Member Profile – Bit Space Development

BIT Space Development logo

Bit Space Development Ltd. is an interactive digital media studio that specializes in creating innovative learning experiences for the classroom and workplace. We work with educators and industry professionals from around the world to develop effective solutions for education and training using cutting edge digital media technologies.

BSD firmly believes in supporting the community to grow the IDM industry in Manitoba. We work closely with organizations that provide resources for entrepreneurs in this space, including fostering a partnership with North Forge to create the Advanced ICT Lab and Red River College to develop the ACE Project Space. We also regularly share our work with kids to help inspire the next generation of IDM innovators.

BSD is driven to create the most compelling interactive learning experiences possible using the latest and greatest interactive digital media technology available today. We’re always learning and pushing our boundaries to ensure we stay ahead of the curve.


CONNECT WITH BIT SPACE DEVELOPMENT


Interview with Dan Blair, Founder and CEO

Bit Space Development (BSD) was founded by accident while I was still in school. Due to a series of accidental encounters I found myself in the startup community with an opportunity for a little project. Not knowing what I was doing, I federally incorporated my 1 person studio and set off to develop what would later be the foundation for our understanding of immersive technologies. Very quickly BSD grew as an organisation inside innovation alley and began working on projects with organisations using technologies they didn’t fully understand yet or appreciate. Some of the first people we worked with became long-lasting clients with whom we developed more of a partnership than a client / provider relationship. This has been the foundation for BSD ever since.

Bit Space is often referred to as a VR (virtual reality) studio, we actually refer to ourselves as an innovation studio because a lot of our clients and projects span outside of video game technology and far into the management side of the data and tooling for businesses to properly utilise the technology we build. Our focus is entirely on building stuff that disrupts the flow of work inside an organisation. We tend to work in industries not traditionally known for their utilisation of interactive digital media and have a focus on education.

I am entirely driven by what’s cool. What makes me chase after new technology is almost entirely based on how much I would consider it to be mad science. Virtual reality immediately got my attention back when the Oculus was in kick starter because when I was a kid I obviously loved movies like the matrix and books like ready player one, it was easy for me to chase cool new technology.

BSD is in its 5th year of operation. In this time our team has grown from 1 FTE and a hand full of interns to a team of 15 full time developers & designers. The scale of our projects has also been growing as we expand outside of Manitoba and begin working with clients from coast to coast and down into the US.

The biggest contributing factor to our success is our willingness to work hard for our clients. We deliver, we do what we say we’re going to do, and we do it as well as we possibly can. This has resulted in a lot of clients who return, and send their friends. Never underestimate the power of showing up on time and shaking somebody’s hand.

In order for our company to be successful we had to help build the ecosystem we required to exist in. We need our clients to understand the innovation ecosystem and have access to technology to allow us to properly explore options with our clients. A lot of ideas that our clients have may not be possible today with the limitations of immersive tech. The technology the client wants to deploy may also be out of the scope of cost. These are major challenges sometimes, it was really difficult at first to sell people the idea of using virtual or augmented reality with the limited technology available at the time.

Things always get tough, that is the nature of working in a field like IDM. What keeps us going is understanding that anything worth doing is going to be challenging. With most of our clients we are doing something that may have never been done in their company, or even their industry so there are going to be challenges. What keeps us going though is the excitement and drive that our clients bring to the table. When somebody is excited about what they are building with us, it inspires me.

Almost everybody at BSD was at one time an intern with us. The major ways we source our talent is through industry co-ops, internships, and placements with our educational partners. Another way we source our talent is through game jams. We will often sponsor events and game jams, and through participation meet people who may be a fit for the team. We hire for fit, if you are willing to learn you are going to fit in with the team.

Our office is very flexible, with a tight knit culture. We’re a group of talented people from all walks of life building amazing software for industries. We want to work with people who are here to blow people’s minds away. We are always learning, adapting, and growing (and you should too).

Advances in IDM are changing everything. The way that we work at BSD is constantly affected by this. The entire company is set up to function remotely, although we do have a physical office we all work out of. Flexible work schedules and offices are becoming the norm.

Learn, go to all the game jams and events you can, learn more, and network. You never know where you’re going to end up and you’re never going to really know when you’re presented with an opportunity that isn’t immediately obvious

A strong (award winning) ecosystem for startups and innovation has been a huge success.

New Media Manitoba is one of the few organisations we would actually list as a major contributor to our success. Whether it is through amazing networking opportunities, events, or industry leading training there is no shortage of ways they help organisations like ours.