Posted: Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
In many ways the late naughties and the early part of this decade (what are we calling this one by the way?) have been characterised by what’s wrong with this country: the recession, the riots, union strikes, press misdemeanours and expenses scandals. And while 2012 has not been bereft of such of problems, it has been punctuated by events – The Jubilee, The Olympics and the Paralympics – that to many people’s surprise and even more’s delight, cut a swathe through all the gloom and cynicism and for a few short, golden weeks made everyone feel… well a bit better; about life and about Britain – Great Britain.
Those events resonated with us here at Fluidata on a personal level but also a professional one too. The Olympics in particular had a significant impact on us; affecting many fibre installations across London (due the Olympic Route Embargo), providing a test for our network and giving us an exercise in company wide flexible and remote working practices. The Jubilee, well we just watched that from a rather convenient spot in our office.
The Olympic Games’ influence across our industry was also notable. The advent of the games triggered both the deployment of Wi-Fi connectivity within London tube stations and 3G access within the channel tunnel. While The Olympics media centre, which Cisco endowed with some serious technology infrastructure, has now become a technology centre; one that has already attracted the likes of Facebook to invest and has high hopes of becoming London’s answer to Silicon Valley.
On the subject of Facebook, 2012 witnessed the long anticipated flotation of the company’s shares. Initially the move had Facebook valued at £100 billion, but within 7 days shares had plummeted by 24% – proof that valuing technology companies remains an inexact science. Other big players were also busy in 2012; C&W sold to Vodafone for over £1 billion and Microsoft launched a new operating system with a clear eye on the touch screen/mobile market, Windows 8.
In broadband circles the biggest development on the year was 4G , which despite receiving somewhat underwhelming initial reviews still represents a marked step forward for mobile Internet connectivity.
There was also much discussion this year over Internet governance – culminating in the WCIT Conference in December. With most western nations refusing to sign a proposition that would allow for the International Telecommunications Union to have any major control, for now the openness of the World Wide Web is protected; though don’t expect that to be the end of the debate…
All in all, it’s been a pretty exciting year; for Britain, for the technology industry across the globe and not least for us here at Fluidata.
Here’s to 2013 – Happy New Year.
Posted in |
Posted: Thursday, August 16th, 2012
The flame now extinguished, the final race run, the games are all played out.
There’s a wistful, melancholy feel to London right now; part deflated, yet still standing proud, like a flag flying half-mast – one mourning the end of the games, games that surprised us all. Because we all worried and fretted and moaned – about security, about chaos on the tube, about home working and how the internet might come to a standstill. Perhaps we worried more than we had to, maybe worry prepared us well.
For Fluidata, the games did impact in ways not all positive, for instance a number of fibre installs in London were delayed or cancelled altogether due to the Olympic Network Route Embargo. However on the most part we were able to continue to deliver without disruption, and in facilitating our clients to work remotely, through additional service provision, and or consultation, the games in many ways brought us further opportunity.
As for our network, we never expected it to buckle under the weight of heavy internet usage, yet we’re still relieved we remained unscathed, because as illustrated below, Olympic athletes weren’t the only ones to get a work out during the games.
This graph demonstrates the increase we witnessed during the first week of the games.
The biggest increase coming on the Wednesday; when we saw traffic shoot up by 100% on normal levels during Bradley Wiggins’ time trial victory.
The trend continued into week two…
Tuesday was the most popular day, peaking during the lunchtime triathlon when the Brownlee brothers captured Gold and Bronze and staying at a high level as Laura Trott, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton took medals at the Velodrome.
The graphs illustrate the popularity of the games over the IP connections we provide. They tell us that London 2012 sometimes took priority over the latest workload we all had sitting on our desks. No doubt we will find out soon whether the Olympics proved to hinder or stimulate office productivity, let’s hope in the spirit of a positive Olympics that the enthusiasm, self-confidence and joy that the games brought to us served to make it the latter.
Posted in |
Posted: Monday, August 6th, 2012
At Fluidata we are always intrigued by the traffic surges we see on our business network during sporting events. We’ve been recording and sharing this information for a number of years now and knew that the Olympics was likely to take traffic levels on our network to an unprecedented level.
After we week one, we can now show just how popular the games have been across our network.
