Ten UK companies that will change your life (that you’ve never heard of)

Britain’s future – your future – depends on this elite group.

All analysis shows that small numbers of high-calibre businesses make a massively disproportionate impact on economic prosperity. And, contrary to the pessimists’ view, the UK is creating such businesses.

We set out to identify the next generation of world-beating – and life-changing – UK companies. To do so, we worked with a partner, investment and research firm LCF Research.

Together, we set three criteria: they must identify a significant and important worldwide problem; they must develop an economic solution to the problem; and they must commercialise the solution in a way that creates shareholder value.

“I define such companies as ‘game changing’,” says Charles Breese, LCF Research’s editor. He believes that the UK has “an above-average ability to produce such businesses.”

Sure enough, we have identified ten exceptional companies that not only promise outstanding results, but will dramatically impact our lives.

Our companies work in truly global sectors – music, blood testing, pest-control and even nanotechnology. Their disruptive models are challenging the status quo.

You won’t have heard of them yet – these companies work quietly behind the scenes to become pillars of success. In Aesop’s fable, these companies are the “ants” of Britain. Meet them for the first time.

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EMIS

What it does: medical record sharing – enables cradle-to-grave electronic records

You won’t have heard of EMIS, but the odds are that EMIS knows all about you.

IT systems are a key tool in GP surgeries, used for everything from maintaining patient records to supporting GPs with prescriptions and appointments. EMIS was founded in the early eighties by two GPs who saw the potential of creating electronic patient records.

Today, EMIS is Britain’s top provider of GP information systems, with a 54 per cent market share. EMIS’s software already manages around 39 million electronic patient records.

If your records are on EMIS’s web proposition, they can be accessed by any other practitioner involved in your care: the district nurse, the health visitor, the hospital consultant… they’ll all know if you have diabetes or hypertension or what drugs you took this morning.

The NHS in England is already transitioning towards all records becoming electronic. Your GP uses a computer system to keep notes of appointments with you, plus medicines prescribed, test results, digital x-rays and scans.

This kind of cradle-to-grave healthcare record system means fewer medical errors, quicker treatment, and a smoother, uninterrupted pathway through the health service.

“Our focus is on improving healthcare – both for the individual and for the nation,” says Gary Shuckford, group operations director at EMIS.

“Our aim is to provide a one-stop shop for GPs and patients. Our software saves a lot of time for GP practices, and gives them better access to patients’ records. Patients can book their own appointments
to see their GP, order repeat prescriptions through the web and pick them up straight from the pharmacy – and even access their own records.”

Privacy is a critical issue. While it’s great for the hospital to be able to access your GP’s case notes, you want to make sure your records are only accessed when necessary, and only by the practitioner treating you directly – no-one wants to see this turn into a Facebook for medical records, where your friends can “Like” that illness you once had.

“We have a very sophisticated consent model,” Shuckford explains. “The system is configured to allow sharing based on patient and clinician consent. We haven’t gone with a ‘one-patient, one-record’ system, it’s a ‘one-patient, multiple-records’ model, where each clinician and patient can decide which parts of the record can be shared, and with whom.”

EMIS’s system seems to be more purpose-built than the NHS’s controversial Care Records Service, which was recently set up to get all patient records in England centrally held. The NHS’s summary care record (held in a BT data warehouse) features a few key items of information that can be accessed in an emergency – and that’s it. EMIS’s system gives you control over what you want – or don’t want – to share with clinicians.

The government is already paying attention to EMIS. Because of the masses of data in EMIS’s systems, the Health Protection Agency approached the company to help monitor the national flu pandemic, as well as other big trends in health records.

The company’s strong market share and patient-driven systems makes EMIS a clear winner. This £60m-turnover company is already changing how your health records are managed; you can be sure it will play a big part in your future wellbeing.

INTERCEDE

What it does: ID and credential management – unique technology to keep your identity safe

What do the NHS, Barclays and at least ten US federal government agencies have in common?

The answer is Intercede, one of Britain’s best (but least known) exports and a market leader in identity and credential management. This 40-employee company, based in Leicestershire, serves major corporations and governmental organisations around the world.

The international market for computer and physical security is growing rapidly, and if Richard Parris, the company’s founder, has anything to do with it, Intercede will take over the world – and your life.

Parris trained as a chartered engineer and worked at Boeing before forming Intercede in 1992, to provide computer security consulting services and to sell third-party security products such as smart cards. After three years, he identified the opportunity to develop software to manage the process of registering digital identities – his software was branded as MyID.

Intercede’s growth hasn’t stopped since. As well as managing the process of allocating smart cards, MyID integrates various features of security systems that previously had to be handled by external software, such as the ability to capture biometric data (ie fingerprints and facial features).

“The core of our business today is helping organisations – be those governments or large corporates or financial service organisations – establish trusted identities, and then issuing some kind of device or token through which the individual can assert that trust,” explains Parris.

Intercede’s technology is so good that it’s used all over the world, from Britain’s NHS (1.2 million MyID licences – the largest civilian IT programme in the world), to Queensland Police in Australia, the Alexandria Stock Exchange in Egypt, and providing ID cards for all Kuwaiti nationals.

Forty per cent of Intercede’s business is conducted in the US, including establishing digital IDs on behalf of the Transport Security Administration for 1.6 million dock workers.

“The whole world is becoming identity-centric,” says Parris. “As the only company that is providing a truly end-to-end, highly secure platform that can manage the whole process, we believe that Intercede’s technology really does have universal application.”

The diversity and number of Intercede customers suggests that MyID is on track to become the de-facto standard for smart-card identity and credential management.

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