It is Sam’s turn in the spotlight this month, as he tells us about breaking into the tech industry, his love of gaming, and why Tesla’s innovations have been a real stand-out over the last 12 months…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

It’s always been more of a passion than anything. I loved gaming and anything sci-fi related from a young age, and as I grew older, I found a keen interest in building PC’s too.

So, when it came to planning out my career prospects, it seemed like the obvious choice to look at avenues in tech – not least because it’s such a fast-growing industry. I saw Vapour doing great things, and wanted to get my foot in the door.

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

The Atari Joystick was my bread and butter for years. Pacman, Dig Dug – I used to play them all!

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

I’d say willingness to learn and try new things.

Both the tech industry and Vapour as a business are constantly evolving, and innovation never stands still – even the experts don’t know what’s on the horizon at times. That’s why it’s crucial to be open-minded to change and exploration.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

The jargon. Technical language needs to be simpler across the board.

As much as tech is integrated into the world, there’s a lot of people who don’t know where to start – including employees. When I joined Vapour, I sought the role out directly because the team is so straight-talking and has a proven track record. Others might not be so lucky in getting that entry-level foot in the door.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

First-class products are a given with Vapour, and the results they achieve are testament to their success.

But something that really stands out for me, above all else, is the level of customer service we offer. You can rely on the team 24/7, and customers are constantly firing positive feedback our way.

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is...

The Gameboy. It was so ahead of its time in terms of portable gaming, and I spent hours on end during car trips as a child on it.  

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wish list is...

A sturdier pair of headphones – mine always seem to be breaking!

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is...

I’d have to say Tesla. Having studied environmental sciences at university, electric cars are something that really pique my interest. From supercharging stations to the energy storage Megapacks, they’re always doing something to disrupt the industry!

Forward thinkers and tech innovators will be descending upon The Chambers in Leeds this month, for what is sure to be an unmissable exploration into next generation digital transformation.

Following the tremendous success of Vapour’s innovation forum in January, a brand-new panel of thought leaders will take to the stage to bring us the latest information on cloud technology, client connectivity, and the future of 5G - diving into what’s next for the fast-evolving world of hybrid working.

The exclusively-selected clients in attendance will come away with a slew of fresh ideas on how to improve their organisations’ productivity, security and resilience. Keeping them ahead of the curve in the rapidly changing tech environment.

Presenting at the city centre venue, will be representatives from the award-winning telecoms and technology provider, Wavenet, providing insight into, and demos of, their TeamsLink offering. The lucky invitees will be able to see just how the technology works and observe the business applications of its hero features, such as Power BI and dynamics integration, plus call recording. Wavenet’s John Denny is eager to provide a clear picture of just how much is possible with their programs, and how they can work seamlessly with other platforms, like that of Puzzel.

Pioneers of the customer service platform, Puzzel, will also be in attendance, showcasing their omnichannel contact centre on when and how this can be layered with other systems. Turning the spotlight onto their infrastructure, the value it holds, and the potential benefits they see in an increasingly remote working world, the focus of this session will be how to ensure savvy tech works harder for modern organisations.

The event’s highly-anticipated keynote speaker - CEO of Robiquity Tom Davies will be sharing the latest advancements in robotic process automation, its real world applications, and just how they can be implemented to benefit every organisation. Robiquity is widely recognised as the market leader, and Tom is sure to wow attendees with his observations and foresight.

Of course, there will also be a presentation from Vapour’s very own CEO Tim Mercer, who will unveil the latest 5G market changes set to revolutionise private network connectivity, and the need for faster progress as BT’s 2025 copper switch off edges ever closer.

Commenting on the event, Tim said “Hot on the heels of Vapour’s first innovation forum in January, this will be an excellent opportunity for our customers, partners, and friends to gather intel from some of the most pioneering thought-leaders from the communications and cloud tech space, as well as build key connections.

“With the market constantly evolving, and following such a successful turn out earlier this year, there felt no better time to launch the second instalment of the innovation forum, and I look forward to seeing what our keynote and guest speakers bring to the table on the day.”

All speakers will then be united for a Q&A session giving guests the opportunity to put their own questions to the knowledgeable panel.

If you are interested in attending this, or future innovation forums please visit our registration page or call 0333 200 1142 for more information.

