Creative Clyde Case Study: Connect-In Ltd.
July 22, 2015
As part of the Creative Clyde project, Scottish Enterprise partnered with Innovate UK who invested £640,000 in 11 Creative Industries companies through the Creative Clyde launchpad competition.
Connect-In were one of the successful companies benefiting from significant investment from Innovate UK, and ongoing support from Scottish Enterprise. The competition has allowed them to develop and commercialise their flagship product, Lupo, and grow their business as a result.
A modern solution to an everyday problem
Losing, or misplacing as the term is more favourably known, keys, bags, laptops or any of the valuable items most people need to get by in today’s always-on world, is the dearth of many. Hundreds of precious man hours are lost each year hunting for things – whether they are hiding somewhere in one’s home, car or office, have been lost in transit by airlines, or in the worst case, stolen.
Enter LUPO, a small Bluetooth device that can be attached to any item to allow it to be tracked and located from a mobile phone or tablet.
LUPO is a market leader in the emerging Smart-tag category thanks to a couple of disruptive USPs – its extended battery life of over a year and its two-way communication platform. LUPO’s flexibility enables a whole array of applications – from domestic to industrial uses in asset tracking and proximity-based beacon apps.
Made in Scotland
LUPO was developed by Glasgow-based Bluetooth firmware specialist and Creative Clyde member Connect-In, established in 2011 with a mission to use mobile technologies to solve everyday problems.
Raj Sark, Connect-In’s chief executive, explained how the company has been supported to date: “We have been fortunate in receiving support from a number of organisations, both financial and business related. We succeeded in the Innovate UK Digital and Creative Launchpad competition in 2013 and received grant funding to develop the energy efficient Bluetooth Smart™ platform firmware, on which LUPO is based. Since then we have also benefited from the invaluable support of Matt Brown and Ian Morgan from Innovate UK, who have helped us move from the research and development phase into commercialisation and advised us on routes to market.
“Alongside backing from Innovate UK, Scottish Enterprise has given us innovation support and advised on design and product development.
“In 2014 we hosted a successful crowd-funding drive on Kickstarter to begin manufacturing LUPO for commercial sale through our own website and on Amazon. Over 1,600 units have been shipped to campaign backers – with significant interest from consumers and investors in the US.”
LUPO is now in its second generation, much sleeker and user friendly and comes at a very affordable price (£20 per unit and bundle offers available). Hardly bigger than a £2 coin, it is the slimmest tracker in its class. And, with two-way calling function, users can call their smartphone from a registered LUPO – in case that’s the devise which has been lost.
LUPO has a vast potential of applications beyond asset tracking. It becomes a Bluetooth remote controller and the LUPO app has a remote camera function, allowing users use to take pictures and share with a #mylupo tag on social media.
It can also lock a Windows 8.1 PC remotely and log a user back on upon their return. It is also the only gadget in its class to provide a fully developed and open Software Developer Kit (SDK) allowing makers to build contextual hardware apps using LUPO’s motion sensor and programmable button to turn it into a game controller and much more.
Attracting the Big Boys
No longer a start-up, Connect-In has grown into one of Scotland’s many promising creative industries companies. Backed by commercial investors, the company is now scaling up production of LUPO and has just fulfilled a pilot order from one of the UK’s biggest insurance firms.
Raj added: “While retail and consumer sales are important to us we see our future in commercial applications, bulk sales and longer-term customer relationships. LUPO is attractive to insurers who can use the devices to mitigate risk for underwriting purposes and to gather data, which will in turn inform decisions.
“With the rising importance of the Internet of Things, LUPO has an exciting future.”
At the heart of LUPO is Connect-In’s power efficient platform and patented technology which the company intends to license to partners in other market verticals. Connect-In offers its’ developed SDK to augment the chrysalis of new ideas, reducing time to market and enable innovations around connected hardware while also offering a custom firmware or app development service to enterprise customers.
There is no doubt exciting things are to come as awareness of LUPO spreads in the UK and internationally.