EMIS Group and Call Credit join aql at the Yorkshire Post Business Club forum
On Thursday 24th of November, aql hosted the Yorkshire Post Business Club at the Salem Church headquarters, a forum attended by business leaders from across Yorkshire.
Yorkshire Post’s business editor, Bernard Ginns presents Chris Spencer, CEO of EMIS Group, Dr Adam Beaumont, aql’s CEO and founder,
and Bob Munro, CFO of Call Credit
Senior industry figures Chris Spencer, CEO of EMIS Group, and Bob Munro, the newly appointed CFO of Call Credit joined aql’s CEO and founder, Dr Adam Beaumont to debate the challenges and opportunities facing the technology sector in Yorkshire.
Yorkshire Post’s business editor, Bernard Ginns, chaired the debate. The speakers told the audience the stories of their business and emphasized that Yorkshire needs to promote the strengths of its technology sector if it wants to attract the attention of major investors.
The chief executive of the clinical software provider EMIS Group said there is a North-South divide in access to finance for tech businesses. He added: “If you want to talk to venture capitalists or private equity, you need to go to London. They equally haven’t heard about Leeds. They are talking about things on an entirely different scale.”
Bob Munro, Call Credit’s chief financial officer, said: “When I was interviewing for this job, a number of times people said to me, ‘you do realise it is in Leeds?’ That was among the investment community. There is a weight of capital out there which is not being directed to the North. When you go outside the UK, there is a huge weight of capital which has never heard of Leeds.”
The Yorkshire Post Business Club at the Salem Church headquarters, attended by business leaders from across Yorkshire
Dr Adam Beaumont said the region is home to a wide range of capabilities and expertise but “we don’t shout loud enough”. He added that Leeds needs to develop stronger conduits to central Government. He has partnered with Government agency Tech City UK to launch North Invest, a platform for reinvigorating the angel investor community in the North.
Read the complete Yorkshire Post article at the link below:
aql to host the Leeds Beckett University colocation data centre in South Leeds
Dr Basem El-Haddadeh, Leeds Beckett University IT Director and Dr Adam Beaumont, aql CEO and founder
We are delighted to announce that aql have been chosen to host the Leeds Beckett University colocation data centre in South Leeds. The contract, signed on the 11th of November 2015, is on target to save the University in the region of £1m over the next five years and offers vastly improved resilience and security for our data and services.
Leeds Becket University currently has two data centres in each Campus. However, in recent years it has become apparent that with changes in technology and their operating environment that the university’s data centre located in Headingley was becoming unsuitable for their needs. Following a review of their options, including building a new data centre on site, the decision was taken to seek a co-location site with a third party vendor.
In all, 56 suppliers expressed an interest in the tender in which aql emerged as the winner due to competitive pricing and the quality of the technical provision. In addition, the aql security and operating environment will enable Leeds Beckett to maintain the University IT services in the event of a power or data outage.
Dr Baesm El-Haddadeh, the director of IT Services at Leeds Beckett University said “The choice of aql to host our second data centre will give us access to state of the art data centre facilities that are not possible with an in-house solution due to cost and timescales. We were also impressed with the way aql plans to support our University and look forward to building a strong partnership with aql over the coming years”.
Dr Basem El-Haddadeh, Leeds Beckett University IT Director, Dr Adam Beaumont, aql CEO and founder and
Shane Buckman, Leeds Beckett University Associate Director, Technology Services
"aql are delighted to be working with Leeds Beckett University to house their equipment within our metropolitan datacentres.” added Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql. “Our secure, resilient facilities house the main Janet network node for the region, allowing the University to leverage unsurpassed speeds onto the academic network. The solution that the University has chosen is setting a leading example for how academic institutions can leverage the power of connectivity in order to outsource their datacentre requirements."
The migration to the new colocation data centre is expected to be completed by the end of November 2015.
aql to host the Yorkshire Post Business Club on the 24th of November 2015
Join The Yorkshire Post and aql for a breakfast with two of Yorkshire's most valuable technology companies for a presentation and debate on how to build 21st century businesses of scale in the North of England.
Our speakers represent major employers in Yorkshire and will be able to provide insights in the opportunities and challenges facing technology businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Adam Beaumont, the founder and managing director of aql, the telecoms specialist and data centre and network infrastructure operator.
Bob Munro, the CFO of Callcredit Information Group, the Leeds-based provider of consumer data solutions, software and analytics. GTCR, a Chicago-based private equity firm, paid a reputed £500m for Callcredit in 2014.
Chris Spencer, the chief executive of Emis Group plc, the UK leader in connected healthcare software and services. The Leeds-based company listed on Aim in 2010 and is now worth £665m.
The event will be presented by Bernard Ginns, Business Editor of The Yorkshire Post, and will be on the record. There will be a Q&A after the speakers.
aql brings the international Heroes of Mobile Fringe Festival to Leeds
aql has partnered with mobile industry veteran, Helen Keegan, to bring the international Heroes of the Mobile Fringe festival and the popular Swedish Beers Mobile Networking party for the first time to the North of the UK. The first Leeds edition of the festival will take place on the 3d and 4th of November 2015 at the aql headquarters in Leeds city centre.
The Leeds edition of the festival includes a series of open discussions, talks and demo sessions centred on new technologies and mobile innovation. It aims to bring the business community together to network and gain insight into how new technology is disrupting the way we work, live and do business. The event gathers people from all walks of mobile life including app developers, advertising, media, mobile marketing, handset manufacturers, payment providers, big data, brands, agencies, analysts, journalists, start-ups, retailers and more.
All the sessions are free to attend and open to all. Registration is open now.
Tuesday, the 3rd of November
10:00-14:30 - Future of Work: Open Space Session with Lloyd Davis
Synopsis: What is the impact of technologies like blockchain, internet of things, artificial intelligence, robots and virtual reality on our work lives? Is there a future for work or are we heading to a leisure-based utopia? Just how many jobs will you have had by the time you retire? What is retirement anyway? Is there a difference between the future of work and the future of jobs? How do you maintain your mental health in the workplace in the face of all this continuous change?
13:00-15:00 - Nothing Great is Easy: Open talk with Patrick Smith
Synopsis: Patrick Smith, who has successfully swum the English Channel as part of a relay team and has swum the length of England's longest lake (twice), offers a fresh perspective on running your own business - and how open water swimming training can help you achieve something great.
18:30-until late - Swedish Beers Goes North - Leeds first edition
Swedish Beers is a business networking event for executives interested in mobile technology. There will be people from all walks of mobile life there on the night - be that app developers, advertising, media, mobile marketing, handset manufacturers, payment providers, big data, brands, agencies, analysts, journalists, start-ups, veterans, noobs and much more. Come alone or come with a friend but do come. Expect a friendly crowd, lots of chat about mobile, life, the universe and why Swedish Beers is called Swedish Beers and much more.
10:00-12:30 - Future of Mobile: Talk + Open Space Session with James Tagg & Lloyd Davis
Synopsis: James Tagg, the founder and CTO of the world’s first global mobile network, inventor of the first LCD touchscreen and recently published author of Are The Androids Dreaming Yet will open this session with a short talk sharing his vision of the future of mobile. After the short talk, come and enjoy a big conversation, facilitated by James Tagg and Lloyd Davis about whatever aspects of the future of mobile technology most puzzles, enthuses, or irritates you, answering the question "What does the future of mobile hold for us?"
12:00-14:00 - Ladies Lunch at Harvey Nichols restaurant
Synopsis: A friendly networking lunch dedicated to women who work in technology with guest of honor Lesley Cowley, aql Non-Executive Director of aql, the first ever Chair of DVLA and a non-executive Director of CERT-UK, a Member of the British Computer Society Policy & Public Affairs Board and a Council Member of ICANN's Country Code Names Supporting Organisation.
14:00-15:15 - The Yorkshire Post: The journey from print to digital media with Bernard Ginns
Synopsis: Bernard will lead this session by giving us a whistlestop tour of the history of the 261 year old Yorkshire Post, one of the oldest newspapers in the country. Then bringing us up to date with the 21st Century, he will share with us the challenges The Yorkshire Post faces with the move to digital and mobile and explain some of the things that they're doing to tackle those challenges. There will also be time for a short Q&A.
15:00-16:30 - Future of Mobile Advertising: Open Space Session with Helen Keegan & Lloyd Davis
Synopsis: What has happened to the creative process in advertising that we so cherished and enjoyed in the early TV advertising days? Will we ever have a water-cooler moment about a banner ad? When was the last time you clicked on an ad anyway? And why are we still reliant on the banner ad to drive these advertising dollars?
aql joins Leeds Business Week as a Headline sponsor
For the second year in a row, aql is supporting the UK’s largest Business Week, with over 100 business-focused events taking place in Leeds, from 12th – 16th October 2015.
This year, aql is part of the event’s strategic management board alongside Leeds Becket University, Leeds Business School, Vodafone, Vistage, BJSS and Blacks Solicitors LLP.
Leeds Business Week 2014 hosted at aql Auditorium
aql will host the opening event of Leeds Business Week, the Leeds City Summit on the 12th of October and will have a presence at all the Yorkshire Mafia planned events throughout the week.
Councillor Judith Blake from Leeds City Council, Arif Ahmad, Senior Partner of PwC’s Leeds office, Helen Beachall, General Manager of Simon On The Streets and Richard Flint, CEO Sky Betting and Gaming, will join Dr Adam Beaumont, aql’s founder and CEO for the Leeds City Summit panel focused on Business and Growth. The panel will be run in the style of BBC’s Questions Time and moderated by professor Paul Turner from Leeds Beckett University.
The Heathrow Business Summit for SMEs, organised by the Leeds Chamber of Commerce will also be hosted at the aql historical HQ building, on Thursday the 15th October.
Dr Adam Beaumont said: "We are delighted to support Leeds Business Week this year at a strategic level as we strive to champion Leeds as a well connected city and an attractive place to invest and do business. Leeds Business Week is a great opportunity to encourage business growth, job creation and promote the city’s digital capabilities as well as the strength of the Northern Powerhouse."
Geoff Shepherd the Yorkshire Mafia Chairman added: “Leeds Business week is all about bringing people together across the city and beyond to share best practice, gather together to build better business relationships and benefit from each other’s expertise. We have a strong partnership with aql and we’re delighted to be working closely together to deliver Leeds Business Week 2015. A key event during the week, the Leeds City Summit will be taking place at Salem Chapel, home of aql and the perfect setting for such an event.”
BlueWave Communications – the Next Chapter
BlueWave Communications Ltd, was founded in 2007 by Isle of Man entrepreneur, Stuart Baggs, with the objective to provide a greater choice of Internet services to businesses and consumers on the Island.
In more recent years, the company has grown to a customer base of several thousand subscribers and operates a fixed and wireless broadband service.
Sadly, Stuart passed away at the end of July this year. Stuart had worked closely with aql as a customer and partner for many years and had deployed similar technology on the Isle of Man to that deployed by aql. He’d also collaborated on several innovative Wifi projects with aql’s development teams.
aql CEO Dr Adam Beaumont said "I've known Stuart for nearly a decade and I've seen his hard work and commitment build up a business with a great deal of respect and goodwill within the local community. These values are strong within aql and I felt that we wanted to make sure that the staff and customers of BlueWave would continue, along with the BlueWave brand. aql has now acquired BlueWave as a going concern.".
BlueWave had just rolled out 4G broadband services which aql also intends to support. The company will continue to be managed locally by the same BlueWave team.
"For now, it’s about stabilisation – making sure we understand the systems, customers and building in resilience. Once we have developed a robust platform, we’ll continue BlueWave’s rollout across the Island, along with expansion into other service areas. The guys in Douglas now have a much bigger team behind them.".
In memory: "Once we get the technical work done, we will also be establishing a discretionary fund from BlueWave profits to help budding entrepreneurs with small funds to explore their first idea or prototype. Applicants under the age of 27 will be eligible to apply.".
About BlueWave Communications
BlueWave Communications was founded in 2007 by Isle of Man based entrepreneur Stuart Baggs. His mission was clear, to provide robust and cost effective communications solutions Island wide, without the exorbitant price tag associated with the incumbent operator.
BlueWave Communications have developed a next generation network, utilising a rich mixture of fibre optic and wireless communications. This enables the company to provision a broad range of services onto a combined central network providing tangible cost savings to our clients.
At a time when operators are keen to remove their universal service obligations, BlueWave remains committed to offering their range of communications solutions to as many people as possible. In 2009, BlueWave commenced offering the fixed wireless broadband product specifically to underserved areas in the north of the Island.
In addition to their own network, BlueWave also facilitate mast sharing across the Island. This allows other communications providers rapid turnkey coverage of the Isle of Man whilst eliminating the environmental impact of new sites.
KPMG Enterprise panel: Innovative technology for businesses with leading experts Dr Adam Beaumont, aql, Dave Coplin, Microsoft UK and Ian Beaumont, KPMG UK
Dr Adam Beaumont, aql CEO and founder, Dave Coplin, Chief envisioning officer at Microsoft UK and Ian Beaumont, Head of KPMG enterprise in Yorkshire attended the KPMG enterprise panel on Tuesday 15th of September to discuss how Yorkshire businesses can make better use of innovative technology.
Dr Adam Beaumont gave the audience insight on Cloud computing and data hosting: “Cloud is something that if you don’t do now it’s something that you will be doing. As you move all of your equipment out of a data centre, you’ll be moving it into a cloud. You’ll be moving it into Amazon, into Microsoft, or to Google or somebody else.”
He also explained why Leeds is a good place to do business from a network and datacentre infrastructure perspective: “This region is blessed with good connectivity. In the UK there’s three internet exchanges, these are the points where networks meet each other and there’s two of them in London. The other one is actually in Leeds. As we see more adoption of smart technology, more out-sourcing, all of this technology is going to end up in the Cloud”.
Dr Adam Beaumont speaking at KPMG Enterprise panel: Innovative technology for businesses in Leeds
Mr Ian Beaumont emphasised the impact that digital innovation can have on more traditional sectors, such as manufacturing, and also the importance for those industries to adopt new technologies.
Mr Coplin highlighted the fact that SMEs must keep focus on outcomes productivity gains that the new digital solutions can bring and not only on business processes.
aql announces the launch of the Digital Leaders Programme in Yorkshire
aql have been chosen to act as the regional champions for Digital Leaders Yorkshire and we are pleased to announce the launch of the Digital Leaders programme in Leeds.
The inauguration event will take place on the 8th of September at the aql Auditorium in Leeds and will bring together 100 local representatives from private sector companies, not-for-profit organisations, universities and the public sector. The event’s main focus is Northern Digital resilience and the region’s strength in cyber-security and digital infrastructure.
The programme aims to promote Innovative Digital transformation in the region by providing resources and expertise to local representatives from the private and the public sectors. It consists in a series of open, free webinars and networking events to engage and foster collaboration amongst decision makers and key digital players.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql, the Digital Leaders Programme regional sponsor for Yorkshire, comments: "We are very excited to launch the Digital Leaders Programme in Yorkshire and encourage local talent and digital initiatives emerging across numerous sectors. The Leeds City Region has enormous potential centred around digital technology, innovation, smart cities, and we are happy to champion the region’s capability."
Robin Knowles, Founder and CEO at Digital Leaders adds: "I am delighted that Digital Leaders Yorkshire is the seventh regional programme to be launched. Working with our partners aql I look forward to hearing more about what the Digital Leaders in Yorkshire are discussing. The Digital Leaders programme will continue to build its reputation for offering great networking, being content rich, and of course importantly, being free to attend."
Boost for tech firms as NorthInvest platform opens doors to angels
A new investment platform has launched in an effort to create opportunities for Northern technology firms.
NorthInvest, a not-for-profit mutual founded by digital entrepreneur Dr Adam Beaumont, aims to make it easier for the region’s start-ups to access crucial early funding and free business advice and support.
The platform connects angel investors with ventures in the North, some of which have historically struggled to compete for cash against the more prominent digital community in London. (…)
Why the London Stock Exchange's digital infrastructure needs a backup in Leeds - City A.M. Opinion piece by Dr Adam Beaumont
We all have to prepare for the unexpected, with a Plan B to fall back on, and this isn’t just true for day-to-day life. It applies to the business world as well. With that in mind, it’s worrying that the UK’s trading systems can be so exposed. Most of the global connectivity into UK trading systems relies on Internet infrastructure mostly located within a small radius of London. Most of the data passes through just a few main data centres in the City. (…)
New digital talent in Leeds: Dr Adam Beaumont comments on BBC Look North
Dr Adam Beaumont comments on BBC Look North (Yorkshire) about the impact of Sky creating 400 highly skilled digital jobs and how to retain them in Leeds. "It's exciting: any extra jobs which bring more expertise to Leeds it's a great thing for us, because as an employer, we also want to bring expertise to Leeds and at the moment, we feel that we still need more digital people. We try to grow them through college, through partnerships with the universities. (...) There are also some great companies in Leeds, like The Test People, they, like Sky, also have an apprenticeship programme (...) As we (aql) start to identify the skills that we need for future facing jobs, we are also starting to feed those back into the college so that they produce the people that are the right shape for us."
Watch the complete footage below:
Expanding infrastructure of aql helps Yorkshire to prepare properly for today’s hi-tech digital age
Leeds-based telecommunications company aql and its data-centre expansion plans are making Yorkshire fit for the digital age. With 45,000 people working in technology in the region, the strength of the tech industry across Yorkshire is a key development factor for the Prime Minister’s strategic Northern Powerhouse. Digital infrastructure and network connectivity are vital for these smart, innovative digital companies choosing to start up in or relocate to Leeds City Region. (…)
Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne visited aql’s Leeds data centre in Salem Chapel in Febuary 2015 to present their long- term economic plan for Yorkshire.
UWE awards Honorary Degree to aql non-executive director Lesley Cowley OBE
Lesley Cowley OBE was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology in recognition of her achievement and influence in the field of Technology and her contribution to STEM and STEM ambassadors in schools.
The Honorary Degree was conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Faculty of Environment and Technology on Tuesday 21 July 2015 at Bristol Cathedral. (...)
Lesley Cowley OBE receives the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology
Dr Adam Beaumont explains to the Yorkshire Post how Leeds could host the London Stock Exchange from Carlsberg site
LEEDS could host the London Stock Exchange from its own miniature version of Canary Wharf in times of crisis, according to the man behind much of the city’s digital infrastructure. Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Dr Adam Beaumont, chief executive of aql, which has three large data centres in Leeds and hosts Yorkshire’s internet exchange, said it was feasible that a major incident could bring down data systems in London and that a back-up plan was needed. (...)
The IXLeeds evolution and regional benefits for the data centre sector - DataCentres North conference
DataCentres North Annual forum was held on the 11th and 12th of May at the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester and brought together the region’s experts involved in the design, building, management and operation of data centres.
IXLeeds - For the Good of the Internet
Andy Davidson, Chair of IXLeeds, the Yorkshire Internet Exchange Point housed within one of aql’s carrier neutral facilities, gave a presentation about the IXP’s evolution and its role in developing the Telecom and data centre market in Leeds and Yorkshire.
Andy Davidson, chair of IXLeeds, presenting IXLeeds at Data Centres North Conference in Manchester
On the panel, from left to right: Andy Davidson, IXLeeds chair, Christian Spence, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Mike Kelly, CEO of Datacentres, Nicola Hayes, Founder of Andrasta Consulting.
Whilst telling the IXLeeds initiative story, Andy Davidson explained how having a regional Internet Exchange point can help reduce bandwidth costs for local networks and improve the region’s Internet traffic quality and speeds. He also emphasized the importance of connectivity for the development of the sector: “Connectivity is a key fuel for growth”, as well as the benefits of the data network operators joining forces and collaborating as a community for the growth of the region.
After the presentation, Andy Davidson joined the panel along with Christian Spence from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Mike Kelly, CEO of Datacentres, to discuss the datacentres landscape evolution, the value of Internet Exchange Points for data centres and the importance of carrier neutral interconnection facilities. The panel, chaired by Nicola Hayes, founder of Andrasta Consulting, gave the public a general overview of the region’s connectivity needs and cloud services offerings, as well as insight on future infrastructure developments and trends for the North.
IXLeeds is the Yorkshire Internet Exchange point, hosted within one of aql's Leeds data centres. The exchange brings value to aql and to the region by promoting cooperation between network operators in the north of England, improving the quality of local traffic and attracting Internet national and international companies in need of northern UK interconnection capability, including: Akamai, Metronet UK, Vodafone, Janet, Vaioni, Ask4, Phoenix, Fluidata, York data Services, Exa networks and others.
aql provides all space, power, cabling and support to IXLeeds for free, including cabling to members. This is because aql recognizes the importance of an Internet exchange, not only to aql, but also to the region. To learn more, visit: http://ixleeds.net/.
The Leeds Mencap Apprentice Challenge is about bringing businesses and community groups together to support local people with learning disabilities, along with families and carers.
This year’s celebratory event, held on the 30th of April at the grade II historic headquarters of aql, was key as the teams came together and showcased their fundraising stories.
Easypay Services come back for a second year and went head-to-head with Northern Gas Networks, Winston Solicitors, the NHS Leadership Academy and Space Property (part of Yorkshire Housing) to raise as much money as possible from a loan of £50.
From left to right: Dawn Spencer, Business Relationship Manager - Barclays, Keith Madley, Company Chairman - MBE, Paul Greaves, Channel Director - aql, Cath Lee, Chief Executive Officer - Leeds Mencap.
Paul Greaves, Channel Director for aql, Keith Madley, Company Chairman for MBE, Dawn Spencer, Business Relationship Manager for Barclays, and Cath Lee, Chief Executive Officer for Leeds Mencap joined the panel as judges and learned more about the teams’ efforts throughout the challenges.
As totals were totted-up it was revealed that Easypay Services won by raising over £5,300! Laura Whitston, Marketing and Social Media Executive and Sarah Show, Finance Director at Easypay were handed the award by Martin Staniforth, chair of Leeds Mencap, and panel chairman for the event.
During the celebrations, the full amount raised through the collective efforts of the teams that took part in the challenge was also revealed. All in all a staggering £8,500 was raised to support children and adults across Leeds affected by learning disabilities!
Leeds Mencap Networking event.
Leeds Mencap Ceremony in aql Salem Auditorium.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql said: "We at aql were very happy to be a part of this year’s Leeds Mencap Apprentice challenge and see businesses in Leeds come together for a good cause and raise an important amount of money to help the people with learning disabilities. We do hope to get involved next year and contribute to Leeds Mencap future fundraising projects."
Catherine Storey, Senior Fundraising Officer Leeds Mencap expressed her gratitude: "aql's partnership with us on our corporate charity challenge this year has been outstanding and the Salem Chapel venue was suburb. Huge thanks to aql for their involvement with Leeds Mencap on this event and delighted to have begun a relationship with the company which will benefit children and adults with a learning disability and their families and carers throughout Leeds."
Sarah Shaw, Finance Director at Easypay Services who was there to receive the winning trophy on the night said: "It is a great pleasure and honor to be receiving this award from Leeds Mencap. It is a charity that Easypay Services has grown to absolutely love and the work they do to support people with learning disabilities is fantastic. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking part, are delighted to have won as we came runners-up last year and can’t wait to do it again."
Laura Whitston, Marketing and Social Media Executive and Sarah Show, Finance Director at Easypay Services - Winners of Leeds Mencap Apprentice 2015.
About Leeds Mencap
Leeds Mencap is a local and independent charity that provides support for children and adults with a learning disability, along with their families and carers. It has been running since 1953. The charity supports more than 300 families a week, offering a range of services such as parent support projects, youth clubs, social groups, play schemes and residential care. Although Leeds Mencap is affiliated with National Mencap, the charity is an independently-run charity and has to secure all its own funding.
“Achieve-IT” - an educational computing event for secondary school students in Leeds at Salem chapel
On the 1st of April, 90 students from various secondary schools in Leeds and teachers met at the first Achieve-IT event hosted by aql in conjunction with the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) and CBiS Education. The year 8 & 9 students spent a full day at the grade II historic HQ of aql, attending hands-on workshops and also conducting online activities, introducing them to computer skills and technology.
The Achieve-IT initiative intends to help fill the digital skill gap the region is facing, by encouraging the children to get involved with computing technology, engage in digital creativity and even pursue a career in a digital field.
Leeds secondary school students engaging in computing activities at aql headquarters
The morning started with a welcome from Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql, introducing today’s digital challenges and employment and entrepreneurial opportunities and also talking about his professional journey to becoming a digital leader. After the introduction, the youngsters were organised in 11 teams named after prominent figures from computing history (such as Steve Jobs, Ada Lovelace). The teams were given different missions requiring computing skills: They used Raspberry PI’s to access a web portal and accomplish various tasks, such as controlling robots or visualising data transfer around the world using aql networks. Additionally, the access to the online web exercise parts of the event will be continued, in order to give the children the opportunity to extend their learning.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql, giving the welcome speech at Achieve-IT
aql provided the venue, technical staff and IT resources, such as Raspberry Pi computers, IP addresses and network for activities and also hosting space for the portal. Dr Adam Beaumont explained aql’s involvement: "We are very delighted to provide our support and host this educational event. Our commitment to enabling Leeds as a digital city begins with young people. Our goal is to raise awareness and help them understand the opportunities of the digital world. As a Leeds digital company – we must lead by example, we wish to inspire the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers, by sharing an insight into computing and digital possibilities of the future."
Tim Street, head of computing and ICT at GSAL, said: "We were pleased to work with aql on this project, giving students a great opportunity to have fun with computing. Employers are looking for young people who are confident with computers, however many potential recruits are unaware of the different applications or career possibilities and today was about opening them up to the options available to them."
