Cemetery software Plotbox firm in US expansion
A Northern Ireland company aiming to revolutionise the way cemeteries are managed has won 10 US contracts.
Portglenone-based software company PlotBox, run by husband and wife Sean and Leona McAllister, has developed a cloud system to simplify the management of cemeteries.
PlotBox uses drones to map out cemeteries and an iPad app that cemetery managers can use to attach records to the maps.
Its latest deals include a contract with the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Co-founder Leona said: "PlotBox brings cemeteries into the 21st century with a very easy to use online platform.
"Traditionally, cemeteries use paper, old software systems and spreadsheets to manage their land. Information is deeply fragmented and difficult to manage.
"Our software, developed through an Invest NI Grant for research and development, takes the information and pulls it into one cloud-based solution, to help improve efficiencies by 50 to 70%."
PlotBox was born when her husband Sean, an engineer and surveyor, offered to help map out his parish's cemetery.
Mrs McAllister added: "Sean took it one step further and began to photograph the headstones too.
"Of course, I got the job of typing up all the inscriptions.
"We presented the information to the parish in a very simple Excel document but they really loved it and found it to be very useful."
Through this work Mr McAllister learned about the issues of mapping cemeteries and realised there was a market for a company to that could help to solve these problems.
PlotBox's success was announced as Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell led an Invest NI tech mission to San Francisco.
He will later travel to New York to meet potential investors and highlight Northern Ireland's reduced corporation tax rate of 12.5% from April 2018.
He said PlotBox was a great example of an innovative business. "The largest contract, recently made with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, is to provide an online cemetery management system to record future burials and is potentially worth almost half a million dollars in future business."
The company had previously taken part in an Invest NI tech mission to the US. This week's tech mission involved 15 Northern Ireland companies.