Tackling Brexit With Innovation Partnership

  • Left to Right Kieran O'Connell Licencing Executive DIT Hothouse;Simon Best Chairman PE Services; Tom Flanagan Centre Director DIT Hothouse; Killian Cawley Chief Executive Officer PE Services

PE Services, based near the border with Northern Ireland, are tackling Brexit head on by investing in Innovation Partnerships with Dublin Institute of Technology‌

Irish company PE Services, led by former Irish Rugby International, Simon Best, as Chairman and Killian Cawley as Chief Executive Officer and the Dublin Institute of Technology made headlines in 2015 when their technology SmartChick won the innovation award for Software Special Merit at the 2015 National Ploughing Championships.

DIT Hothouse and PE Services announce a new Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership project to further develop the SmartChick technology.

When Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) President, John Healy addressed the 62nd AGM of the IFA in January early this year, he outlined that the Irish Farming Sector was most exposed by Brexit with 40% of Irish food exports currently going to the UK.

In addressing this problem, this Enterprise Ireland and PE Services funded Innovation Partnership – to scale up the SmartChick technology will involve the creation of new technology called Flock Guard which will automate animal health monitoring for poultry sheds, which aims to support poultry farmers and integrators through automated passive monitoring of poultry flocks through low-cost commodity hardware augmented with state-of-the-art methods in image processing. This project meets the specific needs of poultry farmers and integrators by providing them with key insights into poultry flock state that can be identified and communicated in real time.

This Innovation Partnership is expected to open up a wide range of technology enhanced solutions that will allow PE Services and Ireland to become world leaders in analytics driven farming equipment for both the poultry sector and the broader agriculture sector. Analysis will be based on state-of-the-art Machine Learning and Analytics systems to provide meaningful insights to farmers that go beyond the information traditionally tracked by hand on the farm.

Kilian Cawley, Chief Executive Officer, PE Services said, “For a small border company operating within the agricultural sector in Ireland and the UK, Brexit has added a layer of uncertainty within business in general. However, I see great opportunities by working with DIT Hothouse in developing new technologies within the sectors in which we operate. In my experience without DIT Hothouse, it would not be possible for my company to develop new technology”.

Tom Flanagan, Centre Director, DIT Hothouse said “With 1000’s of Irish companies wondering just how the Brexit decision will affect their future, Innovation Partnerships such as this can be invaluable to these companies in terms of gaining access to researchers and facilities that can give their business a competitive edge. Innovation in processes, products and know-how improves the competitiveness of businesses, increasing profits and access to new markets.”