CBiS Education provides resources to engage, support & inspire with Innovation, Engineering & Computing. Their "Open & Get on with it" robotics kits are based on real world examples of technology and by using the kits to remove the complexity of programming & equipment assembly; they are seeing good impact in schools all over the UK. Chris Burgess, Managing Director of CBiS Education, jumped at the chance to support aql & GSAL with an event for the students. "With a global shortage of Engineers & Computer Scientists, if we can give the students a taste of IT in the workplace that can maybe inspire them to choose it as a career, great stuff."
Datacentre Solution Awards 2015 – double nomination for aql
aql, the Leeds-based data centre operator and leading provider of smart communications services, are proud to have been shortlisted as a finalist in the "DC facilities Company of the year" category for the DCS Awards 2015. aql CEO and founder Dr Adam Beaumont has been nominated "DC Individual of the year" for the same edition.
The aql data centre infrastructure
aql owns and operates four highly secure data centres in Leeds city centre, with plans to expand the infrastructure with two more sites to create a city-wide campus of capacity.
aql’s second city-centre datacentre was built in 2010 in the restored Salem Chapel dating back to 1791. The Grade II listed site was chosen due to its proximity to the fibre cabling and major carriers in the city and has many tens of terabits of connectivity, enough bandwidth capacity to support the entire region's digital infrastructure.
DC3 - aql servers underneath the reinforced glass platform of the Salem auditorium.
Since 2006, aql has built three highly secure, carrier neutral facilities. aql have a strong security focus - all aql staff carry government "SC" security vetting and its datacentres are accredited under the Government Infosec framework. This allows the approved hosting of large amounts of classified data, which means aql can safely support services to the blue light sector,
NHS and the government.
In 2011, aql's DC 2 became the home of IXLeeds, the only mutual non-for profit Internet eXchange outside of London. The exchange brings value and resilience to the city and has attracted national and international tier-1 operators. It's also catalyzed the presence of content delivery networks and social media - installing their equipment within the facility, to better serve the growing digital demand in the region.
aql CEO and founder Dr Adam Beaumont, inside the restored Salem Chapel auditorium.(DC3)
Dr Adam Beaumont, aql's CEO and founder says: "I am delighted that both aql and myself are shortlisted. We have been building data centres in Leeds to match the region's rate of growth and increasing demands driven by the digital revolution. We are also working with Leeds city Council and local stakeholders to make our data centres part of a sustainable city, by delivering aql's waste heat to local buildings. Many industry stakeholders understand that to build datacentres is difficult, but to build one in a grade II listed chapel is an altogether different challenge. The journey of renovation and engineering has been an enjoyable one. I'm looking forward to completing our next datacentre in April, followed by breaking ground on our new site later this year."
Voting and award ceremony
Award winners will be revealed on the 14th of May 2015, at the Awards Ceremony held at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel in London. Voting is now open until 17:30 on the 23d of April.
BBC Look North Interviews Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and Founder of aql, about the launch of Google’s digital Garage in Leeds.
Internet giant Google launched a new digital training centre in the heart of Leeds on Friday 13th March. The Digital Garage is a multi-million pound programme, whose purpose is to provide digital skills for 200,000 local SME’s and help them improve their online presence.
BBC Look North interviewed Adam, CEO of aql, on the impact of the Google Digital Garage for local businesses and the importance for the City of Leeds.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql, interview on BBC Look North
Adam commented on the impact for the Leeds digital employment market: “It is exciting for Leeds, we have been trying to champion Leeds as a digital centre for the North for the last decade and over the last five years it has accelerated at a rapid pace, to the point where, we as a data centre operator, now house IXLeeds, the Internet Exchange for the region, that looks out for most of the traffic in the North. What is most exciting for us, as a Yorkshire and Leeds employer, is that this is going to really focus job seekers and encourage employment within the Internet industry to actually gravitate to Leeds.”
As a Governor for Leeds City College, Adam also highlighted the new opportunities that will arise for Leeds students: “The one thing that I always get from talking to the students at the College is that they always say: How do I get a job at the social network, how do I get a job at Google? Having Google in the city is one step closer, it something they can touch and reach out to.”
When asked about Google’s free digital training for 25,000 teachers, aql’s CEO talked about the importance of computing skills for the University programme: “Training teachers is really important, computing has now been mandated in the curriculum, so there are a lot of teachers who may not be computing teachers, but have suddenly found that it has become part of what they need to do. So having an organisation like Google being able to help with that is important…”
Adam also met with Eileen Naughton, Google’s UK & Ireland Managing Director and VP at the launch event last Friday, at vibrant Leeds Dock. Naughton talked about the importance for local business to be discovered digitally: “While the majority of UK small businesses recognise the importance of having a website and using basic digital tools, less than 30 percent of SMEs have an effective online presence. We want to help jumpstart the other 70 percent.”
This is not aql’s first work with Google representatives in Leeds. Last year, the company hosted a Google Juice Bar event for local SMEs at the Salem Church, aql’s HQ and conference venue for numerous national and international industry events. For more information, click here.
aql aims to put Leeds on the “Internet map”, contribute to the development of local business throughout telecommunications, and help the city become an autonomous digital centre.
Data centre industry experts Dr Adam Beaumont, aql and Dr Jon Summers, University of Leeds join RAC Data Centre Cooling Question Time
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql on the left, Dr Jon Summers, Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds on the right.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and co-founder of aql and Dr Jon Summers, Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds will be joining the panel at the upcoming annual Data Centre Cooling Question Time in London on March 24th 2015.
Adam’s doctorate and practical experience in thermodynamics (the flow and interchange of heat and energy) has allowed aql to work with industry partners to design and build some of the UK’s most efficient and secure datacentres. He will intervene at the panel from an end-user point of view and says: ”I am thrilled to be a part of this panel. aql is involved in one of the UK’s most innovative district heating schemes, working to utilise aql’s waste data centre heat with municipal schemes in the City. I am therefore looking forward to discussing the challenges of urban data centres at this event.”
Dr Jon Summers, who has attended the panel pervious editions as an academic researcher, adds: “The audience are usually interested in technology shifts that may change the way in which data centres are cooled in the future. This year the topic of data centre waste heat re-use is on the agenda, which is clearly close to the collaborative research project between aql and the University of Leeds.”
The two experts have already joined forces to work on data centres energy flows and how to reuse heat in a sustainable way. aql sponsors the University of Leeds PHD programme which is focused on innovative energy efficiencies and key involvement in district heating scheme design – allowing heat offload from all aql’s datacentre locations.
The Data Centre Cooling Question Time
The Data Centre Cooling Question Time is an annual panel of end-users, designers, FM providers and industry experts organized by RAC magazine. Already confirmed for this year’s edition are Frank Mills, Design Consultant for M&E company Cordant Technical, Consultant Robert Tozer from Operational Intelligence and Mark Acton, data centre specialist from CBRE Norland, together with Steve Lorimer, Keysource. Subjects will include: Direct vs Indirect free cooling, reducing energy in the data centre, challenges of upgrades and refurbishments, the re-use of “waste” heat, carbon emissions, ASHRAE environmental envelopes, liquid cooling and chilled water. The event will be held at The Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, in London.
The Nation's DC visits aql DC
We often have visitors to our datacentres and also we do urge our customers who haven't visited us, to come and see us sometime. Yesterday's visitors however were accompanied by a television crew and came to deliver a message:
aql's historic Grade II listed Headquarters, were described as "an extraordinary, iconic location" by the Prime Minister during his announcement of the Long-Term Economic Plan for Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire in Leeds yesterday.
The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer travelled to the region to promote investment and to announce their plans to add over £13 billion in real terms to the Yorkshire economy by 2030 and ensure over 100,000 more people are employed as part of the creation of a Northern Powerhouse.
The message, which included emphasis on devolving greater powers to West Yorkshire, in alignment with the Sheffield City Region devolution agreement, was delivered whilst standing on top of the reinforced glass platform, looking down into one of aql's secure datacentres and the glistening technology of the internet exchange below them.
David Cameron and George Osborne preparing to deliver their Six Point Plan from the high security glass platform over one of aql's secure Datacentres.
The Prime Minister called for an optimism that's he said "was overdue". He gave a message of reassurance, stating that every major measure this part of the country is going in the right direction. He praised the work of Welcome to Yorkshire and it's CEO, Gary Verity for bringing the Tour de France to Leeds and for the City for creating the grandest of Grand Départ's.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO & Founder of aql and Gary Verity, CEO of Welcome to Yorkshire, both proudly wearing their Yorkshire "Y".
The Prime Minister said "Our Northern Powerhouse Plan is a strategic long-term view on what the drivers of growth actually are in a modern economy.". With an emphasis on long term, this was a key message viewed as running right through everything this Government has done. Investment in infrastructure was also highlighted – including flood alleviation schemes protecting Leeds and the region.
Broadband at superfast speeds, one the core offerings catalysed by aql's datacentres within the heart of the city, was described as one of the key elements to this plan. Others included excellent transport systems, a critical mass of skilled workers and a thriving science base.
George Osborne described Yorkshire as a Country leader, saying "The economy of Yorkshire is not just growing and creating jobs but on many measures it is now leading the country.".
Northern Powerhouse : He continued to walk through their six point plan. He viewed the economy of the North as bright if not brighter than other parts of the country, highlighting the ambition to pull the North of England together as a significant aligned force through building a Northern Powerhouse.
The creative industries was included as one of the strengths of the region and one of the key sectors for job creation and the achievement of the planned employment targets in the next parliament. The Chancellor continued "Yorkshire is fast becoming a centre for film and television production, it is home to the second fastest growing digital sector outside London. We are quite literally standing on the servers that are driving the revolution." (referring to the infrastructure in aql's datacentre visible through the glass floor beneath his feet). Many of these servers deliver the content and allow the collaboration of the regions creative sector.
David Cameron, Prime Minister and George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer delivering their Long-Term Economic Plan in the auditorium on a glass platform above one of aql's flagship datacentres.
Transport links are to be improved. Committing specific sums of money dedicated to areas included investment in trains, upgrading links, a Trans-Pennine road tunnel and fixing the bottlenecks of the region. A shared vision was HS3; with an ambition to revolutionise the North of England. He believes the arrival of high-speed rail to Leeds will enable the city to be transformed. Backed by the Leeds Station Regeneration Board, the Department of Transport & Network Rail plans are in motion to upgrade the infrastructure and create the high speed railway network.
For aql, connectivity is not all about transporting people, but more about the transport of data and bringing cities closer together through high speed, low latency connectivity. The Internet Exchange also brings the "internet content" to Leeds, with many of the social networks, streaming TV channels and app stores already being hosted within aql's sites in Leeds.
Technology was included again in the core strengths of the region. TechCity UK released their new Tech Nation report today in Leeds. This highlights the strength of the tech industry across Yorkshire, with facts like 45,000 people working in technology here in West Yorkshire.
Tom Bridges, Chief Economic Development Officer, Leeds City Council, said: "Leeds City Council and IX Leeds will work with other partners such as the LEP, University of Leeds, ODI, Leeds DataMill, and businesses with leading-edge digital capabilities to provide a clear and effective conduit into Leeds for TechCity UK.".
Data analytics was also highlighted as an important capability in Leeds along with mention of the newly-formed Big Data Analytics facility at the University of Leeds.
David Hogg, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds said he was "very pleased that the Chancellor had highlighted the opportunity for the further development of our Data Analytics Institute and looked forward to continuing to work with industry and public-sector partners in the City to bring this about.".
Left to right - Sir Alex Markham (Leeds Big Data Analytics Facility, Leeds University), The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Dr Adam Beaumont (aql CEO), The Prime Minister, Andy Davidson (Chair of IXLeeds), Mark Fordyce (Board Member, IXLeeds), Professor David Hogg (Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, University of Leeds).
Adam Beaumont, CEO of aql stated "Leeds is just waking up to it's capability as a Data City. We now have London-Independent network connectivity to the US and Europe. aql also hosts the only internet exchange independent of London, providing an interface between many regional and international networks.
The exchange also connects Terabit networks such as the Janet network, providing a high speed conduit between Universities and the private sector, allowing the exchange and analysis of big data.".
Andy Davidson, Chair of IXLeeds commented: "The exchange is not only a neutral technical infrastructure to enable limitless cooperation between interested parties, but also the perfect forum for those parties to meet and share and develop ideas and form close collaborations".
Photograph of one of aql's secure, carrier neutral Datacentres based in Leeds.
Lesley Cowley, Non-Executive Director at aql added: "The reason aql are interested in Big Data is because of our pedigree in datacentre security and secure storage. We've also been involved in the "internet of things" since it's inception – aql are a smart messaging company – connecting software systems to remote devices and connecting remote devices to networks, securely. We do this by providing secure mobile messaging, specialist data MVNO solutions and satellite machine-to-machine interfaces. Most importantly, we do this with partners – aql are the conduit or the enabler who work with the UK's leading solutions providers to deliver end-to-end service. We do all of this with a holistic view of security and to ensure the privacy and safety of users is maintained in a connected society.".
aql introduces you to a SuperConnected society at the MWC in Barcelona (2-5 March 2015)
aql is attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Adam Beaumont and his crew will be present to introduce you to aql smart cities innovative concepts and services: 3G, m2m and IoT technologies, SMS and super fast connectivity.
The aql team will be exhibiting in Hall 7, stand 7B87 and invites you to visit or schedule a meeting in advance.
aql is proud to sponsor the Swedish Beer Event on their 10th anniversary and engage with the mobile technology community at this well-established networking event.
Also, the aqlers are organising a Yorkshire Gin tasting social on Monday, starting 5 p.m at the aql stand.
Free Wi-fi network in Leeds set to grow
More people across Leeds will be able to get online for free.
Leeds-based company aql has been contracted to deploy free Wi-Fi in additional parts of the city at no cost in a bid to get even more residents online.
The announcement comes after Leeds City Council recently began installing free Wi-Fi in more than 100 council buildings, including libraries, museums and leisure centres, under the government-funded Super Connected Cities programme.
Free Wi-Fi is also already available on Millennium Square and Briggate under an existing arrangement, with more than 30,000 people registering over the last two years.
The new contract with aql will start early this year in parts of the city yet to be finalised, but will aim to reach areas where internet connectivity is poor or where people are unable to afford internet subscriptions.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills, said: “Our ambition is for Leeds to be a modern, digitally-focussed city where residents are fully equipped to take advantage of all the opportunities that the internet provides.
“In order for us to achieve that, it’s absolutely crucial that as many residents as possible are able to access the internet, no matter where in the city they live.
“This new contract will hopefully go some way to helping bridge the ‘digital divide’ by potentially focussing on some of the areas of deprivation and current poor connectivity.
“As the world becomes increasingly dependent on the internet it is vital we do all we can to ensure everyone in our city has access to the benefits the internet can provide.
“This new contract will allow even more residents to access a free Wi-Fi connection.”
Aql already have a presence in Leeds, with their old style blue telephone boxes providing free Wi-Fi on the Headrow and in other city locations. The new contract will see most of the new Wi-Fi devices mounted on street lighting columns.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO of aql added: “Over the last decade, aql put Leeds on the ‘internet map’ and our datacentres are home to the main internet hubs for the region.
“We’re keen to roll out high speed internet access to areas of most need.”
AQL expands data centre campus with ex-council building
AQL has completed an acquisition worth more than half a million pounds that will take its Leeds data centre estate to 110,000 sq ft
The integrated communications company, which was founded in 1998 by managing director Adam Beaumont, purchased a 57,000 sq ft former council building located at South Point in the city.
It will be refurbished to house AQL’s third data centre in the city, which will dramatically increase its server capacity and form a campus of centres to serve the digital economy.
Dr Beaumont told The Yorkshire Post the expansion is part of a strategy to ensure AQL can provide sufficient infrastructure to the expanding digital sector.
He said: “What we’re seeing is this accelerated need for data centre space by all of the smart, innovative digital companies that cropping up in Leeds and the region.
“We’ve got to keep this pipeline available for these customers. Building in Leeds has been a major focus for us.”
AQL provides mobile messaging services and supplies wholesale messaging platforms to international and UK networks. The company is responsible for more than 94 million numbers on 42 different telecoms networks. It also hosts 40 million UK numbers for voice services.
It created its first data centre in Leeds six years ago, acquiring the former Salem Chapel close to Leeds Bridge. Chosen due to its proximity to the fibre cabling in the city, it has 100 terabytes of capacity, which is “enough space to support the entire region’s digital infrastructure”.
It subsequently acquired a former council building at Apex Way in the city. Its renovation and build is due to be completed in March this year.
The Apex Way project highlighted the attractiveness of former council stock for AQL.
Dr Beaumont said: “Ex-council buildings, while they don’t look particularly exciting, they’re largely rectangular buildings and most of what we’re putting in them is rectangular stuff.
“They’re ideal candidates for us to turn into data centres because we end up ripping out all of the office fittings because what we really want is a bare building to then fit from scratch.”
The property at South Point was deemed to be ideal due to its current state.
“People will know it as ‘that ugly building with no windows in it near the flyover’,” Dr Beaumont said. “The great thing about that is because it’s actually been stripped out completely, it saves us the job of doing it.”
In addition to connecting South Point with its existing sites at Salem Chapel and Apex Way, AQL will work with architects and planners to ensure its building is sustainable.
Dr Beaumont said: “When we build our data centres, one of the things we do is to make sure we design them so that all the heat we generate can be exported and ran by way of heat sharing pipes to other schemes.
“We will be liaising with scheme operators to make sure we can export our waste heat to their buildings, so we become part of the ecosystem.”
AQL also owns land with planning permission to develop a large new-build data centre at a former Leeds chemical works site but Dr Beaumont said a scheme of that size is not yet on the cards.
“We’re building up organically to match the rate of growth and demand in Leeds,” he said.
However, the company does plan to continue acquisitions.
“We’re in discussions with some developers to acquire more space,” he said. “Nothing is signed yet but we’ve still got the appetite.”
Google Juice Bar
aql hosted Leeds first Google Juice Bar on the 21st of November 2014, at the Salem Church conference centre, a restored Grade II listed building and aql’s HQ. The Google Juice bar is an event dedicated to helping local business and was organized in partnership with the Superfast West Yorkshire Business Support, Superconnected Leeds Bradford and BPIF CDi Print Yorkshire.
The morning started with general networking over juice, tea & coffee in the exposition area and was followed by introductions from Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and Founder of aql, in Salem’s galleried auditorium.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql on the left, Salem Church auditorium on the right.
Guest speakers Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Martin Boddy CEO of Jaywing discussed about the importance of the creative and digital sector in West Yorkshire and exciting developments for the region in 2015.
MP Hilary Benn talked about how small businesses in the region can access the Superfast West Yorkshire business support programme, and Superconnected Leeds Bradford connection voucher.
The Google presentation was made by Gori Yahaya and was focused on Google platforms, such as Google Trends, Google AdWords, Google My business. Google +, who can help local businesses to reach out more customers and save time and money.
Gori Yahaya, Digital Marketing Consultant.
The participants had the opportunity to consult with Google representatives on a one-to-one basis and learn more on how these products can help them grow and transform their work.
Google Juice Bar.
Investment in Leeds Infrastructure
A LEAP OF FAITH INVESTMENT IN LEEDS INFRASTRUCTURE
Dr Adam Beaumont explains how aql has helped to put Leeds on the digital map, and how, digitally, Leeds has become regionally independent
aql, headquartered at the historic Salem Chapel on the south bank of Leeds, was founded by Dr Adam Beaumont in 1998. Adam, both a scientist and an electrical engineer, started his career with a PhD in Physical Chemistry at the University of Leeds. Following that, he was appointed as Leeds University’s youngest lecturer, before moving out of science and into Secure Mobile Communications for the Defence Evaluation Research Agency “DERA” (an agency of the MoD).
Adam’s innovation and insight has turned aql into a significant market force in the integrated communications sector and has been instrumental in putting Leeds on the “internet map”, as well as his part in founding “IXLeeds”, the only mutual, not for profit internet exchange outside of London. He is responsible for much of the data flowing in and out of Yorkshire.
aql’s market position has always been to define itself as a “trusted enabler”, providing a reliable, secure, wholesale communications engine to savvy software suppliers and systems integrators.
If you’ve received a text message from a school, supermarket, optician or dentist, it’s very likely it passed via aql’s systems. If you’ve used the internet in Leeds, there’s a high probability the data flowed through one of aql’s Leeds datacentres. If you’ve used an IP telephony system, it’s a fair chance that it runs through aql’s platforms.
aql have been consistently on the forefront of the curve – providing software developers with interfaces to allow their systems to send text messages to the early adopters of mobile phones. In 2003, they built an IP voice network which, a decade on, is now responsible for around 80 million phone numbers.
aql’s focus on integrated communications has also extended to the “Internet of Things”.
aql have developed advanced, secure technology to provide specialist data SIM cards for vehicle tracking, smart metering, digital signage and health monitoring.
As aql have expanded, their need for datacentre space has increased and a decision was taken to self-build rather than to lease in third party facilities. In 2006, they took the decision to start building their own datacentre infrastructure in Leeds.
It turned out that Leeds was ideally placed for a unique opportunity. The historic Leeds Bridge has been a crossing point for the city for around 200 years and it turns out, it has been a crossing point for all of the fibre operators passing through the city for the past few decades.
However, analogous to a high speed train passing through a small village without stopping, there was no “station” (datacentre) built to allow these large data networks to make their capacity available to the city.
For a datacentre to be viable, it has to be in close proximity to the fibre operators and also to a plentiful source of power. As the Tetley brewery shut down its operations, along with some heavy manufacturing on the South Bank, excess power became available. At the same time, the almost-derelict Salem Chapel was put on the market. The location and timing was perfect.
There was a massive leap of faith (quite literally) by Adam purchasing the Salem Chapel.
He was convinced that it was the prime position to enable Leeds digitally.
In 2008, a senior engineer from the UK’s academic network contacted Yorkshire Forward and asked them to facilitate a meeting for all of the regional ISP’s. This meeting was fundamental to the formation of the exchange. Over the coming months, it was agreed by all parties that aql had got their calculations right and the Salem Chapel was indeed the centre of the Internet in Leeds!
IXLeeds was formed, informally at first, then later incorporated as a mutual not for profit company prior to it’s call to arms.
In 2010 Leeds was put on the internet map. The existence of the exchange was presented at an internet-engineering conference. This 20 minute talk acted as the catalyst to convince several large global networks to invest millions in network equipment to bring Leeds online.
Now, IXleeds has over 20 members, from large international networks to smaller regional ISP’s and also Akamai – one of the global giants in content delivery. Additionally, IX Leeds enables a choice of connections with Europe, America and Asia, which are independent of London.
This creation of an exchange in Leeds and the international links has allowed Leeds to become regionally independent and to allow companies needing national resilience to place equipment in both Leeds and London to help mitigate issues which could affect one city.
There are also financial benefits – one such benefit is that each ISP pays a fixed annual fee to send an unlimited amount of data between members. This means that it is possible to offer the same model to end customers.
To that end, aql has opted to provide unconditionally free wifi broadband to Leeds residents by way of it’s “#Scifiwifi” blue phone box hotspots. This model only works because it’s possible for aql to divert a very large proportion of the wireless traffic directly into the internet exchange, meaning that it does not need to pay “internet access” costs to any third parties.
aql are now replicating the “all you can eat” data model to business customers in the Leeds Metropolitan region. Last year, aql became aware that a government initiative “Broadband Delivery UK” would create a voucher scheme allowing most Small to Medium Enterprises to be eligible for up to £3000 towards costs for superfast connectivity.
Based on this scheme and in advance of the superconnected cities scheme being rolled out to Leeds, aql built several wifi masts around the City (you may have seen one near the M621). If your business can see one of these masts, it’s possible to get gigabit broadband covered by a government grant.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO of aql explains:
“Because the grant is centred around covering costs for the setup of superfast broadband only, aql created a wireless superfast solution for the City. The great thing about wireless is that most of the costs are setup costs and thereafter, there’s a minimal running cost. Our model in Leeds is unique – Where we can provide wireless, we are installing Superfast broadband for free, with a free 12 month initial period with no obligation to continue after that point”.
“After 12 months, aql assess your usage and will send an offer for the following 12 months based on how much data your business is consuming.
This means that if you’re a small business and a low data user, your costs will be low. Large users pay more. This is also backed up by a promise to pricematch like-for-like.” aql’as business model is to encourage users to also back up their data to aql’s Leeds-based facilities and also use aql’s cloud telephony systems.
Future plans for the business are further datacentre investment in Leeds and also to ensure that our datacentres are part of the sustainable City Plan for the South Bank. We’ve designed our datacentres to be able to share our waste heat with surrounding buildings and other municipal schemes (such as swimming pools).
Dr Adam Beaumont quotes
“A large part of my studies at Leeds University was centred around Thermodynamics – the science of the flow of heat and energy. I’m pleased to be able to put some of that knowledge into practice by working with the City Council on their sustainable district heating initiative. Creating green datacentres not only helps us reduce waste and integrate with the city better, but it also makes us more competitive.”
Leeds & Partners dedicated to support aql’s ambition to make Leeds a Northern Fintech hub
Last weeks Leeds and Partners Annual meeting had a clear message for stakeholders : Leeds is ready for digital business.
A key announcement was: With over £1m in private sector support secured and as the only Fintech Accelerator outside London; Leeds and Partners are ahead of schedule with their ambitions to position Leeds City Region as a Global Fintech hub.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and Founder of aql sat as the private sector representative on the panel “Accelerating Fintech: A World of Opportunity” creating an underlying support for private sector and public sector working together to create a better future.
