5mins with SenSat

We catch up with James Dean, Director of Technology Applications at SenSat – one of the ten Discovering Start-Ups Competition finalists

Spotlight Q&A
1. Send us a picture of your team, your work space or your product

SenSat engineer at work

2. Are you finding it tricky to recruit talent?
Yes and no. I think the hardest thing is meeting people and then being sure they’re the best people (and somebody better isn’t out there). This is hard but a lot of the time we look for core competencies and then the extra spark, that’s why our first question is always what can you do for us?

We’re all about helping people achieve their ambitions. Life is short and we should all work towards something that we find genuinely interesting and fulfilling.

3. Tell us about your product/service – what was the need you saw?
There are three major problems facing nuclear decommissioning today:

  1.  Recording site data is manually is slow and potentially inaccurate
  2. Essential data is often incomplete and spread amongst multiple repositories
  3. Computer models are accessible by skilled workers only

Each of these feeds into a larger context of inefficient project management, not caused by manager incompetency but data evaluation inefficiency. In 2010 the Society of Construction Law in association with Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) commissioned a report into how ‘poor project governance causes delays’. The report explores how in large complex projects delivery, such as nuclear decommissioning, poor project governance generally leads to increased costs and project failure. Smart Map is specifically designed to target project governance through an intuitive system that can be used by all levels of project management. By introducing the latest advancements in digital modelling with intelligent software environments we are able to introduce a dimension of information efficiency not yet seen in major construction or decommissioning projects.

4. What technology innovations do you expect to see unfold going into 2017?
We’re really excited to see the roll out of autonomous driverless vehicles. A lot of investors will say we’ve seen these trends before and we certainly have, but there are fundamental changes under way that is causing the perfect storm. It’s also interesting to see how the media report on this, a year ago it was ‘wow look at this futuristic technology that is a gimmick’ now it’s ‘this is obviously a thing and will be soon’.

This is also good news as driverless cars need ultra high resolution digital models of cities, something SenSat will start creating in early 2017.

5. Share a key lesson you have learnt over the last year?

You have to get it wrong before you will get it right. Nobody ever jumps to the final shiny product, do it clunky but make it work and then see how we can improve each of those steps. If you manage to do this well and learn quickly to start getting it right more times than you get it wrong then you will succeed.

6. What’s your tip to stay informed about your industry?
Our clients. This might sound old fashioned but nobody knows their problems like they do so we simply talk to them.

7. How would you describe life in a start-up ?

You live in this crazy paradox where you want to succeed and to do that you work really really hard. But then the harder you work the more successful you will be which then means you have to work even harder. I didn’t even know 4am was a thing…

For more information, follow SenSat on Twitter and buy your ticket for the Pitch-off taking place 19th October, Deloitte.