The demand for a range of outsourced services has grown considerably in the last few months, amid the pandemic. Ulster Business looks at the companies both working directly with firms amid the fightback, and those continuing to assist companies regardless of the environment around them
Just a few days after the announcement that two vaccines for Covid-19 were well under way, it was revealed that a Northern Ireland firm had developed a new system to kill almost all airborne pathogens, including coronavirus.
Ilimex could be the answer to co-existing with Covid-19, keeping public spaces and workplaces virus free while rebooting the economy, it says. The technology kills 99.9999% of pathogens in the air. It’s already been rolled out to the The Salthouse Hotel in Ballycastle.
The Ilimex UV-C Air Steriliser, which completed a second phase of testing at Ulster University, has been proven to uniquely kill viruses and bacteria, as well as improving air quality in the environment in which it is installed.
Air sterilisation has more recently become a major concern, following studies that suggest it is now considered the dominant method of transmission for Covid-19. No product on the market is dealing with this transmission method as effectively as the Ilimex air sterilisation unit, according to the firm.
“The Ilimex UV-C Air Steriliser is a revolutionary product that will make places where we work, play and live safer,” chief technical officer, Richard McCauley, said.
We have created a range of devices that will suit different areas and help clean the air in places where people feel they are most at risk, for example, nursing homes, dentists and offices. This product will have application across all sectors including hospitality, transport, education and healthcare.”
As one of Northern Ireland’s largest construction firms, Co Down’s Graham is also a major operator within facilities management.
And the firm has also just been been appointed by Grant Thornton to deliver hard facilities management services at the professional services firm’s Belfast headquarters.
The contract, for an initial three-year term, starting last month, will involve the provision of planned and reactive maintenance services, with the support of locally-based, specialist supply chain partners.
“We are delighted to have secured this contract with such a prestigious client in Grant Thornton,” Gordon Richardson, Graham senior contracts manager, said.
“Over the next three years and beyond, we look forward to forging a strong, mutually beneficial partnership that will support and enhance the delivery of Grant Thornton’s Belfast operations. This is a strategic addition to the Graham facilities management portfolio, and it adds to our growing list of blue-chip clients in Northern Ireland, and across the UK as a whole.”
Currently, Graham is delivering a range of facilities management services throughout Belfast city centre, including at 9 Lanyon Place, the Bar Library, and for Allen & Overy at its flagship headquarters at Donegall Quay.
As part of a major £685,000 investment, Newry-based built environment software firm Bluezone Technologies has launched its latest innovation, developed at the company’s innovation hub, to facilitate round-the-clock monitoring and control of Legionella and waterborne bacteria.
The ‘no touch’ Legionella management system consisting of BluezoneTemp and BluezoneFlo, which sit on the company’s internet of things platform Bluezone24, incorporates sensor technology to remotely monitor water temperatures and provide real time intelligent analysis to the devices of those responsible for their occupants’ health and wellbeing through Bluezone24, all without human interaction.
Bluezone Technologies says it has a reputation for creating operational efficiencies through its software and well-established Bluezone24 platform for managing the organisational, contractor and compliance requirements of buildings and assets.
This includes an existing Legionella management module with mobile application and utilises the latest internet of things (IoT) sensor technology to remotely monitor environmental comfort such as humidity, carbon dioxide and asset tracking
As the prospect of reopening many of our businesses began earlier this summer, the roll out of everything from hand sanitising stations, to cleaning projects and fresh signage became a burgeoning area of business.
And temperature checks are also something many companies turned to in a bid to battle Covid-19.
Lisburn-based security company Mercury Security & Facilities Management invested heavily in thermal screening technology that will detect if someone is suffering from a fever in around a second.
The company’s latest discovery is a camera that produces thermal images to enable the speedy detection of a high body temperature which may indicate the presence of a fever – one of the first vital symptoms displayed by carriers of coronavirus.
The Mercury TC-1 camera can detect an elevated temperature in just under a second, allowing large numbers of people to be screened at one time. Subjects can simply walk through the field of view together and the camera will scan them without impeding their passage in any way.
Darragh McCarthy’s near-shoring financial services operation has become one of the fastest growing companies in Northern Ireland – heading towards the 1,000 staff mark, with offices in Belfast, Derry and a new spot in New York.
It works with some of the world’s largest tier one investment banks, and carries out a range of services including compliance, legal, operational and technological support.
And as the company headed in to remote-working this year, it experienced its busiest period in April.
As for its expansion to launch a New York office, Stuart Marks, FinTrU head of business development, will be relocating from Belfast to set up operations in the US.
“My role will be focused on the building out of our existing and new client relationships, while setting up our New York operations,” he said.
“FinTrU has experienced undisrupted client delivery during this period with eight new client contracts secured and two additional investment banks clients added to our portfolio.”
And Darragh McCarthy said: “This is a very exciting time for FinTrU and despite the pandemic, we have had a growth rate of 75% in 2020 driven by operational excellence. This global expansion by FinTrU demonstrates our commitment to continued growth across the company.”
DATA AND THE CLOUD
With remote-working now part of working life for many, the idea of storing data, not only in hard copy, but in the cloud, has become more and more important.
Among those at the forefront of digital services at the moment is Kainos. The technology firm, which is working almost entirely remotely itself, is helping in the fightback against Covid-19 – growing and expanding the work it’s doing with the NHS.
It also works with HM Passport Office in the digitalisation of that process.
And in today’s increasingly digital world, with high-speed file servers, cloud storage and huge data capacity, many companies now have no need to keep hard copies of their files, and going paperless.
Morgan Document Security is one of the firms helping firms achieve that. Its routes are within secure and reliable storage and archiving for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
But it’s expanded significantly into the world of digital, particular in helping firms move from hard copy to digital, and cloud storage.
The firm allows companies to scan and record paper records to reduce clutter, free up office space and a provide you with a safe, reliable record of everything held.