Insider News South West – Altran Praxis relocates office to the Southgate Centre in Bath
Wednesday 7th November 2012
New venue: UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre
Venturefest Bristol is back for a second year to showcase the latest new technology business ideas and innovations.
The venue moves from the Bristol & Bath Science Park to the Exhibition Centre at UWE, bringing together technology businesses at all stages, from pre-commercial to established organisations. Venturefest Bristol 2012 aims to offers opportunities to businesses regardless of their size, sector or location within the UK.
Last year’s event attracted more than 700 attendees and this year promises to be even bigger. Venturefest is aimed at anyone who has an early-stage technology business idea and is looking for support and advice to get that idea off the ground. Attendees can listen to other entrepreneurs’ stories, get IP and funding advice and to network with like-minded people.
The company also announced that it has completed the first deployments of its new G7 indoor small cell hotspot, featuring its ActiveCell technology, with two operators in Asia after successful field trials in extremely-challenging public environments.
The Asian G7 deployments have tested extremes of data and signalling traffic, including hotspots experiencing 10,000 users moving in and out every day, with each user typically running HSPA data for over 25% of the time. Indoor public spaces such as cafes, stores, malls and airports are ideal environments for small cells – as operators face rapidly increasing data usage and have abundant fixed broadband available for backhaul.
“We are seeing rapid growth in demand for our public access small cells solutions, particularly in the demanding Asian market,” said Will Franks, CTO and co-founder of Ubiquisys. “These deployment scenarios represent significant technical challenges, but our adaptive technology was designed to run in open-access mode from the outset. We’ve built a substantial base of public access small cell deployments over the past two years and this real-world experience led to the development of ActiveCell technology.”
The Ubiquisys G7 range of 3G/LTE/WiFi public access small cells feature new ActiveCell technology developed on the back of years of experience in deploying small cells in public environments. ActiveCell complements Ubiquisys’ globally proven ActiveRadio and ActiveSON systems for small cell self-management and self-organising clusters. It extends these capabilities to provide carrier grade symbiotic interworking with the macro network, in particular to manage interference effects, whilst retaining the advantages of simple installation and commodity IP backhaul. ActiveCellconsists of groups of software-encapsulated techniques:
* Automatic cell sizing: preserves the target quality of service in hotspots.
* Loaded cell adaptive radio resource management: continuous monitoring of the radio environment even while serving active users.
* Hotspot robustness: ensures the best possible quality of service during high spikes of transient users.
* Edge processing of smartphone signalling to significantly reduce the load on the core network.
The challenges facing public access small cells arise from the sheer volume and unpredictability of traffic, the particular demands of smartphones, and the need to adaptively complement neighbouring cells. Current small cell solutions fail to convince on one of two counts:
* Traditional solutions such as picocells require manual planning and lack adaptive behaviour in operation, which makes them both prohibitively expensive and unsuitable for dense hotspot deployment.
* Small cells created by simply renaming residential femtocell technology are designed for relatively benign closed-mode operation, and are not robust enough to cope with the traffic demands of a public access hotspot environment.
Small cells running Ubiquisys ActiveCell technology combine low operational costs with the ability to deal with the real-world requirements of mobile users in public spaces. They have been field proven to meet the demanding network performance metrics of the macro networks they complement.
Researchers at the University of Southampton and Roke Manor Researchhave used Xbox computer technology to help stroke patients recover manual agility at home. The team is now looking to use the medical technology, which measures hand joint movement, to develop games to help the patients recovery.
The Xbox Kinect works by monitoring whole limb movements allowing controller-free gaming; the gamer becomes the game. However, the University team has taken it a step further to create an algorithm that tracks and measures hand joint angles and the fine dexterity of individual finger movements. The ultimate aim is to capture the data while the patients follow exercises on a TV screen.
Roke Manor, based outside Bournemouth, has been designing complex electronic systems for decodes and is a key design house in the region.
The project aims to help people recovering from a stroke to do more regular and precise exercises so that they recover faster. The data collected will be fed back to the therapists caring for the patient so they can continually monitor progress, reducing the need for frequent hospital visits.
This new system has been developed to complement the home-based physiotherapy care already offered to patients in the UK, and follows a recent Stroke Association report which highlighted that stroke survivors are being denied the chance to make their best recovery because of a lack of post-hospital care.
“Recovering from a stroke can be a daunting and distressing time for patients and their families. Through our research we know that many people recovering from a stroke find their at-home exercises repetitive and often demotivating,” said Health Sciences academic Dr Cheryl Metcalf, at the University of Southampton who is supervising the project. “If they are already finding it difficult and frustrating to move their hands, they need something to encourage them to try harder. We wanted to create a more engaging way to help them recover faster. Using the Kinect we have been able to take a commercially available product and develop a highly novel tool that aims to be both cost effective and clinically applicable.”
The next objective is to create a series of computer games to make the rehabilitation process more interesting for the patient. The games will adapt to each individual’s ability and help motivate them to reach rehabilitation goals by feeding back higher scores if their joint movements improve.
