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Five game-changers picked to present at TechFest


Five outstanding young companies with potentially game-changing ideas for the civil engineering sector have been picked to headline New Civil Engineer’s Festival of Innovation and Technology, taking place in London next week.

The five SMEs will pitch their ideas to a panel comprising senior representatives from industry clients as a highlight of the NCE Accelerator programme, powered by Costain.

The Accelerator has been developed to provide a way for SMEs that have bright ideas to transform infrastructure delivery to get their voices heard by leading UK clients.

From an original entry list of 25, eight SMEs this week presented their plans to an expert panel of Costain innovation champions and industry clients including Network Rail director of enterprise PMO group digital railway Simon Taylor and Transport for London head of commercial innovation Rikesh Shah.

From this eight, five have been selected to pitch and present to a wider panel of clients and the entire audience at New Civil Engineer’s Festival of Innovation and Technology (TechFest) on 19 September.

The five invited to pitch at TechFest are:

  • Qualis Flow – Seeks to carry out real-time data analytics on data already being collected to provide site teams with actionable insights to minimise adverse social and environmental impacts of construction activity such as noise and dust. It aims to be a proactive tool that creates vibrant, healthy cities
  • Gear Buddy – Through a partnership with a leading car manufacturer is leveraging existing technologies from the automotive sector to provide real-time health monitoring of plant and equipment and through machine learning predict breakdowns before they occur
  • nPlan – Has patent-pending algorithms that will take existing data on past projects to predict the duration of activities on future projects. It claims to have already captured data from 120,000 schedules covering 300 million tasks
  • CO-YOU – More than a third by volume of waste from a construction project is derived from materials used to package products being delivered to site. CO-YOU’s patent-pending product is a novel packaging material that stably absorbs CO2 and bio-degrades
  • Enable My Team – Has developed automated asset recognition from high resolution imagery for all rail assets. It will take this data and through AI and machine learning detect potential faults before they happen, allowing rail engineers to spend more time proactively mitigating risks rather than reactively fixing failures

The winner will be presented with the prestigious NCE/Costain Accelerator award, but all eight will be invited to join a structured accelerator programme, working with Costain and some of these leading infrastructure clients to take the concept through a test environment.

“It was a great day of presentations and all eight have real ideas that could make a real impact on the sector. The five we have picked to present at TechFest are truly inspirational. It will be thrilling to see who wins on the day,” said Costain innovation accelerator manager Usman Shah, who will lead the structured accelerator programme post-event.

“SMEs have some great ideas but just need the platform and opportunity to share those ideas with people who will invest in them. We want to nurture that collaboration.”

New Civil Engineer’s TechFest is a full day of inspiration, ideas and innovation. Keynote speakers will provide the inspiration; moderated workshops will germinate the ideas; and five streams of live presentations from TechFest Award finalists will provide the innovation. The event concludes with a gala dinner where all award winners – including the SME Award – will be revealed. Book your place at




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