First up, overall traffic levels from last week.
And to put that into context. Compared with the weeks before …
The biggest surge in traffic came on Wednesday around 3pm, when we witnessed an astonishing 100% increase in traffic on normal levels. Bradley Wiggins’ time trail victory just happened to be taking place at that time.
Posted in |
Posted: Monday, July 23rd, 2012
With The Olympics now a tantalising 4 days away we discuss what kind of technological legacy the games might leave behind.
The notion of an ‘Olympic legacy’ has become an increasingly important feature in the modern Olympics. Indeed any city seeking to host the games must build as convincing an argument as to how the positive influences of the games will endure long after, as they will over the suitability of their city to hold a magnificent spectacle at that time.
There are many examples of cities creating a positive legacy off the back of the games. In ’92, Barcelona cleverly invested in the simultaneous redevelopment of much of its coastline with new property; including hotels that encouraged record levels of tourism thereafter. While earlier in our Olympic series we explored how the Seoul ‘88 Olympics helped propel South Korea towards becoming the digital superpower it is today http://www.fluidata.co.uk/fluidata-olympic-countdown.
Of course it can go wrong too. The Athens Olympics legacy reads like a Greek tragedy; the games playing, if not the role of chief protagonist in Greece’s devastating plummet into financial penury, then at least acting as a member of the supporting cast. The cost of the games ran tens of billions over budget and Olympic stadium was left derelict and discarded years after. If games could win a medal for waste, Athens would have won Gold.
Such mistakes London will look to avoid, and despite concerns over the future use of the Olympic Park, in many ways London’s Olympic legacy looks bright – with the games set to be a catalyst for the physical transformation of a huge area of East London and hopefully the inspiration for more young people to become actively involved in sport.
More pertinently for our industry, London and the UK also look likely to reap the benefits from a rich technological inheritance. The advent of the games has triggered the long overdue deployment of Wi-Fi connectivity on London tubes and 3G access within the channel tunnel. While we are also set to experience a colossal 24 channel red button service on the BBC ‘Olympic Player’, the database and streaming technology behind it will be used for future sporting and entertainment events.
Behind the scenes, many Tier 1 internet carriers and ISP’s have been improving their network to cope with games demands, capacity which users will no doubt benefit from for years to come. Cisco, as one of the official games partners, have built a vast technology infrastructure to deliver voice, video and data to their technology partners and support what looks set to be the most connected games of all time. They have also been at the heart of delivering the Olympics technology centre; a centre which the government decided recently will be transformed, with the help of £350 million investment after the games, into a new tech hub for technology start up’s, investors and global corporations.
Over the next few weeks we will all be hoping we get to witness those ‘once a life time’ sporting achievements and moments, those moments immortalised in time, the moments where in 50 years people may ask ‘where you were when it happened’, but let’s hope that in the future, we’ll also still be thankful for the social, cultural, economic and indeed technological benefits that ‘London 2012’ could bequeath upon us long after its final race is run.
Posted in |
Posted: Friday, April 13th, 2012
Fluidata Olympic Countdown – 105 days to go.
The Olympics is affecting business’s up and down the county in myriad ways; from those directly working on the planning and logistics, to London retailers likely to capitalise on increase in footfall. As a London based business, and a telecommunications provider, Fluidata are also witnessing many consequences of the games imminent arrival to the capital.
Disruption: Many fibre provisions in London have been severely disputed, starting from as early as last autumn. An embargo on all planned street work, affecting key parts of the London Olympic Route Network (ORN) , was implemented on 1st March 2012, and will run till the 30th of September. Fibre orders across London will also likely see delays after this date – as carriers begin attempting to clear the back log of work. Needless to say, these disruptions have impacted on Fluidata’s ability to deliver a number of planned provisions, however with a strong DSL portfolio at our disposal we have also seen growth in ‘leased line alternative’ orders, as companies plunge for temporary next best solutions.
Demand: Increase in demand for connectivity solutions has been witnessed in London. A number of luxury hotel chains have invested in improved connectivity during the games – expecting both an increase in custom and user demand to view the games from laptop and mobile device.
