Science Vale based company Navtech Radar, is a designer and manufacturer of commercial, deployable radar solutions. A multi-award winning company, they have won the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) 2017 Innovation Awards and were highly commended for the Best Use of Technology in the Thames Valley Business Magazine Awards.
Their founder and Managing Director, Philip Avery, shares some of their projects and challenges, alongside his advice for start-ups.
Q: What is the most exciting project your company is currently working on?
A: We are working with the Austrian Road Authority to develop a section of the road for testing autonomous vehicle operation in live traffic flow. The Navtech radar will be used as a reference system to accurately locate the position, movement and behaviours of all vehicles, to test and verify the correct operation of autonomous vehicles.
Q: What is the biggest challenge that you face as a business?
A: Navtech Radar develops leading edge technology, generally for conservative, risk-adverse industries, particularly where safety is concerned. Therefore, educating and assuring companies that our new technology is a viable solution to their problems is challenging and requires a concerted effort during the initial engagement and sales process.
Q: What advice would you give to young businesses starting up in your sector?
A: Ensure you fully understand your customer and their requirements. Even with the greatest technology, you need to make it easy for the customer to adopt and understand – be prepared for a long sales cycle.
Q: What was the most important factor in choosing your current business location in Science Vale UK?
A: It is a great location to attract highly skilled employees. We have access to a large workforce – with easy links to Swindon, Reading, Newbury, Oxford, even as far as London and Birmingham.
Q: What is the best thing about working and living in Science Vale?
A: Located in a rural area but with great links to the town/city, it is a unique working environment. Generally, commuting is not a problem because we are in the countryside, rather than the city centre, plus there are many like-minded businesses nearby.
Q: What future technology are you most excited about?
A: I’m looking forward to the introduction of autonomous vehicles for use by the public as I believe this will have a positive effect on people’s lifestyles in the urban environment – cities will become more accessible and air pollution will be dramatically reduced.
Q: What inspires you about the sector you are in?
A: In the technology sector, I’m inspired by the knowledge base within the UK and the ability for us to be a world leader in technology and innovation.
Q: What is your favourite business or science book?
A: “The innovator’s dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen.