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BUSINESS WEST – CONNECTING BUSINESSES INNOVATION News and information on innovation in the South West


Rainwater management firm is making a splash


A smart rainwater management company has secured two grants of €60,000 and £10,000 and seen a rise in turnover thanks to support from the innovate2succeed (i2s) programme. Over-the-Air (OTA) Analytics provides smart


rainwater management solutions that extend beyond the current passive management models to ones that provide real-time control. Before OTA Analytics developed its systems there was a lack of control systems that could integrate real-time rainfall data with catchment based monitoring and water management. The company’s Internet of Things (IoT) based


smart systems allow water companies, councils and other users to capture, reuse and control rainwater in order to prevent flooding and mitigate drought. With a growing population


‘Water


increasing demand, and less predictable rainfall patterns, water conservation is becoming increasingly important. In 2017, over a metre of rain fell across the UK and yet the country still has less drinking water (1,334 cubic metres per person per year) than France (3,065 m3), Italy (2,785 m3) and Spain (2,775 m3). Rainwater harvesting and control is crucial in allowing the UK to provide the 150 litres of water an average person currently uses every day. Peter Melville-Shreeve, managing director of


conservation is becoming


increasingly important’


Innovative rainwater management systems


the Exeter-based company, spotted a gap in the market during his doctorate at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Water Systems. Working in collaboration with Severn Trent Water, he identified that not enough was being done to manage rainwater appropriately, particularly


The technology allows firms to capture and control rain water


within our cities. OTA developed a test-bed of IOT based products that will help the water industry understand real time data enabling them to make informed choices. The company’s vision was propelled thanks to investment from SDS, a multi-award winning water infrastructure


systems company based in Somerset. SDS’s management team could see the significance and value of the data that OTA can harness and has worked closely with Peter to support the systems OTA now deploys. Before taking the product to market, OTA


sought support with its market development strategy, funding and Intellectual Property. Innovate2succeed advisers guided OTA through a review of its current innovation and growth strategy. This identified a need for better insight into investment readiness, a social media strategy and a comprehensive audit of its IP.


Intellectual Property Audit The IP audit, conducted by Stephens Scown, looked at many aspects of the company’s position and, importantly, unearthed the fact that there was already a company trading under a similar name, called Cloudkeeper, which was very similar to OTA’s name at that time - "Kloudkeeper”. As no products had yet been introduced to


market, the company took the opportunity to rebrand as “OTA Analytics”, expressing a focus on the data made available from its IoT sensors and controls.


16 insight MAY/JUNE 2019


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