Software development company Direk, based at Surrey Research Park in Guildford, is making business spaces more efficient, sustainable, safe and user-friendly.
To grow a successful business, you need to make the best possible use of your company’s resources. Staying on top of processes, operations and finances while managing a team is a fine balancing act, and as the effects of climate change accelerate across the world, energy efficiency has never been more important.
There is a lot of support available to SMEs looking to enhance their efficiency levels. One company on the pulse is Direk. Founded in 2017, it is on a mission to help combat business challenges in energy saving, space utilisation, health and safety and indoor navigation. How? Through accurate and cost-effective localisation technology.
Partnering with world-leading research centres at the University of Surrey and Imperial College of London, Direk has created innovative, award-winning solutions to make businesses sustainable and safer. “We think there should be only one platform that covers all localisation needs – indoor and outdoor,” says Dr Amir Taba, president and CTO of Direk. “That is to save time and avoid the excessive cost of integration of multiple devices and platforms that businesses are currently facing.”
Direk’s approach is based on leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to solve the critical issues in positioning systems. “Our first product, Platform Independent Indoor Positioning System (PIPS), is a software development kit for mobile phones that enhances the accuracy of GPS and achieves sub-one meter accuracy indoor and outdoor,” Dr Taba explains. “We have recently launched our indoor radar technology Smart Indoor Management System (SIMS) that identifies occupants’ activity and proximity, without requiring any user intervention, apps or wearables, and to this end, have created DIREK Positioning Platform (DPP), designed to leverage existing IoT infrastructure in the building and minimise the deployment cost.”
The Direk team identify that office buildings represent one of the most energy-intensive sectors in the UK. “With the current energy crisis, businesses are looking for alternatives to operate their buildings efficiently in a cost-effective manner,” points out Dr Taba. He adds: “The pandemic has been the main driver for location-based services, shaping conventional thinking about work. Therefore, space utilisation is becoming a top priority for businesses to deploy different solutions to track occupancy in their buildings and control social distancing. Our analysis on the 5G Innovation Centre – four floors with more than 1,000 sq m – shows that a 20-30% reduction in energy consumption is achievable. Also, our commercial clients in London are saving tens of thousands of pounds on their space rent by adopting space utilisation to those identified by DIREK Indoor Radar and Ai technology.”
Direk is based at Surrey Research Park, which is developed, funded and managed by the University of Surrey. Dr Taba explains that the Park offers excellent networking and consulting support for startups. “The team behind it have a track record of success. They help us prepare for future goals and advise on what is missing in the market so we can incorporate it into our technology.”
So far, Direk’s solutions have won several awards from Innovate UK, Wates Innovation and Surrey Council. As we speak, the company is working with major building management system providers in the UK to integrate its solution with their home automation technology, and the team are also about to launch managed services for space utilisation and efficiency to help clients make the most of their indoor spaces. “Big applause to our wonderful staff for creating such an advanced technology that has many benefits such as for the environment by reducing carbon emissions and businesses by being cost-effective, low-maintenance and highly accurate,” says Dr Taba. “There is more innovation to come!”
Direk benefits from Collaborate 22
Earlier this year, Surrey Research Park businesses were invited to apply for £25k funding for projects with the University of Surrey through Collaborate22, an annual award scheme designed to help them innovate and grow. As one of the winning companies, Direk has officially started work on its new project. The aim is to create an AI-based controller for energy-efficient heating and ventilation in indoor areas. Direk will leverage the indoor radar technology to monitor building utilisation and build an IoT platform to integrate different appliances. A team of researchers led by Dr Oleksiy Klymenko at the University of Surrey will develop an AI controller for the project.