The city region’s intent to be a global Fintech hub was also set out: Leeds, as the second financial City in the UK, is uniquely placed as a knowledge-centre for financial-centric technology. aql plays a key role in the support of Leeds’ digital infrastructure – operating the main Leeds datacenters, where much of the regions data flows via. aql also houses IXLeeds – the Yorkshire internet exchange – where many of the regional and national operators connect with huge capacity networks. This point of interconnects allow operators to keep traffic local and to become independent of London based infrastructure.
The importance of this capability was echoed by keynote speaker, Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, the former minister of state for security and counter terrorism and member of the national Security Strategy "The digital and information economy offers Leeds City Region a promise of great prosperity, but it has to be based on sound development and the capacity and connectivity being carefully built. "Leeds hosts the largest healthcare data platform in the world and is already showing how it can be bigger, better and stronger than other UK cities. With a strong academic base it is a great place for start-ups and has the potential to be the go-to place for Fintech and data analytics."
Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones made special reference to the work of companies like aql, expressing the importance of cyber essentials and data security.
Dr Adam Beaumont added “Hearing Baroness Neville-Jones deliver a message that a digital region must be underpinned by sound infrastructure, confirmed everything that aql is trying to work towards in Leeds. We’re dedicated to building the capability to support world-class hosting within the City and to promote the City as the main out-of-London disaster recovery site for the UK”.
He continued “Most of the UK’s financial institutions keep their core infrastructure within the M25 corridor. This is a significant exposure. By encouraging financial institutions to adopt a North & South approach to their infrastructure, this increases the resilience of the UK on a global perspective and also encourages duplicate investment by the financial industry in Leeds and the City Region”.
Light up the city from your mobile phone at Leeds Light Night
Lighting up the city, a phone box at a time.
To support Leeds Light Night, aql are giving the power of light to the Leeds public.
Launching at 5pm on Friday 3rd October look out for aql’s ScifiWifi blue phone boxes around Leeds City Centre illuminated with a colour of your choice. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of lighting up Leeds.
The incredible Light Night event is celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary this year and is formed by a range of activities around the city making it the most enlightening place to be from 5pm this Friday. An array of spectacular visual arts, music, theatre and displays will take place to astound and amaze you. Leeds City Council is leading the event with funding from Arts Council England for over 50 free events.
Encouraged by Leeds Light Night to “immerse yourself in this extraordinary phenomenon” the timing is perfect for the launch of the public controlled illuminated phone boxes. You will have the power in your hands to control the light colour by simply texting a chosen colour to “01133 20 50 50” free of charge. Get involved in the enlightening events around the city and take this opportunity to join in the fun. Pick your favourite colour, match it to your outfit or take a selfie, you can even share it online using the free wifi.
The existing ScifiWifi blue phone boxes are free wifi hotspots around the city centre. Each one has high bandwidth network and is solar powered and will now illuminate the city. Share your illuminating experiences online.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and Founder of aql's telecommunications business is creating 30 new jobs in Leeds as aql expands its base. Already working with 35 of the FTSE 100 companies, aql's chief executive Adam Beaumont believes Leeds is the perfect location to provide back-up to failure of London systems.
aql received a £548,000 grant from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Business Growth Programme, which is supported by the government’s Regional Growth Fund, to support its plans.
Dr Beaumont said the project would be delivered over the “medium term” and that the construction of new data centres by the company, which has invested millions of pounds into the regional economy, would continue.
“We already have the digital infrastructure in Leeds to support this and we’ll continue to invest in data centres to ensure the capability is here,” he said.
“Leeds is the only city outside of London with an independent internet exchange –allowing infrastructure in our city to have a gamut of London-independent connectivity choices to Europe, US and Asia.
“UK plc is currently exposed by the lack of financial infrastructure north of the capital. Leeds is already the largest financial services centre outside of London so it makes absolute sense to make Leeds the business continuity centre for the UK’s financial services sector.
“If systems were to go down, Leeds would be capable of providing a seamless back-up to ensure operations remain functional, saving organisations time, money and substantial headaches.”
Dr Beaumont added that the grant has been beneficial in helping to progress the firm's latest data centre which, in turn, will create a number of jobs across a range of skill sets and enable aql to push ahead with its business continuity strategy.
Roger Marsh, chair of the LEP, added: “aql is one of the Leeds City Region’s major success stories and our Business Growth Programme grant is helping the company to create jobs in a range of skill sets, giving people the opportunity to enter the digital and creative sector, one of the key sectors that is helping to grow our economy even further.
“Allied to the third round of our Growing Places Fund, which makes up to £6m available for businesses to access loan funding, the Business Growth Programme is making a real positive difference to companies across the whole City Region.”
Councillor Keith Wakefield, chair of the LEP’s investment panel and leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This investment is a great example of the public and private sector working together to stimulate growth in our City Region.
“This is good news for Leeds as it supports the positioning of the city as a leading digital hub and I look forward to seeing further job creation by aql and the other companies benefitting from the Business Growth Programme in the months and years to come.”
“Our aim is to foster a significant secondary spend in Leeds by the UK’s financial organisations, many of which are already aql customers, doing our bit to help Leeds and the wider city region attract the biggest financial players.”
Yorkshire Post Business Awards 2014
Yorkshire Post Business Awards 2014 – 9th September 2014
aql is proud and delighted to have been shortlisted for the Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards 2014.
The awards are designed to shine a light on ambitious businesses that are striving to create wealth and jobs in God’s Own County.
The closing date for the submissions was 13 July and aql was selected to go forward to the next stage, where the format was a face to face discussion around areas such as Enterprise, Competitiveness, Management, Innovation, Performance, Customer Service, Employee Motivation and Risk Management.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql said,
“We’re all delighted at having been shortlisted for this award. It’s an ideal opportunity to showcase what aql is doing in and around Leeds to drive growth in areas such as digital resilience, connectivity, secure data storage and messaging platforms. As a Leeds based company it is fantastic to be able to support the local economy and provide employment opportunities that allow personal growth.
Good luck to all the short listed entrants.”
The winners will be announced at a ceremony at The Queens Hotel in Leeds on October 30th.
For more information on the awards and the shortlisted companies see the link below:
Account managers invited a selection of key customers to a wine tasting event held in the Salem St Bar in aql’s Salem Chapel in Leeds.
This was a fantastic opportunity for the account managers to get to know our customers better in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Local Leeds based company, Latitude Wines, provided the wine selection, which was based on the theme of wines to compliment a summer’s evening.
Chris Hill, owner of Latitude Wine, also hosted the event, providing insights into the aperitif (the coolest drink in Italy at the moment) and the wine selection.
Feedback from the customers has been amazing, and this was the first of a series of customer focused events which will be held over the next few months at aql. Keep up to date with events by following us on twitter @aqldotcom and @SalemStBar and www.facebook.com/aqldotcom.
Presentations by Chef and Pitchero were advertised and the event was a sell out.
Fresh from ChefConf Justin Arbuckle the VP EMEA & Chief Enterprise Architect Chef (formally Opscode) was in attendance talking about Accelerating the Enterprise Devops Journey with an overview of Chef.
Regular attendee, Jon Milsom, the Co-founder & CTO of Pitchero discussed their infrastructure
Chef also donated a place on their upcoming Chef Fundametnals Workshop as a prize.
The next meet up is on the 16th of September at the Salem Chapel, with talks by Sriram Rajan from Rackspace, plus Gemma Cameron and James Jefferies from Allegro Networks – topics to be confirmed.
Hey!stac Event @ aql , 22 July 2014
Hey!stac hosted another fascinating set of talks at Salem Chapel, pulling in a great crowd.
Intelligent Cities Conference - Bradford Valley Parade
Bradford hosted the Intelligent Cities Conference on 15 July, at Bradford City’s football ground. Organised by Next Gen Events, the conference was set up to explore the connectivity infrastructure needed for smart cities and discuss intelligent open data, green technologies, innovation, healthcare, mobile advances, wealth creation, digital inclusion and M2M capabilities.
As aql are highly involved in putting Leeds and Bradford on the internet map, and as a leading digital proponent, aql agreed to be a silver sponsor of the event. With a diverse and highly experienced range of speakers and chairs, including Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql , the conference provided insights in to all aspects of Intelligent Cities.
Adam’s panel included Mark Barret of Leeds Data Mill and was titled “ Give Me More – Big and Open Data”. Chaired by international visitor Julia Glidden, President and Founder of 21c Consultancy, it was a lively discussion explaining the need for secure storage and transmission of data, how data needs to be stored locally, and the shorter the data travels, the better quality in will arrive in – very much like asparagus.
Leeds Data Mill then explained their innovative platform, as a repository of the data and how it can be used to provide valuable insights in to how our city works, and provide opportunities for improvement, based on sound data.
Along side the conference was a tradeshow, attended by companies showcasing industry leading products and services, which also provided a fantastic networking opportunity.
Deepali Kaur, Head of Sales at aql, commented, “the event was a great opportunity to meet with new and existing clients, particularly those involved in the superfast broadband voucher scheme. Although we are currently number one with regards to sales of vouchers, we need to ensure that we continue to push hard to make sure that the government funding is spent to the benefit of SME’s in the area.”.
Great Yorkshire Bike Ride – 21 June 2014
The ‘Great Yorkshire Bike Ride’ was held on 21st June 2014 and started at the racecourse in Wetherby running through to Filey Brigg. The event has been held for over 30 years and Wetherby Lions have managed the logistics of the event for most of that time.
This year 1,737 riders took part and the organisers were hoping to beat the £133,092 raised last year for the various charities supported by The Lions.
In previous events, the general issue had been poor mobile voice communications in parts of the Wolds. Staff are located in a Contact Centre (CC) at the Days Inn Hotel, Wetherby Services on the M1, and direct the eight Service Vehicles (SV) and three motorcycle marshals to riders that have issues with their bikes or generally need assistance.
The staff in the CC direct the SVs to rider ‘breakdowns’; however this is challenging without voice communications and they needed a tool that allowed them to communicate information to all SVs. This was highlighted last year when the Duty Contact Centre Manager sent a SV back some 20 miles to then be told later in the day that a colleague SV had already assisted the rider.
The event organisers wanted to consider an email to text service to address the issue, to ensure that texts were successfully transmitted to all SVs. The SV staff had agreed that they were better placed than the CC staff to agree which SV would attend a rider breakdown. It would also be helpful if the SVs could return a text received by the CC staff on email; however this part was not essential.
With over 15 years experience as a telecommunications provider, aql agreed to provide bulk text messaging as a free of charge service, enabling reliable communications to take place during the event.
The service was a great success, with John Wardley, Logisitics Manager commenting, “The bulk SMS programme was a ‘major hit’ with the GYBR Contact Centre staff and the Service Vehicle engineers; the facility totally changed the protocol that we used to support the riders. Rider waiting times for service and medical assistance were greatly reduced; it also was a ‘great hit’ from their point of view.”
Adam Beaumont – CEO, aql, said,“It was our pleasure to provide the services and we're happy to do so for any future events. It is great to support local causes.”
Clarion Solicitors – Big Data Event – 1 July
Clarion Solictors hosted one of their innovation business networking seminars in their offices in Leeds, this time with a subject of Big Data. Locally many organisations are looking to leverage big data across many different sectors.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO of aql, along with Roy Ruddle, Director of Research at University of Leeds, and Rashik Parmar, President of IBM Academy of Technology gave presentations to a cross section of local businesses, covering topics such as what is big data, how it is stored and moved, as well as how big data can be utilised and how it can benefit us all.
Matthew Hattersley, Clarion Partner, Paul Henderson, EMIS and Rich Smith of Bluesmith Information Sytems also contributed with insights into forthcoming new data protection legislation, and how their companies are working with big data.
Yorkshire Business News Interview – 26 June
Hosted by Bernard Ginns of The Yorkshire Post, this was the first filmed interview as previous interviews have been audio only.
The topics covered aql, Scifi wifi, broadband role out and how connectivity is changing the face of business.
Dr Adam Beaumont of aql had a speaker slot where he took the opportunity to explain how aql interfaces with companies like EMIS, with particular emphasis on secure data storage and transmission.
EMIS were delighted with the venue and the service they received from aql .
The inaugural Yorkshire Computing Network meeting
The Yorkshire Computing Network has been created by the University of Leeds School of Computing and the University's Digital Technologies Hub, to provide a meeting place, and broaden the channels of knowledge transfer between the University and industry/public sector organisations to everyone's mutual benefit.
The meeting was a mix of academics, local businesses and councils, and the idea is to discuss various issues around computing, at it's most general, to see if there are opportunities for university research projects to provide answers that help local businesses.
Other speakers included Roy Ruddle, University of Leeds, James Holmes, Blueclaw, Kevin Bowman, SkyBet and Graham Whaley, Imagination Technologies.
aql sponsor the Hatfield Heath Festival
aql were proud to sponsor Hatfield Heath Village festival on Sunday 15 June 2014 for the fourth year in a row.
The festival is an annual community event and includes activities such as :
Fun Run - Classic Cars - Fair - Hat Fest Music Festival - Mr Marvel - Fun Dog Show - Falconry Ferrets - Stalls & Games - Dancing & Fitness, all designed to engage local people as well as raise funds for the village and local charities.
Rebranded as "Hat Fest", it is hoped that visitors will wear hats of all descriptions to join in the celebrations at The Heath.
aql Hosts Hey!stac Event 19 June 2014
aql's Salem Chapel hosted this month's Hey!Stac event, after they needed to find another venue.
The informal open events are designed to bring like minded people together, with speaker talks and discussions, and the organisers wanted a venue that was impressive and memorable – I don't think Salem Church failed to meet the mark.
Tweets from the evening can be found on the following, as well as speaker decks.
aql Sponsors Handmade in Yorkshire event. June 2014
Handmade in Yorkshire, as part of the Leeds Food Festival, took place over the weekend of the 6-8 June 2014.
A showcase for stunning Yorkshire produce, it was an amazing opportunity to support Leeds City Council and The Experience Leeds Markets team by sponsoring the event.
It also enabled the aql team to promote awareness of our Scifi Wifi roll out of free internet throughout Leeds.
This will help to ensure that when the Tour de France visitors hit Leeds for the Grand Depart in a few weeks time, they have access to a reliable fast internet connection that will enable them to record their memories of the event in modern day history books – social media.
The roll out is noticeable by the aql owned original Sir Giles Gilbert Scott phone boxes, painted in aql corporate blue, that are appearing around Leeds, which house the wifi equipment and act as transmitters to numerous aql masts around Leeds.
We also gave away £100 of vouchers to spend in Kirkgate Market to the winner of our text to win competition.
Congratulations to Peter from Wakefield.
Yorkshire Vision article "The city at the heart of the internet" , May 2014
The streets of Leeds may not have fans and paparazzi but a surprisingly high profile international event took place in the city recently. It was the 24th annual EuroIX Forum, a meeting of the brilliant minds who make sure that the Internet actually works.
The international event was held at aql’s Salem Chapel event space and was attended by over 120 of Europe’s most influential internet influencers. EuroIX is an association which acts as a forum for Internet exchange operators throughout Europe and beyond.
For those not familiar with Internet exchanges, they are the physical technical hubs through which internet service providers (ISPs) exchange internet traffic between their networks and where traffic flows in order to access movies, TV and social networks.
In brief, they are a core component of the delivery of Internet content to the end user.
EuroIX was setup to promote an open interchange of ideas and experiences between IXPs, working together for the advancement of all things internet.
The event space in aql’s restored 18th century chapel was an especially poignant location for the event with the old galleried seating area overlooking a glass floor into one of their flagship data facilities – a data centre that houses the region’s internet exchange IXLeeds.
IXLeeds is the only exchange of its kind outside London and is responsible for bringing together the major telecommunications operators in the region, who interconnect and share traffic (known as “peering”).
It’s a not-for-profit entity which exists for the good of the internet and its presence has increased the data capability of Leeds and the surrounding region, as well as making it internet-independent of the rest of the country.
CEO of aql, Dr Adam Beaumont said: “The internet exchange not only makes Leeds an ideal second site for IT infrastructure in the UK, it also acts on behalf of an independent membership of highly capable communication companies and fosters collaboration between members and the region.”
He continued: “It’s the great work done by the board and members of IXLeeds for the benefit of the internet in the region, which has resulted in the event being held in Leeds on behalf of the entire UK’s internet community – the event was co-supported by the London Internet Exchange and London Access Point, the UK’s two other exchanges, working together with IXleeds to welcome the community to the UK. A great success story for all.”
Adam Beaumont on the Billion Pound Panel
The Royal Armouries In Leeds has just hosted the Buy Yorkshire Conference 2014, the North of England’s Biggest B2B Conference and Exhibition.
Based over two days, the event was a showcase of many fantastic local businesses and what they can offer.
Exhibitors ranged from universities, security firms, digital and food & drink companies.
As part of the conference The Billion Dollar Panel was chaired by Janet Street-Porter, and contained our very own Dr Adam Beaumont, along side notable local business people, including Government 'entrepreneur in residence' Lawrence Tomlinson.
Run in the style of the BBC’s question time, with the chair moderating the panelists and audience, to ensure that everyone had the opportunity of being heard. Questions were fielded in advance to the chair and then opened to the audience and panel and covered subjects such as: “What would you do with your last £500? What was your worst PR nightmare? What have you ever wasted money on? Social media – friend or foe? – all on the spot questions from Janet S-P to the panel!
Adam said “This was another fantastic opportunity for aql to show support of Leeds and Yorkshire, as well as raising the company profile with local businesses in attendance, such as Superconnected Cities, who are running the Free Wifi voucher scheme in Leeds and Bradford. It was a great experience and honour to be invited to be on the panel, and Janet Street-Porter is every bit as acerbic as she appears to be on television.”
Broadband Voucher Scheme for Leeds - £3k Grants available - Simple process
As part of a massive national scheme, BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) - part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, have given over £9million to Leeds City Council to help Businesses get "Superfast" Broadband.
What this means is:
If you're a "SME" (ie less than 250 employees) and based in an eligible postcode (of which there are lots) you are likely to be eligible
There are around 3000 grants of £3000 to be claimed - so if you are a Leeds business, or know someone with a business in Leeds - please tell them.
Grants are available for you to get your existing connection of 30Mb/s or more, or if you have at least 30Mb/s already, then the grants are available to allow you to double your connection speeds.
Because aql are based in Leeds, we have several tall buildings and also planning for wireless towers over the cities (The first of which will be in place by the end of this month). These towers allow us to deliver carrier-grade connectivity over the air. The advantage of this is low setup costs and low operating costs. Speeds are in the range of 30Mb/s to 1.5Gb/s.
Because everyone is different, we need you to let us know your postcode, so we can work out whether we can reach you wirelessly, or whether we need to install fibre. In most wireless cases, the £3k will cover the install costs and aql will cover the first year of connectivity for free. After the first year you can cancel, or pay the pre-agreed monthly fee (which will vary depending on the speed of your connection - from around £50/month upwards). But no obligation - we're dedicated to getting Leeds online at unsurpassed speeds. We'll also connect you into IXLeeds - the Leeds internet exchange - for blistering fast access to phone updates, streaming TV, social media.
Once you're a business connected to aql, you can also take advantage of our secure datacentres in the heart of the city and back your data up to us too.. but first, let's get you connected and make sure you're happy with what we do.
Please get in touch with us and let us know your postcode, or call one of our specialists on 011 33 20 20 30 and they will guide you through the process. We'll carry out a out a no-obligation survey and let you know your best options and guide you through the process to claim your connection voucher (don't worry - it's not a massive admin process - it's possibly one of the most straightforward applications you'll ever do!).
It's some coincidence (!) that we've just started to roll out our blue phone boxes around Leeds at the time of the 50th anniversary of 'The Doctor'. I was at an event last week and heard the phrase 'engineered serendipity'. It made me smile. Entrepreneurism is all about that (I think).
The back-story - aql has stepped in to provide unconditional free high-capacity WiFi access for the high footfall areas of Leeds. We are rolling out 25 sites around Leeds city centre before July 2014. To do this, we first thought of using the lamp-posts to clamp our infrastructure to.
But, then, we thought of something better...
Why not put the equipment in original (ca 1937), restored, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott K6 phone booths? And that's what we've done. We're rolling these out across the city, in aql company colours of course.
A really great article describing the services in more detail can be found on the Daily Mail website.
Euro-IX coming to Leeds
Have you ever wondered how the Internet actually works? You click on the magic search page and it gives you what you want...
The Euro-IX community in Helsinki at the last Euro IX meeting
but how... and how is it so fast... and it just works...?
Well, there's about 200 Internet 'rock stars' that hardly ever sleep and have dedicated their lives to making sure that it does. These are the people who operate the Internet exchanges...
These are the modern day equivalent to the old phone exchange. They connect the person that wants something from the internet to the thing that they want.
aql's DC3 datacentre houses IXLeeds, the only mutual, not-for-profit internet exchange outside of London. IXLeeds has, in partnership with LINX and LONAP (the UK's two London based exchanges) have been selected from a choice of many venues across the UK and Europe to host Euro-IX, bringing the together some of the brightest minds in Internet technology!
The event will comprise of a two day conference - the majority of which will be housed in aql's Salem Chapel Auditorium.
We have much more planned in 2014 so check out our Twitter & Facebook pages to stay up to date.
New Events Space
The Salem Auditorium, built in the old grade II listed chapel owned by aql, which seats 370, has now been in operation for a year (so we can't really call it 'new' any longer!).
Now... they say you shouldn't meet your idols in case they disappoint. However, all I can say is (Sir) Tim was awesome! In his unique style he highlighted the business risk of energy as a commodity - which is the elephant in the corner of the room to most datacentre operators. His vision on power strategy were in absolute alignment with aql's strategy to generate and export power from its facilities where it can. The reason we aim to do this is so that we can underpin a sustainable pricing model for our datacentre services. This allows us to ensure that our customers do not find themselves victim to unforeseen and disproportional price raises.
The event went fantastically, with our 'dragons' including Jonathan Straight (top middle), CEO of Straight PLC, best selling author and entrepreneur, Deidre Bounds (top right), and venture capitalist Pete Yendell (bottom left), providing objective feedback on the social entrepreneurs who were brave enough to step onto the very formal stage, which is part of our restored choirs gallery and organ pit.
Yorkshire Venture Philanthropists
Sir Tim Smit
No job too big or too small. aql's specialism is turnkey design-build of bespoke, secure systems. We have fulfilled several > £1m contracts for both government and private sector clients and can deliver your bespoke needs. Our specialism is design of systems that host sensitive data in a compliant and responsible manner. Please contact us to discuss - we're happy to sign your NDA.
We're pleased to be able to announce that we're on track to fill our third datacentre suite within the next year - this puts us on track for a two-year-fill on each datacentre - which is ahead of target.
Because we are dedicated to ensuring that we always have available space for your colocation and managed services needs within the city, we've acquired Canon House - a 10,000 sq ft facility on the far south of the city. This will be a high-density (4MW) operation, with some 420 racks of space. First phase will be ready in May 2014 - and we're now in a position to accept options on space in anticipation of that date. So, if you think you will have a colocation need in 2014 or 2015, please talk to us and if needed, we can reserve footprints for you, so you can plan with certainty.
DC5, the new facility, will be ISO27001 and HMG INFOSEC accredited. Tours, again, can be arranged on request - please contact your account manager or reply to this mailout.
New SMS capacity and load balancing
aql are an associate member of the GSMA - working with the global mobile industry
It might sound like mundane stuff, but aql have been in the SMS API business since the year 2000. Our API's are embedded in hundreds of software applications serving over 30,000 Customers including 35 of the FTSE 100. So - the upgrades that we've done are a bit like trying to rebuild the engine of a moving car and everything we've done and are doing needs to be seamless and without impact.
As you may know - we've invested millions in datacentres and infrastructure to increase the resilience of our services. We've completely rewritten our API platforms and this, coupled with some really good (expensive) encryption acceleration and load balancing - we have achieved over a TENFOLD increase in throughput. This is across both SMPP and HTTPS APIs. (SMPP is our ultra-fast carrier-grade SMS interface, supporting thousands of messages a second).
The reason this throughput is important is because aql handle most of the weather-impact SMS traffic in the UK.
For example : If a school contacts a parent, it probably goes via us.
If your bus or train service reschedules and they text you - it's probably via us.
If engineers need to be deployed to manage national infrastructure, the field force automation SMS is likely to be through us.
All the folks that work from home and receive 2 factor SMS - again - likely to run via us.
So, it's paramount that our systems are not only built to handle the mundane but also the extreme.
We've still got more work to do - which involves further modifications to our multi-site load balancing - but this will be seamless works which are to be on-going over the next 6 months or so. If you're a customer and would like to have a site tour so you can see for yourself the amount of investment that is underpinning your service - please let us know and it'd be our pleasure to show you round.
Yorkshire Venture Philanthropy Investment Launch at Salem Chapel: A New Generation of Social Enterprise
This week, aql’s Salem Chapel events space hosted The Yorkshire Venture Philanthropy (YVP) Investment Launch. The Dragon’s Den style event showcased the emergence of a new generation of social enterprise that is commercially aware and ambitious.
In recent years, social enterprise grew 58% compared to 28% of SMEs*. YVP is a new initiative that aims to encourage the growth in the social enterprise sector across Yorkshire. YVP is managed by the Leeds Community Foundation, a jointly delivered by community foundations from South Yorkshire and Calderdale.
The evening was compered by former Yorkshire Post Business Editor and founder of thebusinessdesk.com, David Parkin. It opened with an impassioned keynote speech from Sir Tim Smit KBE, founder and Chief Executive of the Eden Project. Sir Tim’s involvement in social enterprise and the voluntary sector has left him well placed to inspire the evening’s hopefuls, it is estimated that the Eden Project has contributed over a billion to the Cornish economy and he advocated commercial values within social enterprise. Sir Tim went onto describe the 3rd sector as ‘the most important sector for an emerging economy’.
