Gordon and bunny

Starting from Dorset Innovation Park

By Gordon Fong

I should give you my starting point before I embark on this year long journey.

I’m a director of X-Net, who have a presence on the Dorset Innovation Park, in terms of having an office and a data centre there, plus we are also working with the Defence BattleLab in supporting their outreach and building an ecosystem to attract all the key partners.

It’s been 24 years of being involved in the various brands and capabilities such as web development, managed services and consulting that we now collectively call simply X-Net.

We moved out headquarters out of Bournemouth in 2020 right at the start of when the pandemic changed things. That move worked out to be transformational to us. Our paths crossed with the Army, who were looking at building an innovation centre at the Park. It was soon clear that the work we conducted in the Law Enforcement and National Security had an overlap in how Defence worked and the outcomes it wanted to achieve.

Conversations continued, building started and the first phase of the BattleLab was built, in terms of the “workshop”, a large hangar space that can be used for meetings, product demonstrations, experimentation, vehicular trials, indoor drones and much more using the private wifi and 5G networks.

The BattleLab Offices then went up, based on reusing containers for construction. Now there could be permanent staff based there, businesses using the coworking spaces, and large events held in the conference facilities.

Now things were really happening at speed and activities rose very quickly. Eyeballs were firmly on this little part of Dorset, and deservedly so.

What’s my agenda in all this? I want it all to work on the park, to thrive as that is good for all the businesses but the real outcome I want from it is to create further jobs, that are real opportunities for people across Dorset to get into high tech roles and spreads the prosperity across into central and west Dorset.

The Park, with the right support, can become a centre of excellence in many areas.

The county needs more jobs, more people, more revenues, for its own future.