Travel: With travel in London likely to be severely disputed, we also witnessing organisations looking for remote working solutions – such as reliable home connectivity, 3G connectivity and companywide voice and video provisions. Of course with more people working from home, upstream in the office also needs to improve, once more resulting in increased demand for improved connectivity.
Those companies who are expecting a full complement of staff in the office, are also considering improvements or modifications to their connectivity. As Fluidata has demonstrated in previous months, more and more employees use work internet for viewing events like Wimbledon. The Olympics will be no different and IT mangers are investigating bumping up connectivity temporarily or, if they are a bit mean, locking down the likes of BBC iPlayer.
Trouble?: Many experts in our industry are expecting the UK IP infrastructure to be hit with a ‘deluge of data’ as more people watch, keep up to date, and talk about the games over connectivity devices than ever before. Fluidata have made improvements in our network , and though we expect more traffic than ever before , we are confident of coping with the demands and showcasing our network as one of the best in the industry. How everyone else copes remains to be seen.
We will not know the true impact of the games on Fluidata until after their conclusion, but thus far, it’s throwing up as many opportunities for us as it is potential challenges.
Posted in |
Posted: Thursday, February 9th, 2012
169 days to go
Due to preparations for the Olympics this summer, Transport for London (TfL) are putting in place an embargo on all planned street work starting on 1st March 2012 that will prevent any road works on the key parts of the London Olympic Route Network (ORN). Restrictions will continue to affect us until they are fully lifted on 30th September. However, it is worth noting that beyond this date a backlog of work may exist, delaying installations further.
It is therefore important to ensure early action is taken to complete Fibre Ethernet Access orders for Optical and Ethernet based services that will:
1. Terminate on the core Olympic Route Network (core roads, sites, venues and the Main A501 Road)
2. May require some form of construction work (digs, test roding etc) on the Core Olympic Route Network
Therefore, fibre orders must be placed by the end of February at the very latest if you wish for your service to start before the Olympics.
A detailed map of the ORN route can be found on the following TFL map, where the London roads highlighted in Red and Blue are the ones affected:
(N.B. this map can be zoomed to give a road by road level of detail)
A further embargo on the rest of the ORN (and most other central London streets) will come into operation on 1st July, so those orders would need to be with Openreach by May. This will impact most streets within the north and south circular and some areas of Greater London.
Posted in |
Posted: Friday, December 23rd, 2011
The London Olympics 2012 is the next most exciting event since Common Wealth 2002. The games will open on 27th July at the Olympic parks and Village in Strafford and will run until the closing ceremony on 12th August. There will then be a two week transition period before the Paralympics Games open on 29th August running for 11 days. Over 10.8 million tickets have been allocated for the 27 day period which will spread across a total of 34 venues and about quarter of the ticket holders will descend on London from overseas. However if you are one of the unlucky ones that didn’t get a ticket, where will you be watching the games from?
From our previous analysis the internet looks to be the first port of call for most business workers during any major news event such as Wimbledon, Mr Murdoch and riots and looting across the UK. With anything between 50% to 60% increase in traffic and over 50% of that being identified as BBC’s iPlayer traffic. So if your employees are working during the games how will accommodate for this?
So it is not only worth considering bandwidth requirements now to enable staff to watch the games, but more importantly protect your business’s day to day activities online during the games. This can be solved in a number of ways by limiting access via the corporate firewalls, implementing QoS or even looking at dedicated links for different purposes. All we can be sure about is that bandwidth will be higher than any major event we have witnessed so far this year.
Posted in |
Posted: Monday, November 28th, 2011
The Olympic Games will be an exciting time for our capital city, but with over 11 million spectators and athletes set to make our busy transport infrastructure even busier, how will businesses be affected?
Londoners have been reassured that TFLS’s investment of £6.5 billion into transport infrastructure enhancements, will make us better equipped to deal with the expected influx of traffic. However at peak times, in key areas (London Bridge, Bank and Canary Wharf) traffic will likely exceed capacity and the advice to businesses is to consider having employees work from home, or commute to and from the office at different times, via different routes and methods of transport.
Working remotely from home is not a solution that is undertaken lightly by businesses, but with the right planning and technology it’s very much achievable. Through VoIP employees can take their extension home with them – allowing for calls to be made and received as if based in the office. Remote workers can connect into the office WAN through secure access connections, whilst affordable video conferencing and coloration tools further facilitate employees’ capacity to remain productive.
