Government ministers have been visiting SouthWest robotics and wearable technology companies over the last few days.
Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable has some good things to say about tech in the South West on a visit to OC Robotics and the Bristol & Bath Science Park: Vince Cable to visit South West businesses today – National Composites Centre, OC Robotics, and Messier-Bugatti-Dowty.
Bristol is also perfectly placed to take advantage of the huge potential of wearable technology in the healthcare industry Cities and Universities Minister Greg Clark, who was in the city as part of the President of Singapore’s State visit to the UK. The minister said there were “huge applications” for wearable technology in healthcare around the world. http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Bristol-pioneer-wearable-technology-healthcare/story-23715125-detail/story.html#ixzz3HdS7nEVv
Cable was in the South West to open a £28m extension to the National Composite Centre on the Science Park. The project has seen the NCC double in size, allowing much greater capacity to develop composite technology for the aerospace, automotive, renewable energy and rail sectors.
As well as providing increased capacity and a dedicated high-speed composite manufacturing technology facility, there will be a new world-class training centre for higher level and vocational skills development. This will help train the next generation of engineers in composites manufacturing and technologies and bring together leading businesses, colleges and universities.
“The NCC is enabling multiple collaborations between industry and higher education partners, both nationally and internationally. Commercialisation of emerging technologies is a significant area of focus for our economy and the activities that take place here are an exemplar of that in action: world-class research combined with the entrepreneurial spirit of investigation and practical application,” said Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bristol, one of the NCC partners.
Around 50 new jobs will be created, with a further 30 to 50 jobs within member organisations.
Peter Chivers, NCC Chief Executive, said: “The NCC is building the future for UK composites. We will work with companies to accelerate innovation and develop people to deliver commercially viable solutions. Thanks to the BIS capital investment, and HVM Catapult Core funding, we have now installed the world’s largest openly accessible high rate manufacturing press for composites manufacturing. This is aimed at supporting sectors such as automotive, where developing high-rate, low-cost manufacture of composite components is critical. This press is only in its first week of factory trials, yet it is already producing parts within just six minutes.”
After only three years, the NCC has nearly 40 members and has worked with more than 100 companies.
Japanese printer company Konica Minolta has set up a €10m fund to help startups in Europe over the next two to three years.
The fund is managed by the European Business Innovation Centre (BIC), based in London, set up this year. Any startup can apply to the fund, which is focussing on the digital workplace, healthcare business, information automation and business technologies.
“Our vision is to develop innovative products, which will revolutionise the market. That is why we are now going through an amazing and radical change. A company, whose roots are printers, is now involving the community and start-ups in order to create innovations on a common basis. This is a radical change – from exclusively proprietary products to collaborative co-innovation,” said Dr. Dennis Curry who heads up the European BIC.
“Start-ups profit enormously from collaboration with established companies like Konica Minolta”, said Curry. “We own resources, networks and management know-how. Being a partner with us means always playing a part in designing the future and obtaining privileged access to Konica Minolta’s industry-leading know-how. Our partners get access to our leading R&D, including top-tier scientists and engineers worldwide.” Start-ups in particular can speed up the time to market for their new products by leveraging our supply chain and sales channels. They accelerate their return on investment and company growth.“Konica Minolta wants to draw in Europe’s top talent from start-ups. To create this win-win situation, we need platforms upon which companies and start-ups can meet,” he said.
The first strategic partner of Konica Minolta is the Austrian augmented reality start-up Wikitude. Today, Konica Minolta announced its initial intention to partner and investment in the company. “When a multinational company like Konica Minolta engages in a partnership dedicated to augmented reality, the possibilities are enormous. While we at Wikitude will provide our award-winning technology, expertise and vision, it will be Konica Minolta’s market presence and business network to mark the next milestone on our mission to augment the enterprise world”, Martin Herdina, CEO of Wikitude says.
Konica Minolta is also launching a “Leading Edge Partner Community”, a pan-European tool to build up new partnerships and develop innovations together with these partners. The community is a place to collaborate online, i.e. in special Leading Edge Networking Sessions (LENS), as well as during client events and start-up events. It is a place to achieve knowledge transfer and advance the commercialisation of ideas and prototypes.Anyone with an idea can join the community and apply for funding. Promising development ideas will pass through a formal investment process consisting of five review points, which Konica Minolta will use to filter the most viable partners to take a business idea right through to commercialisation. The emphasis is on co-innovation, on working with others in related fields to accelerate a proof of concept or vision.
It has set up a specific platform especially for startups at https://pioneers.konicaminoltabic.spigit.com. If start-ups have an idea, a concept or product connected to the related fields, they can join the platform and submit their ideas. The best ideas will win the opportunity to shape the future digital workplace in the Konica Minolta labs and receive funding.
The Meteorological Office in Exeter is to spend £97m on a new supercomputer system that will be the biggest in Europe when it is up and running. This will also open up opportunities for open data operations alongside the Met Office campus.
