Alex Carter’s Hartlepool firm has created technology which manages lighting control systems, saving energy and therefore money. He explains why he’s going to be at Venturefest Tees Valley’s Innovation Showcase.
Describe your business in no more than 100 words
Durable Technologies designs lighting control systems for use in large commercial buildings, from offices and colleges to hospitals, to help them save energy.
We have successfully exploited Bluetooth technology, and are the first business in our sector to have products on the market.
Our route to market is with multinational companies allowing them access to our Intellectual Property in return for our manufacturing facility to exclusively supply.
We see the innovation showcase as an opportunity to raise our profile in the region, and those of our customers
Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with.
The technology we have developed has two unique positions in the market.
1. Energy saving: by using Apps on phones/tablet we have created products that enable building users to configure and maintain their installations without the need of specialist sub-contractors, allowing the building occupier to maximise energy savings
2. Self sufficiency: when installed in a building for the first time the electrical contractor would normally engage the services of a Commissioning Engineer, but our apps mean that’s not needed.
How would you describe that innovation to your grandparents?
We make sure the lights are always switched off when no-one is there, and if there is enough natural light – or and anything in between - we automatically dim the lights to maximise the energy saving. No more nagging the kids!
What are the best and worst parts of trying to be innovative in your business?
The best part is starting to develop an idea and finding no one else has done it, followed by getting it into production.
The worst part is the testing that’s needed, to ensure every bug has been eliminated in the software.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Our biggest challenge is purchasing parts in volume to support the orders – both having the funds available to purchase, and in finding the right volume of the parts themselves.
Where do you see your company in five years’ time?
We expect to grow into a major supplier to the lighting industry, and become a major manufacturer. Part of the reason we’ve entered the innovation showcase is to raise our profile, and to have our technology exposed to other markets.
What would you tell businesses who are hoping to be more innovative?
We would tell them to concentrate on the problem to find the solution.
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