A Yorkshire businessman who had a light bulb moment after a cycling accident is now seeing the results of his idea.
Ian Asquith, whose company YouTrack was already making vehicle tracking devices, suffered a fractured wrist, eye socket and cheek bone, and was knocked unconscious after falling off his bike two years ago. Luckily he was found by a passer-by, but the incident made him ponder on another use for the technology.
Now his company, which is based at Mapplewell near Barnsley, has launched a personal version of the tracking device called YouTrack Solo. The development is being backed by business support programme Enterprising Barnsley, which is run by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.
YouTrack’s clients include local authorities, construction companies and security firms; with several already asking to trial the personal version.
Ian said: “I was unconscious for about 15 minutes after the bike skidded on a country road and I was lucky because someone found me, but just imagine if they hadn’t.
“It really made me think that we could take the product we already had and develop it to keep people safer. It might be a teenager going out with their mates or a partner going off horse-riding or hiking, whatever the situation it will lead to peace of mind.”
As well as YouTrack Solo, the company is launching YouTrack Solo Pro, which will have more features and is aimed at employers who have lone workers. Nearly seven million people spend all or part of their working day alone. They include security staff, social workers, delivery drivers, district nurses, postal workers, construction workers and farmworkers. And by law employers have a duty of care to these individuals.
“It is amazing how many employers seem to think out of sight is out of mind. Giving staff a simple device that they can put in their pocket can make all the difference,” said Ian.
“But not only are our tracking systems about safety, they can also save money. For example you can pinpoint the nearest member of staff to send or use the location evidence in a dispute. The vehicle version also gives historical information and various alerts, and we are working on a new prototype that will monitor driving behaviour and much more,” said Ian.
The tracking devices use GPS and mobile phone technology. But YouTrack Solo, at less than £100, is much cheaper than a mobile phone, cannot run out of credit and sends a warning message when the battery is low.
The Solo version has an SOS button that sends alerts by text and email and a “call me” function which links with designated mobiles.
Ian, who is a member of Holmfirth Cycling Club, said he was also looking at whether it would be possible to design a version to attach to a bicycle.
“The possibilities are almost endless. It could be anyone from a parent worried about where their children are to an employer concerned about a delivery driver. I even use it to let me know when my partner is heading home and I need to get the tea on.”
Ian said the backing by Enterprising Barnsley had been invaluable, with help to create new websites and the development of an app.
“They have been excellent. They always come up with ideas and leads. I can only sing their praises. And the best thing is the help is all free,” he said.
Angela Pedley, business development manager with Enterprising Barnsley, said: “This is a very exciting time for YouTrack with two massive new markets to tap into. They are predicting a rise of 20 per cent in turnover this year and once YouTrack Solo takes off the sky’s the limit.”
Enterprising Barnsley, offers a wide range of free business support to small and medium-sized businesses with growth potential. The programme is supported financially by the European Union and has attracted £2,259,511 investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.