In October 2021, Lakeland Industries, a leading global manufacturer of protective clothing for industry, healthcare and first responders, announced that it has made a strategic investment of approximately $2.7 million in Breed Reply portfolio company, Inova Design Solutions Ltd, trading as Bodytrak®.
Bodytrak provides wearable monitoring solutions for customers in industrial health, safety, defence and first responder markets wanting to achieve better employee health and performance.
We caught up with Bodytrak’s founder, Leon Marsh, to ask a few questions.
It started with my interest in sports physiology and matching technology to solve problems. During my university degree, I completed a project looking at hydration monitoring – typically measured by phlebotomists in a lab. For other types of lab-based monitoring, athletes are typically rigged up to invasive equipment and a qualified technician is required to translate all the data into meaningful insights. This is a complex and skilled process, and only reflects lab conditions. My question was whether you can automate data capture and analysis for the real world, with real context. The better solution for occupational workers is non-invasive real-time monitoring to measure these parameters in the actual environment a worker is operating.
My focus on Bodytrak started in 2013 after I was made redundant. I met Breed Reply in 2015 and they provided our first material investment which helped accelerate Bodytrak’s progression.
We started developing the technology for heat stress monitoring via development contracts from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. This was especially significant following the death of three soldiers in the Brecon Beacons caused by heatstroke during endurance events. In parallel, there was interest in the technology from other sectors, such as the fire service, elite sport and heavy industry, for example, metal smelters and paper mills. We also extended our solution beyond heat stress, looking at monitoring fatigue in drivers amongst other things.
People are much more used to using wearable devices for day-to-day fitness tracking, for example, to measure steps or cycling performance. Apple Watch measures health parameters which signifies a growing consumer trend towards health monitoring. This has helped drive awareness of Bodytrak.
The previous way to measure heat stress was to look at ambient conditions and apply a risk factor across an entire workforce. Now, companies recognise the advantage of real-time personalised monitoring which enables intervention, demonstrating a real step-change in the capabilities of wearable devices for safety.
We have reached production of our first core product and software platform solution – Bodytrak – which monitors among other things, heat stress, fatigue and noise exposure.
Now, we plan to grow our sales and marketing function to increase sales. We are also adapting our current product to be used in hazardous environments such as oil and gas, mining, utilities and also the petrochemical sector, which is a sector our new investor, Lakeland is present in.
Like most companies, it was tough during the pandemic, but the future looks very bright for Bodytrak and we look forward to setting new standards in safety.