Moving with the times

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2016 has been a year of great change for Colt. I took up the reins almost 12 months ago, and along with a new management team we have successfully implemented a strategic and cultural shift, refocusing on a high-bandwidth strategy delivered with a best in class customer experience.

And we’re literally moving with the times. At the end of November we moved to a new headquarters close to London’s Silicon Roundabout, the heart of East London Tech City and home to the tech start-up community.

This is no accident. If you look at our customers and how they are changing, they’re requiring higher bandwidth services and moving more and more to the cloud. Only last month, Microsoft said that it has more than doubled its cloud capacity in Europe in the past year, and has invested over US$3bn across Europe to date. That gives some idea of the adoption of cloud and supports Colt’s own significant investment in the network as the enabler, because there is a requirement for higher bandwidth to underpin this software-driven transition.

Having already grown accustomed to the on-demand functionality of the cloud, with SDN (software defined networks) companies are now positioning themselves to prepare for the long term. Sure, it’s not something every company uses right now, but in 24 months I think you’ll have widespread adoption.

Just think, a few years ago no-one really knew the term SDN, and now it has its own conferences and is a buzzword across the entire industry. But it’s a buzzword with substance and we’re doing more than just talking about it – we’re actually making stuff happen.

Recently we announced that we’d done a successful trial with AT&T, using a programmatic API-to-API interface between the separate SDN architectures to provision network services between the east coast of the US and various locations in Europe. We believe we’re the first to prove that SDN-managed services can be set up and run across multiple networks in just minutes and can be managed and flexed in near-real time.

This is a game changer. It creates a template for providers to deploy new services in a matter of minutes over each other’s networks. The implications of that are significant. And I’m proud that Colt is being recognised as an innovator here. In the last couple of months we’ve been acknowledged in the Global Carrier Awards, Light Reading’s Leading Lights and the Telco Cloud Forum Awards for our SDN and NFV deployments.

In this industry you have to innovate to stay ahead, and we’re moving fast on all fronts.

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