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After several years of development, MIME Technologies launched its ground-breaking remote medical technology product ‘Aiber’ for the aviation sector in March 2020. Having also been ranked 9th in the Scotland Tech 50 - a list of the country’s leading technology companies - the ambitious Inverness-based firm is now accelerating plans to adapt its product for additional market sectors such as maritime. The Scottish Government is supporting this move via Scottish Enterprise, with financial support deployed by the Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund.
Aiber is a first response kit that supports non-medical professionals who are trained to manage an incident in environments away from professional care – such as being 30,000 feet in the air! This new product can share a passenger’s vital signs while communicating with aviation medical professionals on the ground using the product’s chat functionality.
While many airline carriers currently have in-flight voice support to professional medical services, limited on-scene data coupled with variable connectivity often compromises the ability to optimise care and make informed diversion decisions. Aiber can support crew with or without connectivity and enables end-users like cabin crew to record both major and minor incidents. The technology also guides crew with first aid steps, in the event of a passenger presenting with symptoms of suspected heart attack or stroke, for example.
MIME Technologies co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Anne Roberts, says that Aiber can ease this process for the crew, ultimately helping to improve outcomes for passengers and avoid unnecessary flight diversions.
“Dealing with an in-flight medical emergency can be extremely stressful for those onboard. In some cases, you may be hours from land, and caring for the unwell individual is very an intense and stressful situation. Critical information can be lost in the heat of the moment if there is no technological record, and the impact for the airline can be significant, anything from £10,000 up to £250,000 or more. At MIME we can automate each incident record for handover, audit or crew training.”
Investment has helped MIME Technologies accelerate in-house product development, going from MVP (minimum viable product) to a stage of product readiness in a relatively short period of time.Anne Roberts, Mime Technologies
Key to MIME Technologies’ rapid progress has been credible research and development. A HIE Innovation Grant allowed the company to carry out product-critical research focusing on the collection and transmission of vital signs data such as a 12-lead ECG trace of the heart - which doctors can review through the Aiber secure cloud dashboard. Such information can play a key role in determining whether an aircraft diversion is necessary. Additional funding includes a recent round of investment that has enabled the company to grow its customer base and create operational and technical jobs. Anne says, “Investment has helped MIME Technologies accelerate in-house product development, going from MVP (minimum viable product) to a stage of product readiness in a relatively short period of time.”
Far from standing still due to the onset of a global pandemic, MIME Technologies has used the hiatus to adapt and accelerate its business plan to access new, applicable markets such as the maritime industry – merchant shipping and superyachts in particular. Early feedback has been very positive, with medical emergencies at sea posing similar challenges to those in the air, and COVID-19 putting the health and wellbeing of crew high on the agenda. At the same time, the company is preparing to support the aviation industry with its post COVID-19 recovery strategy.
“Maritime is a sector we are looking forward to developing in,” says Roberts. “New funding enables us to react to the unique challenges posed by the marine industry more quickly than we anticipated. Some final technical steps are required, for example Aiber’s packaging needs to be changed so that it’s waterproof and more durable.”
MIME Technologies arrived at NEXUS after a journey from its roots at the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Rural Health, based in the Centre for Health Science in Inverness. “NEXUS is great,” says Roberts. “It’s a positive working environment alongside other young companies on a similar journey. We can all share experiences such as product development, compliance and intellectual property, and it’s a great place for bouncing ideas off people. The building is full of ambitious companies and my team thrives on the interaction.”
“We moved into NEXUS in January 2020. Needless to say, we are currently following COVID-19 guidance, but we very much look forward to when we can fully return to the building! It is a fantastic environment for young companies to grow and it feels great to be around other tenants who are equally as driven in their company mission.”