2 September 2021 | Innovation | Collaboration | Environment | Our Work

View from the top: Engagement through innovation

The quality of the innovations being presented to the LCRIG Infrastructure Innovation Board is superb. Experiencing the enthusiasm these companies have for their new products is really encouraging for me, and I’m sure, for everyone else engaged in the delivery of highway services. Chaired by Ian Large, our panel once again was well represented and included Matthew Eglington and Mark Macgarty both from the DfT. The following companies shared their latest thinking:

 

A Spotlight on Connected Safety Net

Paul Richardson described how they were helping to digitise the health and safety function as it relates to highways maintenance activities. He demonstrated an App that they had developed which could track and report on a whole range of health and safety issues from compliance checks through to logging incidents and near misses. What makes this product different from others on the market is its ability to utilise speech recognition which the users find particularly beneficial. In addition, data capture is ‘live’ resulting in a more accurate record which uploads instantly to the cloud. Where wifi is unavailable the system will work off-line uploading the data when a connection is re-established. Most impressive though, apart from the very low cost point, was the machine learning embedded into the system that would help to predict future incidents.

Paul Richardson, Director of 2Innov8 commented:

“It was an incredible opportunity to receive feedback on what works and how we can be successful, aligning with the objective of Highways England to achieve zero accidents on the strategic road network by 2040.”

 

A spotlight on Connor Specialist Paving / Tac-Grid

Delivered by Sandra Smith and Andrew Connor. The specialist paving that Andrew and Sandra showed us was already being used by some local highway authorities, and extensively so by Coventry. The light weight Tac-Grid system can be installed very quickly and bonds with the existing surface without the need for costly excavation that accompanies traditional tactile flagstones which are heavy and cumbersome for the installer. The speed of installation can be 4 times quicker than flagstones with reduced carbon, no noise pollution and no dust. Their system uniquely includes beacon technology which can allow those with impaired sight to more easily navigate crossings or any other obstacle as the individual beacons can be individually programmed to relay any message.

Sandra Smith, Office and Procurement Manager at Connor Specialist Paving / Tac-Grid commented:

“We were delighted to be chosen to pitch our innovative Tac-Grid tactile system to the board of panellists in a Dragons Den type format. Andrew Connor, MD presented, explaining how the final prototype for Tac-Grid was achieved, the technology behind the system and how it helps the environment, pedestrians and local authorities compared to the more traditional methods. Thank you to LCRIG and the panellists for this opportunity, and thanks to Emily and Shelley for their help with some technical issues. It was most definitely a valuable and worthwhile experience for our company.”

 

A spotlight on IGP

Delivered by Camillus Dunne and David Wykes. Camillus explained how he had developed the idea to provide a fast acting solution as a temporary flood barrier. His design includes a series of collapsible steel cages that are lined and filled with water to repel the rising river levels etc – fighting fire with fire I guess. These cages are easy to transport, store and of course are reusable. It is simple to link the cages creating a contiguous barrier of any length. They have been trialled over in Florida but as yet have not been put into use in the UK. The panel could really see the benefit of this system and think it will be only a short time before we see them in use in the UK.

David Wykes, Business Development Manager at Innovative Global Products commented: 

“Innovative Global Products found the chance to pitch to the LCRIG Innovation Board with our new Rapid H2O flood barriers a great opportunity, the ongoing Pandemic has made it a challenge to meet and discuss products with customers, let alone discuss innovation and new product development so the opportunity to present to an expert panel and receive their feedback and advise was fantastic for us.”

 

Ian Large, Chair of the Infrastructure Innovation Board commented on the fourth round of pitches:

“Another round of extremely interesting and practical, functional ideas presented to the panel covering a wide and varied subject matter. It’s a privilege to see the passion and ideas put forward. The effort shows and comes across to the panel. These companies are clearly passionate, committed and are rightly proud of their innovation.

“From the outside looking in and taking a wider industry view we can see the worth and the possible wider applications for these innovations, offering suggestions and feedback and perhaps widening the view, is the very lifeblood of the process, innovation starts as an idea and then grows, LCRIG will support innovation, a good idea is to be nurtured and supported. I will say it again it’s heartening to see this in action.”