After four rounds of competition from city to national, digiLab's approach has landed the company a winning place in Tech Nation’s UK-wide Rising Stars competition. The competition, which attracted over 400 entrants, recognises and celebrates the UK's most exciting and innovative tech scale-ups.
As one of the winners, digiLab is receiving a bespoke package of support, including an opportunity to showcase the company to investors, accelerators, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and the UK tech community. The company has also received pitch training and coaching throughout the competition by Pitch for Success, and induction into Tech Nation's Growth Platform, which provides personalised content, data, masterclasses, support, and a closed network for scale-up leaders.
The UK-based start-up provides expert machine learning to the energy, water and aerospace industries, taking data from sensors or design experimentation, they clean it to make it usable and assess what data science model will best provide intelligent answers.
Using real time data the model becomes a digital twin of a physical asset or process, such as an airplane wing, a nuclear fusion reactor or a water treatment process. Importantly, digiLab's platform has a dashboard where engineers can easily interrogate the data by changing the parameters, as well as providing the space to ‘look under the hood’ for those who want to investigate further - this allows fast customisation and provides strength in decision making for safety-critical engineering.
“Our tech is agnostic to the market sector, and it is helping leaders make strong decisions quickly and effectively to enhance environmental and economic outcomes. The intellectual wattage behind the platform surprises me everyday so it is really good to see digiLab recognised on a national scale," Dr Sandhu says.
They have cut coagulant dosing in South West Water's Allers Water Treatment Works on the River Exe by 40% using their twinLab tech platform, supporting SWW's provision of good quality water. They are also working with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) Fusion Industry Programme (FIP) to speed up modelling simulations for fusion experiment design - thereby taking the UK closer to producing clean fusion energy faster. These projects directly affect UK Net Zero, environmental and economic goals.
The machine learning engine behind the platform uses a number of techniques to quickly quantify the uncertainty of decisions. This provides decision makers with a confidence index so they can speedily assess their options and which decision is most likely to have the best outcome for the task in hand. It also enables experts to extract more value from their data as it cuts the time taken to solve engineering problems. For instance, digiLab has helped the Jacobs engineering team to understand how to best control the clean up of the Sellafield nuclear fission plant, by taking their patchy sample data and providing a traffic light system about where radiation activity is most likely to be found. This has cut the time for the site's decommissioning and increased confidence in health and safety practices for the contractors working in hazardous areas.
They have achieved further successful implementation in the aerospace industry where they are working with NATS to develop training for Air Traffic Control based around work on the new UK airspace digital twin, and with Airbus designing next generation materials for future aircraft.
The company's founders spun out from the University of Exeter supported by the Midlands Commercialisation of University Research programme. digiLab's innovative ideas were quickly picked up by the first three customers, which offered inspiration to look deeper into these market sectors while remaining agnostic to the particular industry.
Dr Sandhu says there are exciting times ahead. "We're excited about the opportunity to network with potential investors and receive bespoke support including an opportunity to showcase the company to investors, accelerators, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and the UK tech community."
DigiLab's success in the Rising Stars competition is a testament to the company's innovative approach to solving complex problems using machine learning algorithms. With the support of the competition's sponsors and partners, the company is poised to take its technology to the next level and make a significant difference in the world.
digiLab was founded to provide top-tier data science to the engineering industries. A spin-out from the University of Exeter, digiLab uses pioneering machine learning to transform the efficiency, resilience and environmental sustainability of its customers.