Meet the team who want every smartphone waterproofed in five years

Francis leaves the ball firmly in their court, saying "production lifecycles are very long, and are lead by engineers keen to engineer a solution for the problem of waterproofing without turning to a relatively unknown process such as ours."

There are, of course, other factors that have slowed adoption, such as the cost of adding an extra stage to the production line that manufacturers may be resistant to. Though as Francis points out, "It's not like we're adding another [tool] to an existing manufacturing process, but rather we're asking them to add something to their bill and material costs which obviously they're trying to keep as tight as possible."

Future tech

P2i has 190 machines in factories across 16 countries. With revenues growing from £6m in 2012 to £8m last year and a forecast of £12m in 2014 and £18m in 2015, Francis rightly feels confident about the company's future in smartphone protection.

He says "we're focused today on liquid and oil-repellency. There is a need, and we have a solution, though there are other coatings we've looked at such as scratch and fingerprint-resistant coatings."

In the future it's very plausible that nano-coatings could do more than waterproof. Indeed nano-coatings that can provide scratch resistance and impact protection are not beyond the realms of technology.

In 2010, P2i acquired Surface Innovations, another UK-based company specialising in a variety of nano technologies including anti-microbial coatings. Francis hopes this could be combined with P2i's waterproof tech: "We need to improve them to make them more robust and more scalable, but there is a huge demand for anti-microbial coatings that won't change the look or feel of a product."

It's pretty obvious that nano-coatings provide a much more elegant solution than any other kind of waterproof protection, as well as adding minimal cost. For now it's just a waiting game until the manufacturers catch up and are willing to implement this extra stage of assembly.

Whether it's P2i's technology or something very similar, there's little doubt that life-proofing smartphones and wearable technology is high on the agenda.