The ‘dragons’ were; best selling author and entrepreneur, Deirde Bounds, CEO of waste and recycling container firm Straight PLC, Jonathan Straight and the Chairman of the Endless venture capitalist and Finance Yorkshire member, Peter Yendell.
The Big Ideas
First to pitch to the expert panel were Seagulls Re-use Ltd, a paint recycling company that re-mixes leftover paint for re-sale to people on low incomes. Having featured on both Secret Millionaire and Super Scrimpers, their low cost recycled paint sells from as little as £3.75 per tin. They were seeking finance to expand their operation into new premises and purchase new equipment.
Second up to face the dragons was Friends of Bramley Baths, the community group re-opened the baths in January 2013 after it had been closed in 2010 due to local council budget cuts. The elegant building dates back to 1904 and is situated in a deprived area of Leeds. The baths are a community focal point and provide swimming lessons to 13 schools in the area. They were looking to build upon their commercial success and diversify into other areas of fitness starting with a spinning studio.
Finally, Enabled Works pitched to the dragons. Former employees of the government run Remploy disability and employment service established the workers co-op following Remploy’s loss of funding in 2011. They have embraced a commercial ethos that they felt was constrained under government funding and were looking for to automate one of their production lines, allowing them to increase their workload and freeing up workers for other areas.
After a close SMS vote, the winner was announced as Enabled Works who will receive the top prize of £6,000 with Seagulls and Bramley Baths each receiving £2,000. The evening’s beneficiaries add to a list of 40+ organisations to which YVP have donated over £300,000 in the last 16 months. CEO of aql, Adam Beaumont said: ‘It’ has been a fantastic evening hearing such inspirational stories from everyone involved. We wish all the enterprises the best of luck as they continue to build upon their successes’.
To learn more about Yorkshire Venture Philanthropy or to become an investor, visit www.yvpp.org.uk.
Good Spirits: Whiskey Tasting Evening for aql Customers
This month, aql customers were invited to a free Whiskey tasking evening for an opportunity to get to know the Account Management team as well as other aql clients in a more relaxed atmosphere.
The inaugural event was attended by many of the city’s leading tech and media business professionals, aql Head of Sales Ray Shephardson said “This evening was the ideal platform to for us to lay down our tools and unbutton our collars allowing us to develop our relationships with our customers. Tonight's focus was to get some of our local Leeds based clients in the same room, get everyone talking and have some fun”.
The evening was hosted at the Salem Street Bar, part of the aql’s Leeds Conference Venue, Salem Chapel at the head office. aql’s head office, also home to the DC3 datacentre, is regularly profiled as being a dynamic and creative working environment and the evening was a great opportunity to show customers around.
Whiskey aficionado for the event was Chris Hill of Latitude Wine, with nearly 20 years experience working with wines and spirits, he talked attendees through the single malt tour that included distilleries from across Scotland.
As some may know, aql is a Regulated Telecommunications Operator and has the heart of it's operations in Leeds, including several regionally significant datacentres. aql's main datacentre is also the main data hub for the city.
As part of aql's rollout of metropolitan fibre, it is to deploy 24 'old' phone boxes to house network equipment. The phone boxes are to be reconditioned iconic phone boxes from the 1930's as designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (who also designed Battersea Power Station and Liverpool Cathedral amongst other achievements over a long career).
Over the past years, aql has acquired expertise in deploying low power network systems. This allows the boxes to be solar powered - so although they are blue in colour..they're also green!
Not only will the boxes house aql's fibre network equipment, they will also provide free wifi access around the City. aql intends to start with the South of the city where internet connectivity is not as developed as elsewhere in the district.
The boxes will be locked and all services will be accessed from the outside of the boxes themselves via touch panels behind the existing glass. This will allow the public to make phone calls, emergency calls and find out local information. A map of locations will be available soon.
Time Travel : The boxes, which will be deployed in areas of interest around the city, will also allow members of the public to leave video 'blogs' and soundbites of their memories of the area in past times. This information will be archived and it's intended to be shared with other portals which exhibit historic city information such as www.Leodis.org.
LEODIS : This is the name given to the boxes and to the project. Leodis is the old English name for Leeds. In this case it stands for Leeds Electronic Ordnance & Digital Information System !
The Doctor - aql's own Doctor - CEO and Founder, Dr Adam Beaumont comments "We wanted to create an icon for Leeds - something unique which if you had your photo taken next to it and uploaded it, for example, to facebook, friends would say - aha ! you must be in Leeds! We're hoping that the boxes become something that the residents accept as part of the cityscape".
Lurene Joseph, Chief Executive of Leeds and Partners, said: “These boxes are a great illustration of Leeds’ digital ability and confidence and will be another excellent part of the city’s infrastructure. They’re forward looking, innovative but rooted in strong traditions and are another example of an ambitious young company driving forward enterprise, jobs and opportunity in Leeds.”
The aql team attended the Intelligent Cities conference in Leeds on the 19th June at the Rosebowl - part of the Metropolitan University campus.
The event, which was well attended included a full programme of talks and also a conference. The conference was kicked off by Lurene Joseph, Chief Executive of Leeds and Partners - the marketing and outreach arm of Leeds City Council. This was followed by a technology and innovation Keynote by aql CEO, Dr Adam Beaumont.
Adam's message was drawn from experience of many 'big data' projects run by aql's team of information security experts. He painted the picture "First - you have to fix the (internet) plumbing .. Once you've created robust digital foundations and connectivity, you can then engage those who will best use it. From there you can create an intelligent cities ecosystem across many verticals - including travel, e-health and also security".
Big data fears and challenges : he continued "There's a clear drive towards the sharing of data for the public good and the good of UK Plc - however - the challenge is to ensure that people's privacy is protected. It's the job of companies such as aql to design systems which ensure that this happens.". "There's clear benefits to sharing data - for example, healthcare records, but this can only be done with the highest levels of assurance that those who are processing the data will not be able to surmise personal details. Even highly depersonalised data can be made personal with the right type of processing.".
Many experts input into the agenda during the day, such as Ericsson CTO, John Cunliffe, who explained Ericsson's credentials - Ericsson manage most of the mobile networks globally and went on to explain some of Ericssons research statistics - including the fact that every 1000 new internet connections creates 80 jobs.
What is most important is that the conference highlighted the number of initiatives into big data and intelligent cities which are already underway in the region and also the levels of expertise within the city itself.
Marit Hendriks, Director of NG Events Ltd, has said: "The Intelligent Cities Conference in Leeds was a roaring success showcasing the best Leeds has to offer alongside national and international smart city developments. Adam Beaumont's fascinating keynote was a true exemplar of how local business and visionary entrepreneurs like Adam are helping transform Leeds into a truly intelligent City. We were delighted to have worked with aql on the conference, without whose support we could not have staged this national event and look forward to being back in Leeds for a follow up event soon."
110 attendees from a variety of vendors, ISP's, engineering companies, fibre operators and regional businesses attended to listen to the array of talks centred around the subject of security. The event was introduced by aql CEO, Adam Beaumont who handed over to IXLeeds Board member and experienced internet guru, Andy Davidson, to chair the session. Talks on Fraud and DNS security started the sessions.
The closing sessions were of a lighter nature - including an in depth briefing from Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council - Tom opened the conference in great humour by checking that everybody was getting their bins emptied ok ! He continued to explain how important the digital ecosystem is in Leeds and echoed Adam Beaumont's message that Leeds has a prime opportunity to build the right digital infrastructure in the south of the city and also touched on how hard Leeds Council had worked to bring the largest sporting event in the world to Leeds - the 2014 Tour de France - Grand Depart - a once in a lifetime opportunity. He also announced the success of the Citys own free wifi programme which was launched successfully earlier this year.
The session was closed off by Leeds University Mechanical Engineering lecturer Dr Jon Summers, who did the 'Science Bit' for the session - describing how datacentres can be made to be more energy efficient and how they can also harness some of their waste heat. He also highlighted a revolutionary cooling technique his department is involved with - 'Icetope' - a cooling concept where the entire circuit board of a server is immersed in a non-electrically-conductive (high dielectric) liquid which acts as a coolant.
All in all - the session was a great balance of scientific, commercial, technical and also regional relevance. IXLeeds Director Thomas Mangin said "The aql events team managed the conference seamlessly - a great credit to them - especially considering that the events space has only been open for a number of weeks". A great success and we look forward to hosting the next one.
Digital masterminds to gather at 2013 Intelligent Cities Conference in Leeds
Dr Adam Beaumont, aql’s founder and CEO will be a keynote speaker at the 2013 Intelligent Cities Conference, which will address the needs of smarter cities around the UK.
The event, which takes place at the Rose Bowl at Leeds Metropolitan University on 19 June is hosted with the support of Leeds and Partners, and will look at how smart cities such as Leeds can embrace new areas of technological innovation in order to succeed on a national and global scale.
The areas that the event will focus on include open data, mobile technologies, healthcare and medical technology, wealth creation, digital inclusion and machine-to machine (M2M) capabilities.
Adam will open proceedings with a keynote speech on digital innovation before opening the floor to speakers from companies such as EE, IBM, Arup and other major technology companies.
The Intelligent Cities Conference will also feature talks from Lurene Joseph, Chief Executive of Leeds and Partners: the strategic organisation responsible for attracting inward investment, promoting tourism and raising the profile of Leeds and the wider city region; and Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, both of whom are working towards establishing Leeds and the UK’s best city, as well as the best connected city in the country.
Dr Beaumont said of the event: “Leeds is one of the UK’s best connected cities and the second financial hub in the UK, and it’s the ideal place to host the Intelligent Cities Conference.
“Digital innovation is keeping Leeds at the forefront of the UK’s technological revolution and there are a lot of things happening here, many of which involve aql. It’s great to be involved in this event and to have a chance to really shout about all the exciting things that are happening in Leeds.”
Images: Dr Adam Beaumont, founder and CEO of aql and champion of Leeds as one of the UK's fastest growing cities, will deliver a keynote speech at the 2013 Intelligent Cities Conference to be held in the city on 19 June.
Charity begins at home: Leeds Community Foundation’s 100 Club event takes place at aql Leeds
The Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) brought their quarterly meeting of the 100 Club to the aql conference auditorium in Leeds on Thursday 16 May 2013.
The 100 Club, a patronage scheme in which members pledge £1,000 per year, underpins the core running costs of the foundation and helps to support the work it does with local community groups. The group met at aql’s Salem Church venue as guests of 100 Club member and CEO of aql, Dr Adam Beaumont.
100 Club events update members on the various worthwhile causes working in Leeds and how the LCF aids them in enriching the lives of people living in the city’s most impoverished communities.
with an initial donation of £10million and subsequent top-ups of similar amounts. The fund distributes grants to help local people to gain confidence, skills and work experience. Jimi wanted the fund to be a ‘hand up, not a hand-out’ and to help people help themselves in a sustainable way.
After an introduction by Dr Adam Beaumont the 100
Club members heard a talk on Jimbo’s Enterprise fund by Sally Anne Greenfield, Chief Executive of the LCF. Keith Gibson, a trustee of Canopy, explained that through the 100 Club’s support his organisation helps people to create their own homes, giving them a sense of accomplishment, confidence and pride in their community. The scheme employs local contractors to create smarter, greener houses which (for example) use innovative insulation and heat reclaiming technology to make them affordable to run, again with the focus on support in a sustainable manner.
During his introduction to the event, Adam said “I joined the 100 club because I saw their model as a really effectivecatalyst – the use of their resources to help those in need find their way towards many avenues of grant funding or other community support schemes. This felt to me like a very effective way to make an impact to those who are struggling."
He urged “The ethos of the 100 club is for support
from individuals but clearly business is part of it. There are quite a few members of the foundation who are partners in businesses such as law firms and accountants. Please take the 100 club message back to those partners and join them up!”
After hearing about the work currently being done the 100 Club members took to the aql’s bar area for drinks, canapés and a chance to network.
“It was fantastic to be at aql and Adam did a sterling job of supporting us which is so important,” said Amanda Bennett, LCF Events and Donor Relations Manager.
Our 100 Club members are exceptional men and women who have drive and passion for making Leeds a better city tolive in. The 100 Club provides an easy way for them to show they care and allows us to continue to transform communities across the city.
“We are very proud to announce that since 2005 wehave given 18.5 million in Leeds to benefit local people and we couldn’t have done this without our 100 Club members.”
(Top) Delegates at the Leeds Community Foundation's 100 Club event. Left to right: Keith Gibson, a trustee of the Canopy Housing Project; Dr Adam Beaumont, founder and CEO of aql; Jackie Heselden and Julie Gunby, sisters of the late Jimi Heselden who represented Jimbo's East Leeds Enterprise Fund; and Sally Anne Greenfield, Chief Executive of the Leeds Community Foundation.
(Middle, top) Dr Adam Beaumont introduces his fellow members of the 100 Club to aql’s conference auditorium.
(Middle, bottom) 100 Club members taking in the atmosphere in the aql conference auditorium.
(Bottom) 100 Club members networking in the aql event suite after the evening’s talks and presentations.
aql welcomes students from the University of Leeds
Academics, researchers and students from the University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Computing visited aql at their Salem Church offices on 9 May 2013 for a presentation on datacentre design and thermodynamics by Dr Adam Beaumont.
Adam, aql’s founder and CEO who was formerly a lecturer in thermodynamics: the study of the flow of heat, at the University of Leeds, rolled back the years to give a lecture on all things aql, pointing out the challenges of running an efficient datacentre and the fact that yesterday’s Leeds University students are today’s datacentre operators.
The presentation was given in aql’s conference auditorium, the view through the glass floor of which gave many of the visitors their first glimpse of a working datacentre.
The party from the University of Leeds were also treated to a tour of aql’s datacentre facilities and given insight into the various environmental and security measures employed to safeguard sensitive data and equipment.
“These students are the datacentre technicians of the future,” said Dr Beaumont. “It’s vital that they get the opportunity to see a datacentre firsthand in order to really appreciate how they help facilitate everyday life.
“It’s also important that everyone in the digital sector works together to foster a wider understanding of what datacentres do. As our appetite for data continues to grow so will the digital sector, so we need to share knowledge now so we can lay a solid foundation for the future.
“That’s why we built our conference auditorium: for the good of the Internet. And that’s why we’re building this partnership with the University of Leeds.”
Many of the visitors were surprised to discover such a facility on their doorstep. Eric Atwell, Associate Professor within the university’s School of Computing said: “It was really interesting for me and my colleagues … to see a real working example of a successful datacentre, just ten minutes away from our university campus.
“We were interested in seeing and hearing about the computer and cooling systems. I was also impressed by the way aql has turned the upper gallery of the old chapel space into a plush conference auditorium for large-scale visits and presentations. Maybe aql should consider becoming a tourist attraction to show off the Leeds datacentre like Cadbury's World shows off the chocolate factory in Birmingham!”
Paul Townend, a research team leader with the university’s School of Computing commented: "The opportunity to visit aql's facilities and talk with key members of their staff has been incredibly useful to the School of Computing.
“Our academic staff have learned a great deal about the research challenges faced by the industry and our students have been inspired by the many career opportunities the industry provides. We feel this trip will serve as a catalyst for close future collaboration between aql and the School of Computing in the development of internationally-leading software technology"
Dr Jon Summers of the university’s School of Mechanical Engineering helped to organise the event as part of a drive to raise awareness of the importance of datacentres.
“The University of Leeds is engaging researchers and undergraduate students in both the Schools of Computing and Mechanical Engineering to become more aware of what datacentres are about and their modern requirement of being a fully integrated system,” said Dr Summers.
“Being able to visit a real operating datacentre, and one that has become so important to the city of Leeds as a digital hub, is extremely important for our academics and students and this is only made possible through aql’s collaboration with the university.”
(Top) Dr Adam Beaumont gives a presentation on datacentre design and management in aql's conference auditorium.
Dr Beaumont also gave a detailed tour of DC3, aql's IL5 rated datacentre (bottom).
Adam's Leeds - aql's CEO is one of the faces of Leeds!
The article summarises Adam's career history and favourite spots :
A scientist and electrical engineer, Adam Beaumont started his career with a PhD in physical chemistry and a
three-year stint as Leeds University’s youngest lecturer before moving into secure mobile communications for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). In 1998 Adam formed aql, which offered domain registration services prior to the Internet “boom” and is now a regulated UK telecoms network operator with independently owned and operated datacentres in Leeds.
As well as running aql, Adam has acquired three companies and assisted in technology start-ups. His current involvements are with a Wi-Fi innovation company, a GSM engineering company, a digital rights management platform, a café-bar and a microbrewery.
Originally from Stockport, Adam adapted easily to university life at Leeds, spending a total of nine years studying and teaching there; he loves the mix of old and new buildings on the campus. He now works on the south side of the city – once the site of heavy industry; it now has a laidback bohemian feel and is in an exciting phase of transition. “Walk from the Royal Armouries down the riverfront,” says Adam, “and you’ll see rundown mills, shiny new bridges and developments, and sympathetic restoration of old buildings.”
Away from work, Adam enjoys taking his kids out to explore Leeds. He suggests the Royal Armouries for its extraordinary international armour collection, the enjoyably grisly exhibits at the Thackray Museum, and Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, once the world’s largest woollen mill. The mill museum, which can be accessed along a riverside cycle path, demonstrates vividly how wool was processed, woven and finished. It’s a great hands-on place for children with a recreated old cinema and events such as night-time ghost hunts, and it satisfies Adam’s fascination with industrial machinery: during “working weekends” the water wheels, steam engine and huge spinning mules can be seen in action.
For food lovers on a visit to Leeds, Adam recommends the historic Adelphi pub with its shabby chic décor and unpretentious atmosphere. They serve draught beers and ciders, real ales and home-cooked pub food including popular Sunday roasts. A posher option is Brasserie 44, a restored eighteenth-century corn store reached via the beautifully cobbled Dock Street. Here they dish up fine British and Mediterranean cuisine, which can be enjoyed on a balcony jutting out over the river.
Adam’s best-kept Leeds secret though, is to take time out in one of the tranquil green spaces tucked away in the fabric of the city. On a sunny day he’ll have lunch in Park Square, surrounded by tall Georgian buildings, many now housing legal firms. St George’s Fields within the university campus is another favourite quiet spot, with mature trees, a chapel in the form of a neoclassical temple, and plenty of space to stretch out on the grass.
A social experiment: BCS event held at aql's conference auditorium
aql’s new 370-seat, city centre conference auditorium was the setting for the BCS (the Chartered Institute for IT) West Yorkshire’s ‘Social Media – the path to social success’ event on 23 April 2013.
Delegates from across West Yorkshire’s IT industries came together to hear presentations from two companies who are successfully using social media to improve corporate communication and engage their client base.
Following a welcome and introduction by Dr Adam Beaumont, aql's CEO, some of the first speakers to present in aql’s brand new venue were Yorkshire Water’s Phil Mayo, who gave an account of how social media plays a part in customer relations for a large utility company; and Chris Allen from Leeds-based solicitors Blacks, who have embraced social media, particularly Twitter, as an alternative way of engaging with clients and promoting their business. During the talk, many members of the audience were actually tweeting about the talk about tweeting!
Melissa Hendry, aql Operations Director, was excited that aql were able to support such an event: “The event has been a great success from aql’s point of view. 50 delegates attended this, our second event and it was a good test of our AV systems. We've tried to accommodate the needs of tech events, with a plug socket next to each seat to allow users to bring mobile devices". aql's CEO, Adam Beaumont also commented: "The idea of the auditorium is to host events which are for the good of the internet. Events such as this for the BCS, RIPE training, UKNOF and others, we have pledged to host without charge".
“BCS West Yorkshire event is exactly the kind of partner we’re looking to work with as we’re looking to serve the Internet and Datacentre industries, and we will be hosting further regular events for their community.”
Chris Allen, Managing Partner, Blacks Solicitors LLP, who presented at the event said: "I was delighted to be asked to present a lecture at the aql Salem Chapel in Leeds. I was expecting a spacious but spartan church hall; I got a state-of-the-art brand new auditorium with all mod cons. Just amazing. It has to be the best kept secret in Leeds! Go and see yourself. Well done aql!"
Phil Mayo of Yorkshire Water presents to the delegates at the BCS' 'Social Media - the path so social success' event in the aql conference auditorium.
aql to host Datacentre Transformation Conference 2013
aql are to host the Datacentre Transformation Conference (DTC) on Tuesday 9 July 2013 in the new aql conference auditorium at Salem Church, Leeds.
The DTC is presented by the Datacentre Alliance (DCA), the industry association for the datacentre industry; the University of Leeds Faculty of Engineering; and Datacentres Solutions (DCS) Magazine.
The event is set to bring an international audience to Leeds, including delegates from academia as well as from across all sectors of the datacentre industry. The conference at aql’s stunning auditorium will be followed by a drinks reception and dinner at Leeds’s Royal Armouries Museum.
Keynote speakers appearing at the event include Dr Robert Tozer (1), Managing Director of Operational Intelligence, who will be covering datacentre energy efficiency analysis and Emma Fryer (2) of Intellect UK, who will be speaking on energy efficiency and climate change policy for the datacentre industry.
The DCT will also focus on new technologies, datacentre research and development, industry standards and the changes afoot in the industry in light of newly EU and government funded projects. Papers submitted by delegates are also to be presented covering particular areas and issues within the datacentres industry.
Dr Jon Summers of the University of Leeds Faculty of Engineering, who is playing a major role in the organising DCT13, believes that this year’s venue will add an extra dimension to the event: “This year the participants will be even more inspired as the technical and commercial presentations will take place in aql’s new conference facilities with a clear view of their datacentre below. My colleagues at the University of Leeds and co-organisers at the DCA and DCS Magazine believe that this will be a highlight of DCT13.”
DCA executive director, Simon Campbell-Whyte, said of the event: “this will be the third Leeds Data Centre Transformation Conference and it is now well established as the UK's premier data centre conference outside of the capital and maybe the UK's best for educational and scientific content… (with a programme) which will feature some great talks, including DCA updates, international industry experts and well as academic and government speakers.
“If that’s not enough, Data Centre Solutions have organised the popular after conference dinner, again at the Royal Armouries in Leeds – if it is anything like last year this is also one not to be missed!”
aql’s founder and CEO, Dr Adam Beaumont believes that the aql conference auditorium is the perfect venue for the event. “We‘ve built our auditorium specifically to host events for the good of the Internet and datacentre industries. What better venue is there for the DTC than an auditorium built above an Impact Level 5 accredited datacentre?".
“At aql we are looking to lead the way in datacentre design and technology and by hosting the DTC hopefully we can inspire members of the datacentre community to think differently and help our industry to keep evolving.”
The aql conference auditorium, the venue for the 2013 Datacentre Transformation Conference, is being prepared to welcome the great and good of the datacentre industry at the event in July.
aql make all the right connections at MWC 2013
Mobile movers and shakers aql once again attended the GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC), which was held at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona and ran from 24-28 February 2013.
MWC is always a cause for celebration for aql, who have attended the conference for several years, but this year was extra special as the company gained Associate Member status in the GSMA, the global body for mobile operators and related companies.
The 2013 MWC was the first to be held at the huge Fira Gran Viacomplex; an indication of how much the event continues to grow year-on-year. As ever, aql got involved in every aspect of the show, from the official product launches and conferences making up the main body of the MWC to the fringe networking events popping up around Barcelona throughout the week.
aql brought their own brand of fun and mischief to the MWC with their Lolcat stickers and aql Barcelona 2013 t-shirts, both of which caused a real impression.
aql founder and CEO, Dr Adam Beaumont, said of the event in Barcelona: “the Mobile World Congress is one of the biggest dates in aql’s calendar, particularly this year given that we are now Associate Members of the GSMA and are really making waves within the mobile sector.
“We always have a great time at MWC, and it’s important that we attend, not only to network and meet people in the industry, but to make sure that we’re ahead of the curve and continue to offer the most cutting edge mobile products and services available to our clients.”
aql's Lolcat stickers took the Mobile World Congress by storm (middle), as did the aql 2013 Barcelona t-shirts modelled here by members of the team (bottom).
aql shortlisted for industry award
aql, one of the UK’s premier suppliers of wholesale IP Voice services, are proud to have been shortlisted for the Best VoIP Infrastructure award at the Internet Telephony Service Providers’ Association (ITSPA) Awards 2013, which are to be held in the House of Commons’ Members Dining Room in London on 6 March.
The ITSPA Awards is the showcase event for voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) providers operating within the UK and Dr Julian Huppert MP, Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Internet Communications and Technology Forum, will host this year’s event.
aql were selected on the shortlist for the award due to the benefits offered by their high speed, low latency network which supports more than 80 million numbers, offering businesses a virtual local presence anywhere in the UK and the rest of the world.
aql’s range of IP Voice services for both retail customers and VoIP resellers also swayed the selection panel and secured their nomination. Other accolades to be awarded on the night include:
•Best Consumer VoIP
•Best Business ITSP (Small Enterprise)
•Best Business ITSP (Medium Enterprise)
•Best VoIP CPE
•Most Innovative VoIP Product/Service
•ITSPA Members' Pick
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql, said of the honour: “I’m delighted that aql are being considered for this award, as is everyone involved with the company. We’ve been nominated for ITSPA awards in the past and have won, and to win in this category following the improvements we’ve recently made to our core MPLS network would be wonderful.
“Our network and all of our services are built around our customers and we’re extremely proud of what we’re able to offer to our clients. Being shortlisted for this award is recognition for all the hard work we’ve put into building a network infrastructure that fully supports our customers and I’m very proud.”
aql achieve GSMA Associate Member status
aql announce associate membership of the Global Systems for Mobile CommunicationsAssociation(GSMA), signifying the firm’s importance to the mobile communications landscape.
