Who are you?
I’m Nicklas and I was a safety instructor for 15 years for two different Skellefteå companies before launching my new company, Innan, to provide virtual reality fire safety training.
What do you do?
Right now I’m developing an invention that is going to hopefully change the way we educate people about safety at work. Virtual reality is the perfect medium for training for fire drills, evacuations, confined spaces, high altitude etc in a very realistic but totally safe way. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
For instance, if people are working in a mine, I'll make the environment a mine and I'll start a fire and they can learn how to put that fire out. Or, if a stewardess needs to learn how to put out a fire in a plane at 10,000 feet, their airline, through us, can do that.
VR really can fool the brain into thinking these experiences are real, so you get an authentic training session.
Also, once one person is trained in how to work the system, they can provide training whenever they want to – they don’t have to wait for a gap in the diary of the safety inspector.
How’s it going?
Really well. I'm in startup right now but we are fortunate to be involved in EIT RawMaterials. That's a big consortium which looks at innovation for the mining industry and any industry that works with raw materials. So, we have some finance with them and also their network.
Most excitingly, we have a trial in the summer with Aughinish Alumina, in Ireland, which is Europe’s largest alumina refinery and part of the gigantic Ruslan group. We’re working with them on a demonstration in a substation at the plant.
If it goes well, they're going to be our customers in August and they're going to use our service for more than 250 people.
Do you have any more international interest?
Yeah, we have a lot of interest from mining companies in South Africa, Chile and Australia. If the Irish trial goes well that should start things off. A lot of mining companies are saying, ‘who has used this before us?’
At home we have interest from Boliden – we’re hoping to start a pilot scheme with them in August.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt?
Get the right network of people involved. It makes life so much easier if you have a good, strong, reliable network that can put you in touch with the right people.
How has being at The Great Northern helped you?
It’s been priceless really, because all the experts in different areas are sitting here in the same house as me. I have gained so many collaborators through being at The Great Northern. All my tech partners are here - it’s just fantastic.