End of year reflections from Stephen Fasham, CEO, Covelya Group
As we close off another year, we look back and take stock of events and developments. We’ve had a fantastic year with new product launches, new ways of working and improved collaboration across our companies.
Innovation still at our core
This year, we saw the launch of several new products that have been a few years in the making.
During the Covid lockdown, we hunkered down and invested heavily in our R&D, developing multiple new technologies in tandem. Seeing our cutting-edge products such as our Origin ADCP and the Discovery camera come to fruition in 2023 after all the hard work from the team was really satisfying.
Launched in April, our Origin Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) from Sonardyne represents the future of intelligent ADCP technology.
Simple to operate with class leading data, integrated communications, and positioning, it is the first ADCP to feature an integrated acoustic modem and advanced onboard Edge processing. This gives remote access to all core features and provides high quality, intelligent data in near real-time.
Origin’s ability to link to other external sensors, and combine them with its own high-fidelity data formats, allows the customer to get the most out of a single deployment and the data generated. With a 50-metre current profiling range, on-board Edge data processing and an integrated acoustic modem, Origin 600 provides in-situ, high resolution measurements with on-demand data retrieval – reducing survey costs, risk, and time.
2023 also saw the launch of another new product – the Discovery Cameras from Voyis
It captures low latency 4K video for vehicle piloting while simultaneously recording crisp, high-resolution still images and data that can be processed with edge computing into 3D models. The Discovery Stereo camera can be used for smart remotely operated vehicle (ROV) piloting and general inspection applications.
Powerful onboard computing executes image enhancement, 3D point clouds, and video encoding in real-time with low latency and the real-time image enhancement algorithm delivers images ready for 3D modelling.
We’re seeing both technologies performing well out in the field and it’s a real testament to the hard work of our teams who began working on these ideas during uncertain times in 2020.
Building a culture of communication and collaboration
Communication has been a central focus in 2023 across the Group. We recognised that our integration across the Covelya businesses could be somewhat complex and so, we addressed this by ensuring that collaboration and customer-focus was put to the forefront.
2023 has also been a time of focusing on the Covelya team. Working tirelessly on product innovation, customer satisfaction and business development, we recognised the need to have more one-to-one time with members of the management team and have recently implemented a face-to-face catch up with them all on a quarterly basis.
Communication is key to any success, both internal and external. We’ve had a great year in 2023 and it’s important to stop and enjoy this success with the team.
We set ourselves ambitious targets for 2023 and we’ve not only met, but exceeded, these goals. We will be tapping on the door of annual revenues of £100m by the end of the year, with good profitability; a fantastic achievement that’s down to our technology, our team, and our customer relationships.
A particular target for 2024 is more of a personal target than a financial one for me. Post-pandemic it’s easy to continue with remote working and communicating via video calls and email. But looking back at 2023, I see that my personal highlights largely involve times when I’ve gone out to meet clients or colleagues, or attended industry shows such as Ocean Business or DSEI. Next year, a personal target of mine is to maintain that physical attendance at both events and customer visits.
Being at the forefront of technology
At the start of 2023, we identified the impact that ongoing supply chain problems, manufacturing capacity constraints, and subsequent lead times, were having on our customers. We set out to address this, with a view to restoring pre-COVID service levels. As such, we’ve worked hard behind the scenes across our entire supply chain to get delivery schedules back to pre-pandemic levels and are confident this will benefit not only our customers, but our suppliers too.
Looking out at what’s next, 2023 clearly showed that we are entering the age of the drone in the ocean domain, mirroring developments in terrestrial and aerial markets. In the defence sector, the drone attack on the Crimean Bridge in July demonstrated not only the capability of autonomous warfare, but also its increasing utilisation. It will be remembered as a point in history that signalled the start of autonomous warfare using surface platforms in the maritime domain. The trend towards increasing automation is not exclusive to defence applications. Research institutes are going uncrewed as part of the decarbonisation of ocean science research with several vessels already in build and more planned.
This is all setting the scene for 2024. It’s no longer a question of when – it’s happening now. Autonomous systems will be integrated into fleets for defence and civilian applications. The ability to navigate and communicate will be critical as we progress from discreet systems to swarms. As we go into 2024, Covelya Group is well-positioned for continued success with our existing portfolio, but also dedicated to our ongoing pursuit of innovative products that positively impact our customers.
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