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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 06:22 GMT 07:22 UK
Mobile future gets funds filip
Tracking share prices on a Siemens concept 3G terminal
Pedagog's virtual stars will feature on future mobiles
Wireless multi-media firm Pedagog is celebrating after securing a 1m public investment to put it at the cutting edge of next-generation video technologies.

The small company, based at Risca, near Newport, south east Wales, specialises in building devices for wireless communication, including video delivery over everyday phones and palm-top computers.

Now Welsh Assembly-backed investment fund Finance Wales is ploughing in more cash to prepare the firm for the mobile future and to fund continued international expansion.

Olinga Ta'eed
Pedagog MD Olinga Ta'eed is growing his firm
The company is positioning itself to offer advanced multi-media messaging services, in which virtual pop stars, footballers or newsreaders will appear on screens to read headlines or text messages from friends.

Pedagog recently secured a high-profile contract with a Premiership side which will see its star players appear on mobile phones, but is keeping the club under wraps.

Founded in 1996 with a UK Government innovation award, the firm has already opened offices in Los Angeles, Texas, Bangkok, London and Sydney.

Phone faces

It claims to have pioneered the world's first mobile phone video broadcast, security camera network and 3G video demonstration - all from humble surroundings on the Suflex Estate.

With Pedagog's OCTV product, for example, a palmtop computer user such as a police officer can remotely monitor security cameras from anywhere in the world.


This is a Welsh company with world leading technology in a global industry that is looking for new and innovative applications

Owen Sennitt, Wales Fund Managers
It also means a home owner can monitor from afar any room in her home or keep a watch on a family member.

But the new investment will accelerate development of the personalised faces-on-phones, which could boost the industry.

They will appear on forthcoming advanced services on forthcoming 3G devices and new colour-display phones due out in the summer.

Pedagog developed an Ali G character which pops up on Sky TV and Windows CE screens to read private messages in his own inimitable style, and the firm has already developed a virtual Murray Walker with which to woo Formula One broadcasters.

Changing times

Managing director Olinga Ta'eed told BBC News Online: "This is fantastic. Historically, Wales is not synonymous with entrepreneurship and investment in technology.

"But this is changing, and we are seeing investment in companies which do not have people on a factory floor.

Michael Owen
Footballers like Michael Owen will read your texts
"Mobile networks have already paid 300m euros on 3G licences and it will take another 300m euros to set up transmitter masts.

"They are hesitant to do that without a killer application like our's to make us use their phones."

It means Pedagog's services could encourage consumers to buy the new phones, helping provide the mobile giants with a return on their massive investment.

Funding options

The investment comes from Finance Wales, a fund backed by the Welsh Development Agency and the Welsh Assembly, and was organised by Wales Fund Managers and UK Steel Enterprise Fund Managers Ltd.

It is the latest way Welsh business investment networks are showing a newfound focus and co-operation on key entrepreneurial areas.

And it constitutes second-round financing for Pedagog, which Dr Ta'eed said is meeting with telecoms tycoon Sir Terry Matthews over possible future funding.

The company is also working with assembly health officials to give junior accident-and-emergency doctors handheld computers with which to access medical data as they treat patients in trauma.

Owen Sennitt of Wales Fund Managers said: "This is a Welsh company with world leading technology in a global industry that is looking for new and innovative applications.

"It is precisely the type of entrepreneurial business that we are looking to support."


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11 May 01 | Business
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