In this article we meet Marketing Director, Justin Paul from Zeetta Networks, a pioneer of Software Defined Networking (SDN), established out of the High Performance Networks Lab at The University of Bristol.
We are an innovative software company that specialises in SDN. The company was spun out of the High Performance Networks Lab at The University of Bristol three years ago. Our vision is to totally redefine the way that managed networks are built.
We have developed a superior network technology that goes beyond SDN, and enables multiple technology networks (packet, optical, wireless or low power radio) to be ‘spliced’ into a single virtual network, which can then be ‘sliced’ in order to apportion different operational sub-networks to specific groups of customers/users.
What we’re doing is revolutionising the way that networks are traditionally built by starting with the service to be delivered, not the network. You define a service, sketch out what the service requires in terms of bandwidth, latency, and resilience, and create or programme the network. This is where the software defined control comes in, allowing you to prioritise and optimise technical components. NetOs® is our core commercial software which drives two of our products, and we have a third product coming up for launch. Its quite an exciting time for us with deployments in the Bristol-wide Smart City testbed, West of England Combined Authority (WECA) 5G Tourism Trial, the 5G-VICTORI collaborative project, and implementations in construction, rail, energy, media. Our technology is also being used at local cultural events including Bristol Balloon Fiesta, Bristol Harbourside Festival, and by the Bristol Flyers Basketball Team.
How we have developed our software is unique, and enables flexibility, agility and control. NetOS® provides the ability to see the network and services provisioned on a very simple and highly visual but service centric basis. It so easy to use, doesn’t require technical knowledge, and allows the user to see exactly the area of the network causing the issue. It supports third party multi-vendor, multi-technology devices and applications without the cost and complexity of lock-in. This allows the development of new and temporary business and service models without the limitations associated with traditional infrastructures and technology.
One of our best use case examples is Ashton Gate Stadium. The venue has three different uses as a sports stadium, a concert venue and retail environment, all with differing network requirements. NetOs® enables the creation of separate, temporary, prioritised network slices for lighting, sound and broadcast systems to underpin events, for security and retail operations, and also general public use to support the fan experience with social media,etc. They have seen a huge reduction in IT incident tickets and in operational costs.
We’re in the exciting phase of acquiring new customers. Network slicing is a technology that is associated with 5G, so our customers are very much traditional service providers, and multinational corporations that rely on their networks, and we have a new product, Dynamic Slicing Engine, launching for this segment. On the enterprise side, we’re focusing on complex enterprises, stadiums, retail, construction, complex/shared buildings, transportation. We’re also starting to look at sectors including utilities, renewables, where there’s not necessarily the connectivity needs but a big opportunity for our technology going forward.
We’ve been shortlisted and have won a number of awards. Being named Gartner Cool Vendor for Network Operations, is a very strong accolade. We also recently won Engie’s Big Innovation Pitch 2019 Competition. Engie are a huge French multinational company, delivering sustainable energy services and facilities management. The theme for this year’s event was ‘Connected Places’, and our pitch was based on customising connectivity to remove complexity in digital networks across buildings and communities.
Over the next six months, we will hopefully be making some announcements about some very big new customers, demonstrating the strength of our product and commercial traction. In April 2019, we were selected to join the Orange Fab Accelerator Programme which supports and mentors promising start up organisations in engaging and establishing a commercial contract with Orange or one of its partners. This is also expected to deliver results.
What is unbelievably exciting for us is that this is the way networks are heading - programmability, and the whole SDN piece resides in the evolution of networks. We are moving from very traditional and static networks that use a box to do a particular job, to a place where networks are more dynamic and flexible. Where you have a compute platform, you programme to complete a specific task, and add in cloud services and virtualisation to increase or reduce capacity on demand. The impact of being able to respond to business changes and network demands instantly, cost effectively and efficiently, through a single infrastructure is absolutely critical to organisations. We really have a positive outlook on the company, its position and potential in the future.