Software developers at Fennec Labs are taking immersive technology to another level with help from the SDIPs programme.
Fennec Labs is a virtual and augmented reality software development company, primarily developing products for various industries such as games, marketing, and medical training.
One challenge Director and Lead Programmer, Ben Woodford faced was creating a tool for VR that could map out a large, complex environment, so they reached out to Staffordshire University to overcome it.
Funded Business Support
Fennec Labs accessed the 'Staffordshire Digital Innovation Partnerships' (SDIPs) programme.
After joining the programme, Fennec Labs had the funding to recruit Anthony Tweedie as a full-time intern for 6 months. Anthony graduated from Staffordshire University with a first-class honours degree in BSc (Hons) Computer Games Design and Programming in 2019. Woodford and Tweedie worked together on building a tool that could consider and adapt every surface in the user’s environment, effectively allowing Fennec Labs to set up a VR application anywhere.
As a result of the project, the team developed a mapping system called ‘Cartographer’, and Anthony proved to be an integral part of the team. Anthony’s contract was extended, and he is now a full-time employee at Fennec Labs working as a product developer.
Woodford found SDIPs provided brilliant resources, such as a pair of academics with industry experience, VR experience, and support for generating new ideas. The great communication between the university and the business allowed Woodford to address any concerns about the project.
Another advantage of the SDIPs project was that the business could invest time and energy into their project, whilst minimising costs through a fully funded intern and access to academic expertise.
Having an intern onboard also benefited the team because it made them realise that they were missing a skilled product developer who could contribute to the growth of their SME through research, ultimately making hiring Anthony full-time their best decision.
Staffordshire Digital Innovation Partnerships (SDIPs) is a collaborative project between Staffordshire University and Staffordshire County Council; funded by Staffordshire University, Staffordshire County Council and the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020.
I would absolutely recommend other companies getting involved in SDIPs. It’s been really good for us. It’s provided us with a lot of insight into what we were missing as a team. It reduces the risk and allows you to invest in places you may not have had the ability to invest in before.