“Strokes are the largest single cause of severe disability in the UK and it is estimated that every year half of the 100,000 stroke patients experience upper limb problems. This project could make a significant difference to the wellbeing of those affected,” said Simon Wickes, Healthcare Business Sector Manager at Roke. “As Roke has a strong R&D pedigree in mobile and e-health devices, we were able to provide the technical guidance and support to help the students realise this exciting and valuable project. Not only is it a cost effective out-of-the-box solution, by reducing patient recovery times it could also have a positive impact on the £2.5 billion which the care and rehabilitation of stroke patients cost the UK health and social care system each year.”
Phasor, based in Ledbury, Herefordshire, has developed a system that allows moving vehicles such as aircraft, ships or trucks to communicate with stationary satellites, or antennas that track moving satellites, in real time with no moving parts. It had originally developed the antenna system to provide broadband connections on trains, and is now targeting the multi-billion dollar satellite communications and radar market with a unique, ground breaking design that it says provides order of magnitude improvements over competing solutions.
Phasor Solutions was founded by Ledbury venture capital firm Anglo Scientific and circuit designer Richard Mayo in 2005 to develop flat, high gain antennas to fit on the roof of moving vehicles. Since then, Phasor has raised venture capital funding through a pool of investors and has built a strong team from the South West UK. Mayo was a member of the founding team of Microcosm Communications in Bristol that developed more cost effective optical components using CMOS and BiCMOS silicon and was sold to Conexant Systems. Chief Operating Officer Tim Esparon was VP of Manufacturing Operations at Microcosm spin out Phyworks in Bristol.
The Phasor chips include all the radio frequency functions (amplifiers, oscillators) and phase shifting circuits, as well as the logic and data modulation/demodulation required. This approach to phased array technology aims to reduce costs by over 10x and provide added value such as a flat design (less than 1 inch high), conformal to any surface, modular approach, and high reliability as there are no moving parts. One of Phasor’s initial targets is wireless internet access on trains, an estimated available market of over 500 million users worldwide. However airborne satcoms and other Comms-On-The-Move (COTM) applications are likely to be larger markets.
“Phasor is carving the way for the next decades of phased arrays by providing a paradigm shift in satellite communications. It took the industry over 40 years to develop phased arrays which are typically expensive to buy and to operate. But now, with the invaluable support of our partners, and in particular TowerJazz, we have been able to deliver semiconductors which provide an order of magnitude reduction in costs compared to current solutions,” said David Garrood, Managing Director at Phasor Solutions. “Phasor has been able to achieve this milestone with the support of the TowerJazz team and relying on the stability and performance of its SBC18HX process.”
The chips use a 155GHz silicon germanium (SiGe) technology from Californian chip foundry TowerJazz, rather than the more traditional and more expensive gallium arsenide technology. This allows more features to be added to the chips and makes the system dramatically cheaper
“Our advanced SiGe BiCMOS technology provides higher integration at lower cost than GaAs solutions, allowing cost-effective satellite communications on the move to be realized,” said Dr. Marco Racanelli, Senior Vice President and General Manager for the RF & High Performance Analog and Aerospace & Defense Business Groups at TowerJazz. “Together, we have begun volume manufacturing to enable a high gain antenna, which consists of 20,000 chips. In addition, we continue to invest in advanced SiGe and recently announced our latest process, SBC18H3, which supports devices with speeds of 270GHz and offers a path for further performance, power, and noise improvement in next-generation products.”
Finnish open source software startup ForgeRock is opening its UK headquarters in Bristol next week for the development of software around identity management.
The company recently raised $7 million in its first round of funding from global venture capital firm Accel Partners which also backed the developer of the Angry Birds app. “We were looking for investors with a track record of backing companies which subsequently come to define their category.” said Lasse Andresen, ForgeRock Founder and CEO. “In Accel, we believe we have found the right partner to help ForgeRock define the Identity technology category globally. We will use the funds to build further on the market traction and dramatic global growth we have demonstrated over the past 2 years”.
ForgeRock offers a unique, open platform approach to Identity software with its I³ Open Platform. This provides a unified approach for identity management from Authentication, Access Management, and User Entitlements, to Identity lifecycle management and provisioning. The open source approach can be use on in-house, private or public cloud infrastructure.
“We think identity management is a crucial issue for most businesses as they struggle to deliver appropriate information and application support to employees, partners, and customers via a combination of datacentres, the cloud, PCs, and mobile devices. Customers and channel partners repeatedly referred to the exceptional breadth, scalability and reliability of ForgeRock’s products as well as the expertise and responsiveness of the management team. We believe ForgeRock is well positioned to deliver the easiest to deploy and highest performance identity management software suite in the market and is unique in being able to address the needs of the largest global businesses, as well as small to mid-size companies,” said Bruce Golden, Partner, at Accel Partners.
Televisions are increasingly becoming ‘smart’ and connecting to the Internet, but protecting your TV against threats such as malware and viruses has been lacking. Ocean Blue software, a Bristol-based TV software developer that works with TV and set top box makers around the world has developed the first anti-virus protection for your TV using cloud technology.
