Insight into innovative businesses and their leaders in the digital sector
24/11/2017 | ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW
Following our passion for business, innovation and changemakers in our pursuit to get to know some of these business leaders and share their story, we recently caught up with Platform. This innovative business uses creative and digital ways to work together using cutting edge interactive digital technology.
Penina Shepherd our MD met with Max Eaglen, the co-owner and director of Platform Group, and Nathan Askew, Platform’s Technical Director, for a nice lunch in the Salt Room in Brighton.
Max and Nathan had very different starts. Max started off designing a number of the famous nightclubs in Brighton that many older night owl Brightoneers will remember (or not - it is all a hazy memory).
From there he progressed to working with advertising and production agencies, designing the interiors of customer experience centres - a sort of hi tech sales centre where corporations could demonstrate their products to potential customers. It soon became apparent that there was a gap in ‘experience’ that required something a bit more creative to fill. This gap was customer journey – helping customers relate to a product or service by bringing it to life through digital interactivity. The journey required an intricate mix of storytelling and demonstration and digital applications which became the perfect medium to tell these stories.
Starting with NCR/AT&T in the centre of London, companies including Bentley, Microsoft and Vodafone soon followed.
Since 2003 Platform has become a leading specialist on how to tell business’ stories. Working with a major management consultancy, they developed the service by incorporating digital elements such as gaming functions and large multi-touch interactive screens for businesses’ to better engage with clients as well as internally with co-workers.
Nathan came to Brighton from Hertfordshire 20 years ago and joined platform approximately 5 years ago. He is the guru behind Platform’s technological innovation and his eyes lit as soon as you mention words such as ‘Blockchain’, one of the technologies Platform researches. Platform started building interactive B2B software applications working with tech companies in India and building technology centres – they now have their own centre in their Brighton Offices called Co:Lab. They developed a product for sharing content which allows information to be sent directly to a screen from a mobile device whilst presenting. By using games technology for work applications Platform create core software which enables gamification in workshops to create a tool for businesses to present their services in a dynamic and interactive way. With these apps and data visualisation tools businesses can use digital to inform decision making.
Platforms’ research into Blockchain technology, Nathan explained, enables businesses to operate in a smarter and secure way making it easy and more efficient to communicate with clients. As it can be used seemingly with no concern about security, it’s a great tool for the B2B apps and law firms are likely to be one of their prime users.
It isn’t easy for Platform party goers to answer the question ‘what does Platform do…?’ There isn’t one straight answer as their services can be broken down into five key areas: brand and communication including use of 3d interactive tools, strategy, digital, interiors and people. They love to design cool high tech centres to help sell stuff, create a workshop process for clients to work with their clients, then they gamify it and train the people how to use it.
The one answer to the ‘what do you do’ question, seems to be: story building for businesses.
Platform is a springboard for the clients to take their customer journey, hence the name. The Platform Group consists of 25 people made up of mainly employees and some freelancers. What’s their dream? All things digital and much more of it! One such dream is developing a new retail concept such as Omni-channel as the future of shopping and the high street, digitally improving all the different ways people like to shop to create an easier, convenient customer experience. Max is particularly interested in mega trends, global shifts that affect everyone and the progression of VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and mixed reality.
Max concluded our meeting saying “You could let digital do everything for you but that would be boring. It’s important to get the human element too“.
We couldn’t agree more.