 

It is Jordan’s turn in the spotlight this month, as he tells us about his days of playing FIFA 2004 on a PlayStation 1, his hope to see flying Tesla cars, and how he thinks the best piece of tech invented is the smart phone. 

How did you first get into the world of tech?

I initially wanted to be an electrician. Whilst I was doing my electrical courses in 2012, I was pleasantly introduced to my colleges 3x 48u racks full of cables, switches, and routers. Ever since I set my eyes on this, I was fixated. I asked my electrical tutor more questions about the rack than I did about 3 phase induction motors. 

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

My earliest memory has got to be playing FIFA 2004 on the PlayStation 1. I was bad at this game and probably experienced too many angry moments by not being able to score goals on easy mode. 

As well as this, the first time I can remember being exposed to tech was having my first mobile phone – a Nokia 65000 – and downloading the soundtrack to ‘War of the Worlds’ from a well-known free website called ‘LimeWire’. I had to transfer it onto one phone and then Bluetooth it over to my own phone – this took 3 hours!

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

I wouldn’t pinpoint one skill specifically. To thrive I think people need to have multiple skills. For example, Vapour is full of individuals with a broad range of skillsets, and this is where I feel I fit in well. 

I would say being diverse would make people thrive in any environment, especially at Vapour where technology is at its forefront. 

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

I wouldn’t change anything. I think the direction we’re heading in should help develop the world and help us understand what we need to do in the future. 

Although, I would like to see flying Tesla’s in a few years so if Elon can hurry up with that before I’m to old to drive and need a bus pass.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

I think Vapour can service and manage any business model, with its vast range of technology offerings. There aren’t many companies out there that can offer this many and be good at it. 

Vapour offers numerous products that are great and still provides excellent service to the market. 

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is... a Smart Phone

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wish list is... an 8k TV 65”, keychron k2 keyboardA tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Amazon

Cloud technology specialist Vapour has announced its expansion in Leeds city centre with new workspace in tech hub Platform. This news coincides with two new additions to the company’s engineering team, as the business furthers its fast-paced growth plans.

The additional workspace at Leeds’ well-known coworking space, Platform – adjacent to the railway station – increasing Vapour’s network across the UK, with its HQ in Huddersfield, and satellite bases already in Glasgow, London, and Lancashire.

Vapour’s duo of hires includes cloud voice UC engineer, Graeme McCabe who joins Vapour having worked with Avaya systems for the last five years. In his new role, Graeme will install, troubleshoot, and manage all changes on Vapour’s platforms, working alongside the team to ensure customers have a smooth transition and quality ongoing support.

Further strengthening Vapour’s cloud and networking resources, Jordan Stephenson – as senior cloud and network engineer – will ensure the resilience and efficiencies of Vapour’s services. Focusing on maintenance and diagnostics, as well as uplift and project work around the network infrastructure and cloud environment, his strong background in information technology, following his previous role as network lead at Contrac IT, will be a great asset to the technical team.

Tim Mercer, CEO of Vapour, commented: “This is a promising time for the company as we scale to meet the demands of our customers and the ever-growing cloud market. Our new hires Graeme and Jordan will be a huge asset to our technical team, and I welcome them onboard.

Announcing our new workspace at Platform is also a proud moment for me as we’ll share the building with some of the region’s most innovative tech companies. To be able to offer my growing team access to more vibrant office space in a new city is a key part of our ongoing recruitment strategy – not to mention our accessibility for customers seeking face to face time – and I look forward to expanding further throughout the year.”

Two new graduate sales recruits are also set to join Vapour soon, in a fresh collaboration with Pareto Law.
The search is also on for a sales and marketing administrator, with the vacancy now open.

It’s Graeme’s turn in the spotlight this month. Today he shares that his love for tech stemmed from working on nuclear submarines, expresses his admiration of Apple and debunks the misconception that tech needs to be complicated…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

I think I’ve always had an interest in tech. From calibrating reactor instrumentation onboard nuclear submarines in the Royal Navy to piloting remote vehicles on the seabed while offshore, which then led me to enter the telecoms world for the last nine years. 

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

I’m going to show my age here…. I’d say probably a BBC micro when I was at junior school – for those who don’t know, enjoy googling that! I also remember a ZX Spectrum playing Daley Thompsons Decathlon.