Associate membership of the GSMA is open to suppliers, carriers and open connectivity service providers serving the GSM industry and the mobile ecosystem. As a major supplier of mobile infrastructure and a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) in the fast-expanding machine-to-machine (m2m) space, aql have been recognised as a valuable player in the broader mobile ecosystem.
As associate members aql are eligible to attend the annual GSMA leadership summit at the Mobile World Congress, which aql attend each year, including the 2013 event at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain.
aql Head of Sales, Ray Shephardson, said: "With over a decade of experience in providing reliable, managed mobile interconnect services including messaging, voice and also signalling services, aql can only benefit from being able to interact with other networks under the GSMA framework. Our carrier relations team is looking forward to working closely with the GSMA and their membership over the coming months and years.”
Melissa Hendry, aql Operations Director, also commented: "As a technical service operator we also intend to reach out to the GSMA community and hope to host GSMA technical fora within our new, 370 seat conference facility.”
Lord Mayor of London visits aql Leeds
aql were honoured to receive a visit from the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Roger Gifford, on Friday, 11 January2013 at their Salem Church headquarters in Leeds city centre.
The visit came as part of a two-day trip to northern England, with the Lord Mayor visiting Leeds due to the city's status as the UK's second largest financial centre after London.
As the representative of the City of London and UK business both domestically and abroad, the Lord Mayor visited to hear about aql's newest data centre, DC4, and their plans to underpin Leeds' Internet infrastructure for the benefit of businesses in Leeds and the UK as a whole.
After visiting the Bank of England offices in Leeds the Lord Mayor attended a meeting at Salem Church with aql CEO and founder, Dr Adam Beaumont, to discuss aql's plans for the future and to take a tour of two of aql's independent, carrier neutral data centres.
The Lord Mayor of London heard plans regarding aql's forthcoming data centre, DC4, which will be the largest independent data centre outside London, and will be a high-security data storage facility suitable for disaster recovery measures for businesses operating within the City of London.
The potential for DC4 to act as a catalyst for the improvement of Leeds' Internet infrastructure and connection speeds within the City means that Leeds can become independent of London, benefitting both cities and allowing Leeds to act as a failover for London based financial infrastructure.
"A failure in London docklands infrastructure would have minimal impact on UK plc if a Leeds-failover strategy were supported. A viable solution is on the horizon in the shape of DC4", said Dr Beaumont. "Already many London-based financial institutions have their second presence in Leeds so it makes perfect sense to house their secondary IT infrastructure in Leeds too."
The Lord mayor also learned more of IXLeeds: Leeds' own independent Internet exchange, which is based in one of aql's data centres and has helped to establish Leeds as one of the UK's best connected cities.
Adam said of the visit: "It was an honour for everyone at aql to receive both the Lord Mayor and Sherriff of London. Both aql and Leeds City Council share an aggressive plan of growth and we are pleased our plans for the future are making an impact on a national scale.
"The Lord Mayor was given some clear messages to take back to his office and relay to other parties he'll be meeting with over his campaign in 2013, not only within the City of London and the UK, but also internationally.
"Events such as this show the importance of the work being done by aql and IXLeeds to improve Leeds' Internet and communication infrastructure. London is one of the leading global financial centres and Leeds is the second largest financial hub in the UK. Leeds now has the connectivity and infrastructure to increase the resilience and robustness of the UK financial system.”
Top: Dr Adam Beaumont (left) with The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Roger Gifford.
Middle: Dr Adam Beaumont shows the Lord Mayor around one of aql's data centres.
Bottom: Dr Beaumont explains aql's plans to The Sheriff of the City of London, Alderman Jeffrey Evans alongside Andy Davidson, Chair of IXLeeds (second from right) and aql Sales Director, Paul Greaves (far right).
Adam and evolution: enabling business, redefining a city
From fixing punctured tyres to enabling reliable and incisive corporate communication, Dr Adam Beaumont has always shown a knack for keeping wheels turning, be they the wheels of a bicycle or the wheels of business...
aql's forthcoming £43 million data centre, DC4, is the latest in a long line of business millstones for Dr Adam Beaumont, founder and CEO of aql, who began in business by repairing punctured bicycle tires in his garage as a nine-year old.
His journey has also seen him as one of Leeds University's youngest ever lecturers as a 24 year old; working in mobile security for government and establishing aql, which has grown from domain hosting and registration to a telecommunications and business communication solutions provider company with a current run rate of £7m.
aql operate from multiple sites around the UK and use their three Leeds-based independent data centres to send millions of text messages on behalf of companies around the world through their bulk SMS services. aql's voice over IP (VoIP) services allow customers to make telephone calls over the Internet and the company looks after over 60 million VoIP telephone numbers. aql also broker mobile data to businesses.
aql's customer base includes Deutsche Bank, Fujitsu, Boots, Stagecoach, Motorola, UCAS, Thames Water and Leeds-based medical software company Emis.
"What's come of all this is our need to interconnect to ISPs and to other fixed and other mobile operators, so we're now a full-blown regulated telecommunications operator and with all that brings the need for infrastructure," said Dr Beaumont, who owns aql.
aql plans to build a £43m data centre on part of the former Yorkshire Chemicals site in Hunslet. It is set to be the UK's largest independent data centre outside of London.
Leeds is already home to three aql centres, Two of which are are run out of aql's headquarters, the former Salem Church in Hunslet Road.
One of them houses IX Leeds, the only mutual not-for-profit internet exchange outside London, whose aim is to improve connectivity between ISPs and content providers such as social networks or web TV.
aql's data centres in Leeds means that local Internet traffic no longer has to be directed via London, meaning the city can operate independently without relying on the capital. As improvements in infrastructure fuels demand for space in aql's data centres, DC4 is set to play a major role in the next stage of Leeds' evolution, and is set to play a part in establishing Leeds as a hub for the media industry.
"The demand for our data space has been increasing exponentially to the point where we now need our next site," said Dr Beaumont."We have one of the largest Internet connections to our site with Media City in Manchester.
"So as a mixed-use ecosystem starts to build around the data centre, between the Hunslet and the Holbeck corridor will be an ideal place for the media industry to grow in Leeds.
"We are trying to create a proper joined-up story to say Leeds can have a media city… the bit that we do is the nuts and bolts, behind the scenes, so you can create a vibrant community. You can create nice buildings and a nice working atmosphere, but you have to have the support of infrastructure to make that happen."
Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Leeds and Partners, an organisation whose goal is to promote Leeds nationally and internationally, has said that the new data centre "anchors the region's digital sector, sending a strong message to national and international investors that they can have confidence in our infrastructure".
From his roots fixing bicycles in a suburban garage to establishing himself as an innovator at the forefront of his industry, Adam continues to go from strength to strength. Adam expects 2013 to be a big year for aql, as the company plans to expand further and push into new sectors.
Dr Beaumont said: "After consistently building innovative services about two to three years before they become market mainstream, I've started to trust my own judgement now."
For the original article published in the Yorkshire Post click here.
2013 - aql conference auditorium
It's nearly ready! 6000 square feet of carpeting and 306 seats are to arrive in the New Year. This is not a profit-making venture! The reason for renovating the auditorium is to allow us to host events for organisations whose remit is to innovate, inform and share.
We've already taken bookings for 6 events next year and will be taking a further 12 bookings (one event each month until July .. and after July we hope to have streamlined our events management to move up to two events per month. These will include network operators forum, RIPE training workshops, IXLeeds conferences, Euro network forums, University course modules.
To be kept abreast of the developments, please "like" us on Facebook and we'll post updates as the final touches are added (promise we won't barrage you with lots of updates).
aql DC4 - the largest carrier neutral datacentre in the North gains planning permission
We're pleased to announce our ongoing investment in infrastructure in Leeds City Centre. Below is the release from 22nd November:
DC4, aql's newest £43 million datacentre has been approved by Leeds City Council planners, with construction starting on the facility in early 2013.
DC4 will be a large, sustainable datacentre capable of housing 2440 server racks capable of serving the entire region. DC4 has been given the go-ahead to be built and planning is underway, despite aql only recently opening their third high capacity datacentre, DC3.
The site for the proposed datacentre will have a floor space of around 120,000 square feet over two six-storey buildings, and will be the UK's largest independent datacentre outside London.
The facilty will be built on part of a 3.14-hectare brownfield site in Hunslet, formerly the location of Leeds' Yorkshire Chemicals plant. The Brownfield site is an ideal location for a sustainable datacentre and an effective use of the land. Excess heat produced by the datacentre will be recycled and used to heat nearby buildings, and the land surrounding the site will be redeveloped and landscaped to create green spaces and civic amenities for local residents.
DC4 will bring improved Internet connectivity and network infrastructure to Leeds, benefiting both businesses and people in the city and the surrounding areas. The datacentre will be carrier neutral, meaning that multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to take up residence in the datacentre, stimulating competition and therefore providing best value for businesses with interests within the datacentre.
aql founder and CEO Dr Adam Beaumont said: "We've always found that we need to concentrate on our next datacentre project, and with that in mind we're already making plans to build DC4 whilst only just completing DC3. DC4 is on a completely different scale; 2440 racks will provide enough space for many of the larger Internet Service Providers to establish a firm and competitive presence in Leeds. "We're on track to fill our existing data storage facilities by mid 2013, so the new DC4 site will allow expansion room to support the data growth from the IT, media and mobile sectors - including the huge demands which 4G will place on the region's infrastructure.
"This project will put Leeds, and Yorkshire as a whole, in a very strong position to fulfill their superfast broadband promise." DC4 has the potential to make a huge impact on Leeds' infrastructure and economy, and could help define the city as a major hub for digital business. Lurene Joseph, Leeds and Partners chief executive, said: "The new data centre is another key milestone for Leeds as we work to make the city a centre of excellence across all aspects of digital technology.
"Businesses in Leeds across a wide variety of sectors, from retail and fashion to medical technology and bio informatics, now have confidence in the unique proposition we can offer - a city with the talent pool, the digital infrastructure and the opportunities to grow their business."
New MPLS core network
As part of our investment in infrastructure, our network has also been upgraded to create a more fault-tolerant core. The network, running on Brocade equipment, now has capacity to see us through to 2016 for our core messaging and voice services! We've also been working on upgrading all our customer facing messaging platforms and voice platforms - a total investment of around £1.5m. The benefits of this investment, we hope, will be felt by you, our customers, over the coming months by way of increased SMS throughput, better functionality and improved call quality.
The MPLS core, shown in red, spans our main sites - aql's DC2, DC3 and three other sites - along with our peering points in Telehouse London, Telecity Williams Manchester, and Ericsson Barton Dock.
Christmas support processes & on-site access. aql security team.
Our phone lines will close at midday on Monday 24th December 2012, re-opening on Wednesday 2nd January 2013 at 9am.
As ever our staff will be monitoring systems over the Christmas period to help ensure everything runs smoothly. Our security team will be on site to assist with any datacentre or colocation customers who need to send engineers into aql over the holiday. Visitors - please make sure that our security and access procedures are followed to ensure swift and smooth entry through the airlocks and security screening! Access is available at any time for emergency work and pre-scheduled maintenance only.
We'll be monitoring our ticket systems 24/7 and will respond in the normal speedy manner to all requests. Please make sure you tag your request with the correct level of urgency - this helps us support all customers in the best possible way.
If you've any questions or concerns about support over the Christmas period or have any special requirements - please contact your account manager - Their details should be visible as soon as you log into your aql account. They'll be happy to help or to introduce you to the right person to make sure you're looked after.
Don't forget to say Happy Christmas - Schedule some Texts!
Although most of aql's mobile messaging services are provided for business-to-business purposes, why not bend the rules a little at Christmas. It's easy with the bustle of unwrapping presents and managing relatives, to forget to drop a line to an old mate.
Why not plan ahead and send the texts now, but schedule them to be delivered on Christmas morning?
Then go to - "Account Navigation" (on left) ... SMS ... Send SMS ... To Specific Number.
Follow the dialogue, enter your recipient(s), message and then choose under (4) - "Schedule Message Send" ... Choose a time and date to send!
Don't forget - txt responsibly! - it's ok to text your friends from your mobile number, or your customers if they have opted-in. If in doubt, please get in touch with your account manager who'll be happy to help and advise as much as possible.
Wi-Fight with a poor data connection? Leeds offers free city-centre Wi-Fi connectivity
Leeds took another step towards its connected future today with the launch of free wireless internet access on Briggate, one of Leeds City Centre’s main shopping areas.
Free Internet access will be provided through a collaboration between Leeds City Council and Virgin Media Business, and will be totally unrestricted, remaining free for as long as the user is connected. The service is the first step in a scheme designed to offer easy online access to Leeds’ residents, visitors and businesses. The city’s Wi-Fi network will be expanded in the coming year, with the next installation planned in Millennium Square in early 2013.
The Briggate service connects via the Virgin Media Business fibre network into aql's Leeds city datacentre where it accesses globalreach portal equipment at one of aql's datacentres, allowing the user access to the internet.
The service shows Leeds’ commitment to technology and connectivity for the benefit of residents and businesses. Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for development and the economy, Leeds City Council, said: "This is an opportunity to maintain and improve our competitive edge, attract investment and create employment.
"Leeds is leading the way in ensuring that our digital infrastructure is in place to make the most of future developments and helping push forward our ambition of being the best city to live in, invest in and visit in the UK."
The service was launched at an event in the heart of the city's shopping district, outside the Victoria Quarter shopping centre on Briggate at 2pm, with representatives from Leeds City Council present as well as delegates from some of the companies that are helping to make the city’s digital vision a reality.
Virgin Media Business’s director of wireless, Kevin Baughan said of the service: "a lot of people might have heard government officials discussing the idea of filling the UK with ‘super-connected’ cities. Leeds is among the first to be taking real steps towards unlocking the potential that new technology has to offer, in order to deliver exciting mobile services to its citizens."
These initial steps by Leeds City Council are being taken towards a connected future which includes the city’s largest data centre, DC4, which is being built by aql and is due to be operational by early 2014.
aql are working closely with the City Council to improve Leeds’ internet infrastructure, and aql CEO, Dr Adam Beaumont was in attendance at the launch of the free Wi-Fi service.
"aql engineers fast-tracked the engineering involved within our datacentre to connect the parties together to meet their launch date." said Dr Beaumont.
"Our appetite for data continues to grow as the Internet becomes more integral to our lives, and this is the starting point for something big for this city. aql are investing into Leeds in the shape of our new £43 million data centre complex, and schemes like this justify our decision and show that the city is definitely going in the right direction."
Images: (top) aql CEO Adam Beaumont with Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council celebrating the Briggate Wi-Fi launch, and (bottom) delegates attending the launch are among the first to try out Leeds' free Wi-Fi service.
Click here to download the official press release from Leeds City Council
aql get approval for DC4: Leeds' newest data centre
DC4, aql’s newest £43 million datacentre has been approved by Leeds City Council planners, with construction starting on the facility in early 2013.
DC4 will be a large, sustainable datacentre capable of housing 2440 server racks capable of serving the entire region. DC4 has been given the go-ahead to be built and planning is underway, despite aql only recently opening their third high capacity datacentre, DC3.
The site for the proposed datacentre will have a floor space of around 120,000 square feet over two six-storey buildings, and will be the UK’s largest independent datacentre outside London.
The facilty will be built on part of a 3.14-hectare brownfield site in Hunslet, formerly the location of Leeds’ Yorkshire Chemicals plant. The Brownfield site is an ideal location for a sustainable datacentre and an effective use of the land.Excess heat produced by the datacentre will be recycled and used to heat nearby buildings, and the land surrounding the site will be redeveloped and landscaped to create green spaces and civic amenities for local residents.
DC4 will bring improved Internet connectivity and network infrastructure to Leeds, benefiting both businesses and people in the city and the surrounding areas. The datacentre will be carrier neutral, meaning that multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to take up residence in the datacentre, stimulating competition and therefore providing best value for businesses with interests within the datacentre.
aql founder and CEO Dr Adam Beaumont said: “We’ve always found that we need to concentrate on our next datacentre project, and with that in mind we’re already making plans to build DC4 whilst only just completing DC3. DC4 is on a completely different scale; 2440 racks will provide enough space for many of the larger Internet Service Providers to establish a firm and competitive presence in Leeds.
“We’re on track to fill our existing data storage facilities by mid 2013, so the new DC4 site will allow expansion room to support the data growth from the IT, media and mobile sectors – including the huge demands which 4G will place on the region’s infrastructure.
“This project will put Leeds, and Yorkshire as a whole, in a very strong position to fulfill their superfast broadband promise.”
DC4 has the potential to make a huge impact on Leeds’ infrastructure and economy, and could help define the city as a major hub for digital business. Lurene Joseph, Leeds and Partners chief executive, said: “The new data centre is another key milestone for Leeds as we work to make the city a centre of excellence across all aspects of digital technology.
“Businesses in Leeds across a wide variety of sectors, from retail and fashion to medical technology and bio informatics, now have confidence in the unique proposition we can offer - a city with the talent pool, the digital infrastructure and the opportunities to grow their business.”
More than 7000 people took part in the 28th annual Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash on 18 November 2012, which raises money to help support older people living in the UK.
Three entrants from aql were among the thousands of runners who lined up for the start of the race on the Headrow in Leeds and ran the 10 kilometre course around city centre: aql’s Founder and CEO, Dr. Adam Beaumont; Head of Sales, Ray Shephardson; and Account Manager Jyoti Solanki.
All three set commendable times of 47.56 minutes, 45.48 minutes and 68.01 minutes respectively, and more importantly helped to raise funds for one of the UK’s best known charities.
Adam said : “It’s important that aql supports events such as this, not only because it helps a worthy cause, but also because events like the Abbey Dash are and great way for aql and other businesses based in Leeds to come out represent the city in a different way.”
The Abbey Dash is but one of Age UK’s ‘Wrap Up and Run’ winter events encouraging people to run 10K and below. "Fitness is an important part of the culture at aql," said Dr. Beaumont. “The benefits of an active lifestyle are obvious, and it’s wonderful for me to be able to take part in events such as this alongside other members of the aql family.”
aql’s Head of Sales, Ray Shephardson, who was the first of the participants from aql to cross the finish line, enjoyed the camaraderie of the event and is looking forward to the next opportunity to run alongside his colleagues: “Of course I’m pleased to be the first of the runners from aql to cross the finish line, but I’m happier to with my time today.
“Now I’m looking forward to bettering it at the Wrap Up And Run Harewood House 10k in Leeds next March, where hopefully I’ll be able to persuade more people from aql to get their trainers on and join us.”
Images: (left) aql's Dr. Adam Beaumont running the Abbey Dash and (right) celebrating at the finish line with Head of Sales, Ray Shephardson.
Janet, the UK academic network signs 10 year deal with aql
Janet, the UK academic network, have signed a 10 year deal for aql's DC3 site to house the Leeds hub for their nextgeneration Janet6 network. This network connects UK universities, colleges and community learning providers. It also facilitates the Department for Education national schools network programme, and has over 18 million end users.
With the increased drive towards applications such as video and e-learning, there follows a demand for a higher capacity, high quality network to deliver it. Research has shown that the institutions which use the network double their data demand every 18 months and this will continue for the foreseeable future.
The Janet6 network sits on top of the SSE Telecoms network within aql's Leeds facility and allows the new Janet network to achieve a starting capacity of 2 Terabits per second (Tb/s) scaling to 8Tb/s or more over the next 5 years.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO of aql commented said of the deal: "I have to admit that without the Janet network, there would be no aql! Plugging into the Janet network in the early 90's was my first taste of the Internet, so I'm proud that aql can now host the Leeds part of the network in one of our facilities.
"We're also keen to work with any other parties which need access to this network for the good of the region and the academic community."
Tim Marshall, CEO of Janet said: "We've worked with aql for several years, specifically launching Janet 3G on the Three mobile broadband network supported by aql. Janet 3G gives academic and support staff network access on the move and in 2013 we look forward to further developing the partnership between Janet and aql".
Click here for the official Janet6 press release on www.ja.net
An education in datacentres from aql
Final year Mechanical Engineering students from University of Leeds visited Salem Church, the home of aql, on Friday 26 October to take part in a discussion on datacentres and take a tour of aql’s data storage facilities.
Datacentre management and cooling forms the basis of the students’ project, specifically the thermodynamic challenges of maintaining optimum operating temperature in two theoretical datacentres; one in a hot, dry environment and another in a cold and humid environment. The challenges of datacentre sustainability were also considered; areas in which Dr Adam Beaumont, aql's founder and CEO, could offer valuable guidance as well as an insight into the systems in operation within aql’s datacentres.
aql’s latest sustainable datacentre project, DC4, which is to be built in Leeds and opened in 2014, was also discussed, and in particular the plans to re-use excess heat from the complex to warm surrounding buildings.
Dr Adam Beaumont has a special connection with the University of Leeds and was the institution’s youngest ever lecturer before establishing aql at the beginning of the Internet boom in 1998.
“aql employs some fantastic people, many of whom are graduates from the University of Leeds,’ said Dr Beaumont. “These students are the datacentre technicians of the future, and it’s a pleasure to help them in their development.
“Datacentres are the factories of tomorrow, and as our use of technology keeps growing so will the need for datacentre space. Partnerships such as this between education and businesses are vital for the future of the industry.”
None of the students visiting Salem Church had ever been in a datacentre before, so the occasion was an excellent opportunity for them to see the various environmental, fire suppression and security systems required to safeguard client data and equipment.
Dr Jon Summers, senior lecturer within the University of Leeds’ School of Mechanical Engineering and the project’s industrial mentor, Dr Ian Bitterlin from Ark Continuity, accompanied the students on their visit. “Thank you so much to Adam and his team for being so accommodating to the students”, said Dr Summers. “It helped dispel the mysteries of datacentres and provided them with valuable input to their project”. The visit was a successful precursor to aql’s forthcoming partnership with the University of Leeds, which will see students from the School of Mechanical Engineering visit Salem Church to attend lectures and seminars in the building’s conference hall led by Dr Beaumont. aql will also support students by donating a rack within DC3 to the university so students can gain practical experience of working within a datacentre.
Dr Adam Beaumont said of the partnership: “Our work with the University of Leeds is an example of aql’s commitment to not only the future of the Internet and the datacentre industry, but also our commitment to Leeds’ technological future.”
Images: aql's Dr Adam Beaumont explains the intricacies of datacentre management to the assembled students from the University of Leeds.
aql keeps Salem's history alive
Visitors to aql’s base of operations, Salem Church on Hunslet Road in Leeds, are often struck by the contrast between the historic 18th century building and the state of the art telecoms and data storage equipment housed within it.
One recent group of visitors was particularly impressed by the building’s transformation, as aql welcomed four members of the former church’s congregation: Maureen Burnell, Diane Thomas, Mike Dalby and Keith Barber.
The visitors reminisced on the Salem of yesteryear, remembering the billiard room, now aql’s tech office; the former common room, which is now home to aql’s account managers; and of course the church hall itself, which is now DC3: aql’s largest datacentre, above which a 360-seat conference venue is being built.
“I was christened in Salem’s church hall in 1944 and my wife, Margaret, was christened there in 1942” said Keith Barber. “We were married at Salem in 1963... It (coming back to the church) was so emotional and brought back so many happy memories.
“Just standing in the former church’s main hall I am sure we could almost hear the tram cars rattling past along Hunslet Lane as they used to do when we were in church and Sunday school”
The former members of the congregation were shown around the church by aql Operations Director, Melissa Hendry, who filled the visitors in on Salem’s present while they shed light on its past.
“It was an honour for us to welcome these visitors to aql and show them how we’re renovating the church” said Melissa. “It was fascinating to hear them talk about the place, and humbling for me to think that we are based in a building that has played such a huge role in the lives of these people and the history of Leeds.”
Established in 1791 as a Dissenting chapel in opposition to the Church of England, Salem Church has a rich history that is interwoven with that of the city of Leeds. The church is revered by many as the place in which Leeds United Football Club was founded in 1919, and was a vital part of the city’s community for more than three centuries before it closed as a church in 2001.
Maureen Burnell, one of the visitors on the day, said: “Salem and the community had a big influence on my life. It was nice to see that the building is now being looked after and has not been altered a great deal… I must admit to shedding a few tears when I went into the church and remembered all the past times.”
Salem’s current incarnation as aql’s headquarters and datacentre complex is but one of many roles the building has fulfilled over the past 300 years. In November 2011 a blue plaque awarded by Leeds Civic Trust was unveiled to signify the cultural importance of the building. Kevin Grady, Director of Leeds Civic Trust, said: “Salem Chapel is the oldest surviving nonconformist chapel in Leeds city centre. Leeds Civic Trust is very pleased that aql takes a real pride in having it as their headquarter and celebrate the heritage of the building in the way they are modifying it. Sensitively adapting historic buildings for present-day needs is the best way to ensure they have a bright future.”
Images: (top left) the visitors from Salem Church's former congregation gather in the former church hall which is currently being renovated into a 360 seat conference centre, and (top right) a view of Salem Church, aql's historic home, and (bottom) Salem's blue plaque, marking it as a site of cultural importance.
ITSPA Autumn Workshop comes to Leeds
Leeds has made history as the first city outside London to host an Internet Telephony Service Providers’ Association (ITSPA) Workshop. The ITSPA Autumn Workshop was hosted and sponsored by aql, a longstanding ITSPA member and ITSPA quality mark holder, including a talk by aql founder and CEO, Dr Adam Beaumont, covering a wide range of subject matter, from why Leeds is a great place to do business, through to the peering strategies which mobile networks must adopt if they are to roll out 4G "LTE" services effectively.
