NTAILS technology advice centre for small and medium-sized businesses
The NTAILS technology advice centre is a project run by the University of Wolverhampton to advise and enable small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the West Midlands to make the most of new technologies.
Based at the Shropshire campus of the University, in Priorslee, Telford and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the centre provides a link between the University and West Midlands businesses looking to adopt new technologies.
NTAILS stands for New Technologies for Automatic Identification, Location and Sensing.
The main technologies the centre showcases are:
- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
- Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC)
- Barcodes and Quick Response Code (QR) Codes
- Global Positioning System (GPS)
Advice the centre offers can include free business assistance (available until December 2013) in the adoption of these technologies, equipment loan, graduate placements, free-to-attend technology seminars and links to NTAILS’ academic research.
Visitors to the centre have the opportunity to use the technology and be guided on its application to their business.
Companies must be based in the West Midlands and be registered with HM Revenue & Customs for business tax and can include:
- Start-ups of all sizes whether or not VAT registered
- Self-employed and sole traders
- Partnerships / limited liability partnerships
- Companies (private or public limited companies: private unlimited companies)
- Independent spin-outs from established businesses, universities and other research and development organisations
- Not-for-profit companies, co-operatives and community / farm / social enterprises
- New-to-the-region branches of businesses which remain established elsewhere in the UK
- Foreign direct investment (FDI) bringing new enterprises to the region, both first time investment and subsequent expansion
Eligibility is also subject to previous State Aid receipt and certain restriction in which business sectors are covered.
Further assistance available from the project include:
Graduates - The project offers SMEs an opportunity to take on board a graduate for a 12-week placement within the company. The Graduate and the Business will have access to supervised support from university staff. The graduate placements involve working with local companies on a small scale project and areas of engagement can include software development, software analysis and software testing.
Equipment loans - Businesses can borrow specialist equipment to evaluate at their own premises. This includes UHF (Ultra High Frequency) readers, HF (High Frequency) readers, barcode readers and temperature, humidity and moisture sensors.
Consultations - A technology consultant who can work with you at the centre or at your business premises to recommend how new technologies can be adopted. These typically involve at least two days with a consultant, free of charge, including a written report of the recommendations proposed.
Database of suppliers - The NTAILS project provides a free directory of companies involved in the supply and/or distribution of technology relating to RFID and sensor technologies.
School of Technology
University of Wolverhampton