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

I don’t believe there is one specific quality needed. I think you need to have many attributes to your persona and then be able to bring them together to get a full understanding of each customer requirement.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

Too many acronyms…the fact that suppliers and manufacturers produce a similar product but then decide to overcomplicate things by using new acronyms for services and products that already exist.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

Before joining Vapour, I spoke to various contacts I have within the industry, and all had positive things to say about the company. From my time here so far, I can see that the company’s biggest assets are the staff and how we pull together to give the customer the best experience we can.

Complete the sentences:

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is... a Garmin Vivoactive watch – which I’ve just bought myself to monitor my fitness training. 

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Apple. I know this is going to divide the room, but the company is big for me at the minute. 

The biggest misconception in the channel is that... tech needs to be overly complicated.

By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more... collaborative - giving users an increased ability to work in multiple locations.

It’s Kian Jackson’s turn in the spotlight this month. Kian has joined the team as part of a work experience programme, as he completes his T-Level qualifications at Calderdale College. With aspirations of one day becoming a senior network engineer, discover how his passion for all things coding and tech have led him here, and his experience with the Vapour team so far. He shares all in our latest Q&A.

Take it away Kian…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

When I was in Secondary School, we covered the basics of simplistic coding, which was my first introduction into working in tech. When it came to choosing my career path, I took the T-Level approach which has allowed me to advance and develop my knowledge, technical ability and skills in the sector. I’m so grateful for these more technical-based qualifications, as I’ve been able to explore the subject in much more detail, with industry examples.

Undertaking work placement opportunities like this with Vapour also allows me to gain real-life experiences to put what I am learning into practice. It’s been a valuable experience so far.

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

Watching my brother play on his computer when I was younger stands out as my earliest memory. He mostly used it to play video games and have fun exploring digital technology – I remember being so surprised at what was possible with such small devices.

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

Creativity and an open mind. In tech there are always a range of different outcomes and ways of doing things. You should be open to options and alternative methods to really excel, rather than being tempted to stick with how it’s always been done previously.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

I’d like there to be more straight-talking people in tech. When you’re first starting out it’s hard to find mentors and learn from people in different specialist areas. It’s a complex industry and often encounters some barriers in terms of buy-in from colleagues – with more people who understand its capabilities, we could break down those blockers.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

I’ve been really impressed by how the channel works and the partnerships Vapour has within the industry. These collaborations – in addition to the team’s technical experience – means it’s possible to deliver highly personalised and powerful solutions relevant to organisations’ individual needs.

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is...

The computer. Just think how reliant we are on its existence, every day at work. In both a personal and professional environment, it allows us to access so much information and has capabilities that very few of us truly capitalise on.

I could say something like the CPU or RAM, but one doesn’t work without the other, so for me it has to be the overall machine itself.

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is...

A more powerful computer… can you sense a running theme?

It’s great to be able to update specs so you aren’t limited to what you can do, giving me much more variety. Increasing the process power and graphics capabilities will also help with my development in the coding world too.

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is...

It’s hard to say – most brands that I’m familiar with in the industry often have to collaborate and work together to ensure compatibility across devices, so it’s hard to identify just one.

The biggest misconception in the channel is...

The complexity of code. It’s a completely different language but isn’t given the same acknowledgement. People only see the front-end that’s meant to be viewed by the end-user, without understanding what goes on behind the scenes or what it is truly capable of.

By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more...

Versatile. Often people use technology to fill a particular need, but it can offer so much more than that if you ask the right questions of teams like Vapour.

It’s Katie’s turn in the spotlight this month. Here she shares the role communications can play in driving tech sector change, the need for energy in our business, and what journalists REALLY think about Vapour…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

I come from the comms side of tech and started out in the industry in 2006. I worked for a PR agency with a varied client base, at the time, but naturally gravitated towards the ‘geekier’ of businesses. These were the stories I found the most thought-provoking, especially if you could debunk the jargon and relate to stakeholders at any level. In 2013, I left to focus solely on technical communications – and ‘ta dah’, here I am at Vapour.

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

I had a rainbow-coloured kids’ typewriter, not long after I could walk. As I grew up, I advanced to a PC, practically the size of our dining table!