The event took place on 11 October 2012 at the City Exchange in Leeds in the offices of the UK’s largest commercial property company, Land Securities, who are responsible for a new development in central Leeds that will boast more than 1 million square feet of retail space. aql felt that this vantage point gave ITSPA members a view over the changing face of Leeds city centre and we give our thanks to David Laycock, the Centre Director for Trinity Leeds for allowing us to use the space.
Representatives from over 20 major Internet telephony service providers heard talks and discussions on the digital landscape in Leeds and beyond, including a talk from Thomas Mangin on behalf of IXLeeds.
Attendees were also given a guided tour of the aql datacentre where IX Leeds, Yorkshire’s first Internet Exchange Point established to significantly reduce the county’s reliance on London’s Internet infrastructure, is hosted.
Dr Beaumont said of the event: "The ITSPA Autumn Workshop has given the UK's telecoms operator community an opportunity to see what Leeds has to offer - being the second largest financial centre in the UK and with a strong media sector. We're pleased that the event was also part of the Leeds Digital Festival.".
Photo : Thomas Mangin from IXLeeds explains how IP telephony benefits from good peering and QoS.
aql attend UKNOF23
The 23rd UK Network Operators’ Forum (UKNOF) took place on 9 October 2012 and brought together the UK’s biggest Internet and telecommunications network operators to promote co-operation and co-ordination for the benefit of the UK’s Internet infrastructure.
Google Campus in East London’s Tech City played host to the forum, which featured talks from keynote speakers from some of the UK’s largest network operators on topics ranging from the history of the Internet to the performance of the UK’s Internet infrastructure during the London 2012 Olympics and the great summer of sport.
aql were one of the event's principal sponsors and provided attendees with aql SIM cards with a complimentary data allowance of 5GB. This was the third UKNOF forum supported by aql, and the company’s founder and CEO, Dr Adam Beaumont, is a long time exponent of the event.
“UKNOF forums are invaluable for companies in the Internet and telecommunication industries,” said Dr Beaumont. “By encouraging co-operation between the UK’s network operators UKNOF is helping to lay foundations for sustained success and stability in inter-network relations, and of course, the forums are a great opportunity to meet industry friends both old and new.
"We've hosted UKNOF up in Leeds in April 2011, with a huge turnout. We're hoping to bring UKNOF back to Leeds in 2013 and host the event in our bespoke conference facility".
Photos: (Top) delegates attending a discussion on the UK's Internet infrastructure at UKNOF23
(bottom) aql were badge sponsors for UKNOF23, supplying ID badges and complimentary data SIMs with 5GB of free data to every attendee
All fore a good cause
The first annual Paul Stancliffe Charity Golf Day was held on the 28 September 2012, with an aql team taking part to help raise money for Myeloma UK and Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
The charity event took place at West Bradford Golf Club, where the event’s organiser, Paul Stancliffe, is the club professional. A total of 24 four-man teams took to the course during the day on which a great time was had for two very good causes.
aql’s team, led by company accountant Colin Ward, came fifth in the event which raised over £3,500 that was split between both charities.
“The day was a great success, particularly given the amount of money raised for charity,” said Colin. “I’m a member of West Bradford Golf Club, and I’m delighted that aql were able to field a team for such a worthy cause.”
Myeloma UK provides support to 12-14,000 people in the UK living with myeloma – an increasingly common cancer affecting plasma cells in bone marrow.
Crohn’s and Colitis UK helps people throughout the UK living with the two biggest causes of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
aql announces plans for new Leeds Datacentre
aql built their first network datacentre Point-of-Presence “POP” back in 2006 to use as a disaster-recovery site, should their main server equipment in London fail. It was an engineering challenge, learning how to shoehorn generators, power equipment, battery backup and fire monitoring equipment into a building to create a specialist space. The site held 16 ‘racks’ – which are cabinets about the size of a telephone box, designed to hold around 20 to 40 individual ‘servers’.
Many aql customers requested to use aql’s POP to house their own equipment and plans to build a second one resulted in ‘DC2’ being built in 2009 – this one being a bit bigger, with space for 50 racks. Now in 2012, DC2 is full – with some very impressive clients.
DC3 has now just been completed, again, a little bigger, with 150 racks of space and is filling up fast – with some of the big household internet names taking up tenancy.
aql founder, Dr Adam Beaumont stated “We’ve always found that we need to be concentrating on the next datacentre project – with that in mind, we’re already making plans to build “DC4” whilst only just completing DC3”. “DC4 is on a completely different scale – 2440 Racks and will provide enough space for many of the larger ISP’s to establish a firm and competitive presence in Leeds – this will put Leeds and Yorkshire in a very strong position to fulfill their superfast broadband promise”.
DC4 is designed to be a large, sustainable datacentre building, using super-efficient cooling, heat recovery technology and the ability to export heat to neighbouring building schemes as well as provide gigabit internet connectivity.
The site will be connected to aql’s existing datacenters by a fault-tolerant fibre optic ring provided by SSE Telecom and aql’s own private network, enabling the site to have instant access to aql’s existing connectity partners such as Level3, SSE, Gamma and Cogent with the potential to scale to Terabits and act as a hub for internet tv, radio and social network content as well as for enterprise and secure storage.
Electromagnetic field is a three-day event, taking place today (31st) and over the weekend (1st, 2nd Sept) at Pineham Park, Milton Keynes. It's a mixture of organised talks, workshops and attendees form kind of 'burning man' style civilisations and villages.
Beacause the event is all about innovating and building 'things' (see the cyber-loo???!!), aql's technology and telecoms building blocks are a useful interface for these projects!
aql are proud to be a facilitating sponsor for the event and provide inbound and outbound text messaging services for any developers and participants needing to activate or interact with their innovations via SMS!
As ever, we're busy attending events and making sure we're abreast of the latest technology and cooperating with the rest of the industry.
So, we hope to see you at an event either this year or perhaps one of the aql hosted events in our new auditorium early in 2013!
Other Great News!
aql have just provided some free space and power for these guys who have just installed a cluster at aql Leeds. This will give us (and you!) more diagnostic information about what the network looks like in Leeds.
What is M-Lab ?
Measurement Lab (M-Lab) is an open, distributed server platform for researchers to deploy Internet measurement tools. The goal of M-Lab is to advance network research and empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections. By enhancing Internet transparency, M-Lab helps sustain a healthy, innovative Internet.
When an Internet application doesn't work as expected, how can you tell whether the problem is caused by your broadband connection, the application or something else? It can be very difficult for professional network administrators, let alone average Internet users, to answer this sort of question today.
Transparency has always been an essential component of the Internet's success, and Internet users deserve to be well-informed about the performance of their broadband connections. For that to happen, researchers need resources to develop new analytical tools.
aql conference facility due for completion Jan 2013 and Dates for the Diary !
We're finding that we're bringing more and more top calibre events to Leeds. Here's a few save-the-dates
IXLeeds 2 - Again – following on from the success of IXLeeds 1, with over 120 delegates from all areas of technology, public and private sector - IXLeeds 2 will be an insight into the bigger picture into connectivity in both Leeds and Yorkshire and how all parties can co-operate to create a connected city. With ubiquitous wifi connectivity on the horizon and other initiatives imminent, now is the time to get involved in the Leeds and Yorkshire regions' development. Sign Up for Free Here
ITSPA Autumn - This will be the first event held by ITSPA in Leeds and will be hosted by aql. The event will start at 3pm and include a dinner and drinks reception. Anyone interested in attending should contact Phil Reid for more details.
The beginning of 2013 should mark the start of us being able to host our own events here at aql ! Our 360 seat conference auditorium will be completed by Jan 2013. There's plenty of parking for all delegates and we're 5 minutes walk from both the train and bus stations. What could be more ideal ! The venue is not ‘for hire' as such, but we are keen to allow its use by organisations whose aims are for the good of the internet or to bring benefit through technology.
If you'd like to talk to us about hosting your event in 2013 – please contact email@example.com.
The RIPE Atlas project - not just another dot on a map.
RIPE Atlas probe in Montana, USA; photo credit: Ann Barcomb
Whilst on the subject of monitoring 'the internet'. Another project in which aql are proud to be involved is the RIPE Atlas community. Over 2500 tiny probes have been deployed globally by the RIPE NCC and collectively, they provide a picture as to what the internet looks like from different locations. At the moment over 1750 probes are up and running. Once you're in the program, you can earn credits in order to query other destinations and monitor the health and performance of your network to other destinations. Be part of the measurement community and check out http://atlas.ripe.net.
Machine to machine options from aql - powering "the internet of things"
Our solutions for embedded devices are now expanding to include 2G. It's been predicted that there will be 50 billion connected devices by the year 2020 (Source – Ericsson Report - Arthur D Little) and there's every sign that this is on target. As a supplier of wholesale airtime connectivity to ISPs, we're seeing massive growth in connectivity for devices whether it's logistics, patient care, telemetry or smart signage and smart metering.
You may be aware that aql operate the wholesale edge-of-network for 3G data services on the Three UK network. We provide an L2TP interface to ISPs and connectivity partners, allowing them to set up data sessions on SIMS using the partners' own IP address space. Many of our partners are seeing massive growth in 3G machine-to-machine and also 3G broadband failover solutions. If you're an enterprise customer and want to consolidate your 3G mobile broadband costs, our wholesale model where you only pay for the data you use is likely to be the answer - Please get in touch. It may be that your existing connectivity provider already operates this service via our wholesale network and we can work with them to provide you a solution.
However, due to demand from customers for non-3G services, we've also expanded this portfolio to be able to support GSM/GPRS via our aql anywhere SIM solution. This is ideal for the non-3G (i.e. legacy) telemetry market where devices need to be able to send SMS or small datagrams, for example as would be used in asset tracking or monitoring applications. There is also a voice variant of this service which allows you to ensure your critical staff can be reached via any UK network (i.e. not just reliant on one mobile operator). If you're interested in how this solution could be deployed either as a reseller or an enterprise user, please reply to this mailer for more information and commercials.
In addition, so that we have all bases covered – including where there's no mobile coverage at all, we are due to launch a service on the Inmarsat network, allowing global connectivity over private APNs. This service, we envisage, should be accepting trial customers in late 2012.
Level(3) are now present on the datacentre floor of aql DC2 and are on-net at both DC2 and DC3.
Level(3)'s global network provides carrier choice. Level(3)'s connections into aql are fully resilient and will offer a world class choice of connectivity either for transit or for inter-site links.
Because aql is a carrier-neutral operator, we're happy to advise you on any aspect of connectivity, but if you know what you need – we encourage you to contact the carrier directly. In this case, you need to speak to Chris Orsman @ Level(3) and I'm sure he'll help you.
Fujitsu, the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company has expanded it's network to Leeds. See http://aq.be/985719 for more details. If you're looking to take advantage of connectivity via Fujitsu's network, please contact us.
SSE Telecoms operate a major POP within aql's Leeds facilities national network.
You may be more familiar with SSE under their old name “neos”. So, neos, now SSE Telecoms, owns and operates one of the largest telecoms and data centre networks spanning the entire UK. They specialise in high capacity Ethernet, optical wavelengths and fibre services for network operators, network service providers and system integrators.
Recently SSE Telecoms has introduced 100Gb/s technology across its network, continuing to push the boundaries of network reach and performance, enabling customers to achieve high-capacity optical networking. The 100Gb/s network enables SSE Telecoms to offer both 10G and 100G services to its customers, while ensuring low latency, guaranteeing high availability, reducing power consumption by 46% and footprint by 70% (compared to a traditional architecture based on 10G technology). This enhancement to their UK-wide network reach has further developed their capabilities in key towns and cities across the UK, including the aql POP site in Leeds. So… anyone needing a 100Gb/s connection… just let us know and we'll make the introductions!
IXReach have just upgraded their connection into aql Leeds to 10Gb/s
But.. what is IXReach and what do they do? … Well.. utilising IX Reach's international and purpose built MPLS network direct from the aql data centre, allows your company to access over 28 key cities in the UK, across Europe and North America.
For Enterprise - They specialise in designing and implementing bespoke network solutions offering services including point-to-point/multipoint connectivity, capacity ranging from 100Mbps to multiple 10Gbps, colocation, VLANs and business IP, all with a 24/7 NOC team on hand.
For network operators - IX Reach has reseller agreements with many key Internet Exchanges including AMS-IX, DE-CIX, France-IX, IXLeeds, LINX, MIX, Netnod, TIE, and many more. This means that they can plug you in to exchanges around the world, allowing you to offload traffic in key destinations.
Again – aql are carrier neutral – so if you want to get in touch with these guys – drop them a line at : firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on +44 (0) 845 013 0845.
DC3 now open for business - Free Cabling to IXLeeds!
aql's DC3 facility is our flagship development, of which the first phase (60 racks) is now complete. A further 90 racks is planned for the end of 2012. All CAT6 copper cross-connects and fibre cross connects to IXLeeds will be provided free of any setup or rental fees (one per customer).
The state-of-the-art secure facility has many carriers on site – a little more about those in detail below in the ‘Carrier News' section. We're pleased to announce that space in the first phase of DC3 is already sparse! If you are interested in rack-space within DC3, please do get in touch!
Open for Business 365 days ? get a 0844 365 xxxx number - FREE
We've just opened a new range of 0844 numbers to choose from. The range is ideal for support lines and anyone who operates 365 days a year! There's still some great numbers to choose from. And they're FREE! Just forward to your existing landline number for FREE.
To order – just go to – http://aq.be/be0d90 and click through until you find the number you want.
Two way texting is on the increase
aql's mobile messaging volumes are growing by around 10% month on month, much of this is driven by two way messaging.
Did you know that aql have over 12 million numbers to choose from for sending outbound campaigns and services? This means that your recipients can just click ‘reply'. This is ideal for services where you need feedback – for example an “ok” or to allow an appointment cancellation. All aql numbers also support voice, so that if your recipient decides to click ‘call', they can be routed to your callcentre.
With numbering at £2 per month (or less, - resellers please contact us!), aql represent the lowest cost option in the UK for setting up ‘repliable' campaigns.
To set up services, simply sign in to aql.com and go to “account” >> “add a new number” >> select how you'd like to be billed and choose the “Phone calls / SMS” option. Find a number you like.. (note only 01 and 02 numbers can receive SMS).
Delivery of SMS can be via HTTPS API, Email or SMPP. We have also upgraded our SMS API to support the Non-Latin Character set (see http://aql.com/sms/integrated/sms-api/ and look for the allow_unicode flag) – ideal for sending Arabic, Cyrillic or other non-Latin character sets.
IXLeeds Summer Social a Success
Tuesday night's IXLeeds event was a great success, with attendance from many members, including Metronet, IXReach, ASK4, York Data Services, Fluidata and Sleek. Level(3) was also represented. Curry and beer was provided courtesy of Hurricane Electric and aql. Mark Fordyce, IXLeeds board member, commented "It was a great night and it was good to see not only the members, but some new faces and to chat informally over a beer. Thanks to all for making the trip, especially to those who travelled from London".
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO of aql also confirmed that any IXLeeds members requiring copper cross connects to the exchange will carry no setup or annual fees, even between DC2 and DC3 sites.
The next event will be the IXLeeds 2 conference on Wednesday, 12th Sept at the Carriageworks. Hope to see you there...
Level3 now on site at aql DC2 and DC3!
Level(3) is one of the latest carriers to take a presence at aql's DC2 and DC3 sites, helping to put Leeds on the 'Internet Map'. Level(3)'s global network allows Leeds to connect to the globe via Lowestoft and Southport, assisting Leeds to be independant of London datacentres and traffic routes.
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO and founder of aql states "Leeds, being the second largest Financial centre in the UK and Yorkshire itself being the second largest Region by GDP has a massive and growing demand for connectivity and can only benefit from the presence of more high calibre network operators such as Level(3). The Leeds internet exchange, IXLeeds, is also fostering cooperation between carriers for the good of the region".
Level(3) is the latest of several network operators to connect into aql's metropolitan datacentres in a resilient manner, with other operators on site including SSE Telecom, Geo, Virginmedia, BT, Gamma and Cable and Wireless. If you're looking to colocate in Leeds or Yorkshire or take services from any of our on-site carriers, aql operate two carrier neutral metropolitan facilities - please get in touch! If you're a carrier looking for a new metropolitan POP, we'd also love to hear from you!
World IPV6 Day
The countdown has begun; the launch of IPv6 is getting closer and just in time! The explosion in the number of people, devices, and web services on the Internet means that IPv4 is running out of space. Mobile visionary and CEO of Ericsson, Hans Vestberg, predicted the growth in the number of connected devices to rise from 5 billion to 50 billion by 2020.
There is an increasing need for Internet Protocol Version 6, with the current IPv4 having approximately four billion IP addresses, space is becoming scarce. IPv6, the next-generation Internet protocol which provides more than 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses, will connect the billions of people not connected today and will help ensure the Internet can continue its current growth rate indefinitely.
aql took part in the ‘test flight’ in 2011 and will again be supporting the Internet Protocol upgrade. Last year, on 8th June 2011, top websites and Internet service providers around the world, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight Networks joined together with more than 1000 other participating websites in World IPv6 Day for a successful global-scale trial of the new Internet Protocol, IPv6.
Almost a year to the day on the 6th June 2012 IPv6 will be launched building on the successful one-day World IPv6 Day event. Home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world are coming together to permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services by 6 June 2012.
Many of aql’s services including DNS, routing and all colocation services are already ‘IPv6’ ready and we can wear our IPv6 ‘Ripe-ness’ t-shirts with pride. What’s RIPE-ness ? See ripeness.ripe.net for more details!
Visit the official website for more information about World IPv6 Day Launch, products, and services covered, as well as links to useful information for users and information about how other companies may participate.
Want to find out your IPv6 readiness? Follow this link to test your IPv6 connectivity.
Team aql In Training For Charity Dragon Boat Race
On Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July Leeds Waterfront Festival 2012 will see hundreds of local people from across Leeds join the community event at Clarence Dock.
The 2012 event is promised to be bigger and even more entertaining than previous years, featuring live music, local bands, arts and dance, boat trips and many more activities for people of all ages to enjoy. All the money raised will go to the fantastic work carried out by the Leeds Community Foundation and local charities. The Dragon Boat Race has this year been included in the Leeds Waterfront Festival agenda, rather than 2 separate events, many Leeds businesses are taking part in this highly competitive race on board 40 foot long Dragon boats powered by 16 paddlers and a drummer to keep time.
There will be around 100 races throughout the day and the aql team are hoping to reign victorious! Last year team aql made a valiant attempt however after receiving last place they have been in training and hopes are high for this year’s participation. The highlight of the day is, as always, seeing the fabulous fancy dress outfits sported by each race team as part of the much coveted ‘fancy dress competition’ award. The 2011 event saw Vikings, Superheroes and aql’s very own ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of BOOM!’ entry. This year aql are keeping their fancy dress theme firmly under wraps and it will be revealed on the day!
Amanda Bennett, Marketing and Events Manager at Leeds Community Foundation, commented: "This is our 5th anniversary and one of the most important events of the Leeds social calendar is the spectacular Dragon Boat Race. In addition to having a great deal of fun, teams raise funds for Leeds Community Foundation and local charities. We are really glad that aql have chosen to support this community event yet again and I wish them all the luck for the race!"
This free event is a great opportunity for the local community to come together and local businesses to encourage team building, the Dragon Boat race is set to reach their target of £20,000 to support the Foundation’s work across Leeds. Sponsorship monies raised by the teams will go to Leeds Community Foundation who, in the past 5 years have given out over £16 million to community groups and small charities working in some of the most disadvantaged parts of Leeds.
Dr Adam Beaumont, aql’s CEO and also a Patron of the Foundation commented: “The foundation does some great work and they have the wholehearted support of both myself and the aql team”.
There are a few places left so to find out how you can reserve a team, please ring Amanda on 0113 242-2426 or contact her via email
The Queens Diamond Jubilee Extended Bank Holiday
The Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations will focus around an extended weekend on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th June. Local events are to be held in every region of the United Kingdom and even further afield.
During this long weekend aql head office will be closed, however our normal support and escalation procedures will apply. As always, we will be pro-actively monitoring our systems to help ensure a smooth and seamless service over the extended weekend period. The technical support team will be on call for any urgent matters during this time from Friday 1st June at 5pm and reopening again 6th June at 9am. Please note that any enquiries will be responded to and all priority 3, 2 and 1 tickets will be answered within SLA in the normal manner (for example, a priority 1 ticket will be answered within the hour, 24/7).
In addition, our engineers are on call 24/7 and available 24/7 via the contact numbers within all our support contracts. If you are a contracted customer and do not have access to these numbers, please contact your account manager (If you do not know who your account manager is please call our office on 01133 203040 before lines close over the break, and we'll be pleased to help).
If you are enquiring about one of our products please contact us and a member of our accounts team will be in touch as soon as possible.
Thank you and we hope you enjoy the extended break.
Leeds Interconnect Community Summer Social
LI (Leeds Interconnect) have announced a date for the summer social which will take place on June 26th at the Lazy Lounge Café in Leeds City Centre from 6pm onwards.
The bar/restaurant is located near the train station and there will be drinks and snacks available. The invite is open to anyone already involved with the organisation, members of IXLeeds and like-minded people with an interest in the development of public peering in the North of England.
Emma Frost, Board Director at IXLeeds, commented: "We have been extremely busy since IXLeeds launched in September last year and during this time there have been some great milestones including our very first IXLeeds 1 meeting in February. This Summer Social is an opportunity for the LI (Leeds Interconnect) community to meet up again and I am looking forward to catching up with community members as well as IXLeeds members."
If you're free and would like to attend please send an email to Emma Frost, Board Director at IXLeeds Ltd
The Leeds Interconnect community are continuing to expand and always happy to welcome involvement from organisations and individuals with similar interests. If you're a service provider (based in Leeds or elsewhere) interested in joining our community please pop along to our event or get in touch
KPMG appointed as auditors for aql
As a growing company, aql have a strong desire to achieve our long term expansion plan and In line with these plans we are pleased to announce that KPMG have been appointed as our new auditors.
We believe KPMG hold the expertise and great reputation for taking a growing company, like ourselves, to the next level.
Located in Leeds City Centre in one of their largest offices outside London, KPMG were chosen due to their vast knowledge of the Telecommunications Industry, which is invaluable to us.
aql Company Accountant, Colin Ward, stated: "Our diversity of products and our need to accommodate capital-intensive projects such as datacentre construction, is a challenge from an accounting perspective. Aligning ourselves with KPMG's best-in-business practices, puts us in an excellent position for the future".
UK Network Operators’ Forum
The United Kingdom Network Operators’ Forum (UKNOF) relies completely on sponsors and volunteers so that everyone in the UK Network Operator community can attend meetings for free. These meetings are a great forum for exchanging information relating to networking technologies and practices. There are no less than 3 meetings a year, the 22nd UK Network operators Forum meeting, hosted by :Bytemark, was held on the 3rd May in York. aql were proud to sponsor the event and produced the much talked about badges for all delegates. The name badges, dubbed ‘ubercool’ by several tweeters incorporated a branded data sim with 1GB of data for every delegate.
UKNOF aim to above all, improve technical co-ordination between IP network operators within the United Kingdom and to create an OPEN environment with participation available to all players in the industry: large and small, established and innovative.Connectivity sponsors, aaisp.net broadband and webcast sponsors Bogons and Portfast were able to bring the event to life by broadcasting all the talks via the UKNOF website. The agenda was full of great guest speakers from telecommunication industry and network organisations all over the UK, including British Telecom, RIPE NCC, Exa Networks, Cisco, Gnodal, LINX , IXLeeds and LONAP.
The evening event at Revolution Bar, York, was sponsored by LONAP and included a cocktail competition and then, as the evening progressed, a 'dry & dirty martini' tutorial by aql CEO, Adam Beaumont (!). Great fun was had and everyone left the evening looking forward to the next event.
North Pole Trek
aql sponsored businessman turned adventurer, Geoff Major, as part of his charity challenge of a lifetime. Geoff decided to brave temperatures of -35°C over the course of a 10day ski-trek in one of the most inhospitable landscapes on the planet in his bid to raise £100,000 for charity through a series of events. In December 2010 he noticed an opportunity to sign up for the challenge and after 2 years of intensive training has succeeded, reaching the North Pole at 4am on 14th April 2012.
Visit Geoffs blog to read about his strenuous training programme and see some great photos taken when he finally conquered the North Pole.
The money raised from the challenge will be given to 5 charities based in Yorkshire :
The annual Janet Networkshop event took place this week between 3rd and 5th April 2012, organised by Janet, and this year hosted by the University of York. aql was represented at the event by Janet 3G Product Manager, Mundia Miles, who held a successful 'Birds of a feather' session. Dr Adam Beaumont attended the event and gave a talk on the 'Internet of Things' (PDF) and the changing face of 3G as networks take on the challenge of migration to LTE technology.
Janet 3G, powered by aql, has been developed to provide 3G connectivity over the Three network to all Janet connected organisations. A mobile broadband solution, Janet 3G provides users with 3G internet connectivity when there is no WiFi or fixed line connection.
Dr Adam Beaumont will be representing aql at RIPE (64) NCC meeting to be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The event takes place from 16th – 20th April 2012 at the Grand Union Hotel. RIPE NCC events are a chance to join some great discussions, workshops and have the chance to network. As with most RIPE events, the agenda gives plenty of time for extra meetings – so please contact Adam if you'd like to arrange something in advance and grab a bit more time together.
RIPE is an open forum to all interested parties in the technical development of the internet, a non legal entity, RIPE members can join regular meetings to participate in discussion. Members include; Internet Service Providers, telecommunication organisations and large global corporations.
