Plexus Innovation

“CBILS funding helped us rapidly redevelop our core technology to help care homes in the North East under siege from the effects of Covid-19”

Plexus Innovation is a technology innovator that has developed a remote measurement system: GUARDIAN ® enabling ‘real time’ capture of compliance and condition data across a wide range of facilities.

GUARDIAN ® is a digital alternative to manual measurement that reduces costs and risk, whilst monitoring critical functions in environments like care homes, sheltered and social housing, schools and hotels. It is a must have technology solution within compliance management of risks such as Legionella.

Following 15 months of product trials and marketplace evaluation, the team at Plexus was geared up for full market launch at a time which unfortunately coincided with Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and widespread uncertainty amongst British business; uncertainty which Plexus’ potential launch customers were not immune to. 

When their prospects, primed customers and marketplace became under threat, Plexus were in a position where they needed to stabilise their business and capital to reinvest into marketing and operations development. It was at this point when AskIf was able to help Plexus with a £60,000 CBILS advance. 

Plexus has since been able to ramp up their marketing to prepare for the future. Importantly, the funding has also enabled the company to help the care industry solve an important issue in medication refrigeration compliance management, by installing a modified version of GUARDIAN ® into a chain of North East care homes.

Joanna Hill, Commercial Director, AskIf, commented: “Plexus Innovation is such a strong example of the ingenuity that still goes on in Britain. Here we have a company who have designed a product to be manufactured in the UK, to help UK organisations. It’s a feat people assume is rarely achieved but in truth we speak to SMEs like Plexus Innovation all the time. AskIf is proud to be able help them maintain their position and enable their future growth. Helping the UK’s SME landscape is one of our core missions.

“Ian’s work with care homes has been nothing short of inspirational. By allowing them to use the product on an initial free trial, I’m sure they have helped care home staff focus more on the human side of their day to day routines. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for Ian and his team.”

One of the founding directors of Plexus Innovation, Ian Murray, feels passionately that GUARDIAN ® is the future of compliance and condition monitoring: “Where we differ from other available technologies, is that our product has the capacity to become mainstream because of its great value and all round versatility.

“It just doesn’t make sense to us to continue to have technicians and engineers driving between buildings to manually measure water temperature data, given the potential inconvenience, cost and risk of human error involved. The same applies to professionals like care providers, nurses and pharmacy staff having to regularly check fridge temperatures to ensure that prescribed medication is usable. Prior to commencing GUARDIAN ® development, we discovered that some technologies already existed, but remained very niche. In our opinion the industry would benefit from a technology that enables wider scale implementation, to make things easier for the end user. That’s where the idea for GUARDIAN ® was born.“

We spent 2019 developing the product. We trialled it, initially via a prototype and we robustly tested. We then scaled development up via a controlled marketplace user evaluation and finally a beta launch which enabled us to shake out the final niggles and be confident that we had an exceptionally reliable and accurate product. The launch version was finalised, manufactured and ready to go earlier this year. Then came the pandemic.”

“We were very grateful that we managed to secure our CBILS fund, simply because it’s helped us transition to a point where we’ve been able to gear ourselves up for the future – and even pivot slightly. We’re now looking at a wider market than ever before.”

As part of this work Plexus Innovation has been able to help Careline Lifestyles, based in the North East, with a roll-out of GUARDIAN ® designed to support care home staff during Covid-19 conditions and beyond: “We realised that the care home sector would benefit from our technology and we wanted to help them, so we found an avenue into this sector via our business network, to the operations director of a chain of 10 care homes in the North East.

 “With the CBILS funding we fairly rapidly redeveloped our core measurement technology to be able to remotely monitor medication refrigerators. They were having to use their care professionals and nurses to carry this out because they must be maintained at a specific temperature to prevent critical medication waste. We said ‘that’s easy we can do that for you’… we said ‘we’ll give you the hardware, it’s all ready to go, we’ll remotely train your staff, we’ll manage it for you and talk again later in the year about any commercial proposition, once
things settle down and staff are under less pressure.

Talking about a positive future, Ian commented: “We are coming out of this in a strong place. There are many businesses out there who need the solution we offer; they’re just looking for the right combination of technology and provider. We believe that we deliver the full package.”

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