Evidential provides a wide range of digital and virtual reality (VR) services and solutions for the criminal justice, civil and commercial sectors. Based at Manchester’s hi-tech Sharp Project, the business had created a fictional crime scene set in a computer generated house which showcases the potential benefits of using digital technology to solve crime.
However, it soon became apparent that their training tool had much wider potential applications and could also be used to help train police forces to handle large-scale emergencies, saving money and better equipping officers to deal with major incidents.
Unleash your innovation
Innovation is not just about invention, inventors and products – it is the successful exploitation of new ideas. ‘New’ can mean new to a company, organisation, industry or sector, and can relate to services, processes and business models.
As well as finding funding to take their Virtual Training Simulation Platform project to the next level, the business needed wider support developing an overall business model and defining a business plan. Developing a pipeline of innovative product ideas and finding the right partners to work with and drive their ideas forward was also something that the team at Evidential wanted to prioritise.
One of the Hub’s specialist innovation advisors, Susan Ingham, began working closely with Evidential MD Sean Murphy to develop his ideas for using digital technology to support police training and also improve the efficiency of the legal system in the court room.
She also briefed the Hub’s four university business development managers about the project, and as a result, Evidential began working with Professor Terence Fernando, VR expert at Think Lab, part of the University of Salford. As part of the collaboration, they successfully bid for a £1m project grant funding from Innovate UK to develop the project.
The partnership gave Evidential access to the digital and VR knowledge and expertise that it lacked, enabling Sean to refine the platform further and go forward to full commercialisation. He has also been able to recruit a strong team of developers, programmers and marketing professionals.
“Securing the funding was absolutely crucial to the project,” explains Sean, “and means that we are now on a much faster route to market.
“Susan has also supported our strategic development and marketing, helping to assess and prioritise our other products and evaluate our export opportunities.”
Sean has also been introduced to the Hub’s access to finance specialists, who in turn introduced him to a number of high net worth Chinese investors in Shanghai and Beijing through the Chinese Investment Scheme, which is now set to see a number of other projects take off.
Innovation needs to be a priority for your business. Innovative SMEs have stronger turnover performance compared to non-innovative firms.