What does your business do?
Komodo Digital is a digital studio based in Newcastle, with a reputation for impeccable design and development in web and mobile. As a business, we are passionate about innovating and expanding on our specialist knowledge.
Recently, we have developed an integrated enterprise drone platform called Overwatch, with the aim of helping operators to carry out cost-effective data capture missions.
With the software, users can capture real-time aerial data on the device or directly to secure hardware, enabling their organisation to swiftly fulfil key aspects of their operational activities.
Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with.
The platform uses end-to-end encryption of live video broadcast and data syncing, as well as the option for users to create and pre-load missions for the drone, or multiple drones, to complete safely and autonomously. Overwatch was created with the law enforcement, fire service, military, and search & rescue industries in mind, although it’s applications are widespread and varied.
For example, although existing helicopter units play a key role in supporting teams on the ground within law enforcement, they can be slow and expensive to deploy on a regular basis. Smaller drone units using Overwatch represent a safe, quick and cost-effective alternative for regular and routine field missions.
With a modular camera system, operators within the fire services can utilise advanced thermal imaging cameras to assist in the detection of fire hotspots, missing persons inside a building or even pre-empt structural risk in real-time.
Finally, for search & rescue situations, every second counts. For an operator in the field, it's important they’re able to obtain an overview of the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible. With Overwatch, rapid video/image capture and analysis is more easily accessible than ever.
How would you describe that innovation to your grandparents?
Using the latest drone technology, an aerial view often provides the clearest picture of a scene. Overwatch captures this view and translates it into data that can be quickly analysed and responded to. This ability can be a crucial time and life-saving tool for various sectors, from fire services right through to the military.
What are the best and worst parts of trying to be innovative in your business?
The best is feeling like we’re on the forefront of something new, something that can make a difference. For start-ups and entrepreneurs out there, there is a lot of support in the region, we’re very lucky in the North East to have such a nurturing environment.
However, with that comes a real need to stand out and also the desire to reach outside the North East bubble and work with businesses both nationally and globally. Sometimes that can be difficult, even though so much can be done digitally now.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
As the technology and premise behind Overwatch is so new, it can be difficult to get buy-in from more traditional organisations.
Too often, decision-leaders view new technology as a bit of a risk, or a luxury they can’t afford. Our difficulty lies in making people understand that the technology and software exists to make jobs easier, safer and more efficient.
Where do you get support and advice to help you run your business?
For products like Overwatch, we’re lucky that within our team we have curated a group of inspiring and talented individuals, each with their own specialisations and unique take on things. We foster an environment of experimentalism and encourage R&D time to keep everyone on their toes. In return, we get to run new ideas by each other and we get some great support and advice that way.
We also partner with some fantastic businesses and industry-specialised training providers. A great bit of advice, is to get opinions outside of your business to ensure well-rounded advice and support.
What does being chosen for the innovation showcase mean to you?
The Innovation Showcase at Venturefest allows us to increase awareness and exposure of a platform we truly believe will bring with it ground-breaking developments.
We hope that by showcasing Overwatch, we can inspire additional interest in drone technology and software. Currently, it’s seen as very new and ‘exciting’ and we want people to realise and take hold of the tangible opportunities it provides right now, not just in the future.
Where do you see your company in five years’ time?
Continuing to be an innovative, forward-thinking company. We want to always be a step ahead of the trends, not just reacting to them. In five years’ time, our hope for Overwatch is to see it being successfully implemented across the different sectors we have created it for. That it has been adopted by similarly innovative businesses looking to make a real difference.
What would you tell businesses who are hoping to be more innovative?
We’d say to stick with it and be brave. We often use the Steve Jobs quote that characterises “the crazy ones” and how they can change things. To do things differently and to bring about real change, is to think and act differently to what is already being done. It’s in finding those gaps and in pushing new ideas, that we can begin to innovate.