Adastral Park: OXEMS becomes second firm to graduate from Innovation Martlesham ICT incubator

A SECOND company has graduated from the ICT “business incubator” run by Innovation Martlesham, the high-tech cluster organisation for companies based at BT’s Adastral Park complex at Martlesham Heath.

Oxford Electromagnetic Solutions Ltd (OXEMS), a technology spin-out from the University of Oxford, has launched a revolutionary underground asset management system to help utilities locate, identify and manage their buried assets including modern plastic installations which are notoriously difficult to find once buried.

Its graduation, signalling that it is on its way to commercialising the system, means it has moved out of the incubator and become a tenant within the Ross Building, Innovation Martlesham’s base at Adastral Park.

The OXEMS system consists of three elements – tags attached to key points on the assets, a detector deploying advanced radio frequency technology integrated with the latest GPS and 3G communications capabilities, and an intelligent database designed to link seamlessly with utilities’ existing systems.

All three elements are designed as an integrated system with the “intelligence” being maintained on the surface and not buried with the assets. The full system uniquely links data held on databases to the OXEMS tags in the ground using patented technology which will enable utilities to make major operating cost reductions while minimising road works and community impact.

OXEMS has been working in partnership with Severn Trent Water, one of the three big UK water utilities, leading to the first trial of the OXEMS System.

“Potentially, this product could have an impact as significant as bar codes,” said John Divit, leakage best practice advisor at Severn Trent Water.

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“It could possibly allow utilities to locate and identify assets in a fraction of the time currently taken, and with a degree of accuracy which is not currently possible. This could speed up field operations significantly, may reduce the time customers are without a water supply, increase productivity, and reduce operating costs.”

OXEMS are now finalising plans for a second trial with another leading water company to take place in north London in March.

“Being a part of the Innovation Martlesham Incubator has helped OXEMS in many ways,” said Kevin Gooding, chief executive of OXEMS.

“The networking opportunities in particular have helped us identify skilled technical designers to work with and local companies who are now manufacturing different elements of the OXEMS System.

“Being located at Adastral Park, the home of BTs renowned R&D facility has also allowed us to undertake field testing with BT during the OXEMS solutions development. This is in addition to the help we have had from the IM Incubator Review Panel and the mentors”.

David Ralph, chairman of Innovation Martlesham, said: “We are pleased that the Incubator has helped support OXEMS, and that they are on their way to commercial success.

“Watch this space, because in the coming months we expect to announce more IM Incubator news.”