How Design Network North took ievo from local tech distributor to world leader in biometric innovations
iEvo, formerly known as UKB International, started life as a distributor of finger print scanners and other biometric security systems. Whilst successful, UKB International had much more potential in the biometrics industry than they realised.
Having spent many years distributing this technology and with their knowledge of biometrics increasing, they recognised that they could produce a much better product that the ones they stocked and shipped. Holding them back was their little to no product design experience or knowledge, and this led them to Design Network North, a project delivered by RTC.
Starting a new venture as iEvo, the team, with the help of Design Network North, tasked e3Design, a long-standing and successful client of Design Network North, with designing their new product. By developing a tough injection moulded housing, e3Design were able to meet ievo’s requirements; an attractive, fully weather proof finger print scanner which is easy to install and provides an enhanced user experience.
Among the technology’s advantages are that it is vandal-proof, can sustain extremely cold temperatures and can do its job effectively regardless of the condition of a person’s hands. It is also of a compact size, is vandal resistance and has customisable product aesthetics.
By contacting Design Network North, ievo had a finished product ready for the market just six months later. Now, six years on, ievo has grown its team from two to nearly 20, finding markets for its products throughout the world. They’ve also supplied 20 of the top 23 UK construction companies with ievo systems. Having developed its own IP protected system, today the company has a turnover in excess of £2m.
ievo are now world leaders in the biometrics sector, and are going from strength to strength. Not only do they have a whole range of products, but they are managing to branch into completely new markets.
Starting out with a focus on supplying security systems to building sites, you can now find ievo systems in a wide variety of places.
Schools are installing their systems to stop students wandering to sections of the school that are only meant for teachers, or sixth form students. Nurseries use their iEvo to ensure a recognised parent can get to their child quickly, without an identification process or by signing children in and out.
Even gyms have biometrics installed as an alternative to gym passes. This is particularly interesting as this use also provides insights to how the gym is used to managers. Using the system, they are able to see what parts of the gym are popular, and which are not. As well as giving a clear idea of popular times the gym is used, it can also create a completely customisable gym pass – rather than buying a pass for the whole gym, you can pay per month based on the sections of the gym you would actually make use of.
The innovative culture within ievo is a one that Design Network North particularly admire and encourage, and the ambitious team are always working on new projects.
“ievo Ltd would not have existed without Design Network North. We knew nothing of design or the design process and without Design Network North we couldn’t have brought such a professional product to market in such a short period of time.
"Design Network North’s project mentor and our designers, e3design Ltd, have delivered above and beyond.” (Shaun Oakes, Managing Director, ievo)
Design Network North is part of RTC’s new programme called ‘Designing Better Business’ – launched in 2016 - which will provide support for north east businesses looking to continue to innovate and design better world leading products.
RTC was founded in 1989 with the sole purpose of helping businesses innovate and create new higher value products. Today, the business operates out of offices in Sunderland, Gateshead, Leeds and Daresbury and specialises in helping companies develop new products, embed new skills through training and access funding for innovation.
‘Designing Better Business’ is part funded by European Regional Development Fund.