Innovation to keep firms on move in winter

Leah Parker of the XDesign 365 team
Leah Parker of the XDesign 365 team
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TWO young Edinburgh entrepreneurs have created a computer system to predict which areas need cleared and gritted before the first flake of snow has even fallen.

Martin Alderson, 23, and Euan Andrews, 21, who set up Haymarket-based software development company xDesign365 two years ago, will help keep UK companies – such as Sainsbury’s and Royal Mail – moving during the freezing winter weather that has been forecast.

The pair worked closely with Newcastle-based Litterboss, which provides winter maintenance services across the UK, to create an android tablet system.

The system, officially launched this week, took around three months to create and is currently being used at Straiton Retail Park and all Royal Mail depots and Sainsbury’s stores in the Capital.

It analyses data from the Met Office and uses forecasts to accurately predict which areas of the country need to be cleared and gritted – 24 hours before the bad weather strikes, as well as after the snow has fallen.

Mr Andrews, managing director of xDesign365, said: “Such an advanced system has rarely been seen within the winter maintenance field. Because of this technology, major commercial operations can be sure that their central business activities are less likely to be hampered by disruptive weather.”

He added: “Heavy snow and wayward weather is a part of life in most parts of the UK and Ireland, and this new system will ensure that mail depots, car parks and major driveways will be clear for commercial industries to conduct their business at any time of year.”

Litterboss contractors – the gritters on the ground – have their own personal tablets loaded with their schedules and route maps, which are also used to report back after an area has been cleared or gritted, providing real-time updates.

Customers can see specific details such as salt usage and the number of visits per site by accessing a web-based system.

Mr Alderson, technical director for xDesign365, who lives in the New Town, said: “The intuitive system has taken Litterboss’s existing system out of the office and on to the road, reducing the time taken to organise schedules, speeding up communication and ensuring the service has been carried out ahead of the winter weather.”