“We’re excited to work with IBM to select these new challenge areas to address society’s most pressing security risks. It’s essential that big and small companies across the private sector collaborate and build technology together.”

Andrew Roughan
Managing Director,

  • The Mission Technology Integrator sees IBM partnering with SMEs to create proofs of concepts that solve government challenges and build homegrown technology capability
  • Plexal has designed a collaboration model that enables large companies to partner with SMEs fairly
  • IBM is looking at partnering with more SMEs later this year to build AI, cybersecurity, cloud computing and quantum computing solutions

Global technology company IBM and Plexal, the innovation company founded by Delancey, have developed new technology with SMEs in response to the UK government’s innovation and technology priorities.

IBM and Plexal are looking into more opportunities to partner with more SMEs later this year to explore solutions relating to cybersecurity, quantum computing, trustworthy or explainable AI and the challenges related to a hybrid, multi-tier cloud.

The government’s Integrated Review says that regaining technological advantage is a top priority, while the government also aims to direct 33% of central government procurement to SMEs by 2023. In response, Plexal is helping IBM rapidly partner with SMEs and other partners to deliver proofs of concepts for technology that could be used by the public or private sectors.

Through the Mission Technology Integrator, Plexal is working with IBM to identify commercial ways of engaging with SMEs outside of its network and unlock the potential of technology.

Plexal and IBM have already completed four innovation sprints. These sprints resulted in two proofs of concepts with SMEs that can be sold to the government and the private sector, with a fourth proof of concept about to be built.

IBM partnered with computer vision company Pimloc to develop a solution that can automate the creation of human and machine-readable reports of events captured by video feeds.

IBM then partnered with Telicent, an under-the-radar SME, to build an application capable of carrying out advanced pattern of life analysis.

A third sprint that explored ways of measuring fatigue in high-pressure environments resulted in IBM deciding to create a model office that could explore the challenges and market opportunities further before they engage with a partner to develop technology-based solutions.

A fourth sprint looking at asset discovery in intermittently connected networks has identified high-potential SMEs. IBM and Plexal will be building a new proof of concept with a chosen SME in March 2022.

Plexal has designed terms of engagement for the sprints to help IBM shape the right innovation challenge statements, understand the market opportunities and identify when an SME partnership is appropriate. It also ensured the terms of the collaboration are fair: the SME gets paid for the proof of concept and both parties have equal access to the intellectual property created. Each sprint has been completed in ten weeks or less.

Ed Gillett, client partner, IBM, said: “The Mission Technology Integrator is all about creating new relationships, new technology, new business models, new ideas and new solutions. IBM’s work with Plexal is creating mission-oriented capability quickly and efficiently so it can be deployed where it’s needed most.”

Andrew Roughan, managing director, Plexal, said: “We’re excited to work with IBM to select these new challenge areas to address society’s most pressing security risks. It’s essential that big and small companies across the private sector collaborate and build technology together. Not just technology for its own sake but technology that the UK needs most to keep society and our economy safe and to gain a competitive advantage when it comes to mission-critical capabilities. We’re extremely proud of the collaboration model we’ve built for IBM, which has fairness at the heart and is challenge oriented.”

Steve Kochli, chief operating officer, Telicent, said: “This has been a brilliant opportunity for Telicent. During the ten-week engagement, we accelerated the development of our CORE data platform and GEO pattern-of-life application significantly. We gained detailed market insights that would be very difficult to access as a young startup and that’s allowed us to further validate our product design and market fit.

The IBM and Plexal teams were incredibly flexible and supportive during the project, and our ongoing engagement with them is generating new opportunities and leads that would not have been available to us previously. IBM and Telicent are taking the proof of concept to potential customers and Telicent has hired new staff on the back of the sprint.”

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About IBM

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service.

For more information, visit www.ibm.com

About Plexal

Plexal is the innovation company that supercharges collaboration. It combines open, collaborative innovation with a community of fast-growth startups to help enterprises and the government unlock the potential of technology.

Plexal works with some of the most influential government departments and global tech companies to deliver innovation projects. These include the cross-border Rapid Innovation Accelerator, which connected entrepreneurs in the UK and Oman, and London RoadLab, which helped Transport for London fast-track innovation.

Plexal’s cyber innovation team is also building the UK’s most connected cybersecurity ecosystem. Plexal delivers the LORCA accelerator, is the National Cyber Security Centre’s partner for NCSC For Startups and is supporting 107 innovators through the Cyber Runway accelerator. Over the last three years, Plexal has helped cyber startups raise over 200m and earn over 37m in revenue through LORCA alone.

Its workspace in London is home to over 800 innovators who are breaking new ground in cybersecurity, mobility, inclusive design, healthtech, AI and more. Members get access to community events, connections and 1:1 support designed to help them scale and Plexal regularly partners with members to pilot their solutions, bid for business together and enable them to build solutions with large organisations. The community includes Fiit, the online fitness startup, Quantum technology company M Squared and youth-led charity My Life My Say.

Plexal was founded in 2017 by clients of specialist real estate investment advisory company Delancey.

For more information visit: plexal.com