Who they are
TouchByte are one of the latest and greatest examples of Cornwall’s emerging technology sector, creating pioneering facial recognition software that has been used to improve lives throughout the pandemic and beyond.
“We saw that face recognition was going to be the future,” Jeremy Sneller, Managing Director for TouchByte explains. “It started with using face recognition to unlock your phone. That was the key one for us in terms of the general acceptance of it, and for people to say ‘If you can unlock your phone, why not unlock your car, your house and everything else that you would potentially unlock?’”
Their latest foray was to be a push-button operated facial recognition system, to be used as an added security measure to allow only authorised personnel into certain areas. As Covid-19 became more of a widespread concern it was clear that communal technology, reliant upon on physical contact to activate, would no longer be acceptable, and so the next generation of the idea was born.
How A2F helped
To move to a fully contactless form of the technology, additional funding was needed by TouchByte to help fund the research, which is where Access to Finance stepped in to assist. Working closely with Business Finance Specialist Jackie George, they successfully applied for the EPIC (e-Health Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall) grant, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the South West Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).
Jackie has been described as “very much instrumental” to securing the funding, which allowed TouchByte to adapt their software to be completely contact-free, opening them up to a wide variety of new industries and applications.
“It’s been an absolute delight working with the Touchbyte team, helping them develop their successful EPIC funding application,” A2F Business Finance Specialist Jackie George says. “Access to Finance is all about helping companies raise the money they need to bring their ideas to life. Touchbyte is an exciting venture, and we look forward to continuing to support them as the business grows.”
As well as getting support from Jackie, Jeremy has received ongoing input from Project Director Andrew Finley, and worked with Finance Specialist Yvic Carr to create a five year forecast and a company valuation.
“The value added by Access to Finance has been superb, because it has helped transition us to a very solid position where we’re looking to grow exponentially so and take on more people.”
What this means for TouchByte
Since making the move to contactless technology, TouchByte’s products have found appreciation with a wider audience, with care homes and hotels both finding facial authentication a literal life-saver throughout the pandemic.
For care homes, adopting the technology means that staff and visitors reduce the number of surfaces they touch, reducing the spread of infection and helping to keep residents safe. Hotels have taken this one step further, with guests able to upload a picture of their face when they book, then use the technology to access their hotel room during their stay. Once they have made a booking, the guest is messaged to let them know which room and floor they are staying on so that they can avoid check-in time in the lobby, allowing hotels to operate safely, conveniently and efficiently.
It doesn’t end there for TouchByte either, as they are currently in talks with a national supermarket chain to use the technology to create a safe way to allow food to be delivered right to your fridge.