Published: 15 December 2015

Undergraduate wins NCE ‘Dragons’ Den’

Civil Engineering student Lily Webb has helped to design a winning idea: a unique wearable band that keeps the user safe on construction sites.

The ‘Dragons’ Den’ competition, organised by NCE (New Civil Engineer), challenged young civil engineering students and graduates to develop ideas that could help the construction industry meet the government’s Construction 2025 vision. The 2025 vision aims to reduce construction costs by 33 per cent, halve greenhouse emissions and halve the time used to build infrastructure.

Lily and her two team mates, both graduates working for Atkins, successfully pitched their idea – SiteBand – at three successive rounds of the competition, culminating in the live final at the NCE’s inaugural Future Technology Forum in October. They were announced winners having received a unanimous vote from the panel of ‘Dragons’ and won over 40 per cent of the audience vote.

Lily’s team developed SiteBand, a wearable technology for construction sites, as a way of keeping construction sites safe while minimising administration and saving time. Consisting of a robust wearable band and a cloud-based database, the gadget gives the user access to different parts of the construction site, and also to stores, plant and equipment. Each SiteBand would communicate with a database of knowledge specific to the user which would be instantly available on scanning the device, removing the need for the user to fill out multiple forms on arrival at the site.

During the pitch, the team also outlined plans for future generations of SiteBand which would include built-in communications, enabling capabilities such as health monitoring, location services and the ability to communicate with plant and equipment.

Having impressed the Dragons and audience at the Future Technology Forum, Lily and her team were invited to attend the British Construction Industry Awards, where they received a special mention in front of over 900 industry professionals.

Lily Webb said, “This competition has been a great opportunity to generate a range of innovative ideas, to really understand the challenges facing the construction industry over the next ten years, and to investigate ways of using new and existing technology to address these problems. It has been a fantastic learning experience for me – developing the SiteBand concept with my team mates has been great, we were thrilled with the industry’s response, and we are looking forward to taking our idea further!”

Senior Tutor Tony Thorne commented, “Lily is continuing the success of a number of students – female and male – from the department in the recent past. Their drive and enthusiasm for success in the industry is a delight to see and long may it continue.”


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