7th October 2023

Great Malvern, UK

12th Edition


Wednesday 7th October 2015

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Agri-Tech: Food & Drink for Thought

Location: Malvern Theatres, WR14 3HB


  @festivalofinnov, #InnovateMalvern, #agritech, #sustainability, #foodsupply, #smartfarming



Food and water supply is under pressure and the agricultural sector is facing numerous challenges to increase yield, combat disease, and react to climate change. Couple this with the need to improve health and nutrition, ensure supply chain security, and farm sustainably, and you have huge demands for new agricultural and horticultural technologies and practices to be developed and introduced. Come to find out how this age-old industry is entering the world of genetics, informatics, drones, biomass, and the Internet of Things.




Registration & Exhibition opens

(Entrance Foyer & Main Foyer in Theatres)

Details of the exhibiting companies are shown on this page below the programme.





Festival Plenary:


Telecommunications Innovation that Drive Industries like Agri-tech Forward 

As telecommunications evolve with more coverage and greater bandwidth, so these advances drive forward other unrelated industries that can benefit from access to data and realtime information. Agri-tech is one such sector, and a rural but high technology county like Worcestershire should be able to lead from the front, leveraging both its heritage and world class capability.  



Mark Stansfeld, Chairman of Giffgaff & Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership

Mark started his career in the food industry at Cadbury Schweppes and Kraft Foods, then moved into technology with positions at BT, T-Mobile and as Commercial Director for O2. He has held Non-Executive roles on a number of boards spanning technology, finance and health, including The Link Retail, West Bromwich Building Society, NHS West Midlands Strategic Health Authority, Ovo energy, and at O2 UK.



Morning Keynote:


Towards Robotic Agriculture

A vision for the future is one where small smart machines move around the field establishing, tending, and selectively harvesting the crops. Autonomous tractors could remove weeds with precision; for example with lasers and machine vision to recognise the species, biomass, leaf area and position of the meristem (growing point). And selective harvesting robots would assess all of the quality requirements and only collect produce that has 100% saleable characteristics. New technologies will not only meet the economic, environmental and legislative drivers but also do a better job of looking after the plants. 



Prof. Simon Blackmore, Head of Engineering, Harper Adams University

Simon is a key figure in the development of Precision Farming and agricultural robotics, with a world-wide reputation. He worked for 12 years in Africa and Europe before starting his academic career. Simon is currently Professor and Head of Engineering at Harper Adams University, Director of the  National  Centre  for  Precision  Farming  and  running  the European FutureFarm project. He holds seven Chairs around the world and leads the research in the UK on agricultural robotics. His personal research focuses on improving Precision Farming by developing more intelligent machines and processes, and making crop production more efficient and sustainable. 




Tea / Coffee & Networking in Exhibition

(Main Foyer)



The Internet of Things meets Farming

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been called the next Industrial Revolution with Cisco predicting over 50 billion connected ‘things’ (aka Internet-connected devices) by 2020. That’s seven times more than there are people on our planet. The promises are of a smarter, more efficient, more productive world. No doubt you’ve heard of Smart Cities with automatic traffic control, smart parking, intelligent lighting and pollution management. But what do you know of Smart Farming? How will the IoT change how we grow crops and secure our food supply? Hear about our experiences of applying IoT to this exciting sector. 



Dr Simon Kampa, Chief Executive Officer, Senseye

Simon is the CEO of Senseye, a company exploiting the Internet of Things with advanced analytics and machine learning. Senseye’s vision is to enable everyone to benefit from such technologies, not just large organisations. Their product is currently undergoing beta testing within the agriculture, renewable and manufacturing sectors. In his previous position, he was the Managing Director of Critical Software, an advanced software engineering company serving the aerospace and defence industries. He holds a BSc in Computer Science and a PhD in the Semantic Web. 




Making Farming Cool Again; One Byte at a Time

Through the last decade, computers have become smaller, faster, more powerful and more aware of the world around them. These breakthroughs have changed millions of lives and kick-started whole new industries. Yet for some reason, this "digital revolution" has left agriculture virtually untouched. Farming is still marred with heaps of paperwork and a platoon of lacklustre software. We believe modern farmers deserve better tools and we are working to achieve just that. 



