Meet seven talented technology companies improving lives through better public services
The UK’s capital city is certainly a bustling tech hub, but innovative technology companies are by no means limited to London. As part of this Disruption North programme, we’re championing fast-paced, disruptive tech businesses born and bred in the North of England. In this list, we profile seven technology companies changing public services for the better.
1) Push Doctor
Founded in 2013 in Manchester, Push Doctor was established to relieve strain on existing health services and provide a better standard of care for patients. The startup offers confidential medical advice from NHS-trained GPs via video call, and is free at the point of use for NHS patients, if the company is partnered with their GP Practice. Push Doctor is now the UK’s largest digital health provider, connecting patients with doctors regardless of location.
The standard of education in the UK is generally considered to be high, but student needs aren’t always met. One solution is to hire a tutor… However, finding the right person isn’t easy. Sheffield-based Tutorful aims to take the guesswork out of finding a suitable match through a digital platform powered by recommendations and reviews. The startup acts as a broker for students and tutors, considering a range of metrics including subject specialisms and location. The company uses a cashless ‘pay as you learn’ model in which payment is made following each lesson.
3) Halton Housing
The UK has a serious housing problem, with an estimated 8.4 million people living in unsuitable or insecure homes. In contrast to most businesses in the sector, Halton Housing is diversifying housing services through a flexible, agile model. It was the first housing association to handle complaints over Facebook, tapping into customer preferences for easy online communication. The company also uses AI to support elderly and vulnerable customers, analysing electrical appliance data to establish normal usage patterns. To date, Halton manages 7,000 homes across Runcorn and Widnes.
It’s a well known fact that technology lacks diversity in all its forms – including but certainly not limited to gender. InnovateHer sprung from a Liverpool-based initiative called Liverpool Girl Geeks which was founded to redress the gender imbalance in the northern tech scene. The social enterprise offers a free educational programme for school-age girls, and a corporate programme for businesses that want to become genuinely diverse. InnovateHer’s partners include the Co-Op, Liverpool Football Club and PlayStation. Now, the company plans to expand across the UK.
In 2012, Inhealthcare was created in Harrogate to deliver digital healthcare and remote monitoring technology to people in medical need. The startup has helped over 50,000 customers to access a library of more than 50 clinically designed digital health services. It also aids health and social care organisations when it comes to building solutions, improving health management for providers and patients alike. As well as serving northern locations like Manchester, Inhealthcare also operates in London, Edinburgh, and Northern Ireland.
ProxiSmart is the Newcastle-based business behind ParkingPerx, a loyalty app aiming to transform the traditional model of car parking using the Internet of Things. The lack of available, affordable parking in shopping areas is a serious barrier to trade, discouraging shoppers and negatively impacting all high street stakeholders.
ParkingPerx uses smart beacon technology in car parks and stores to match users with free parking spaces at participating retailers. In 2016, ProxiSmart won Newcastle Northern Stars pitch competition. The company has since worked with Innovate UK, Utility Wise, and Sunderland City Council.
7) Incremental Solutions
Incremental Solutions is a transportation tech startup from York helping to drive the adoption of automated travel. The company uses GPS, geospatial analysis technology, machine learning and data aggregation to support safe and efficient travel. After taking part in the government’s ‘First Of A Kind’ competition, Incremental Solutions was awarded Innovation funding from the government to develop a dynamic monitoring system called OLErt.
The system, which aims to reduce delays and failures, is currently being trialled by Network Rail and GWR. Earlier this year, Incremental Solutions won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, and became a member of the government’s Northern Powerhouse Partnership Programme.