University expertise helps technology firm
A technology firm has transformed its business after working with Lancaster University on a new type of travel information system to be launched next year.
In Touch, a radio and communications systems company from Morecambe, now employs eight more people after it joined forces with Lancaster University and highways maintenance company Carillion.
The resulting £1.6m product, Our Travel, aims to reduce congestion by using social networking and information from transport workers to provide information about journeys. It will be available as an app on mobile devices early in 2012.
In Touch’s Managing Director John Walden said: “We knew that we needed academic input and that linking to a university would be absolutely critical. With help from Lancaster University we were able to take a long term strategic look at the data and communications industry and predict the likely advances and innovation path we needed to take.”
Our Travel was developed with the help of Professor Nigel Davies from the School of Computing and Communications at InfoLab21.
He said: "The University aims to help boost economic growth and we have done this with In Touch by exposing them to a wide range of new techniques and offering access to our world-class expertise in mobile computing. Our Travel is based on social networking but uses it to solve a particular problem of how to get from A to B without any problems. Turning ideas like this into a marketable product is growing in importance as the UK moves to a digital economy dependent on innovation."
Our Travel is part funded by the government backed Technology Strategy Board, and developed and trialled by Lancaster University in collaboration with In Touch Ltd and Carillion plc.
Mr Walden said: “The backing we have received – not just financially but also in terms of mentoring and helping us to make new business connections– has been invaluable. It has given us significant credibility and opened the door for us to enter new markets and reach customer groups that might not otherwise have been possible.”