CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Are you ready to aircharge your phone with technology from an exciting new Oxfordshire company?

PUBLISHED: 17:28 19 February 2015 | UPDATED: 17:28 19 February 2015

What if you could just lay down your tired mobile at your desk, in the coffee shop, or at the airport, and have it automatically charge? An exciting new venture from an Oxfordshire company, supported by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Oxford Brookes, is making it possible to do just that; and not surprisingly, the interest from potential customers is massive.

Grove-based company CMS Industries was seeking to grow its business by moving from the distribution of components for office furniture to the creation of original products. MD Steve Liquorish approached Oxford Brookes University to enquire about a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), and the outcome was a two-year project in engineering design that is reaping spectacular rewards.

‘Aircharge’ is a growing range of neat, visually sophisticated wireless charging devices that integrate into furniture and desk accessories. Initially installed around the Clerkenwell district of London (apparently the hub of the UK’s office furniture industry), the products have gone on to attract attention from household name companies such as Vodafone and a major fast food chain, with trials for installation in customer areas nationwide. They’ve been used at F1 corporate events and are also generating interest in the hotel, travel and banking sectors, among others, that could result in worldwide rollout.

Key to the project is KTP Associate, Glenn Le Faou, a young Master of Design recruited by the partnership. Guided and supervised by Shpend Gerguri, Senior Lecturer in Engineering Design at the University, Glenn developed the aircharge product line and even created the distinctive logo and icon that could become as widely recognised as the wifi symbol. For Glenn, it has meant direct experience of taking a product to market – and the triumphs and tribulations that entails. From Brookes he has been given access to the latest thinking and research on such issues as assembly, testing, problem-solving, bonding technologies and new materials, including glues developed by Brookes researchers, plus access to testing machines and other resources.

Glenn to become an integral part of the development process at CMS, gaining insight into the business function from project management and finance to understanding customer needs. He has come into direct contact with the challenges and complexities of scaling up products for mass production. His role has given him responsibilities and a breadth of experience rarely found at such an early stage of a graduate career – to the extent that he was shortlisted for the national award for ‘Business Leader of Tomorrow’.

“Seeing aircharge through from conception to a new brand and product range has been an insightful and rewarding experience,” said Glenn, “particularly as I want to help create products that people can use in day to day life. It has taught me about the process of harmonising technology, ergonomics and manufacturing methods cost-effectively to make something worthwhile.”

For CMS, Brookes has brought fresh thinking and support that has given it the confidence to expand into a new market and develop a product unlike others in its portfolio. Sales Director Barry Grant said: “Finding Glenn has proved to be one of the most invigorating moments in our 24 year history. With the backing of Oxford Brookes we had a great deal of confidence in the high level design input from the experienced individuals behind him. He and the KTP have given us benefits over and above our expectations.” And when the project came to an end, the company recruited Glenn to a permanent position as Design Manager.

Brookes researchers, meanwhile, are able to keep abreast of developments facing industry, to adapt their thinking and research accordingly, and in addition adjust their teaching to reflect the needs of students wanting to work in the sector.

Whether or not ‘to aircharge’ becomes the verb of choice when charging your mobile device, the benefits of the partnership to the company, the sector, the university and the individuals involved will be around for years to come.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

The Cotswolds are abundant with picture perfect locations ideal for a ramble. Gather loved ones, wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with one of these winter walks in the region

Read more
Mon, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Mon, 12:23

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search