RS Components (RS), a trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, the global distributor for engineers, has formed a strategic alliance with Eagle Labs, a Barclays initiative to foster innovation in communities. As technology partner, RS will support Eagle Labs with world-leading engineering equipment and technical expertise from its RS Local innovation centres and DesignSpark, its thriving online community of 650,000 makers, students and design engineers.
The aims of Eagle Labs are closely aligned with RS’ focus on empowering communities with the digital and technological skills they need to unlock collaborative innovation projects. Launched two years ago within underutilised Barclays high street branches, there are now 13 Eagle Labs providing spaces that offer open and membership-based access to digital fabrication tools, a LoRaWAN SigFox base station, education workshops, rapid prototyping facilities and a vibrant community.
The first lab that RS is supporting is the IoT Centre of Excellence in Cardiff, which opened 31 January 2018, with a phased roll out to other locations thereafter. Called the DesignSpark Lab, RS is providing:
- A selection of products from its own-brand range, RS Pro, including essential electronic equipment, consumables and personal protection items;
- Access to DesignSpark, its online platform of resources, community support and technical tools, to support the engineering design process; and
- Development equipment, such as Raspberry Pi, to provide education and programming support to transform ideas into real-world applications.
Steven Roberts, managing director of strategic transformation at Barclays, said: “Eagle Labs and RS Components share the same ambition of providing communities the digital skills to thrive. By partnering with the leading provider of IoT components and tools and connecting the Eagle Lab network to their DesignSpark community, we are excited about how we can support members of the Cardiff Ecosystem to create, innovate and grow.”
Richard Curtin, vice president, global strategic alliances at RS, said: “Eagle Labs is an exciting initiative and mirrors the ethos of RS, which is all about supporting innovation and bringing great ideas to life. As a business, we’re perfectly placed to provide equipment and technical support through our RS Local innovation centres as well as DesignSpark, our growing community of makers, inventors and design engineers. This is key to inspiring and supporting people in the community; it’s exciting to think that the next big invention could be born from this initiative and we’re proud to have become part of it.”