Animesh Mishra, Chief Executive Officer, Quickbird

Animesh is a computer engineering graduate from University of Birmingham. Having made his mother proud, he decided to turn his focus on doing something cool and founded Quickbird in 2014 with his friends to revolutionize farming. He has never driven a tractor, and that makes him sad. Would you be kind enough to let him take yours for a spin? Let him know at the Festival!




Farm Energy Monitoring and the promise of Smart Rural Grids

Farming can be energy intensive but with the right tools, farmers can count the costs of their energy usage and make informed decisions to reduce fuel use and lower farm expenses. With more comprehensive data, this can ultimately lead to energy independence and the benefits of a being part of a rural smart grid. This presentation will look at some regional case studies involving the monitoring of energy usage and the considerations of smart grids in the agricultural sector. 



Mike Woollacott, Managing Director, Greenwatt

Mike is committed to the mainstreaming of renewable energy and low carbon technologies. He uses his technical and project expertise to develop commercial and funded initiatives which raise awareness, gain commitment, build supply chains and bring sustainable products and systems to market. Mike was named as a West Midlands Green Leader by Sustainability West Midlands 2011 and was recently awarded the Galileo Master Certificate in Low Carbon Management and Finance from the European Energy Centre. 




Lunch Break & Networking in Exhibition

(Main Foyer)



Towards sustainability in food & drink upstream supply chains

This presentation will highlight the issue of many food and drink processing emissions and impacts being in the upstream (agricultural production) part of the supply chain.  Many schemes and initiatives are “out there” to try and improve the sustainability of agriculture, but without consistent measurement of progress, improvement from any of these are hard to track and quantify.  The Cool Farm Alliance provides both a pre-competitive space, and set of tools to help manage this issue in a scientifically rigorous, industry supported, and farming friendly way. 



Richard Heathcote, R&J Sustainability Consulting Ltd and Director at Cool Farm Alliance

Richard works as an independent consultant predominantly with the UK cider & orchard industry, the Cool Farm Alliance and Innovate UK.  Richard graduated in Zoology & Biochemistry from University in Hull and gained an MSc in Freshwater Hydrobiology from Cardiff, and a post-graduate Diploma in Management Studies (Distinction) from Brunel.  Richard has previously worked in the UK for Bass Brewers, Smiths Crisps and Thames Water in a variety of IT related roles. Richard moved into Sustainable Development at Bulmers in 2001 and that role grew to be Heineken Group based, where until going independent Richard co-led Heineken NV’s international sustainable sourcing program, focusing on agricultural aspects.



The rise of bioponics to economically meet food demand

Saturn Bioponics provides crop production systems to improve profitability by increasing yields and reducing labour and resource costs. We combine hydroponic methods and vertical crop production to increase yields by up to 3.5 times per unit of land. This presentation will focus on the Saturn Grower, the first commercially viable vertical growing system to be offered to growers. The talk will also cover a little of our history, research areas, the benefits of our technology both commercially and environmentally, and our plans for the future across a global marketplace.


Alexander Fisher, Founder and MD of Saturn Bioponics

Alexander has driven the Saturn Bioponics vertical growing technology from initial experiments through to market ready product over the last 5 years. He has significant experience and understanding of all aspects of the technology including crop selection and cultivation, nutrient optimisation, hardware and know-how delivery. Alexander is committed to forming honest relationships with growers who can really benefit from the system. He has built strong relationships across the horticulture industry, from growers and processors to funding bodies and government. Alexander has won various funding competitions with Innovate UK and a number of recent industry awards for the Saturn Grower system.



Panel discussion

Challenges in making the UK the leading global innovator in agri-tech

Featuring speakers from the day's programme looking at support for entrepreneurs, programmes for testing new ideas, access to world markets, and where the low-hanging fruit could lead to quick wins for the industry.



