John Hildreth from the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence looks at the fast-growing satellite-driven geo services sector, considers why it’s attracting so much investment from some major brands, and how these services are providing real opportunities for UK businesses.
In a recent briefing article produced by Beauhurst, I was surprised to see that in first six months of 2015 “more companies in the Geo Services space secured investment than in both 2012 and 2013 combined. This came after 2014 enjoyed an uptick, and registered the highest number of deals into the space on record.”
The briefing also stated that “Geo Services will be a particularly interesting space for investors to watch, especially considering its versatility. Companies incorporating this technology could enjoy easy scalability as it becomes more and more integral to the running of Smart Cities.”
In today’s global economy, it’s quite easy to see how geo services and connected devices are driving forward significant market opportunities for innovative SMEs and large companies, and making this an exciting place for Venture Capital (VCs) and Private Equity (PE) firms to invest.
A great illustration of the opportunities provided by geo services includes the German automotive manufacturing consortium of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz (Daimler) acquiring Nokia’s Here mapping service for £2bn in August 2015. Some commentators within the sector see this signalling a greater push towards connected and driverless vehicle technology.
Closer to home, in the North of England, County Durham-based Realsafe Technologies received an £80,000 investment to continue development of its innovative REALRIDER® platform and mobile phone app. They detect if a motorcycle rider has had an accident, and then notify emergency control rooms, which can send an alert to the ambulance services. This investment is being used to integrate the application into the BT telematics system to ensure alerts are treated as any other 999 emergency call following the same system and protocols.
At the Catapult’s North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, geo services are of great interest because of the significant scalable market opportunity afforded to data-savvy innovators and entrepreneurs such as Realsafe Technologies who can spot a gap in the marketplace.
At the upcoming ‘Collaborate to Innovate Space Sector Conference and Tradeshow’, geo services will be a cross-cutting theme, featuring presentations from Realsafe Technologies, Geo Spatial Insight, SatCom Global and the Satellite Applications Catapult, who will consider how satellite-driven Geo Services are providing real opportunities for UK businesses. For further information or to register for this event in Newcastle upon Tyne on 26 November, please visit www.satelliteapplicationsnortheast.co.uk.