The Big Interview: Liam Wright, Innotech Insights: People Movement will benefit from greater collaboration
For Liam Wright, the launch of his new platform offering real-time pedestrian movement data has been a long time in the making. 10 years, to be exact.
We caught up with Liam at the People Movement and Management Show, where his company Innotech Insights’ new Crowded tracking system was in the process of coming to market.
Already gaining significant traction, Liam is honest enough to admit launching a new product as a tech start-up has taught him some important lessons about the need for industry improvement and collaboration through working together for the greater good – particularly in the UK, which he says is lagging behind other countries in its attitudes to working together.
“Like a lot of tech companies, we started out thinking we could own the industry, but it isn’t the case. For example we have a solution for stadia, but I need a stadia expert to ensure it has maximum impact. We can provide real movement data for simulation companies, but we need simulation experts to work their models.
“And when you’re talking about stadia, you’re talking about evacuation, and the safety of people.
“In the UK data collection is an insular industry but it doesn’t need to be. It is growing so quickly that there is more than enough room for everyone. We sell in Australia, Dubai, Germany, Africa, and they all have a far more advanced outlook regards collaboration, and that’s something we can learn from, particularly as the UK isn’t hitting its targets on pollution and the built environment.”
Sharp-suited and sharp-minded, Liam founded the Yorkshire-based Innotech Insights in 2015, when having spent over a decade working at the forefront of transportation data collection, he switched his sights onto the growing field of people movement.
“There was a clear lack of automated solutions in people counting, particularly in temporary and planning studies. A lot of people used limited wireless routers but we wanted to provide something better, something with hardware and software, that was totally reliable,” he said.
“All the buzzwords like IoT and Smart Cities is great but so much starts and stops with, for example, universities writing white papers that then just get left and forgotten about because there was no scalable, real solution.
“You would have public organisations admitting their systems were flawed but knowing where the flaws were, so that to them was acceptable.”
Innotech says Crowded is “the first automated data collection, analysis and visualisation tool” and Liam places a great deal of trust in being unbiased and transparent. It’s a theme that crops up regularly in our conversation.
The Crowded platform – which the company makes the bold claim is “the most advanced cloud integrated, IoT device detection system available on the data collection market” – works by storing crowd data from an unlimited number of HUBs and generating charts and visualisations. They can assess anything from dwell time to visitor volume by time to individual journeys, and plenty more besides. As well as movement, it records and analyses emissions.
Having overcome the start-up hurdles, Liam believes the difficult years of development and joining a busy market will pay dividends.
“There is no end to the possibilities out there,” he said. “With all the growth in technology there is only one way the industry is going, and that is up.”