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

One is hard, as there are lots of values that differentiate Vapour in a crowded tech space. But I’d probably say energy. The pace of innovation is fast, and the appetite to solve customers’ challenges never stops. This is in the DNA of the whole team, not just the CEO, which means there’s always something to talk about. This energy keeps us all moving forward.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

The perception that all suppliers exploit how complex it is. This view suggests dishonesty or a lack of transparency – and don’t get me wrong, some companies will take advantage of how ‘green’ customers can be. But that’s not Vapour – and I’m sure there are other companies equally passionate about banishing this misconception. Yes, it’s complicated sometimes, but there’s always a way to explain it, honestly and respectfully so that everyone in the room can make informed decisions.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

I am genuinely proud of the Vapour brand. I don’t just mean the logo (although it’s cool, right?) I mean the reputation Vapour has carved for itself, despite not being the biggest player – we’re not nestled in a city centre tech district either. But I spoke to a journalist the other day and he said: “I used to think you punched above your weight – and I admired Vapour for that. Now I realise you rightfully have a seat at the table.”

Quite often, it’s Vapour bringing new innovations to market, and word is continually spreading – especially because we’re so human in our approach. And I’m on a mission to keep telling that story, so more people know it!

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is... any device to play music – I couldn’t be without it.

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is... probably a kiddy gadget – I’m a mum of two girls under four, so let’s face it, practically every penny goes on them. One thing I’d love someone to invent, is a savvy device that knows what I’m thinking and types it up for me. If someone could please let me know if it already exists, that’d be great!

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Champion Health – a digital employee wellbeing platform.

The biggest misconception in the channel is that... it’s all smoke and mirrors. Let’s have more conversations that everyone can understand – that’s when businesses will rightfully get excited about what tech can do.

By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more... efficient. Whether that’s in terms of collaborating with colleagues, moving traffic securely around the network, or automating even the simplest of processes to free up the time of their workforce.

It’s Amanda Harrison’s turn in the spotlight this month…

Sharing her nostalgia of playing Pac-Man on a retro Atari games console, to creating new gaming memories with her son using virtual reality tech, Amanda shares her hopes of demystifying the complex jargon within the sector to make it more inclusive, and why sometimes it’s all about asking the right questions to ensure your solutions aren’t just ‘off the shelf’ one size fits all.

The floor is yours Amanda – your 60 seconds start now…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

It was a bit of a fluke really it was my first full-time job when I left school. I started in a customer service role discussing billing, services, fault troubleshooting, and general enquiries. I loved working with people and quickly realised I enjoyed learning about the technical side to the role too. I was given the opportunity to go out on site visits with engineering and networks teams so I could see what the job truly entailed – I was even able to help pull out fibre optic cable in the middle of Glasgow City centre! I was hooked from then.

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

Atari games consoles my favourite was Pac-Man, I absolutely loved that game.

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

Adaptability. Tech is ever changing alongside customer needs and expectations. Change is something that you need to be good at handling, and it makes the job so much more exciting.

At Vapour we are always learning about new innovations and developments, constantly looking for better ways to do things and disrupting the status quo.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

Jargon, there is way too much of it. It can sometimes make it hard to break down the barriers for people to adopt new technology. If it was made simpler – so that everyone could understand – everyone could benefit.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

We have years of knowledge and experience in the technology industry, and we are passionate about what we do. We’re a great team that loves to get under the skin of our customers, to ensure we can support them in the best way possible. And our services have gone far beyond the conventional voice and data solutions you typically see in the industry.

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is...

Satellite navigation, as it means I never have to worry about getting lost or trying to read a printout of AA route finder on a long car journey! It’s made travelling so much more direct and straightforward.

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is...

A virtual reality headset so that I can start to enjoy gaming with my boy.

The biggest misconception in the channel is that...

You have to order off the shelf. We can tailor solutions to fit various requirements – it’s all about understanding what you want the technology to do. At Vapour we ask the right questions so that we can personalise our offering. That’s when things become really powerful and often effortlessly simple too.

By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more...

Flexible, with the ability to work anywhere, any time. The pandemic has pushed this technology forward, but many organisations are still not using the cloud to its full potential when it comes to security, agility and conveniency. I’d like to see more of this going forward, as many companies only have a ‘sticking plaster’ at the moment.

He’s the newest face at Vapour’s HQ, and news of his appointment caused quite a stir in the tech industry when we revealed he had become our senior account director. So, we’ve mixed up our regular Q&A this month, so you can discover what all the fuss is about.

Glenn Ollivant, it’s over to you…

What’s your biggest achievement to date?

