It’s no secret that the global tech sector is advancing at an astonishingly rapid pace – not least in relation to the now integral role of digital transformation in spearheading growth and success. But no matter the size or scope or your organisation – or how sophisticated your innovation strategy is – the only way to drive significant change is to leverage the power of people.
So, to champion some of the industry’s finest talent, and gain some insight into the minds of individuals from across the tech space, we’re inviting friends and partners of the business to take part in our quickfire Q&A.
Up next, it’s Ed Critchley – sales and marketing director at Cheshire-based telecommunications provider, Albeego. Take it away, Ed…
Tell us about your role at Albeego and the part you play in the tech sector.
Albeego offers an innovative way to provide broadband connectivity, whether static or on the move, even in the most hostile environments that are lacking in reliable or stable communications infrastructure. Our bonded technology can, for example, take the strongest cellular signals and combine them to give more secure and high throughput connectivity.
We are carrier agnostic, but even if that in itself is an issue, we can deliver connectivity over TV whitespace – so places such as desserts suddenly become ‘online’.
What innovation was the turning point for your organisation, to get it to where you are
Comms is vital in the military environment – not least to help fulfil security needs – and the inventor of Albeego’s bonded technology had long known that there was a need for more stable and reliable internet connectivity upon his return to the UK from the Middle East in 2018.
Believe it or not, Albeego’s first router was made in a margarine tub, and the turning point was when high definition video could be seamlessly streamed on a train from Wigan to London – proving that the tech was successful! The router worked by connecting to multiple cellular towers and intuitively anticipating which ones should drop and join, while leaving other radios anchored.
And where’s next for your business?
We’re starting to tap into the realm of smart farming and agriculture, and are working with sector leaders to develop technology that we believe will revolutionise this sector going forward.
Food security is big on the agenda right now, and farming has to step up and improve its output to keep pace and become self-sufficient. It’s early days for IoT smart farming, but
Albeego plays a critical role in providing reliable connectivity and communications – whether that’s for tractors out in the field or automated machinery and robotics.
The biggest misconception faced by the tech sector is…
That innovation comes at a cost. Innovation is now going to be more affordable than any past investment from a hardware and tech perspective, and the ROI is growing rapidly. While cost might be presumed to be an initial barrier to implementing state-of-the-art products and solutions, what it replaces or improves makes the investment worth it in the long run – not only saving time and money, but also providing new benefits and features.
What do you think will be the biggest tech trend over the next 12 months?
Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) using IoT connectivity is really gathering pace at the minute. I’m sure there’ll be even more investment to come in those areas over the next year.
What top tip would you give to an individual trying to excel in their tech career?
I suppose this is a life rule too, but if it seemed like a good idea at the start, it probably is. Don’t let hurdles and doubts creep in and cloud your judgement, and don’t let self-sabotage talk you out of innovation.
Similarly, if you were never sure in the first place, that’s probably a sign to leave something and move on – knowing when to drop something is really critical to progress.
The next purchase on your personal tech wishlist is…?
I change my tech all the time for the latest iterations of existing products, such as my PC or phone, but I’m due an upgrade for my drone.
I love photography and video, and can often be found filming footage of interesting historical sites on my travels abroad, so it would be great to get the latest version for better camera capabilities.
And what is the earliest memory you have of tech in your life?
When I was a child, we went to Florida on a family holiday – it must have been around 1980 at Disney World, I remember taking a family picture and having it developed on a dot matrix printer – looking back, it doesn’t look much like us at all, but it was so cutting edge at the time. We were all totally wowed by it and showed our friends and family when we arrived home.
What is one longstanding piece of tech that you are shocked is still used today?
There are two that spring to mind:
1. AOL dial-up internet access – before broadband, people would use a standard phone line and an analogue modem to access the internet at one pence per minute, and over two million people still use it today! Perhaps it’s residents in rural places or those resistant to change who can’t move away from tradition, but this statistic is so bizarre to me. They clearly need an Albeego solution!
2. Vinyl – I used to DJ using vinyl when I was young and I loved it, but I’m amazed it’s made its way back into popularity. I thought its time had been and god for good!
If you are without the internet for an hour, what would be the first activity you resort to, to pass the time?
I’ve taken golf up recently again with my son, but would definitely need more than an hour for that, so I supposed I would read a book.
I’m a bit of a book collector, so have lots on the shelf that I could pick up. I’m quite sad that I actually have two copies of some books – one for reading and one to keep in perfect condition. It’s a mix of subject matter really, but mainly I love historical books with a slight twist – I’m currently reading one about Ancient Egypt, which is a bit of a hybrid between fiction and non-fiction.
I’m also currently co-authoring a book with a friend in Denmark about the Knights Templar, so perhaps I could pass some time putting pen to paper with ideas, too.
Renowned commercial property rental specialist Towndoor has renewed its connectivity agreement with cloud tech firm Vapour, as the two popular Huddersfield brands near a decade of working together.
The relationship initially began with the supply of managed internet lines for Towndoor’s Holmfirth HQ and Dyeworks industrial property. Powering the organisation’s business-critical operations as well as tenants’ own connectivity, the 100mb lines have long proven their quality of service, however busy Towndoor has been.
But mindful of the company’s upcoming growth plans, Operations Director Jack Dixon sought an upgraded connectivity package to support the firm’s evolving cloud tech infrastructure.
“We are continuing to expand our commercial property portfolio in Huddersfield and Holmfirth, with the development of additional facilities including our recently launched café and some upcoming new industrial units,” Jack said. “It is vital that as we look ahead to future growth, nothing holds us back. Vapour has powered our connectivity for nearing a decade, and they’ll be our ISP long into the future too.”
Impressed by the level of personal service delivered since the relationship began, Towndoor still conducted due diligence when it came to the upgrade project.
“Our latest Vapour contract was signed three years previously, and it’s only right that we benchmarked their quality of service and price point against the wider market, for peace of mind,” Jack continued. “Once again, they did not disappoint.”
Vapour has therefore rolled out 500mb over 1000mb connectivity.
“While Towndoor’s operations are not IT-heavy, we are renowned for being at the forefront of adopting the latest systems and technologies, particularly if they will have a positive impact on customer service levels,” concluded Jack. “We were therefore keen to futureproof our internet provision, so that we’re equipped with the speeds and uptime we will need, as we grow.”
“We have clients throughout the UK, not least because we have a satellite presence in Scotland, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and London, to complement our Huddersfield HQ,” added Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer. “But there’s something quite special about cultivating and sustaining a relationship with a fellow local business, especially one as respected as Towndoor.
“Like us, they don’t stand still, and it’s a pleasure to work alongside a progressive, ambitious firm like that. Despite all their success to date, I still feel like there’s an awful lot to come from this continually-expanding team. It’s great to play even a small part in supercharging their growth.”