With over 8000 members the RIPE Network Communication Centre (NCC) has evolved since it was founded in 1992 and lends itself to administrative support to RIPE and it’s members, this independent not for profit organisation focuses on technical coordination to support the infrastructure of the internet. The meeting in Ljubljana will focus on looking to the future of the RIPE NCC.
aql will be attending the twice yearly MENOG Meeting (Middle East Network Operators Group) from 30th April - 1st May 2012 in Dubai, represented by Managing Director, Dr Adam Beaumont. If you are also attending this long established International forum and would like to meet up with Adam please contact him directly and to arrange some time together.
MENOG exists to bring together global key players from Internet network operations including: Network operators, Vendors, ISPs, Research communities and technical groups, Governments and regulators. Through sharing knowledge, expertise and news on the latest developments, members can use the information gained at these meetings to build on their own network operations. If you are interested in becoming part of the MENOG Fellowship or would like to attend a MENOG event and workshop please follow the links for more information.
Mobile World Congress 2012
Team members from aql attended the largest and most anticipated conference in the mobile industry between during the last week of February. The Mobile World Congress 2012 was held in Barcelona, the city was chosen to host the event as it was recently named the Mobile World Capital and will hold the title from 2012-2018. The event was huge, around 60,000 mobile professionals from 20 countries attended and there were various seminars, discussions and awards on a wide range of topics. Held in 142,000 square meters of event space, the aim of the Mobile World Congress is to inspire, empower and influence the future of the mobile industry.
For the 4th year running the aql team had the opportunity to meet with other mobile industry professionals, network and connect with exciting mobile businesses concepts from all over the world. It also provided a great opportunity to catch up with some old friends, suppliers and customers.
Swedish Beers is one of those exciting concepts! aql sponsored the Swedish Beers event for the 3rd time this year. The events have been running for around ten years, although this is a mobile networking event it is famous for holding relaxed and very social gatherings. The events held by Swedish Beers attract enthusiasts from the mobile industry and are a great opportunity to hang out and share ideas, especially after a conference or exhibition. The format for a Swedish Beers event was created to allow sponsors and guests to meet and chat. As sponsors, aql were given a batch of free drinks tokens to give out to guests, many guests make a game of hunting down the tokens and therefore everyone has a reason to start talking. Being part of Swedish Beers is a fantastic chance to meet friends and new comers to the mobile industry.
Dr Adam Beaumont, aql MD, states "MWC is a key event in our calendar - It's the one event where we can get face to face time with suppliers, partners and customers and also renegotiate existing deals, making sure we remain competitive in what is the worlds fastest moving industry"
Yorkshire Mafia 2012 SMS Competition Winner Announced
The aql team exhibited at the Yorkshire Mafia Conference 2012 for 2 days over the 21st/22nd March at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.
We met some fantastic Yorkshire businesses in the form of exhibitors and delegates. Based on stand 91 in Savile Hall, aql celebrated it’s Yorkshire roots with a ‘horse and hounds’ theme including tweed jackets and flat caps.
Throughout the 2 day exhibition businesses were invited to enter a competition to win an SMS campaign. We are happy to announce the winner as ‘Our John’ from www.our-agency.co.uk
LINX donates switching gear to IXLeeds to kickstart UK regional peering programme
The London Internet Exchange (LINX), one of the world's largest Internet Exchange Points (IXP), has donated a Brocade RX-8 switch to IXLeeds as part of it's mission to support regional peering in the UK.
IXLeeds was created to allow Internet Service Providers in the region to increase their network resilience and reduce dependency on similar platforms in London. IXLeeds is housed in aql's datacentre located at the newly renovated Salem Chapel, in the heart of Leeds city centre.
Andy Davidson, IXLeeds Board Chair, said upon receiving the equipment, "We are extremely grateful to LINX for this very generous gesture. The RX-8 is a capable platform and enables us to increase our previous maximum capacity by a factor of 10. This will allow us to comfortably handle future requirements such as the expected increase in traffic with the sporting calendar during 2012.”
He continued, "The switch has been installed and is already operational. IXLeeds' traffic has been migrated across to the new equipment and users in the region are already benefiting from increased Internet capacity."
LINX CEO, John Souter, personally presented the Brocade RX-8 equipment at the most recent IXLeeds board meeting.
Mr Souter commented, "This industry has a long history of collaboration and in doing so we are all helping each other build a stronger and more resilient Internet. We are very supportive of any mutual IXP that facilitates peering as this has been proven to be the most successful model for the Internet industry. If we are able to assist such ventures then it makes perfect sense that we do all we can to help."
Meet aql at the global peering forum
The Global Peering Forum annual event is the largest peering forum of the year, the 2012 event is hosted by Equinix, Terremark, AMS-IX, DE-CIX, LINX and JPNAP and will be held this week on 19th - 21st March in New Orleans.
The Global Peering Forum is being sponsored by TelX, Coresite, Netnod and Brocade this year. 200 peers attended last year and the 2012 event is looking even more popular amongst the telecommunication industry gurus.
Dr Adam Beaumont, Managing Director of aql, will be making the 4524 mile journey from Leeds to New Orleans to attend the event on behalf of both aql and IXLeeds.
Shortlist unveiled for Digital and Technology awards
The shortlist has been announced for the Insider Yorkshire Digital and Technology awards 2012 and aql are yet again in the running to win the category of 'Best Application of Mobile Technology' for Janet 3G. 2011 saw aql winning the prestigious award for 'Best Application of Mobile Technology', the company have high hopes to win again this year. aql have previously be awarded 'Best Mobile Technology' and the much coveted 'Grand Prix Award' at the Insider Yorkshire Digital and Technology awards 2007.
Janet 3G, powered by aql, has been developed to provide 3G connectivity over the Three network to all Janet connected institutes within the Education and Research community. . During 2011, St Andrews University adopted the technology and are thrilled with the outcome, the 600 year old educational institution have a large faculty and members are often travelling with some working internationally, they recently gave glowing feedback to the Janet 3G team as they have benefited from the communication tool greatly.
The Insider Yorkshire Digital & Technology Awards 2012 will take place on 28th March at Bury Theatre, The Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds. The awards aim to highlight and promote Yorkshire as the largest digital and technology hubs in the country. Software developers, computer experts and digital marketing creatives from all over the region will be in attendance to celebrate the advances in the digital and technology sector within Yorkshire. 11 awards will be presented on the night including 'Best Application of Mobile Technology', 'Best Use of SEO' and 'Best Use of IT Innovation'.
aql wish everyone on the shortlist goodluck and are looking forward to a fantastic night with some of the regions leading digital and technology based companies.
aql Operations Director, Melissa Hendry being presented with the ISO accreditation certificate by Mr. Neil Urquhart of CQS (Certified Quality Systems) Ltd.
As part of aql's ongoing commitment to Security, we are pleased to announce that aql has gained ISO 27001 accreditation. The ISO 27001 is the internationally recognised standard for Information Security Management Systems, which is obtained following a robust audit of all Information Security policies, procedures and working practices.
Melissa Hendry, Operations Director of aql commented: "Security is and always has been at the heart of aql. We have invested heavily in both our infrastructure and staff over the past year and done so always with security at the forefront. Gaining an ISO 27001 accreditation effectively demonstrates our on-going commitment to information security and we are delighted to receive our accreditation."
To complement ISO 27001, aql will be looking to achieve ISO 9001, the International standard for Quality Management Systems in early 2012.
aql's historic head office - the Salem Chapel
(Right to Left) Dr Adam Beaumont, Anne Oldknow, Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Reverend Alan Taylor, Neil Charlton and Roger Garnett (Leeds Civic Trust)
We've put together a pdf brochure to celebrate the unveiling of our Civic Trust Plaque which occured on Thurs November 17th..
Click here to download.
Over 100 attendees gathered round as the plaque was unveiled by The Worshipful Lord Mayor of Leeds - the Councillor Reverend Alan
The attendees included representatives from Leeds Corinthians RUFC whose
club was borne from the Leeds Salem Rugby Club.
aql's MD, Dr Adam Beaumont talked about the past uses of the Church and past ministers, including the work of the Reverend
href="http://www.sihr.org.uk/Guntrip.html" target=_blank>Harry Guntrip whose important work in understanding Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) included holding mass counselling sessions in the great hall at Salem.
href="http://www.raceto100.co.uk/"target=_blank>Simon Buckden a PTSD sufferer also spoke about his plight to raise awareness of the
disorder by running 100 marathons in 100 weeks.
We're often asked about the history of our office building, the Salem Chapel, which is one of the first landmarks as you approach Leeds
Bridge and Leeds city centre.
The original chapel dates back to 1791, with schoolrooms being added some 60 years later and an additional 'wing' in 1908. The additional
wing was known as 'Charlton House' after the Reverend Norman Charlton. Neil Charlton, the son of Norman was also present at the unveiling
and spoke about his memories of Salem.
The full story is a piece of Leeds history - Leeds
United football club was formed at the Chapel in 1919.
After all the dust had settled Salem Chapel was left with its very own blue plaque.
Bob Tyrell (Leeds Civic Trust) with Anne and Frank Oldknow (church elders) enjoying a chat with aql Managing Director Dr. Adam Beaumont
Dan Ray (aql Marketing Officer) and Samantha Hogg (aql Credit and Risk Manager) prepare home-made mulled
wine for the ceremony, behind aql themed cupcakes generously donated by Charli Ward of Cupcakes Leeds.
aql join Datacentre Alliance
aql are now a member of the datacentre alliance, a professional association comprising of industry leaders from across the data centre industry.
The Datacentre Alliance (DCA) aim to set an industry wide standard in data centre quality and management, as well as promote
practice” ethos across the entire UK datacentre industry.
The DCA was formed by a group of industry professionals to clear up confusion around the classification and rating system that was apparent
in the industry, this confusion led to many long fruitless journeys to visit a data centre that didn’t live up to expectations. The DCA
believe that the design of a data centre should meet the purpose it is intended for, however this is much easier if there is a
trusted resource with
knowledge, expertise and insight, based on trial and error, innovation and experience. The DCA aim to be this resource.
The DCA code of best practice concentrates on the key factors of running a successful data centre, things such as robust operational
procedures to minimise human error (which is the leading cause of data centre failures) as well as to ensure that any member data centre
complies with its energy efficiency guidelines which they believe should be incorporated into the very fabric and design of any data centre operational
aql will lead by example, we share many of the same core beliefs, values and principles as the RDC, including the promotion of industry
standards, best practice and continued improvement across all aspects of data centre design, build and operation.This partnership
together all sectors of our industry and achieve a reliable industry standard that will continue to grow and serve the data
as a self-regulating industry in the future.
aql HQ, Salem church was the chosen host for the formation of IXLeeds (a neutral, not-for-profit Internet Exchange Point (IXP) based in Leeds).
The organisation was made official at a meeting held at aql (which is also the site of the IXP) on 12th September 2011 when the 12 founding members signed the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association to incorporate the newly formed organisation.
The IXP brings to fruition, many years of work by many organisations, and was born from a group set up in 2008 to promote the collaboration of
network operators in Yorkshire.
The organisation is supported by Communications Minister Ed Vaizey who said “I'm delighted to hear of the success of IXLeeds. The project
is a prime example of the industry cooperating for the benefit of all parties and it will help put Leeds and Yorkshire on the 'Internet
aql MD, Dr Adam Beaumont added “We're excited to support IXLeeds and to play our part in making it happen. It's a success story of
co-operation between all the significant regional operators and will bring benefits to both the ISP's and the end users".
aql are one of the founding members and host of IXLeeds, which will streamline web traffic in Yorkshire by allowing data to be sent directly
without having to go via London IXP’s. This will result in more efficient internet access and an improved end user experience.
JANET 3G - First feedback by St Andrews University
It's always fantastic to receive customer feedback (whether good or bad). The team at aql were delighted to receive a substantial testimonial from St Andrews University who have just started to roll out JANET 3G - the 3G mobile data service powered for the Education community, which is 'powered by' aql.
Some may not associate a University approaching its 600th Anniversary with leading edge technology and modern working practices. However, at the University of St Andrews they are in the process of a major transformational change programme, embracing leading edge technology and systems wherever they can to leverage business benefit. One such example is the provision of iPads for staff providing ubiquitous access to corporate applications and data wherever they are.
As a leading institution with global reach, many staff spend time both traveling and also working internationally - The University of St Andrews needed a solution that would provide access to their existing applications and data globally and have the back up to support this.
aql supplied JANET 3G Micro-SIMS for use in staff iPads. The tariff was on a pay as you use basis, meaning that billing would only occur for the data that was used. Dedicated JANET 3G support staff were also on hand.
Senior staff at the University of St Andrews trialled the JANET 3G enabled iPads devices in Scotland and also in the USA, they were able to access the data/ applications that they required with minimal fuss and were left more than satisfied by the service and level of support received.
Steven Watt, Chief Information Officer, University of St Andrews stated “aql responded and exceeded my expectations with all aspects of their service. The micro SIM cards arrived before 9am the next day and with them being preconfigured, they were quickly installed and operational”.
Stephen continued “The solution provided by aql is already delivering significant business benefits as it easily integrates with our existing ICT environment without being committed to a lengthy and restrictive contract should we wish to adapt the solution further.”
“The service worked flawlessly and myself and my colleagues quickly benefited from always on connectivity to our email, calendar and other corporate information. When we did encounter some issues in North America with access to a mobile network aql staff were very responsive and a resolution was found and quickly applied to the SIM card restoring service promptly for my colleagues.”
Adding “The network coverage provided by the service was excellent, making the overall experience a very positive one. It's reassuring to know the system is supported by a dedicated team at aql meaning that my own staff can focus on delivering other business solutions as part of our e-enablement and ICT enhancement programmes”
The meeting of members of the leeds-based peering point, IXLeeds, was held on the 22nd of July at aql's Leeds head office. Present were representatives of the industry from companies including Netsumo, Digital City Region, EXA Networks, York Data Services, Hurricane Electric, JANET(UK), LONAP, Sleek and others.
The meeting was to acknowledge that the exchange requires a more formal constitution as it grows and starts to play a more critical part in West Yorkshires internet infrastructure. It was agreed that a formal incorporation would be pursued immediately and all members would sign up to a constitution and governance framework.
This was a great day for IXLeeds - all the members round the table have supported the aims and objectives of Leeds' first internet exchange for over two years and all were excited to be part of the formation decision process. Dr Adam Beaumont, MD of aql commented "We're excited to support IXLeeds and to play our part in making it happen. It's a success story of co-operation between all the significant regional operators and will bring benefits to both the ISP's and the end users".
Benefits of IXLeeds - a Comment from aql's MD
I've been doing the 'circuit' with a talk entitled 'IXLeeds - Putting Leeds on the Internet Map'. The talk is intended to de-jargon the concept of an internet exchange point. What's most important is that the region understands what it is and why they need it..
The benefits of a regional exchange are several-fold :
Reduces the cost of ISP's getting data from their end users to the content providers (eg iplayer) - and vice versa.
Increases the quality of the links between regional ISP's - Did you know that most regional ISP's send your traffic all the way to London if they need to access another network in Leeds? This is bad for service quality - particularly if the traffic is 'VoIP' or streaming.
Reduces Leeds dependency on London. This is possibly the most important point. By connecting regional ISP's and international carriers locally, it's possible to ensure that traffic is sent out of the UK 'sideways' - ie without hitting London.
Why is it Important for Leeds to be less dependent on London?
Leeds is the home of the second largest financial centre in the UK and is either the primary or secondary site for the financial institutions upon which the entire economy is dependent.
Many of these firms choose Leeds as a second location outside of London, believing that this gives them a good disaster recovery plan should there be an issue affecting the capital. However, without a regional peering point, it's very possible that an internet incident in the capital could affect both the Leeds and London based offices of these insitutions.
IXLeeds will provide the forward-looking strategy to minimise the impact to regional infrastructure of any non-regional issue and to ensure that Leeds connectivity is both competitive and reliable.
aql IXLeeds Data SIM Lanyard
And... the rest.
IXLeeds members enjoying the round table discussion
On an unrelated topic.. we couldn't resist providing personalised lanyards on 3G data SIM cards. The 3G data cards provided were kindly sponsored by EXA networks who are an aql partner, operating the 3G data cards on their own static IP addresses.
aql helps to raise £20,000 for Help For Heroes
A Lancaster Bomber paying tribute to injured soldiers
The winning Men's rugby team (TSG Rhinos)
The MPS Ladies rugby team
aql help to Raise £20,000 for Help For Heroes
aql recently sponsored the "Commissioners Cup", an event for the metropolitan Police that raised £20,000 for Help For Heroes.
The event was a rugby match between TSG Rhinos and Trojans, which was a bit of a whitewash with the Rhinos taking home a 38-0 victory. In
the ladies match the MPS Ladies Rugby Team drew 10-10 with Hampstead Ladies (which was very hard fought match).
As well as the rugby, there were other events to entertain the spectators such as a Lancaster Bomber performing a stunning fly past to pay
tribute to injured soldiers. There were also demonstrations from The Firearms Unit, Mounted Section and The Dog Unit among others. Making
the occasion a treat for everybody involved.
A cheque for £14,00 was also presented by Assistant Commissioner, John Yates at the MPS Canteens with the rest of the contributions still to be collected.
Event Organiser, DS Ian Vickers said "It was a great day out. We'd like to thank everyone who gave up their precious time and money for Help
For Heroes. The final total will be somewhere in the region of £20,000, which is great. The Met is proud to help our injured soldiers in any
way we can" He continued "Special thanks go to the event sponsors ...aql who made it possible"
aql are also currently sponsoring Simon Buckden, an ex soldier who suffers from PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) who is running 100
marathons in 100 weeks for Help For Heroes. Get more info on his Twitter
For more information on Help For Heroes, visit HERE!
aql take part in Leeds Waterfront Festival Dragonboat race (again)
Team aql AKA Indiana Jones and the Temple of BOOOM!
Saturday, 25th June, aql took part in the Leeds WaterFront Festival Dragonboat Race.
The festival was a fun family event, which included 11 teams, taking part in 3 dragon boat races against each other. The top 4 placed teams
would meet in the final showdown (unfortunately our 11th placed finish didn’t quite make the grade).
The event took place over 2 days (25th and 26th June) at Clarence Dock in Leeds, the festival included live music, arts and dance,
facepainting, canal boat trips and of course the dragonboat races (did I mention that there was a fancy dress theme with a prize for best costume?)
The dragonboats are around 40ft long and had 16 rowers from each team with 1 drummer (to try to keep everybody in sync). aql found
ourselves 2 rowers short and had to recruit some assistance from some soldiers from a local army stall to fill in.
After the races had finished the event continued at Brewery Wharf where there were barbecue’s, salsa/ swing dancing lessons and a dj to
continue the party on into the night.
The event is a lot of fun and games, but there is a serious side, the annual festival which beagan in 2008 is to celebrate the revival of
the river aire (which has recovered from being 70% sewage to be a thriving source of wildlife in the past few decades, the revival has been so
successfuul that there are talks of creating a "fish pass" to allow salmon (the ultimate test of a healthy water supply) to swim upstream to return to
their breeding grounds in Malham, for the first time in around 200 years.
The whole event is organised to raise money for Leeds
based initiatives such as this, for more information on this or to get involved contact Amanda Bennett at Leeds Community Foundation on 0113 242 2426 / or email
Andy Beet (Hatfield Heath Festival Organiser) said “A big thank you from the organizers of the Hatfield Heath Festival 2011 . aql sponsored the music element of the festival for the second year which attracts young and old to enjoy a day of free music . This year there was an eclectic mix of new exciting youth and older established bands.”
Dr Adam Beaumont (managing director of aql) stated ”We're excited to be involved with such a buzzing community event for the second year and look forward to next years line-up…”
The Travelling Jam Band (organisers of the festival)
Alfie Tobin, a young acoustic performer
A cool young semi professional band named De-Railed
aql URL Shortener
aql have launched a new URL shortener.
Back in 1998, aql started business as a domain name registrar. As a result, we have quite a few domains centred around the aql and aq brands. We were rummaging through our 'domain name drawer' and found we had aq.be. They don't get much shorter than this!
aq.be gives us our own way of making our news stories and releases "Twitter worthy" by shortening our URL's and links to only a few characters long.
The service is also useful for sending links via SMS, where the number of characters permitted is restricted.
aql have signed a porting agreement with Kingston Communications, the Hull based operator will now allow customers to have their geographic
numbers, on their mobile phone (MVNO).
This is a step towards breaking down the monopoly of the areas incumbent operator.
aql’s Paul Greaves (Sales Director) stated "We see the Kingston porting
agreement as likely to act as a catalyst to competition in the Hull area and I'm
sure we'll see new specialist operators cropping up".
World IPv6 Day. New numbering scheme – New opportunities
June 8th is World "IPv6" day. This is the day that many ISP's and internet access providers make the 'compatibility pledge' or actually
'turn on' IPv6 services. The day is all about sharing the challenges that IPv6 will bring – from customer support, billing and security as
well as the opportunities – the ability to give every person and every connected 'thing' a unique internet address. To get all these
devices online, more internet address space is needed. IPv6 is the answer.
Globally, the number of connected users and devices is set to explode. This is being experienced by aql's wholesale 3g broadband platforms
supporting many of the UK ISP's as they go mobile in order to address the 'Internet of Things' also known as the machine-to-machine 'm2m'
Earlier this year, mobile visionary and CEO of Ericsson, Hans Vestberg, predicted the growth in the number of connected devices to rise from
5 billion to 50 billion by 2020. Much of this connectivity is fuelled by innovative new devices in areas such as e-health and logistics.
The new IPv6 scheme is essential to allow this level of expansion and the benefits it will bring.
aql are also the providers of JANET 3G, the 3G mobile data service for research and innovation, available via the UK's academic connectivity
provider (JANET (UK)). The mobile data service is uniquely placed to offer support to UK research projects that need mobile internet
aql's pledge to ensure scalable support for connected devices is to provide IPv6 mobile connectivity before the end of 2011. aql are already
working with leading strategic network operators and ISP's to achieve this. Internet Minister Ed Vaizey states "It's great to see
proactivity and collaboration to keep Britain on track to support next generation access and the 'Internet of Things' which will drive the
UK technology industry forward".
There's support from other aql partners - Andy Davidson, Director of European Operations (Hurricane Electric) adds 'Hurricane Electric are
the world's largest IPv6 network backbone, with 1500 connections to other IPv6 networks and are working closely with aql. We believe IPv6
enabled services are essential to facilitate the mobile m2m business models and services of the future, and we look forward to assisting aql
shape the new face of mobile internet.'
Dr Adam Beaumont, MD of aql stated "As the preferred connectivity supplier for the academic community, we're keen to support
connected-device projects from inception. aql are also dedicated to innovation and to working with government initiatives such as 6UK. This,
coupled with our relationship with JANET UK to provide JANET 3G, who offer an industry-beating m2m tariff, means we can support from
prototype to commercial rollout and be able to fulfill any opportunity".
aql's unique relationship with 3G networks allows aql to enable any ISP or network operator to layer their own internet addresses onto aql's
rebrandable SIM's. This means that the UK's fixed line ISP's can go mobile, providing innovative solutions to fixed line customers. aql are
dedicated to ensuring that as the fixed line ISP industry rolls out IPv6, they can do this in the mobile domain without any problems.
Adrian Kennard, Managing Director of ISP Andrews & Arnold "We've been providing IPv6 to customers for 9 years and we welcome the chance
to extend that to mobile data services this year thereby making all of our services IPv6 and future proof."
aql Prepare For World IPv6 Day
World Leading IPv6 Training Company (Erion) Colocate Servers With aql In Preparation For World IPv6 Day
June 8th 2011 is World IP Version 6 “IPv6” day. This is the target day for many ISP’s and other internet access providers to make their network compatible with the new future-proof internet addressing scheme.
Wholesale telecoms and data network operator, aql, are launching their commercial IPv6 colocation offering on June 8th. This is not just a
toe-dip, but the day that the doors open at aql for any customer or enterprise to install servers in aql's datacentres and to be assigned
IPv6 internet addresses.
Early adopters of the service, such as IPv6 specialists Erion, have been operating IPv6 on the aql network for a number of months, providing
useful feedback to ensure aql's service is fit for purpose. David Holder, MD of Erion states “As one of the world's leading IPv6 training
companies, we are delighted with the native IPv6 service from aql. We have been users of aql colocation and voice services for many years.
Now with aql’s deployment of native IPv6 we will be able to decommission our IPv6 tunnels to our aql servers. The switch over to IPv6 at aql
took only a few minutes and we were successfully operating over native IPv6 almost immediately."
Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO of aql explains more on IPv6 and the bigger picture - "industry research has predicted growth in the number of
connected devices to rise from a current 5 billion to a staggering 50 billion devices by 2020"... He continued "In order to get all of these
devices online, more internet address space is needed and only IPv6 can deliver this scalability. This is proving a huge technical
challenge to many organisations, both fixed and mobile operators. However - aql are committed to delivering IPv6 and are supported by
massive proactivity and enthusiasm from the community including industry experts and longstanding aql partners such as David Holder of
Erion, Adrian Kennard of specialist IPv6 ISP AAISP and Andy Davidson of Hurricane Electric, the largest IPv6 global network provider. All their help and insight is invaluable to achieving this goal."
Asteroids Galaxy Tour lead Vocalist Mette Lindberg
Back in December 2009 aql launched an on hold music service with ie:music, the service allowed unsigned music acts to upload a snippet of
an new or upcoming song to be listened to by our customers whilst on hold.
One of these featured bands “The Asteroids Galaxy Tour” are currently featured on the new Heineken advert.