The system will be based around the newly announced Cray XC40 and other next generation Cray XC systems with next generation Intel Xeon processors providing performance of 16,000 teraflops (16PFlops) from 480,000 cores. This will provide 13 times the performance of the current IBM supercomputer but puts it in the middle of the global performance range by the time it is full operational in 2017 (see chart from the top 500 supercomputers). This is Cray’s largest contract outside the US and follows the establishment of Cray’s R&D Centre in Bristol.
“This will make a real meaningful difference to the SW,” said Dave Underwood, Deputy Director of High Perf Computing at the Met Office, speaking to SW Innovation News. “We will have 17Petabytes of storage – this is high tech and we are doing it in the SouthWest.”
He sees the opportunity for companies to cluster around the supercomputer on the Exeter Science Park to take the data outputs from over 10 million weather observations a day that create an atmospheric model for 3,000 tailored forecasts and briefings each day. It is also one of only two centres in the world that provide forecasts of weather above 25,000 ft. Companies will have to be co-located due to the bandwidth requirements.
Storage bandwidth is also vitally important, and the next-generation Cray Sonexion storage solution will be delivered in phases and will include more than 20 petabytes of storage capacity, running at speeds of more than 1.5 terabytes per-second of bandwidth. Cray’s Sonexion storage system combines Cray’s Lustre expertise tightly integrated in a unique design that allows for maximum scalability. Management and operations are simplified through an appliance design with all storage components including software, storage and infrastructure.
Today’s supercomputer uses 5.5MW of energy, which will rise to 12MW when the new system is fully up and running in 2017 as it runs at 99.9% utilisation, says Underwood.
“We are very excited about this investment in UK science,” said Met Office Chief Executive Rob Varley. “It will lead to a step change in weather forecasting and climate prediction, and give us the capability to strengthen our collaborations with partners in the South West, UK and around the world. The new Cray supercomputers, together with improved observations, science and modeling, will deliver better forecasts and advice to support UK business, the public and government. It will help make the UK more resilient to high impact weather and other environmental risks.”
“The award is symbolic for Cray on a number of fronts — it demonstrates that our systems continue to be the supercomputers of choice for production weather centers across the globe, that our close relationship with Intel is providing customers with enhanced capabilities today and into the future and it reinforces the role that Cray plays in impacting society on a daily basis in a wide range of areas,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. “The Met Office is both a pioneer and leader in weather and climate services, and we are excited that Cray supercomputers and storage solutions will assist them in achieving their important and complex mission of informing citizens and industry how the weather and climate will affect them now and in the future.”
The XC40 supercomputers include Cray’s Aries system interconnect; a network topology called Dragonfly that frees applications from locality constraints; DataWarp applications I/O accelerator technology; innovative cooling systems to lower customers’ total cost of ownership; the next-generation of the scalable, high performance Cray Linux Environment supporting a wide range of applications; Cray’s HPC optimized programming environment for improved performance and programmability, and the ability to handle a wide variety of processor types in a tightly-integrated system infrastructure.
The most powerful supercomputer in Europe at the moment is at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) and is based on Cray’s XC30 system providing 7.8PFlops.
RS Components in Oxford has launched an Internet of Things (IoT) themed design competition in association with LPRS (Low Power Radio Solutions) to celebrate 25 years of working together.
The entries must be concept based around an application for the IoT which uses LPRS’ eRIC transceiver modules and a wireless gateway. The application could solve an existing problem or it could be a completely new invention.
The competition, hosted within the RS Components DesignShare competitions page, starts today with closing date for entries being 19th December. The DesignSpark community will be invited to vote, share and support ideas throughout the competition. The top 20 ideas, voted for by the community, will receive a limited edition eRIC development kit.
The top five entrants, selected by a panel of judges, will then be invited to take part in a Google Hangout in January 2015 to explain their ideas in more detail. This will be available for all customers to watch, which will be a first for DesignSpark. The final winner will be chosen and notified by the end of January with their concept developed and created into a working product as the prize.
“We recently launched the IoT area within DesignSpark, which is a repository of all information and technical articles on the subject, and this competition comes as an excellent opportunity to not only highlight the latest work of engineers designing IoT-enabled applications but also our longstanding relationship with LPRS as a valuable supplier,” said Pete Wood, DesignSpark Community Manager at RS Components.
“Partnering with RS is an ideal way to launch this unique challenge to the DesignSpark community which has been at the forefront of providing up to date information on the latest industry trends,” said Barry Gillibrand, Managing Director of LPRS. “This couldn’t come at a better time as this year we celebrate 25 years of our relationship and look forward to further collaborations in the future.”
All entries for this competition must be in English language and for further details on how to enter with a list of full terms and conditions please visit http://www.rs-online.com/designspark/designshare/eng/ideas/ or from the LPRS Website.