Whilst the Olympics may highlight the importance of remote working, it’s something which is consistently echoed throughout the year, with hazardous weather, the impact of the recession and public sector strikes.
A quotation from the head of marketing of Alcatel-Lucent, Manish Sablok, sums up the situation concisely:
“Mobility is redefining the workplace, as the borders between personal and professional, home and office, device and application disappear, so these three requirements should form the cornerstone of a business’s IT infrastructure to support flexibility and mobility – and not just during a traffic crisis.”
Posted in |
Posted: Thursday, November 10th, 2011
260 days to go
Ahead of next year’s Olympics and Paralympics the technological team behind the event have been in full preparation to make sure the technical operations and IT frameworks are ready to deliver real-time results for the games.
A team of 450 have been busy testing and experimenting with the systems to ensure data processing is working at a high standard.
An archery test event at Lord’s was the first of many in depth test events used to test the coordination and monitoring efforts for the 450 man IT Team. Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London organising committee (Locog) said the test run ‘went well’, and it seems the team are ready and prepared for every contingency, ‘security is a big concern and cyber security is a big part of that, and we have to be attentive to all the risks’.
The preparation involved shows us how important it is to prepare technology for its future use, so far 200,000 hours of testing has gone into the 24/7 Technology Operations Centre in Canary Wharf to ensure there will be no slip-ups…
Posted in |
Posted: Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
282 days to go
Seoul 1988 and the South Korean Telecommunications Revolution.
Seoul ’88 is probably best remembered for Ben Johnson’s yellow eyed, steroid propelled, 100 metre dash to Olympic infamy. However a very different, but just as enduring legacy of the games is its role as a catalyst for South Korea’s emergence as a Technology Super Power.
South Korea is one of the world’s most hi-tech societies. Citizens enjoy some of the highest speed broadband connections on the planet and have access to advanced mobile technology long before it hits western markets. The government is also well known for its commitment to future technology. In fact South Korea is so advanced that they even have an ethical charter to protect robots from mistreatment by humans!
But it relative terms, in wasn’t so long ago that South Korea’s telecoms and information technology infrastructure lagged behind that of their international brethren. For example, In 1981 there was only 3.5 million telephone circuits available for a population of over 40 million (80% of Korea’s existing telephone and telegraph systems were destroyed in the Korean War) and the electronics and computer industries were very much in their infancy. Such was South Korea’s relative technological backwardness that when Seoul was announced as the host city of the 1981 Olympic Games, concerns were raised about its ability to support the information needs of a modern Olympics. Within the next 15 years South Korea’s would experience a ‘Telecommunications Revolution’, in the process, establishing them as not only a world leader in the technology industry, but also as an ‘information society’.
Seoul 1988 would prove far more than just coincidence in this technological success story.
The official slogan of the 1988 Olympics was ‘The World to Seoul, Seoul to the world’, it was an opportunity for South Korea to broadcast to the world their cultural, political and economic achievements and maturity since their separation from the North. Information Technology and TV would be the medium through which South Korea could showcase their achievements, but also, as their leaders soon realised, it had the potential to dazzle as centrepiece.
The 1988 Olympic Games were the largest of all time with 160 nations and a total of 8391 athletes competing. This placed a huge demand on South Korea to build an infrastructure capable broadcast the games to more nations than ever before and to satisfy the appetite for rapid dissemination of games results and Olympic information.
The South Korean Government would spend 10 years preparing to ensure their broadcast and information systems could capture and transmit the games in high tech ways like never before. Crucially, they also used this opportunity to combine games preparations with an overall Telecommunications Modernisation plan.
The games galvanised the broadcasting and telecommunication companies in South Korea to create state of the art information systems, to develop their own software rather than borrow from abroad ( the WINS systems in particular were created which allowed for world wide email) to merge computers and telecommunication platforms, to use new fibre optic transmissions and electronic switching systems. They did this all in almost accelerated time and fundamentally put in place the building blocks of the modern communications network.
From that moment of impetus, provided by the demands and opportunities an Olympics presents, South Korea would never look back.
Posted in |