21 November 2013

An advanced energy-saving hardware system launches in Hong Kong thanks to an investment by the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation.

Established software developers DemoPad launched the Centro 8 processor, which acts as a connecting hub for a vast array of sophisticated high-end home enertainment systems, was launched at a Hong Kong electronics fair. It is also able to automatically control heating and lighting in homes, helping to cut energy use, reducing bills and carbon consumption.

DemoPad, located within Lancaster University’s co-location facilities at InfoLab21, have produced the ‘Centro 8’ processor as part of a collaborative research project  A key part of its development was based on sophisticated algorithms created by Alex King, a Lancaster University graduate researcher placed part-time in the business on a PhD programme.

It is hoped the Centro 8 could provide environmental benefits and boost UK exports. It is already attracting international interest following a previewing at an event in Denver.

Mike Cain, director of DemoPad, said: “As a business manager this investment through the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation has encouraged us to think we can now compete on a global scale and enabled us to bring benefits to all aspects of our business, way beyond the actual project focus.

“Our relationship with Lancaster University and the centre has been nothing short of transformational. It has given us the opportunity to have a virtually unlimited extension of our research and development resource.

“The scheme provides a graduate researcher as the project lead but there is a substantial added value in the involvement of the whole university team behind the student to guide and contribute as required.

“The development of the Centro 8 is a very exciting time for DemoPad and we are optimistic for its success both at home in the UK and internationally – particularly in the US.”

DemoPad is run by business partners Andy Casey and Mike Cain. Their core business focuses on developing software applications for tablet devices to transform them into remote controllers for sophisticated home and business entertainment, security and heating systems. They have now been able to open offices in the United States to help promote the Centro 8.

The innovative £9.8m Centre for Global Eco-Innovation was launched this year by a partnership between Lancaster University, the University of Liverpool and Inventya (a science and technology commercialisation company) and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The centre, the only one of its kind in Europe, has an ambition of creating £45m of wealth for North West England’s economy. It also aims to work with more than 280 SMEs, develop 150 new products and services, and create 268 new jobs.

The centre has placed 50 post-graduates on collaborative research and development projects with 50 ambitious and internationally-inspiring high-tech SMEs, such as DemoPad.

Dr Andy Pickard, manager of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, said: “The centre stands as one of the largest-scale collaborative centres of its kind in using PhD researchers to underpin substantive programmes of collaborative research.

“We are very happy to see the centre’s programme begin to deliver genuine business benefits. Alex is doing a tremendous job as a graduate researcher and the centre has also been able to provide additional support for this product development through the expertise of academic staff from Lancaster University.

“The Centro 8 looks like a very exciting new product that could boost UK exports and provide growth for this dynamic Lancashire high-tech SME.”