In a work capacity, it has to be securing one of TalkTalk’s largest single converged international network deals for data and voice services.

In a personal sense, I’m a very proud father of three amazing girls – Betsy (11), Imelda (9), and Nell (7). Kids keep you young, tired and poor – but it’s all worth it!

Name one thing people might not know about you

I did plenty of travelling during my 20s and had some crazy jobs along the way – one was plucking chickens! Even some of my closest friends don’t know that.

Tell us a fact about yourself that might surprise people

I’ve been a governor at our children’s school before – that always makes my friends laugh because they can’t picture me in that setting. I did that for three years before work and travel made it hard to fully commit to, but I’m still very active with school particularly their team sports.

Describe what you get up to on a typical weekend

There isn’t really any let up for us at the weekend – those days went years ago! I coach Betsy and Imelda’s football team so we’re either playing or training early, then we’re off to some other sort of class or child social engagement. I always make time for a Friday night pint though to decompress with the family. And Sundays are all about doing something together – often a walk, food, then a good film to finish off the weekend.

What’s the best piece of tech you’ve ever owned?

It’s got to be the first-generation iPods – downloading all that music (legally) blew my mind at the time! It’s crazy where we’ve got to now, across all brands, tech and devices though.

What sparked your interest in working in the tech sector?

It would be very crude to say money, but I genuinely wanted a better job, career options and lifestyle. It seemed a fast paced and cool place to work compared to where I came from – selling stainless steel! They’re chalk and cheese!

It was the best decision I ever made – it’s been both incredibly challenging and rewarding in equal measure. And now I’ve come full circle, working for the chap that gave me that first shot!

You receive an email from your dream client… who would it be and why?

I’m a big sport nut and sport documentary fan, and I’m particularly obsessed with Michael Jordan. Throughout my life I’ve had a 23 jersey and pair of Jordans, but after watching “The Last Dance” on Netflix I became even more obsessed. Just everything about him strikes a note that hard work really pays off – I really admire the way he trained and demanded so much of his teammates. He would have some great stories to tell, I’m sure – particularly about Rodman. Hopefully, he’d need a bit of disruptive cloud tech too!

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?

If it’s a movie about my life we’ve got to get the accent right, so being a proud northerner I’m going to say Sean Bean. I’d like to say Daniel Craig but I’m not sure he’d nail the twang!

If you were in charge of Vapour for the day, what would be your number one rule/objective/goal?

Ensure we deliver on the expectations we set our clients and partners. If we don’t look after them at every single touch point someone else will, and we could potentially lose them forever.

Describe your job/company to an alien

Assuming they understand my fairly broad Yorkshire accent I’d say very fast paced, disruptive, and genuinely keen to make our technology uncomplicated, so that we remain easy to deal with.

It’s Adam G’s turn in the spotlight this month! His passion for tech and interest in computers has shaped his career, from as early as choosing his subjects in college. He reflects on his nostalgic memories of using infrared to share music across the classroom, why effective communication is a key skill at Vapour, alongside his experience of the tech sector so far.  

Your 60 seconds start now…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

Tech has been something I’ve had an interest in from an early age. Since school I knew I wanted to work with computers, so when I got the option to choose my subjects in college, I went with IT systems support – and I’ve been in the sector ever since!

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

Before the likes of Spotify and YouTube, we used to send songs across the classroom through infrared, which then progressed to Bluetooth later down the line. Oh, the nostalgia!

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

Good communication is always key. We can sometimes be using quite technical language, so it’s a quality that helps break down those barriers when working with clients.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

The fact that so much of our personal information is stored for marketing purposes. It can sometimes come across as fairly invasive. I know this is changing, but there still seems to be plenty of ways for companies to get around it.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

The people at Vapour are what makes the company stand out. All my colleagues are fantastic at what they do, and they know how to ask the right questions for our clients and communicate effectively.  I think that’s important.

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is...

The computer! We spend all our working day on it.

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is...

A new mobile phone.

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is...

Amazon. We just couldn’t have done without it over the last few years.

The biggest misconception in the sector is that...

One size fits all. The right tech will adapt to the needs of your business, not the other way around.

By the end of 2021, our tech will have made organisations far more...

Productive. I think that the pandemic has left a lot of organisations needing to revaluate their tech systems and has demonstrated just what is possible, in terms of efficiency, flexibility and collaboration.

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