The Start of a Cambridge Technology Explosion
Plextek was established in 1989 to serve the needs of the booming mobile telecommunications industry by providing electronic and communications design services. The company developed many devices for 2G cellular, DECT and other standards-based systems, and a range of bespoke last-mile communications solutions for customers such as Ionica and Radiant Networks.
In late 2015, Plextek Ltd demerged into a number of separate legal entities, formally spinning out four new product companies: Blighter Surveillance Systems Ltd, Redtail Telematics Ltd, Plextek RFI and Telensa Ltd.
Blighter Surveillance Systems offers a range of lightweight, high-performance surveillance radars into many market sectors. Redtail Telematics provides turnkey vehicle telematics services to the fleet management and automotive insurance markets. Telensa is the leading provider of street lamp monitoring and control systems.
At the time of the demerger, the original consulting business split into two parts. The millimetre-wave IC design business was spun out as Plextek RFI, which has since been sold and renamed ‘PFRI’. The remainder of the consultancy business was moved to this legal entity – Plextek Services Ltd – but continues to trade as Plextek.
Our work on volume products soon led us to establish relationships with supply chain companies and factories in the Far East, which enabled us to offer turnkey design and supply services. Back in the nineties, we were regularly helping clients to offshore the manufacture of the products that we had developed. The cost-benefit ratio of overseas manufacture has changed over time, and we are now helping some of our clients to re-shore their manufacture to the UK.
Our wireless expertise subsequently led to design wins outside the mobile telecommunications sector, for example in Formula 1 telemetry, hospital patient monitoring systems and stolen vehicle detection products and networks. From the outset, the combination of our independence and technical skills allowed us to offer either standards-based or bespoke communications solutions, as demanded by the requirements of the application.
Radar and Telematics
In the early 2000s, Plextek started to invest income from consultancy services into internal product ideas, developing substantial lines of intellectual property in three main areas: ground surveillance radar, vehicle telematics and street lamp monitoring and control systems.
Over a number of years the company developed these ideas into marketable products and systems, creating new business areas each with their own revenue streams, while the original business continued to trade as Plextek Consulting. Plextek’s rich history in this area continues and we are still considered a World leader in radar and telematics knowledge.
Life at Plextek
Life and Culture
As many of our projects push the boundaries of engineering, we are often called upon for answers to tomorrow’s questions.
Based just south of Cambridge, we have easy road and rail routes to the vibrant city centre. Being in this picturesque setting, we understand the importance of stopping and taking in some of the fresh air.
Making use of easy access to several acres of parkland and nearby rural areas, we have regular cycling and running groups going out during the lunch period and free fresh fruit delivered daily. Unwind and have fun with a calendar of social events, ranging from innovation talks, hiking trips, BBQs, curry nights, dedicated family events and much more.
Develop and Grow
We want our people to do their best work and be in a space where they have the support and facilities to do just that. Innovation is at the heart of our business and we encourage and support all our staff in bringing forward ideas that will improve our ability to deliver better solutions.
We provide opportunities for professional development that you would struggle to match elsewhere. Our work covers almost every area imaginable so you won’t be working on just one project or in just one field but you will always be working on something new, and learning and developing fast.
Whatever your role, we believe in giving everyone considerable independence to develop and grow at their own pace with support on hand to progress your career further with in-house training and formal learning courses.
Head of Marketing
At Plextek, I’m given the freedom to drive my team forwards with a sustainable strategy.
The technology is fascinating and as there is such variety in the work we do, it’s both a challenge and really fun to run the marketing team and communicate what the company achieves.
Plextek offers an unusual experience in the electronics industry in that work is incredibly diverse. The nature of consulting means that clients come with all sorts of problems: from esoteric analogue and DSP, to whole system design and implementation, with clients being both commercial-based and public sector. The combination of these aspects creates a genuinely stimulating environment where you can explore a buffet electronics specialities.
Product Engineer, Product Design
Before joining Plextek, one of my friends in another consultancy told me that Plextek is a great company to work for and my six years here has confirmed this. The work is very interesting and there are lots of new challenges and opportunities for professional development. Whilst working in teams on client projects we are often also learning new things, which we are encouraged to share with colleagues. This helps to create a collaborative approach with an enjoyable team spirit.
Business Development Consultant
The work here is really intellectually stimulating. No two days or projects are the same and it’s this broad church of capability that I find really fascinating. As a business developer, my job is to always be on the lookout for new opportunities, this has been made easier by working within such a forward-thinking organisation as Plextek.
“The joy of working at Plextek is the great variety of work and the opportunity to get involved with such a broad range of different technologies, markets and clients. There is always a new project round the corner that means you continue to learn and develop new skills. With so many knowledgeable engineers, designers and scientists within the team there is always support from for the latest challenge.”
I applied for a job at Plextek because I really enjoy getting to work on different projects and Plextek’s clients are really varied.
The company offers many opportunities for personal growth and I’ve found that all colleagues are ready to offer help.
Being classed a ’returner’ after an extended career break brings added apprehension to job-seeking, so one of the key qualities that I was looking for in an employer was an ability to show understanding and flexibility. Plextek listened and provided me with the support I needed. In return, I believe that I am now an integral part of the team. I certainly get great job satisfaction from working with the diversity of top quality people here and once again putting my experience to good use.
Product Engineer, Product Design
The engineers here have a lot of experience and knowledge that they are happy to share and I have benefitted a lot from them. At Plextek I have been offered many opportunities to learn new skills and take on more responsibility, and I am now a much better engineer than I was when I joined.
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