Networking in Exhibition

(Main Foyer)








Amphilogic are an equipment manufacturing company providing an ISO 17025 Test Laboratory, 3D printer services, prototype design and production, as well as gas monitoring equipment. Having started out developing and supplying underwater gas sensing solutions for the diving industry, the company now offers a wide range of connected sensor solutions for a range of applications. [Stand C2]


Cognition has more than 16 years’ experience helping businesses achieve real growth. They deliver commercially focused branding and marketing, which is essential to an effective growth strategy. They work with you to develop a customer-centric approach, homing in on what really drives purchasing decisions. Assisting businesses in various technology sectors, agri-tech is one of their focus areas. [Stand B8]



Greenwatt and its consultant team has considerable experience and credibility in the field of sustainability, low carbon initiatives and renewable energy, as well as a strong track record in feasibility studies, strategic resource planning, enterprise regeneration, project management and dissemination. [Stand B9]



IQHQ has provided unique and innovative solutions for mainly wideband military communication systems. Their surveillance products provide unique monitoring and sensor capabilities designed to protect our customer’s assets. They can interface with a range of well-known suppliers of UAV navigation and command and control platforms. [Stand C3]


The Institution of Mechanical Engineers works with leading companies, universities, and think tanks to create and share knowledge, fresh thinking and authoritative guidance on all aspects of mechanical engineering. [Stand B1]

@IMechE, @IMechE_Worcs


Lantra is a Sector Skills Council supporting skills and training for people and businesses in the land-based and environmental sector. They are an independent UK organisation owned and managed by their industries. Lantra works with employers and the UK’s governments to address your skills and productivity needs in land management & production, animal health & welfare and environmental industries. [Stand B7]



Through enterprise, innovation and working in partnership, Malvern Hills District Council aims to deliver high quality, really good value services to improve the living, environmental & economic conditions and the health of the communities in the district. [Stand B13]

@MHDCcomms, @EcoDevMHDC


Pershore College is part of the Warwickshire College Group. The college is a national centre for horticulture situated on a 60 hectare site near Evesham offering the very best in land-based learning. Numerous courses are on offer including garden design, horticulture, landscaping, food & drink production, tree surgery, silviculture and forestry. [Stand B6]



Quickbird build cutting-edge software that helps farmers find the best ways of growing food, for a growing population in an ever-changing climate. Services include ground surveys with UAVs for land management and construction, crop mapping for improved farming, and Geographic Information System (GIS) consultancy to capture, store, analyze and interpret all types of spatial or geographical data. [Stand B10]



Winners of the ‘Food and Farming Awards 2014: Special Award for Innovation’, Saturn Bioponics have developed the first commercially viable vertical growing system. It uses hydroponic methods to increase crop productivity by extending growth into the vertical dimension, whilst minimising financial and environmental costs. [Stand B2]


Senseye exploits the Internet of Things revolution to deliver an Internet of Assets™ platform to enable everyone to benefit from the power of connected devices. Their affordable product helps you to make cost saving decisions by automatically monitoring your key equipment and the things affecting it, to tell you what’s happening now and in the future in a really simple way. [Stand B3]



Worcestershire Business Central is a service which provides support and access to funding helping businesses to start-up and grow. A dedicated website and helpline offer information on business start-ups, growth, skills development, property search, networking and finance. [Stand B13]


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The Wyche Innovation Centre is a business accelerator and technology incubator situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the side of the Malvern Hills. It is home to over 40 businesses & organisations operating from serviced offices, hot desks or as a virtual office.  



2015 Sponsors

Thank you to all our 2015 Sponsors and Supporters 

Festival organised by       

In association with            

And with support from 


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Platinum Sponsors        
 CiscoLogo IDSIndata QQlogo  

Gold Sponsors



HPLogo WCClogo      
Silver Sponsors      

Next Generation Innovators day:

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Cyber Security & Big Data day:






Bronze Sponsors        

Cyber Security & Big Data day:






The Business of Innovating day:


VIP Breakfast Sponsor   Travel Partners    

Cyber Security & Big Data day:




The Innovation Express



The Innovation Shuttles