Immutable audit trail of a component or device

The Innovation Exchange programme is working alongside a large UK company. This business is looking to engage innovators and innovative companies that can help them solve a significant challenge they are trying to overcome in relation to a key security and quality issue. They will engage with the suppliers of innovation to support development (if required) to better suit the application. The organisation’s facilities are situated throughout the UK and activities take place across the world. As part of its operations the challenge owner needs to be able to demonstrate the provenance of all inputs to its business using a common approach.


Challenge opens


Challenge closes




The challenge owner has a very large and diverse supply chain. Components and sub-assemblies of equipment purchased by the organisation are commonly produced by multiple different parties that supply the challenge owner’s primary suppliers.

In order to prevent non-compliant parts entering the organisation or to trace the origin of parts on the introduction of new compliance regulations, which affect legacy parts, it is necessary to establish irrefutably the origin and history of a part and associated documentation.

Any technology or system must be able to be implemented by a wide range of organisations. Ideally it should be an approach that can be integrated with existing systems however stand-alone solutions will be entertained.


  1. Reduced regulatory non-compliance 
  2. Reduced equipment failure due to quality issues
  3. Creation of a  ‘single point of truth’

The challenge owner is actively looking for solutions that will;

  1. Enable full traceability of every component part in every product they produce or use
  2. Offer a secure and incorruptible or tamper-evident mechanism to demonstrate the journey of a part from manufacture to delivery  and into use.
  3. Be capable of being adopted by the existing supply chain as well as being specified for use by future suppliers.

Whilst not limiting the technologies from solution providers, it is expected that solutions would consider innovations from some of the following areas:  

  • Automotive sector
  • Medical devices
  • Aerospace
  • Food and drink
  • Finance
  • Data security
  • Telecomms
  • Building Information Management system suppliers
  • Digital twinning experts

Rewards and benefits

Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the Challenger. The package may also include:

  • Support from the Catapult networks and the KTN
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot 
  • Technical support
  • Invitation to attend or present at KTN or Catapult events
  • A potential business collaboration
  • Investor introductions (if investment is required)
  • Support if any Innovate UK or similar competitions are relevant.

Functional requirements

  • Sector-agnostic: the solution must be applicable to all supply chains and their suppliers
  • Compliant with the Challenge Owner’s strict cyber security protocols

Technical characteristics

  • Incorruptible or tamper-evident

Operating conditions

  • The system will be deployed in office environments but should be accessible from hand-held remote devices

Deployment timescale

  • Launch of the Competition: 11th of May 2020
  • Deadline for applications: 10th of July 2020
  • Selection and notification of finalists: 24th July 2020
  • There is need for this solution as soon as possible, however, for the right solution or offering the Challenge Owner is happy to work with an early stage innovator or concept stage demonstrator

Cost requirement and market opportunity

  • Costs will be proportional to deployability
  • For the right product, the solution could be used across the Challenge Owner’s portfolio and wider
  • This challenge offers a multi-year development opportunity for the right solution

Eligibility and assessment criteria

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
  • UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Relevance to the topic
  • Innovative nature of the subject
  • Coherence of the proposed business model
  • Feasibility/ economic viability
  • Development potential
  • Maturity of project/solution
  • Ability to launch project quickly/Ease of implementation
  • Price/quality ratio
  • Suitability for the UK and European Market

IP and potential commercial route

  • Existing background IP associated with a potential solution will remain with Solution Provider(s). Where any new IP generation is envisaged, it will be subject to the mutual IP agreement of the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Any commercial deployment of transferred solution or newly developed solution, through licensing, joint venture, partnership or direct investment, will be subject to the commercial agreement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Where necessary, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) may be signed to uphold confidentiality in the engagement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger. (This would be expected to be after company selection, it is suggested that details of IP be not disclosed, Focus on the outcomes of the technology proposed).
  • Innovate UK and KTN do not take any share of IP ownership or enter into commercial venture through the iX programme.

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