Our Story.

Being part of the Cambridge Phenomenon

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 custom last-mile communications solutions for customers such as Ionica and Radiant Networks.

cambridge tech explosion, history of Plextek.
Plextek - Formula 1 telemetry

Developing Innovation

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 custom communications solutions, as demanded by the requirements of the application. Our Projects area showcases many of our clients’ solutions: See Our Latest Work

Rapid Prototyping & Manufacture

Aside from our facilities onsite for rapid prototyping, our work on volume products soon led us to establish relationships with supply chain companies and factories in Asia, which enabled us to offer turnkey design and supply services. Since the 90s, we have been 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 recent blog has more details about on-shoring: Is manufacturing coming home?

Plextek - supply chain companies and factories in Asia
Plextek - lamp monitoring and control systems

Radar, Telematics and more

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. Plextek’s rich history in this area continues and we are still considered a World leader in radar and telematics knowledge.

In 2021, Plextek took ownership of the MISPEC software from FanField; our Mode-5 standard IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) modelling capability MISPEC (Merit of Individual System Performance Characteristics) software enables IFF system performance modelling at the early stages of the development cycle. Any queries relating to the MISPEC software or associated antenna modelling capability can be directed to us.

Spin Outs

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’. In 2021, Telensa was acquired by Signify (Press Release). Blighter, Redtail and the central Plextek consultancy business remain owned by the original founders.

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