Based in central Norwich, Pathfindr creates Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) products and services for customers across the globe. The company specialises in asset intelligence, by tracking the real-time location of assets, their environmental conditions and providing insight into how they are being used.
Customers who benefit from Pathfindr’s turnkey solutions of both hardware and software include Rolls-Royce, GKN Aerospace and Singapore Airlines, with other established international companies soon to be announced.
The company specialises in indoor and outdoor location tracking, which is where it all began in 2013. Ben Sturgess (CTO) and Matt Isherwood (Managing Director), worked at Norwich creative marketing company Bigdog Agency, heading up the digital team. They initiated a Digital Labs programme, encouraging colleagues to investigate new technologies and attempt to solve real-world challenges by prototyping innovative ideas.
One such project was to create a new way of indoor way-finding with a low-cost, accurate indoor navigation mobile app. The project attracted a lot of interest and the BBC made contact. Before they knew it, Ben was being featured on BBC Horizon documentary, Secret Life of the Cat, tracking the location and behaviours of the five feline stars!
One viewer happened to work at Rolls-Royce and got in touch to see if the technology could be used in a manufacturing environment to track the location of assets. After an intense period of requirements gathering and prototyping, the journey from way-finding to real-time location services – via cat-tracking – was complete.
In the years that have followed, an ambitious research and development programme has seen expansion in Pathfindr’s range of IIoT products and services. Everything is rooted in providing efficiency and insight, and asset location
Whilst Bluetooth and GPS feature predominantly in Pathfindr’s current indoor and outdoor tracking systems, the company is adamant that being technology-agnostic is vital in order to provide the best solution to customers at any given point in time. Ben Sturgess comments, “Modern technologies such as Ultra Wide Band need to be continually monitored and assessed, and brought into the product suite once they become commercially and operationally feasible”.
Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) have been well established in the industry for decades. However, the arrival of IIoT has created huge potential for additional insight and effectiveness of these systems.
The future will see exponential growth in data available to manufacturers, and the challenge will be how to best to use it to improve productivity and efficiency. Simply by minimising time-to-find and reducing motion and waiting for waste, IIoT can bring 5% efficiency improvements and have a real benefit to the bottom line of any business.
The full Pathfindr story will be published in the next edition of the Evolution E-Magazine in Q2 of 2019.