How Plexal’s helping IBM build technology with SMEs with the Mission Technology Integrator

We’re excited to reveal more details about how Plexal has been working with global technology IBM.

The government’s Integrated Review says that regaining technological advantage is a top priority, while the government also aims to direct 33% of central government procurement to SMEs by 2023. In response, Plexal is helping IBM rapidly partner with SMEs and other partners to deliver proofs of concepts for technology that could be used by the public or private sectors.

The Mission Technology Integrator helps IBM identify commercial ways of engaging with SMEs outside of its network and unlock the potential of technology.

We’ve already completed four innovation sprints. These sprints resulted in two proofs of concepts with SMEs that can be sold to the government and the private sector.

IBM partnered with computer vision company Pimloc to develop a solution that can automate the creation of human and machine-readable reports of events captured by video feeds.

IBM then partnered with Telicent, an under-the-radar SME, to build an application capable of carrying out advanced pattern of life analysis.

A third sprint that explored ways of measuring fatigue in high-pressure environments resulted in IBM deciding to create a model office that could explore the challenges and market opportunities before they engage with a partner to develop new technology solutions.

Cyber startup Exalens has been chosen to take part in the fourth sprint, which is looking at asset discovery in intermittently connected networks. IBM and Plexal will start building a new proof of concept with Exalens this month.

IBM is looking into more opportunities to partner with more SMEs later this year to explore solutions relating to cybersecurity, quantum computing, trustworthy or explainable AI and the challenges related to a hybrid, multi-tier cloud.

Plexal has designed terms of engagement for the sprints to help IBM shape the right innovation challenge statements, understand the market opportunities and identify when an SME partnership is appropriate. We also made sure that the terms of the collaboration are fair: the SME gets paid for the proof of concept and both parties have equal access to the intellectual property created. Each sprint has been completed in ten weeks or less.

Ed Gillett, client partner, IBM

Ed Gillett, client partner, IBM, said:

“The Mission Technology Integrator is all about creating new relationships, new technology, new business models, new ideas and new solutions. IBM’s work with Plexal is creating mission-oriented capability quickly and efficiently so it can be deployed where it’s needed most.”


Andrew Roughan, Chief Executive Officer, Plexal, said:   

“We’re excited to work with IBM to select these new challenge areas to address society’s most pressing security risks. It’s essential that big and small companies across the private sector collaborate and build technology together. Not just technology for its own sake but technology that the UK needs most to keep society and our economy safe and to gain a competitive advantage when it comes to mission-critical capabilities. We’re extremely proud of the collaboration model we’ve built for IBM, which has fairness at the heart and is challenge oriented.”

Steve Kochli

Steve Kochli, Chief Operating Officer, Telicent, said:

“This has been a brilliant opportunity for Telicent. During the ten-week engagement, we accelerated the development of our CORE data platform and GEO pattern-of-life application significantly. We gained detailed market insights that would be very difficult to access as a young startup and that’s allowed us to further validate our product design and market fit.

The IBM and Plexal teams were incredibly flexible and supportive during the project, and our ongoing engagement with them is generating new opportunities and leads that would not have been available to us previously. IBM and Telicent are taking the proof of concept to potential customers and Telicent has hired new staff on the back of the sprint.”