Last month we introduced you to the IoT Engine – a pre-accelerator programme providing at least 12 hours of support for start-ups and SMEs in South Yorkshire to adopt or develop IoT solutions. We have had an exciting month working hard with our participating businesses on projects that span a variety of different sectors. From healthcare to cyber security and manufacturing to astronomy, we are lucky to be working with some brilliant people to help their businesses innovate.
One of these wonderful people is Mark Wrigley, the founder of Elektric Works and creator of a 3D printed, Raspberry Pi powered telescope Kit – the PiKon. Mark has kindly answered our questions about his experience of the programme so far, and why innovative technologies are important to him:
Tell us a little bit about you:
Elektric Works is my retirement side hustle. After some 40 years in high tech industry, I’m not quite ready for slippers and a pipe, and the business keeps me up to date with the latest disruptive technologies. I am a physicist by training, and spent most of my career in digital mobile communications which has seen my working overseas in Japan, the USA, and China. I’ve enjoyed a great career and Elektric Works is, amongst other things, social payback.
What does Elektric Works do?
A big part of Elektric Works is about encouraging people to get into STEM, and I often call myself a ‘physics evangelist’ offering outreach activities. I find the best way to engage people is through making and the idea behind the PiKon telescope is to get people into 3D printing, Rasperry Pi, optics, and some backyard astronomy. It’s all open hardware so you don’t have to buy the Elektric Works kit, but so far, I’ve sold 450 units worldwide. I encourage others to share their results and its great to see improvements to the design as well as some great images from users!
What do you hope to achieve through the IoT Engine?
There is a lot written about innovation and I believe that creating the right creative environment is the most important. I’ve found that innovation happens through networking when a lot of different technology skill sets exchange ideas. The IoT is something I know little about, but I have a hunch that it will expose me to new tech that will help me innovate what I offer. As Donald Rumsfeld says, it’s the “unknown unknowns” that matter.
What are you most looking forward to in the future of the programme?
I get really excited about the DMC MakerLab. My activities with Elektric Works are not just about delivering products and services, and I am a one man business so it’s great to find a maker space that is equally focused on entrepreneurship.
Why is IoT important to you?
I am always on the search for the ‘next big thing’, and I think it could be the Internet of Things.
You can find out more about Mark and the PiKon telescope at: https://elektricworks.shop
Looking forward to next month, we have plenty of exciting events and opportunities coming up.
South Yorkshire IoT Meetup
On Tuesday 5th April, we are speaking at the South Yorkshire IoT Meetup at the DMC in Barnsley. The event takes place from 5:15-7:15pm and is centred around the theme of IoT in Space, with some amazing guest speakers lined up, as well as the opportunity to shout out about local IoT activities and developments. We would love for you to join us to network with likeminded people, discuss all things IoT, and grab some pizza! The event will also be livestreamed. You can find out more and get your ticket here.
Getting Started with IoT
We are also hosting a ‘Get Started with IoT’ workshop on Thursday 28th April in the MakerLab at the DMC. This practical event will discuss the benefits of adopting IoT solutions, as well as enabling businesses to get hands on and develop their own prototype!
Finally, we are looking forward to welcoming more businesses into the IoT Engine and helping them with their innovative projects! We are always available to contact if you wish to discuss the programme further. To find out more, or register your interest, visit: IoT Engine | TEAM SY (weareteamsy.org)
Interested in the IoT Ecosystem here in South Yorkshire? Here’s a video we’ve made to give you an overview of what’s going on and the support on offer!