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Public Engagement

The Bruce Dickinson Prize for Best Queen Mary Enterprise Activity


Jonathon Pitts, Actual Experience

When you’re watching a video and it freezes, or when you’re web browsing and it suddenly slows down, you get frustrated or give up what you’re doing. But, did you know that nobody can see that it’s happening? Apart from you.

For business IT departments or Broadband ISPs, their lights will be green, but staff and customers still complain. There must be a problem somewhere but, like dark matter, no one can find it. In economic terms, when the complex and expensive digital supply-chains that staff and customers rely on underperform, businesses lose up to 9% top line. At a macro level, this problem is a serious brake on the $8T global digital economy.

After 10 years of research by Professor Jonathan Pitts, Actual Experience, co-founded by Jonathan and experienced software entrepreneur, Dave Page, solves this problem. The research allows Actual Experience to analyse the digital world in the only way that matters: as humans experience it. This allows Actual Experience to find performance dark matter and, in the same way that a new racing car has to be tuned and adapted on the track for it to perform properly for the driver, Actual Experience enables businesses to tune and adapt their digital supply-chains to perform properly for staff and customers. Actual Experience calls this digital supply-chain management. Customers use it to:

  1. Enable continuous service improvement
  2. De-risk technology and process transformations
  3. Help manage digital supply-chain cost reduction

Actual Experience is expanding from a UK installed base into a global market, where every business, small, medium and large, and consumer, relies increasingly on their digital supply-chain.

Highly commended

Josh Reiss for MixGenius: his work commercialising automatic music production research.

Andrew McPherson for TouchKeys: a system to add touch sensitivity to the surface of any piano-style keyboard.

The winners of the 2013 prize can be found here

 The 2013 Bruce Dickinson Prize for best enterprise activity went to Matthew Purver, for ‘Chatterbox Analytics Ltd’, a company which seeks to to commercialise his research in automated language processing for social media analysis.

Together with QMUL alumnus Dr Stuart Battersby, Dr Purver founded a new spinout company in Nov 2011, Chatterbox Analytics Ltd, to commercialise his research in automated language processing for social media analysis.  

Chatterbox embraces machine learning to derive meaningful insights from big social data. Born out of academic research, Chatterbox's Social Technology Engine encapsulates valuable IP into a modular and flexible system that can operate at scale across verticals, markets and languages.

Highly Commended 

Jonathan Pitts for his work on QM spinout Actual Experience Ltd., which was co-founded by Professor Jonathan Pitts and experienced software entrepreneur, Dave Page. The spinout exploits Jonathan’s research on developing effective analytical techniques for modelling the complex behaviours of shared infrastructure and their impact on end-to-end application performance. 

Josh Reiss, who along with his research team, has developed a set of tools that automate the audio production process, hence streamlining work processes, reducing labour costs and cutting down production time. The start-up company Mix Genius was formed and spun-out from Queen Mary. The company licenses his intelligent systems technology to mixing console and audio workstation manufacturers while growing an online service for end users. 

Lindsay Shirah for her work addressing the resource and skills gap in the charities sector, and the undersupply of quality internship opportunities for students and graduates. Queen Mary students and graduates are placed into charities as Project Leaders in order to deliver a challenging project that the organisation would otherwise not have the resource or skills to deliver.