Yazan Khader, PredicTech

Yazan joined the IoT Engine in March 2022 and since then has been working on various product development cycles to enable him to launch his manufacturing analytics platform, PredicTech.

Hi Yazan. Tell us a little bit about you and your business…

I am a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Sheffield, where my passion for the intersection of technology and manufacturing was ignited. My dissertation focused on ‘Industry 4.0 First Steps for SMEs’, which investigated the barriers SMEs encounter when accessing digital technologies and sought solutions to overcome these obstacles. This in-depth exploration gave birth to the idea of PredicTech. Further fueled by my selection for the first-ever University of Sheffield’s start-up accelerator programme, where I won an Innovate UK grant after competing against 20 other start-ups, PredicTech began to take shape.

PredicTech is now a full-fledged start-up dedicated to empowering manufacturing SMEs to harness the power of IoT and AI technologies. We aim to remove the barriers of access and usage, providing these businesses with tools to enhance productivity, anticipate maintenance needs, and reduce energy consumption. Our vision is to democratize advanced digital technologies, making them accessible and beneficial to all businesses, particularly SMEs that are often sidelined in the technological revolution.

What has been PredicTech’s greatest success?

One of our biggest wins at PredicTech has been getting our solution into the hands of several manufacturing SMEs – talk about validation! This has shown us that our product is not just cool tech, but it’s really making a difference out there in the real world.

Another highlight has been going from a one-person show to a full-on team. We’re a passionate bunch, all revved up about empowering SMEs with our digital tech.

On top of this, we managed to snag a spot at the UK’s largest manufacturing expo, getting loads of positive feedback and making some great connections. Plus, we aced a pitch that landed us an Innovate UK funding grant, which was a pretty big deal.

And let’s not forget the IoT Engine pre-accelerator programme – this has been our secret sauce, boosting us with top-notch mentorship and technical support from Rikki to supercharge our progress.

What about your greatest challenges?

Unraveling the complexity of integrating our technology with an array of different manufacturing machines has been our greatest challenge so far. You see, getting our sensors to communicate with technologically advanced equipment like a new CNC Saacke lathe is a completely different ballgame compared to dealing with a 1970s Colchester lathe. And yet, this is precisely what Predictech is all about.

Approximately 78% of all manufacturing SMEs rely heavily on these legacy machines. Too often, they are given advice that leans towards abandoning these old workhorses for shiny, expensive, new machines. However, we see things differently. We asked ourselves, ‘Can’t we breathe new life into these old beasts, making them smarter?’ And so, we set out to do just that.

Certainly, it has been a journey filled with head-scratching moments and tricky problems to solve. Yet, the payoff has been immense. Witnessing these legacy machines rise to the challenge, becoming smarter, enhancing productivity, and helping SMEs save money – that’s been a truly rewarding experience.

Why is IoT important to you?

IoT is important to us because it’s the backbone of what we do at Predictech. It’s the technology that allows us to connect, analyze, and transform ‘old’ machines into ‘smart’ ones. It’s the conduit that enables us to bring the benefits of Industry 4.0 to SMEs. IoT doesn’t just power our technology; it powers our mission to make a meaningful impact on the manufacturing sector.

What have your experiences on the IoT Engine been like?

Being part of the IoT Engine programme has been nothing short of transformational. From the hands-on validation and proof-of-concept support to the workshops and networking events, every bit of it has shaped Predictech. It’s provided us not just with a world-class facility but also with a community of mentors, peers, and industry leaders that continues to inspire and push us forward.

What’s next for PredicTech?

What’s next for us? We’ll continue to innovate and scale our solution, aiming to make it accessible for even more SMEs. We’re going to keep talking, learning, and above all, listening to our customers. Our journey has just begun, and the future looks bright!

You can find out more by connecting with Yazan on LinkedIn