Helen Wylde - Bringme UK managing director has worked for over 25 years in sales, marketing and customer experience, working for a range of companies including Vodafone, O2, Lloyds GI, and Parcelforce, Helen’s focus is on providing great customer experiences through the combination of technology and service. A seasoned customer-focused director with a passion for technology and its pragmatic application to make life and work better for everyone.
How did you become involved in the smart buildings industry?
I became involved by sheer coincidence. Liesbet Creemers our visionary and innovative COO was visiting the UK and demonstrated the Bringme Box. I can tell you that after 25 years professional involvement, in both technology and logistics I was blown away by the product and the implications and opportunities it presented for both IoT and smart buildings. So, imagine my delight when I was invited to head up Bringme UK and roll out our trailblazing product in the UK.
What excites you about the smart buildings industry?
I would say it’s the happy combination of technology, social and demographic change coming together in a perfect storm of innovation and opportunity that excites me the most. When this is encompassed in the infrastructure (bricks, steel and mortar) of where we work and live, it makes for layers of integrated applications utilising a wide range of technologies to transform the everyday.
Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of, but are currently under the radar?
With social and digital media coming to maturity I believe most technological innovations are well documented. What is less apparent are their commercial applications and how they can be integrated into existing processes, working together for future benefits.
The value chain is still largely undetermined and immature presenting both opportunity and risk for those within the smart building space to co-create and invent for the betterment of our shared future. Fortunately, I suspect that most of us realise this is the case, hence why publications such as Smart Building Magazine are important to the collective understanding of ‘the art of the possible’.
What services does your company offer?
I am extremely proud to say that Bringme produces and provides an automated service desk which receives orders or shipments safely and discreetly, signs off for them, and informs the right person in real time, known as the Bringme Box.
The Bringme Box is modular and built from sustainable materials in our European factory, and designed to complement any building space.
Are people aware of the regulations that they will need to comply within the near future?
I suspect yes. Most companies understand the need to remain compliant as part of both, corporate responsibility but also to safe guard their reputation and ability to do business. The GDPR changes in data alone has massive implications for most businesses. As big data becomes a reality, legislation and regulation in this space alone will become significant unless companies find a way to overcome people’s latent fears of an Orwellian future.
What are the benefits of a smart building?
At the most basic level, it’s providing the best service for the end consumer, and that is:
- Efficiency in working and living,
- Effectiveness in management of costs, time and resources,
- Reduction in carbon impact, through better utility, design and intelligent real-time usage of resources and data
- Adaptive customisation, to fulfil the differing needs of people therefore providing timely and relevant solution, and finally
- Co-creation, whereby smart solutions work in sync with human interaction.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
I have been extraordinarily lucky in my career to have had many outstanding people guide me, they include but are not limited to:
- Colin MacDougal at Vodafone
- Cath Keers at O2
- Phil Loney at Lloyds TSB
- Moyà Green and Nick Landon at Royal Mail.
- Most of all my Mum and Dad who always encouraged me to be the best I can be.
My Dad would have been 80 this month and I wish he was still around so I could say thank you for encouraging and believing in me.
What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?
The most frequently asked question would have to be what I think is most important in a work environment. For me, the simple answer is always the same, it’s the people.
Employees, Customers, Business Partners, it’s the people who make up the living organic formulation of business’s rich tapestry, and you don’t weave a beautiful picture on your own.
What are the best /worst things about your job?
The best thing: Knowing I am creating fantastic, new, UK based jobs as part of a BREXIN when everyone else is worrying about BREXIT - the knowledge that I am contributing positively to this in my own tiny way makes me smile daily.
The worst thing: the commute to London - We really need to sort out our transportation systems!
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Network, keep your skills and knowledge up to date, think things through and pace yourself. Finally, it would be to say that there aren’t any right answers, so don’t just do, contribute to the thinking as well.
What living person do you admire and why?
I don’t think there is an individual who stands out, although I do have a special liking for Graham Norton as I find him very entertaining! As a group, I admire anybody who goes the extra mile, such as our doctors, nurses, fire people, teachers and others who work tirelessly in the charity sector. They are the personification of putting others first, while trying to change things for the better, they get my full admiration.
Where would you most like to live?
I come from the South West of the UK and I guess that's where I eventually would like to end up - Devon on the coast, while travelling and seeing as much of the world as possible. Right now, though I am loving my life in Buckinghamshire and a busy full on career.
What is your favourite book?
Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Graham and I read it whenever I’ve been very ill as it takes me back to a good place. I am currently working my way through John Le Carre entire oeuvre however, and loving them, whilst at the same time reading “The Hidden Life Of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben.
How do you relax?
Oh dear ...by socialising either by phone or going out with friends and family, I love mixing and meeting people.
Walking my dog Obi and looking after my two rescue donkeys -Tottenhall and Chesil.
What sports team do you support?
This season it's Bournemouth - after all, how often will the South West make it into the EPL. Exeter Chief’s for Rugby and Somerset for Cricket!
What is your desert island disk?
The idea of being stuck on a desert island is my idea of pure hell so forget the disc and get me a tool kit so I can build a boat and get back to society and humanity as soon as possible!
What is your ideal holiday?
Anywhere new, exciting and beautiful. On my current wish list are Japan, Yellowstone Park, the Trans-Siberian Express to Vladivostock, Barcelona and Bruges!! I would also want to see Scarabrea in Orkney.