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Future 20 spotlight: Camnexus

Camnexus helps a wide range of sectors to manage their environmental resources via a network of sensors that allow real-time monitoring and alerts.

The company joined the Future 20 programme last year and is set to change the landscape for management of land, water and energy resources across the globe. Jessica Ocampos is the CEO & co-founder and has ambitions to bridge the technological knowledge gap between developing and developed regions. We spoke to her more on this:

Can you explain in simple terms what Camnexus does?

We help sectors like agriculture or water utilities to manage their resources more efficiently, by providing connectivity infrastructure that enables them to monitor and respond in real time. The sensors provide an alert system for early warning of any anomalies that can impact overall operations such as malfunctions in equipment, issues with supply levels or changes in quality. We focus a lot on water, but the sensors also detect changes in soil, air quality or vibrations in machinery. Lately, we have developed sensors that detect the presence of COVID 19 in waste water to alert authorities on the virus spread and movement between communities.

Lately, we have developed sensors that detect the presence of COVID 19 in waste water to alert authorities on the virus spread and movement between communities.

How did you come up with the idea for Camnexus? 

After working in both Europe and South America for many years, I noticed that one of the main challenges in sectors such as farming or the water industry was the lack of a reliable infrastructure (particularly digital infrastructure) that could allow them to send information in real time. This inspired us to help bridge connectivity by sharing our technology, which in turn will help local innovation across the globe.

Camnexus uses the ‘Internet of Things’. Can you explain what that is?

The Internet of Things is about having many connected devices that are transferring data. The ‘things’ are the connected devices, and the ‘internet’ is the means by which the data flows. The key feature is about the scalability. We’re not talking just about a couple of devices – it’s a scenario of multiple devices, often millions.

Camnexus are trying to close the technology gap between developing and developed countries. What impact will that have?

We realised that when there’s a lack of skills and knowledge about infrastructure, it’s more challenging to introduce advanced technologies that could solve important challenges. It’s surprising to see similar challenges across developed and developing countries. Challenges that affect developing countries ultimately affect everyone, which is why it’s so important to close that technological gap and help to create sustainable solutions for all regions.

Challenges that affect developing countries ultimately affect everyone, which is why it’s so important to close that technological gap and help to create sustainable solutions for all regions.

How do you integrate sustainability into Camnexus?

By helping organisations to manage their assets and environmental resources more efficiently, particularly in the water and energy sector, this encourages a more sustainable practice. Internally, we see sustainability as an integral part of our process and innovation that helps to drive the goals of clients and our internal company goals.

How long range is your connectivity?

The sensors are based across a wide distance; they carry information back to a central area and we see the data visually. It allows up to 10km of wireless coverage from one sensor to the radio base. We have been successful in more challenging environments too such as underground, particularly in water management where you want to measure the water flow underground; we have been able to penetrate concrete of about up to 50 metres, which is very significant.

You use real-time monitoring and alerts. Does that help people react immediately?

Users can see real-time data relating to their operations on a dashboard through a mobile or computer. If someone doesn’t have the time or the capability to make decisions based on what they see on the dashboard, then an alert system will send out a recommendation for action. There is even a chat bot you can interact with and ask for further information. It uses Artificial Intelligence, making more effective recommendations and identifying anomalies faster based on the data that has been collected over time.

How have you found being part of the F20 programme?

Very good. One of the key takeaways for me is that I’m not alone in thinking that we can use technology to do better. The other nineteen companies from around the UK are doing similar things to me and being part of the cohort and the Future Business Centre ecosystem has been great. Having access to the mentoring and advice has been really important for me, and the connections and the exposure have been hugely valuable.

What’s coming up for Camnexus?

We’ve recently secured some funding and we’ve gained clients who are paying for pilots. What comes next is to move from pilots to commercial contracts. We were also recently awarded the Innovate UK GCRF fund to demonstrate an impact in sustainability. It will fund our feasibility study to validate the concept of our interface and alert system with small scale farmers in Brazil. They have been affected by salinity levels in the water which can cause a loss of production up to 50%, so that has a very clear impact potential. We’re taking a human centred approach to this study, meaning that we will validate with the end users before putting in place the solution; so it’s really aligned to our innovation strategy. We will also be running a second project in Uganda, specifically looking at water management in farming.

And finally, we’re looking to grow the company and are looking for more people to join our team globally – most specifically in the UK, Brazil, Latin America and Africa.

To find out more about Camnexus, visit their website: www.camnexus.io