October 7, 2019

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Arco Innovation Award

Arco Innovation Award 2019; SHP Meets Arco Director of Marketing, Adam Young

Arco is launching the Arco Innovation Award in a bid to help solve longstanding health and safety challenges facing the industry.

Looking to bring innovative and disruptive solutions to market faster, the Arco Innovation Award is open to progressive start-ups offering forward-thinking solutions applicable to the health and safety market.

Over the coming weeks, SHP will profile each of the 36 start-ups that have been shortlisted as finalisis and you, the readers will ultimately be able to play a part in selecting the winner. That start-up will be included in Arco’s catalogue and be featured on its website. The winner will also be supported by Arco’s specialist sales team, giving the potential to reach more than 100,000 businesses across Arco’s extensive customer base.

As part of the launch, SHP visited Arco’s Headquarters in Hull to sit down with Director of Marketing, Adam Young. In this short video, Adam talks about the competition and explains how it will work.

Read the full interview below.

Why have you created the Arco Innovation Award?

Adam Young (AY): “When we go and speak to our customers, they tell us that there is a fascinating array of new technological solutions to safety challenges out there. So many new solutions are being brought to the market by start-up companies, it can make it hard to navigate. How does a safety professional decide which one to choose? Quite often they are solutions which are quite early in their life cycle and so there is not a log of evidence of how they have performed in the past.

“What I hope we can do with the Innovation Award is to help our customers to choose winners and get behind those new technology solutions that are really going to make a difference to their safety performance and to help them through that process quicker than they might be able to on their own.”

What are your key objectives?

(AY): “We have three key objectives. First of all, to identify and introduce some exciting new solutions to safety, health and wellbeing challenges.

“Secondly, to help our customers to choose the products that are going to make the biggest difference to safety in their business.

“Finally, we want to help those great new start-ups to get a route to market and scale their solution.”

How many start-ups will be entering the Arco Innovation Award?

VR headset

(AY): “The first stage is to recruit start-ups. We’re working with a ratings agency to find the start-ups and carry out an initial screen of the management team, the solution that they’ve developed and the market that they are operating in. We’re aiming for 36 start-ups to enter the competition.

“We then have a panel of experts which is going to take the start-ups, narrow them down to a shortlist of five who will come to us for a demonstration day. They will be asked to do a Dragons Den style pitch, a demonstration and then they will be quizzed on what they are bringing to the market.

“The judging panel is made up of myself, Arco’s Director of QSHE UK and Asia, Neil Hewitt, Errol Taylor the Chief Executive of RoSPA, Jane Byford the Safety, Health and Environment Manager at BAE Systems, Jordon Vincent, Design Executive Shueco, SHP safety technology contributor John Kersey and SHP Editor, Ian Hart. The final panel member will be the readers on SHP, who will also have a vote on the overall winner.

“We’ve selected the panel members because they all have a passion. John Kersey, for instance, writes on safety technology in the trade media. We have others who are working on pilots with new technology product solutions within their own businesses. But the main thing is they have a level of expertise and can be an effective judge and be excited about the potential of technology.”

“I’m trying to keep an open mind on what the best solution will look like. I think the things that will sway me personally will be an innovative new solution. It doesn’t need to be earth shatteringly new technology, but a new way of thinking about safety issue. Fundamentally, the thing that is going to get the winner to top of the pedestal is being able to really clearly demonstrate that this will help keep people safe at work.”

What will the winner of the Arco Innovation Award receive?

(AY): “One of the big challenges that start-ups have, once they have a solution that works is, taking that and scaling it to the market. So, as well as getting a nice award and a trophy, the big thing that the winner will get is access to Arco’s customer base and access to our sales team. We will take the solution to market and so the winning start-up will have the opportunity to a scale that they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.

“There is a number of difficult phases for a start-up, from creating the concept, getting it to launch and refining it. But one of the places these companies really struggle with is going from that first pilot to full industrial sized scale. That’s where we can bring our expertise in the market into play for them.”

What interesting trends are you seeing in emerging safety technology innovations?

(AY): “There are so many different areas of technology that are starting to find a home in safety. I think some of the interesting ones are where you see technologies coming together to provide a safety solution that they couldn’t provide on their own. So, for example, Artificial Intelligence linked to camera systems and the way that could help businesses to overcome some of the issues to address problems with musculoskeletal disease that come through bad manual handling processes.

“There are some fascinating innovations coming within the training arena with Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and now moving into mixed reality. There are brilliant new things happening with 5G technology and edge computing, all coming together to help with traffic problems, another huge cause of accidents in industry. If people and vehicles can have a much better sense of where they are, you avoid them bumping into each other. It’s endless really, the number of different technologies out there and I hope we will find many different ones in this process.”

Why is it so important that practitioners embrace new technology?


(AY): “The key thing here is really looking at the stats around safety. So, whilst the death rates in the UK have come down steadily, look at the number of injuries that happen in UK industry. The best part of 600,000+ people are injured at work, there is 1.4 million people that are suffering with work-related ill health. These are numbers that are going nowhere, year-after-year they are flat. Huge numbers people that are affected by things like musculoskeletal injuries; and the he number of people that suffer from noise-related hearing loss or occupational lung disease is just unacceptable. There are tens of thousands of people who are still being harmed by coming to work and over the last few years, the UK safety industry isn’t making process on these things.

“So, for me, bringing new approaches and new technologies in, gives hope that we can start to make progress again and see some of those numbers come down. There are so many accidents and injuries that happen in industry that afterwards people say, ‘that was an accident waiting to happen’, and I think technology can play a huge role in helping business to be better at those things that they should have done better.

“Ultimately, technology can always be there, human supervision maybe cannot. Often where safety is as a result of people behaving in a way they weren’t supposed to; technology can always be there watching.”

Have you noticed a significant change in pace in the development of technology over the last five years?

(AY): “There has an explosion of pace of new, early-stage products coming to the market. There are hundreds and hundreds of them, but I don’t think many have got to the stage yet where they are really making a difference. That moment is coming. It’s happened in many other industries recently and safety’s moment is coming. Really, one of the reasons for getting this award going is because this is the time for the safety industry to really grab hold of new technology and adopt it.”

“We’re looking at 2019 as being the first Arco Innovation Award. We’re trying to go about this in a ‘start-up’ kind of way. One thing I’m sure of, is that innovation is going to play a really core part of Arco, and I hope the safety industry more broadly, in the future.”

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