bay of Quinte

This article originally appeared on quintedevelopment.com

Voice Direct Tally Systems (VDTS) found a better way for lumber, agricultural, and forestry workers to collect data and conduct audits by giving workers back their most valuable tools: their hands. Founder David Ginther developed voice technology software and paired it with a lightweight, head-mounted tablet that allows agronomists, lumber and forestry workers, and researchers to gather data by voice, freeing up their hands to continue to manipulate materials or operate equipment at the same time.

The head-mounted tablet, created by Realwear, allows agronomists, forestry workers, and researchers to gather data by voice, as opposed to traditional handheld technology which only works in certain environmental conditions and requires users to look away from their workflow. The assisted reality wearable device operates independent of WiFi. It is industrial-made for any climate or environmental condition, including dust, rain, or sun. The device is highly intuitive, using a visual system to capture images to add to users’ collected data, its camera to calculate measurements such as tree height or plant growth, available in 17 languages, has specialized voice recognition for high-noise environments, and can respond to users with an accent. The headset supports Teams and Zoom so users can continue their work while on a remote call. VDTS has recently developed IDENTIFLY, as well; which gives users the capability to fly drones with their voice.

Ginther believes he could not have chosen a better place to build this business. Here’s why:

The Promise of the Bay of Quinte’s Tech Sector

In addition to David and his wife Pat Ginther who has a background in HR and provides customer care and supports sales, VDTS employs 4 employees, 3 of them locally. The Ginthers state that the “promise of the tech sector” in the Bay of Quinte is what led them to grow their business here.

With 24,000 lumber mills in North America, the Bay of Quinte is specially situated to reach them. “This idea that it is a small town that has global reach is exciting,” Ginther says. He cites the lower cost of living and cost of doing business here, “We’re far enough away to benefit from lower cost of living but close to everyone we need to be close to”; and how easy it is to connect with customers in this area. The proximity to large urban centers makes access to clients possible through air travel and the 401 Highway makes their clients accessible by road as well, “You can pop in the car for 2 hours and actually get someplace new.”

While lumber manufacturing was VDTS’s main focus, they’ve since branched out into agriculture and R&D. They now work with clients in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Tennessee, and across Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta. Their voice system has more than 350 users in North America, including global and local ones alike: Corteva, BASF, PotlatchDeltic, Timber Products, Natural Resources Canada, Ministry of Mining and Natural Resources Ontario, and as well as mills in Madoc, Bancroft, Whitney, and Madawaska.

For Ginther, the Bay of Quinte is the place where tech and lumber meet; “there is a very robust tech sector here,” says Ginther. VDTS participates in meetings of the local tech association and are connected with the local Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). Ginther explains that there are great opportunities here and that it’s a great spot to attract people to and hopes to see their tech team grow over the next year, “The ability to have those experts come in and work with us will add to what we do and benefit the community.”

VDTS loves the Bay of Quinte not just for its thriving industry, but also for the support they receive from the region. At the end of 2022, VDTS received the Trailblazer of the Year Award from the Quinte Business Awards; “We’ve done something different and we think we are unique in what we do, but it’s very nice when someone else recognizes that as well,” Ginther says.

The Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) provides information, connections, and resources for manufacturers in the Bay of Quinte. QEDC supports the region’s businesses and entrepreneurs as well as the local workforce.