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The Bear and The Catapult

This blog post has been reproduced with kind permission from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. You can read the original version of the article here. This piece was written by Stephen Brennan. Stephen is Consul for Science & Innovation with the FCO in East, South and South-West China (Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing consular regions). He is sector lead for Sustainable Urban Environment and also oversees the Health and Life Sciences, Clean Energy and Future Manufacturing sectors for the Science and Innovation Network in China.

OK, now I’ve got your attention I should point out that the headline refers to Sir Michael Bear, former Lord Mayor of London and senior advisor to the Connected Places Catapult.

Sir Michael was joined by Connected Places Catapult Chief Executive Nicola Yates OBE, and five UK SMEs on a recent mission to China, which was supported by the Science and Innovation Network (SIN).

The theme of the mission was ‘Connected Places’, which covers connected technologies in areas such as transport, infrastructure and sensing. The five companies that took part in the mission all provide innovative products aligned to this theme.

So what types of technology and companies are involved with connected places? Below is a brief synopsis of each company and what they do:

  • ELAD Network – ELAD Network is a blockchain-based estate agent. It has developed an online real estate platform that combines blockchain, smart contracts and artificial intelligence technology to revolutionise the way we buy, sell, exchange and invest in property all over the globe. ELAD Network’s main focus is fractional ownership of property using EQ (equity) coins. It is working in collaboration with several government organisations to achieve this mutual goal. Founder and CEO Dale Perkins-McCook said: “The trip to China has increased my network of contacts, from businesses in my field to people in the Chinese Government or UK Department of International Trade and Science & Innovation Network, the opportunity has made us understand the UK Government is forward-thinking and very supportive of new technology and innovation”.
  • Locomizer – An award-winning global leader in the application of artificial intelligence and spatial analytics, Locomizer helps classify multiple types of human behaviour. The team has invented a new way of connecting the emerging parallel digital world to physical real-world environments. Locomizer’s unrivalled location insights and analysis support better decision-making and targeting for operational and marketing executives across a whole range of industries. It provides a data platform that generates location-specific insights using mobile phone data. Locomizer is currently following up on a number of potentially lucrative leads in both telecoms and other sectors. Key next steps include setting up pilots. Locomizer CEO Alexei Poliakov said: “The mission stimulated interest from other parties by adding credibility to the companies involved”.
  • UBIPOS UK – A geospatial and sensing company specialising in the monitoring of infrastructure (eg bridge safety). With operations in the UK, EU and China as an internationally leading SME in the geospatial science and civil engineering field, UBIPOS UK Ltd has excelled as a well-recognised leader for continuous R&D and innovation of advanced and innovative ubiquitous solutions to tackle both engineering and environmental issues that are related to the provision of outdoor and indoor positioning navigation and tracking. All of these activities are backed with the unique capacities for the development of UBIPOS algorithms, devices, system platforms, validation and commercial exploitation.
  • ScienceScope – ScienceScope is an Internet of Things (IoT) company focussing on applications in education. The team is working across the world to develop the next generation education systems. Technology will have an unprecedented impact on the jobs and careers of the future. The easy accessibility of tech such as maker devices and AI will enable students to build solutions which will transform their lives and the lives of those around them.
  • WallaceLiu – Innovative architecture and design firm specialising in ‘adaptive re-use’. Established in London in 2013, they have been working in China on a series of transformative architectural projects in the city of Chongqing.

Connected Places Catapult’s role

Connected Places Catapult’s (CPC) mission is to help British businesses address the grand challenges of today to create connected places, fit for the future. The organisation does this not only by helping businesses get new products and services to market in the UK but also by strengthening business ties to important and growing overseas markets such as China.

CPC’s mission to China aimed to help participant companies identify customers and quality local business partners, and foster project opportunities with these prospective stakeholders. The four-day programme included engagements in Chongqing, Chengdu and Shanghai, such as:

  • Speaking at the UK-China Future Intelligence Collaboration Summit in Chongqing alongside senior government officials
  • A day of engagements in Chengdu delivered in partnership with Jinjiang District Government
  • Range of half-day engagements with business unions and companies in Shanghai (Like speed dating for businesses!)
  • Receiving specialist advice on how to set up and establish a foothold in the Chinese market and protect their intellectual property.

The SMEs have all received lots of enquiries about their respective businesses, both during and following the conclusion of the mission, and are in varying stages of contract negotiations. They have each expressed their satisfaction with developments since beginning this mission.

In summary, we can say that the mission is “Bear-ing” fruit…

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