It has partnered with IT security leader Sophos to develop a cloud-based antivirus solution that can be shipped either as part of the Ocean Blue middleware or as a stand-alone client for solutions with their own middleware.
According to Futuresource Consulting, by 2015 over 80 percent of new televisions and set-top boxes will be Internet-ready. As many of these products will be based on either Linux or Android, they will be capable of downloading and running remote applications. While this connectivity brings many new features, it also exposes these devices to potential viruses and other malware, making antivirus protection essential.
The new Ocean Blue software was a joint effort based on the combined forces of SophosLabs advanced antivirus expertise and the category-leading Ocean Blue Software Television and Set top Box middleware. The end result protects against the maximum number of threats, with the lowest demand on system resources.
“Almost all new connected TV products are at risk from malware” says Ken Helps, founder and CEO of Ocean Blue Software. “This partnership with Sophos will allow us to provide manufacturers with middleware already prepared to defend their products against attack.”
“Most consumers don’t realize that Smart TVs are just as vulnerable to threats as other devices,” said Michael Rogers, Vice president, global alliances and OEM at Sophos. “This partnership with Ocean Blue Software provides tremendous opportunity to allow consumers to take advantage of the features Smart TVs offer, while ensuring their home networks remain secure.”
Doctors at the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) are the first in the South West to offer patients with high blood pressure the opportunity to control their condition with a new type of treatment.
The research study is being undertaken at the Bristol Heart Institute and hopes to add to the body of research around a treatment called renal denervation. The team comprises doctors and researchers from the Bristol Heart Institute, Dr Angus Nightingale and Dr Andreas Baumbach; the University of Bristol, ProfessorJulian Paton and the Richard Bright Renal Unit, Professor Steven Harper.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition where the force that blood is exerting on the walls of the arteries of the body is higher than desirable. When left untreated this can significantly increase the patient’s risk of stroke, heart failure and chronic kidney disease.
High blood pressure afflicts one billion people worldwide and its prevalence increases with age, obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Around 10- 20 per cent of patients with the condition are unable to reach their target blood pressure even though they have been prescribed drug treatments. For these patients renal denervation may help.
The procedure involves severing the nerves that connect the kidneys to the brain and carry signals to control blood pressure. A wire is passed into the patient’s blood vessels feeding the kidney and the tip of the wire is heated to burn the nerves running along the outside of the vessel. The tiny burns are done in a spiral pattern around the blood vessels until the connections are severed.
Dr Andreas Baumbach, consultant cardiologist at the BHI and Tutor in Cardiac, Anaesthetic and Radiological Sciences in the School of Clinical Sciences, said: “This is a fascinating new way of dealing with hypertension. Research results published in The Lancet show that patients who had the procedure saw their blood pressure drop by around 20 per cent and blood pressure seems to fall continuously even after two years. We are very keen to further develop this intervention and find out, in which patients it works best and how to predict a successful treatment.”
Dr Angus Nightingale, consultant cardiologist at the BHI, said: “Recent results presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting, suggest that this treatment may be an effective way of reducing blood pressure in a group of people that we have found hard to treat in the past.
“The research we are doing brings together doctors from across Bristol including GPs and specialists. This is a great example of doctors from the Bristol Heart Institute and scientists from Bristol University are making available cutting edge technology to people in the South West.”
The University of Bristol is to set up a new Industrial Doctorate Centre to provide the composites manufacturing industry with elite research engineers of the future.
The £3.8m IDC will be based at the National Composites Centre, a research centre led by the University of Bristol and industry to provide the composites manufacturing industry with engineers equipped with the necessary advanced technical and leadership skills required for effective adoption of new knowledge and technologies in composites manufacture.
The IDC is integral to the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites EPSRC Centre and will support over 30 EngD programmes, each over four years, where selected research engineers will undertake specialist training and conduct an industrially focused research project, spending 75 per cent of their time at a company. The IDC will have access to a complete range of equipment and techniques required for composites manufacturing research. It is open to all UK industry and academia and will eventually offer wide access to its bespoke taught modules.
Ivana Partridge, Director of the IDC, explained that the project demonstrates an urgent and growing need in the UK polymer composites manufacturing sector for greater numbers of technically qualified individuals. She said: “The new IDC fills an existing gap in the provision of industrially focused higher level education in the UK.”The research engineers are expected to encourage joint industry and academia collaboration to a much greater extent than is usual in classical PhD training.”
Professor Michael Wisnom, Director of the University’s Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science ACCIS, said “The new IDC based at the NCC and in industry will focus on applied research at technology readiness level 3-5, and will be highly complementary to the Bristol ACCIS Doctoral Training Centre, where PhD students work on more fundamental research topics at TRL 1-3.”
The IDC is now looking for industrial projects and supervisors to run innovative composites manufacturing projects, providing a commitment of cash support for research engineer training and stipend top-up. Eligible research engineers with an engineering/science background and an interest in industrially focused composites manufacturing research should apply through email@example.com, for a position with a tax-free stipend of £20k pa.