Also - the Guardian carried an article too - Click here for their coverage!
JANET 3G ..Powered by aql - Has the backing of the Broadband Minister
JANET 3G, powered by aql has definitely hit the news. The unique service which allows users to get a 3g SIM, Dongle, or 'myfi' unit has captured the imagination of the press!
The service also includes a machine-to-machine 'm2m' data solution, allowing JANET 3G to support innovative research services and spin-offs which need mobile connectivity - such as e-health and telemetry.
A summary of the coverage so far is listed below ...
From left to right: Tom Gardner (Wholesale Sales Manager Hutchison 3G), Tim Kidd (Operations Director JANET(UK)), Dr Adam Beaumont (Managing Director, aql)
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey supports new aql partnership
aql and JANET (UK) have teamed up to provide a new service to education organisations across the UK.
The service will allow academic and support staff to access learning resources on the move and allow students to “remote learn”.
Communications minister Ed Vaizey thinks the service will push the UK towards it’s goal of having the best broadband in Europe. He
said “I am delighted that the education sector is putting in place plans to provide wireless broadband for the academic community.
This is a really exciting development and will help us achieve our goal of having the best broadband in Europe by 2015."
The service will combine aql with JANET (UK), Three and MDS.
Our MD, Dr Adam Beaumont said “This is a partnership where we have taken best of breed to create a unique product. aql is bringing
together MDS, providing a scaleable billing solution and Three, offering high capacity network access, on one platform to provide a
seamless service.” He continues, “In order to be able to provide a service to education and research, we need to be scaleable and cost
effective. We believe we’ve achieved this and are keen to be rolling out JANET 3G to the JANET community.”
One of aql’s own ran in the London Marathon this weekend, finishing with a very impressive time of 04:04:36 (4 hrs 4 mins 36 sec).
aql Office Administrator/ Credit Controller Matthew Kitchen (Matt to us) impressed us all with his commitment and determination in his training, taking part in many aql sponsored park run’s in preparation for the big day.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Parkrun - it's an (inter)National weekly running event - open to all - meeting at many parks at 9am on a Saturday. Where runners can register and print off a barcode that is scanned at the beginning and end of each 5k run to record your times.
You do not have to race against anybody, or you can race against everybody! (if you're the competetive sort) The choice is completely up to the runner.
aql will soon be enabling Parkrun with an interactive text messaging service, sending race information and "personal best" txts to parkrunners nationally and internationally.
aql host RIPE IPv6 Training Event
Sandra Bras (RIPE Trainer)
The event focussed on IPv6 training presentations. IPv6 is the future of networking, creating an additional 3.4 x 10 to power of 38 (a HUGE number) IP addresses. aql have recently incorporated this into our own systems and are now “future proof”. The former system IPv4 is becoming dated and can no longer match the continued demand for more devices to be connected on a global scale. IPv6 solves this and is seen in the industry as the “present” as well as the “future”.
The IPv6 for LIR training course, aimed to ease fears related to IPv6 deployment(through the use of examples and practical exercises), allowing businesses to focus on their IPv6 deployment plan. Attendees received a CD copy of any course material as well as a printed copy of any slides used.
The event covered:
1. The Internet Registry System
3. Business Case
4. IPv6 Basics
5. Addressing Plans
6. Getting IPv6 Address Space
7. Deploying IPv6
It was assumed that anybody in attendance will have had prior knowledge of IP terminology as well as practical experience running an IP network.
On Wednesday, 20th April, 2011 aql hosted the 19th event for the UK Network Operators Forum (UKNOF).
The UKNOF acts as an open forum for information exchange related to networking technologies and practices.
• To improve technical co-ordination between IP network operators within the United Kingdom
• To enhance the efficiency and stability of the UK's network infrastructure
• To allow engineers to share knowledge and best practice for network operations and security
• To create an OPEN environment with participation available to all players in the industry: large and small, established and innovative
• A minimum of three UKNOF events will be held annually
Funded fully by sponsors and voluntary contributions, UKNOF allows free participation during meetings for anybody working in the UK network operator community. Annual operating costs are underwritten by subscriber sponsor organisations, who duly appoint representation to the UKNOF Funding Council.
"UK Network Operators' Forum is proud to have our 19th meeting generously hosted and supported by aql. An important part of UKNOF's mission is sharing Internet operations knowledge across all of the UK, and it is great to be in Leeds for the first time. Our panel on the upcoming World IPv6 day should be of particular interest, and we're looking forward to hearing more from aql's Managing Director, Adam Beaumont about the Leeds Internet Exchange project." Keith Mitchell, UKNOF Chair
Rev. Adrian Kennard of Andrew and Arnold ISP holding sermon
20th April, 2011, historic Salem Church in Leeds hosted its first sermon in over 60 years.
IPv6 "evangelist" Rev. Adrian Kennard of Andrews & Arnold 'preaching' about L2TP (Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol) connectivity, complete with a 'hymn' board displaying RFC's rather than page numbers!
aql have worked with Adrian and his team for years - AAISP provide business broadband and communications services and their sister company, Firebrick, provide a range of low energy consumption routers and security appliances.
Adrian's audience included some of the brightest people in the Internet world, but none of them could find a question that Adrian couldn't answer!
Salem Church - which is the only surviving 18th century dissenting chapel in Leeds, was closed in 2001 and restored by aql in 2009 as our company HQ. The last reverend to hold sermon at the church was the Rev. Harry Guntrip in the 1950’s, who is famous for his psychoanalytic therapy work following the second world war.
The talk was the warm-up to UKNOF (UK Network Operators Forum). This event, hosted by aql, was a great success. Held at both aql HQ and at 46 the calls, including an evening of dutch pilsner and sunshine on the penthouse balcony, overlooking the Leeds skyline and river aire.
aql MD Dr Adam Beaumont (right) listening to the IPv6 Evangelist
Andy Davidson of UKNOF(left)and chair of IXLeeds Internet Exchange
aql to sponsor Hatfield Heath Festival (again)
The Travelling Jam Band at last years Hatfield Heath Festival
aql will sponsor the Hatfield heath Festival for the 2nd consecutive year. The event is a fun day out for the whole family, has live music, irish dancing, fashion shows, fancy dress contest, dog shows, falcons and ferrets exhibition???
Alongside village presentations there will be a fair for the kids and a fun run for those with any energy left after all of that.
Hatfield Heath is a village in either Hertfordshire or Essex (they can’t seem to make up their minds) and throw the festival annually to give a fun day out for the community, last year even included a marriage.
Last year was a great success and fun was had by all involved.
I’m sure you will agree that there is something for everyone. We hope to see you there.
The event will take place on 19th June 2011, between 12-9pm.
aql host Linx Event
Linx (London Internet Exchange)
aql hosted an event for The London Internet Exchange (Linx) Northern, at our Leeds offices,
the event gave Linx members a chance to tour our data centre and network with other Northern business contacts.
The London Internet Exchange (Linx) is one of the leading global IXP’s (Internet exchange points).
Membership of Linx provides access to the highest quality peers and excellent service at minimum cost.
Another recent event for aql MD Dr Adam Beaumont was the Networkshop 39 event which was held at The University of Hertfordshire on Tuesday, 12th April, 2011.
Adam presented on 3g Data Sim Service at 5.45pm in room N001.
Networkshop is a must attend event for people in the IT industry. Featuring over 45 specialist IT suppliers, exhibiting throughout the 3 day event.
As well as the event, there was also be a chance to take part in a 15 minute tour of the University of Hertfordshire data centre, which is the first European university to comply with the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres. The centre has been described as:
“an exemplar to the Sector that proves that efficiencies can be achieved no matter how small the data centre”.
Left to Right - Samantha (Credit & Risk), Jason (Technical Support, Ray (Head of Sales), Mundia (Senior Account Manager),
Melissa (Operations Director), Anita, Imran (Account Managers)
aql were proud to attend the Yorkshire Mafia Conference on 15th March, 2011 at the Royal Armouries, Leeds.
The Yorkshire Mafia is a business membership group that brings together executives from the Yorkshire business Community to meet, network, share experience, learn, build relationship and trade (where appropriate) in a more informal relaxed setting.
As a proud member of The Yorkshire Mafia, aql were present at the conference and were represented at our presentation stand (stand 36, for
We'll certainly be attending the next one and thanks to "The Don" and the team for all the hard work pulling the event together. .
Ray (aql Head of Sales)
Anita (aql Account Manager)
UKUUG Spring 2011 Conference
aql were well represented at the recent UKUUG (UK Unix (and Open Systems) Users group) Spring 2011 Conference, the event was held in Leeds on 22nd- 24th March, 2011 at 3 Albion Place.
Our very own Dr Adam Beaumont presented a talk titled IXLeeds - Putting Leeds on the 'Internet Map' on Thursday morning. A copy of the slides he presented can be found HERE.
The annual event is sponsored by some of the biggest names in the telecoms business, including Google.
The event itself consisted of social meetings, dinner at The New Conservatory, consisting of informal drinks and pub food. Giving those in attendance a chance to mingle and partake in “non-tech” chat.
Dinner at aql’s local The Royal Armouries, for a fabulous oriental 2 course banquet.
And of course the event itself, the timetable for which can be found HERE.
BT PC FAX & BT PC Txt - Powered by aql
aql have operated the BT PC FAX and BT PC Txt services for the last 3 years on a whitelabel basis on behalf of BT.
The reason BT chose aql to operate the service is due to our large choice of telephone numbers which could be assigned in real-time over a simple web portal.
It has now come time for aql to integrate these customers into the aql.com portal so we can provide the same levels of support to BT customers as we can to existing aql customers (Dedicated account managers, escalation contacts and an auditable support tracking system).
The services have operated on aql platforms and infrastructure since they were first launched, so there won't be any changes in functionality or reliability - just a different logo on your invoices !
If you are a BT PC Fax or BT PC Text customer, please note - we're a much, much smaller company than BT and we can be very flexible and reactive - If you've got a custom requirement, please talk to your aql account manager on 011 33 20 30 40 - they'll be happy to help.
Existing and new number portability capabilities
Another 'behind the scenes' area where we expend a lot of resource and time is in talking to other communication providers and entering into agreements such that we can move their numbers to our network and vice versa. There's a common misunderstanding that numbers can just be 'moved'. In many cases, the losing network does not have any agreements with other carriers. Many of our numbers have porting capability with most UK telco's. Below is a summary of our porting agreements - If you need advice as to whether a particular number can be ported, please contact our porting desk (email@example.com)
A bit more information about setting up porting agreements with operators : It's a multi-stage process. First we have to approach the operator concerned and present our porting agreements. This then goes through several rounds of legal dialogue, taking anything between a few weeks and (in some cases) ...years...! Once the legal process has been agreed, we then need to complete the engineering to ensure that there is a stable and reliable path between the third party operator and ourselves for the calls to flow via. This has to be done for every single number range (every single geographic and non geographic area). This means that, prior to any port, we need to check that it's indeed possible to port the number you wish to move.
The good thing is, most of our porting agreements are bilateral. This means that you can also move most aql numbers to other operators. We believe that we're working harder than any other operator to proactively establish porting with the rest of the industry - this is a costly and time consuming process, but in the interests of you, the customer.
Below is a summary of where we are with the various communication providers in the UK.
Eurobell complete. Working through NTL & Telewest. Please check with aql's porting desk, some area codes not yet possible.
C&W (all subsidiaries)
Full geographic & non-geographic porting.
Opal / Carphone Warehouse
Full non-geo coverage but just geographic subsequent porting.
Full geographic and non-geographic porting.
Full geographic and non-geographic porting.
Should complete by end of March 2011. This includes all HULL/Humberside numbers.
Full geographic porting. Non-geographic by end of June 2011.
Completed London and Greater London only.
Full geographic and non-geographic porting.
Full geographic and non-geographic porting.
Full geographic porting; non-geographic pending.
Working with C&W to finalise routing. By end of June 2011.
London & surrounding areas fully complete.
Sky & Easynet
Full non-geographic porting.
Final stages of service establishment for full geographic porting.
Just waiting for some final paperwork, then full geographic porting.
Contracts signed; entering first phase of Service Establishment.
Contracts signed; entering first phase of Service Establishment.
Note: We can also port numbers from any provider which is hosted by a tier-1 with whom we have already completed service establishment. For instance, Vonage are fully hosted by Gamma, so we can port any Vonage number. The best way to check this is to use our Network Lookup portal
If you're unsure how to port numbers or who to liaise with, please log on via aql.com - the main login screen will display your account managers' name and direct phone number - just give them a call - they'll be happy to help.
New Ofcom consultation... Our response to protect your interests
Ofcom have recently proposed that all communication providers (such as aql) are charged £0.10 per number per year for all numbers held. This would result in an additional charge of £1.4 million which aql would have to recoup via number rental annually. As you can imagine, we don't want to have to charge this and I'm sure you, the reseller and customer, do not want to pay for this levy.
Our legal and regulatory liaison has written a detailed response itemising how this levy would damage our business model and that of our resellers. ITSPA, the internet telephony service providers association has also responded similarly. We're letting you know about this mainly so that you get an insight into the work we do in the background as a network operator to keep the service running smoothly and competitively.
The Yorkshire Mafia Conference - 15 March 2011, Royal Armouries, Leeds
The sinister-sounding "Yorkshire Mafia" began life back in November 2008 with a purpose to help the Yorkshire business community trade and encourage stronger and longer-lasting relationships.
This is the first conference The Yorkshire Mafia have held and we were keen to show our support. The conference is being held a few minutes away from aql's offices at The Royal Armouries in Leeds and is open to all. aql will be at stand 36 and we hope you'll stop by and say hello!
If you need parking - aql has approximately 60 spaces in Leeds city centre - please let firstname.lastname@example.org know and we can arrange this!
Unified Comms Expo 11 - 7th and 8th March, Olympia, London
This is the show where you can catch almost all of the aql team. Our poor support desk and account team are left to fend for themselves in the Leeds office whilst we make our way to the Unified Comms Expo. It used to be called the 'Voip show' many years ago. However although IP comms is still relevant, aql's wholesale mobile service is centre stage, with many of the IP telephony service providers now going mobile with an aql-powered mobile offering.
This year we'll be unveiling our remote hosted femtocell platform allowing ITSP's (Internet Telephony Service Providers) to bolt private mobile technology onto their existing infrastructure. Please come down to see us! - Ray Shephardson, Paul Greaves, Melissa Sherriff, Sam Roberts and myself will be on the stand, along with representatives from some of our partners including Provu and Dataselect.
The 19th UK Network Operators Forum (UKNOF) - 20th April - @ aql Leeds
The UK Network Operators Forum are a series of events usually held in January, April and September throughout the UK. The events act as an open forum for operational, technical and engineering information exchange related to backbone networking technologies and practices.
The objectives of UKNOF are as follows :
To improve technical co-ordination between IP network operators within the United Kingdom
To enhance the efficiency and stability of the UK's network infrastructure
To allow engineers to share knowledge and best practice for network operations and security
To create an OPEN environment with participation available to all players in the industry: large and small, established and innovative
This event is open to all interested parties, but please do RSVP to UKNOF so they can let us know numbers. It should be an informative day with a series of short talks and lots of networking opportunities. aql will be supplying high speed wireless access (50mb/s or so), which means that you can spend your day at aql and make sure you don't fall behind on any work you need to do. Contact us, or UKNOF for more information.
3GSM mobile congress is the largest annual global event for mobile service providers and network operators and is the premier event in the aql calendar. It's where we forge new relationships and find SMS and voice routes to networks which were previously
Swedish Beers is a party which has been running for around ten years, attracting the mobile
aggregators, mobile networks and content providers. This year aql sponsored the event in February which ran at 'Dos Trece'
aql's 'green' green datacentre
No pun intended, however, aql's Leeds datasuite has main lighting which is activated by movement to save energy. The problem we were having is that if an engineer is sat still, they can be plunged into darkness. For safety, the datacentre now has low energy green uplighting. Some have said it looks a little like something out of the Matrix(tm) but we can assure you it's for safety purposes.. !
Our Leeds facilities now have several Tier-1 transit providers on board, with bandwidth from as little as £5/mb/s.. Please contact email@example.com / 0113 3 20 30 32 to discuss in more detail.
We also wanted to share some of our plans - end of 2011 we will bring an additional 150 racks online in leeds. We plan to bring a further 400 online in 2012. If you are interested in an option on up to 10 racks in 2011 or up to 50 racks/suite in 2012, please contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). All datafloor space is carrier neutral with n+1 cooling, VESDA and FM200 protection, diesel backup and up to 32 Amps per rack.
Our new email to SMS gateways - now support TLS encryption (relevant if you are an ISO accredited organisation)
We've been operating email to SMS services since 2000 and we serve around 23 of the FTSE 100 alone with this service. Email is one of the simplest and most accessible interfaces to most companies - simply add a special email address to your address book and click send - allowing the office to communicate with mobile workers instantly. Mobile replies are routed back to email too.
As information security requirements tighten, there's a need to protect communications across the internet. aql now operate a separate encrypted email gateway which upports 'TLS' - Transport Layer Security. Why didn't we do this sooner? Purely because some email systems get confused by TLS and we don't want to mess up services for existing customers. If you have a need to ensure end to end security
compliance, please contact us to find out how to send SMS to our TLS enabled gateways. They have the same levels of resilience as our existing service.
Three team with aql to sponsor Parkrun
For those of you who aren't familiar with Parkrun - it's an (inter)National weekly running event - open to all - meeting at many parks at 9am on a Saturday. Parkrun have now added aql and Three to their prestigious list of sponsors.
What is Parkrun... Well.. Entrants sign up at the parkrun site and then print out a barcode to identify themselves.
At 9am, all runners depart for a 5km "race" (you don't have to race against anyone, but it brings out the competitive streak in many, old and young!).
At the finish line, you present your barcode and your result is recorded automatically. You can view your past times and personal best time at the parkrun site and compare your times with over 100,000 active participants.
aql will soon be enabling Parkrun with an interactive text messaging service, sending race information and "personal best" txts to parkrunners nationally and internationally.
Following our recent mailout, we've received a number of replies wanting to know more about our next datacentre build. It's not just a datacentre but also a forum for technology discussion. We're looking forward to hosting some of the northern LINX events, UNNOF, IXLeeds and similar events in the new auditorium when completed.
Similar to last time, we're now offering options on datafloor space. This is similar to buying a city centre flat "off plan". aql charge you the setup fee for the rack footprint in return for reserving the floorspace. We then give you an option to take up that space within 3 months of the facility opening and we only start billing the monthly fee once you install equipment within that 3 month window. Please drop a reply if you wish to discuss reserving space.
Although there are other northern datacentres: City centre datacentre space, with high capacity bandwidth providers, such as Cogent and plenty of on-site parking and loading are rare!
To see the datafloor design click here to download a PDF. The ground floor is a single datafloor (although we can accept advance orders for partitioned cages), quadrupling our capacity at our main Leeds site. The first floor area is partitioned from the ground floor by a secure laminated glass ceiling. The first floor is being restored to its original form - as an auditorium for 450 seated attendees.
It's our most ambitious project to date and we intend to achieve completion and commissioning of the Datacentre phase by the end of 2011, with some of the auditorium renovation continuing into early-mid 2012.
L2TP - Wholesale Data Services
There's a fair number of questions arising from our L2TP service arising from some of the limitations within the Three UK network infrastructure. Below is a quick list of points and where we are:
• Jumbo Frames - We've completed our switch upgrades and reconfiguration to support "jumbo frames". We've also performed some end to end testing and it looks good. However - because there are quite a few connected parties, connecting via different switches in different DC's and a lot of permutations of routes across our network, we urge you to test and let us know your findings. If you find that you're not getting jumbo frames end to end, we can then make sure that we get you up and running asap.
• Subnet Support - Three are working on this and we have agreed an interim change to allow Subnets to be assigned to SIMs. They are a little concerned about rolling out this change prior to Christmas due to imminent network freezes. However, this is the first task of next year.
• From-device authentication. It seems that this can be supported, but it has not been implemented by Three in the past. It is part of the featureset of their Nokia appliances, but when it is enabled, it causes routing issues. This is currently with Nokia as a bug report from Three. We do not have any timescales yet for resolution.
• Framework agreement - just back from our lawyers - will be presented to you all just prior to Christmas - We've kept this very lightweight.
• Second point of interconnect - we're now accepting data connections from partners into both our Leeds and London sites for added resilience - please talk to Craig Hopkins (email@example.com) to progress this if required.
MVNO SIM Provisioning
Just a reminder to our MVNO partners that there was an updated MVNO document in December - this covers off a lot of information about APIs and processes. It also has extensive information on the different types of CDRs we can provide and also our value-added billing service through our partnership with Martin Dawes. Click here to download the document.
Provu SIM management
Additionally, a further reminder - Provu can help you with your SIM stockholding / picking / packing. This relationship is going very well. We're keen to streamline the boarding process for our MVNOs and it seems that the actual requirement to deal with physical SIMs and hardware is something that most want to avoid! Darren Garland is the Managing Director at Provu and he's keen to chat with any of our partners with regards to SIM provisioning. He's available via firstname.lastname@example.org // 01484 840048.
Provu can hold stock of SIMs or other devices on your behalf and dispatch them at preagreed rates. If you don't have a relationship with a hardware supplier, we recommend you give Phil Sambrook of Data Select a ring on 07813 560 004.
MicroSIMs for Apple devices
At the moment, Provu and our partners are using cutting tools to cut down sims to make them compatible. We're currently evaluating a microSIM form-factor for future SIM orders (optional).
We should have trial samples available in January. In the interim, please talk to Provu or for small quantities consider a 3g sim cutter (available online via eg. http://www.cutmysim.com/!!
aql and Crispthinking.. Working closer together
There are plenty of advantages to giving children mobile phones (such as them being able to call in an emergency). However, one of the concerns surrounding the supply of mobile phones to minors is that it's an unmetered mechanism for third parties to communicate with that child. There's a solution to this ...!
We've been working with the team at Crisp for a number of years now. We've joined forces to create a service which uses the Crisp "anti-bullying/anti-grooming" engine to parse text message communications. This is available as a bolt on service to aql's Voice MVNO product at a wholesale basis billed per subscriber per month
Note - this is not just a keyword detector. Crisp's relationship engine has been developed and fine tuned over the last 5 years, processing huge amounts of data for virtual worlds, gaming chat and forums for some of the largest global brands. If you'd like to know more about how you can trial the service, please contact us by reply!
Why snow is good for aql, and how we can ease the pain for your business
For most businesses, snow and bad weather has a major impact. Staff can't make it to work on time (or at all). Sites can close due to ice, heating failures or other issues.
It's worthwhile considering what to do in advance of such impacts. Part of your strategy to minimise impact should be to ensure that your staff can work unencumbered. There are many factors. For example :
• Are they now a lone worker? Do you have a mechanism for ensuring their safety?
• Can they access the company systems securely from home?
• Do you have a mechanism for communicating with them wherever they are? (such as via SMS)?
• Can you re-divert their office phone easily elsewhere?
If the answer to any of these questions is "no", then please reply to this email or contact Ray Shephardson (email@example.com) - he'll be happy to advise. This Christmas has been the busiest ever for aql because we've been busy solving our customers access and remote-working problems.
Here's some more examples as to why our services become invaluable at this time of year :
• Many specialist operators use our messaging services to send texts to their engineers - including some of the largest engineering contractors in the travel and transport industries. When the snow affects the logistics of these operations - SMS text messaging allows efforts to be coordinated remotely.
• Messaging from teachers to parents - many schools route their messages via our partners systems into aql's wholesale SMS platforms. On many days we've routed over a million messages before 8.30 in the morning.
• Remote access - When many enterprise and government workers need to work from home - It's necessary to gain access via a VPN connection. For security best practice, a password is sent to each user via SMS and is changed on a daily basis. This is known as "two factor" authentication. Again - this is a busy time of year for aql. Many of the large names in two factor authentication use aql. To our knowledge, we're the only security vetted messaging provider in the UK - so we have ideal pedigree for this kind of sensitive application.
• Deliveries - Many of the UK's large retailers streamline their logistics operations via SMS. This is used both to keep the drivers informed of any last minute changes, but also to confirm and remind the customer of their imminent delivery.
• Systems monitoring - a large proportion of the UK's enterprise-level companies use aql as the mechanism to alert engineers of any systems or infrastructure failures within their own organisations. This is especially critical over Christmas.
• In addition to maintaining the operation of all of our service platforms. We're undergoing a massive amount of network upgrade work over Christmas, so please spare a thought for our engineers who will be running cables and installing routers over the festive period! This work is necessary to underpin our growth over the coming year. We hope we get the opportunity to underpin your business growth too!
aql Partnership with Provu for SIM Delivery
aql are pleased to be enabling dozens of mobile brands "MVNO's" in the UK. We've been listening to our partners main challenges!
Building an MVNO and marketing an MVNO seems to be the easy part. Fulfilment and sending out of SIMS is slightly more tricky.. Enter Provu.
Provu have developed an interface which allows our MVNO partners to pick/print/pack/dispatch SIMS via a simple webservices API interface.
If you want to know more, give Ian Godfrey at Provu a call on 01484 840 048.
999 Emergency Database - Please update your details
As a member of ITSPA and a Regulated telecoms operator, aql provides 999 call routing on all IP telephony services.
When a call is passed to the operator, a database lookup is performed which passes the address information of the user to the emergency operator.
With VoIP/IP Telephony numbers, it's possible that you may not always be in the same place, or you may be completely mobile.
To update your details, please log onto aql.com and then under "Account Navigation" goto "Telecoms" >> "Control Panel" >> Click on the 999 Details Icon and update the details for that number.
If you're a reseller using our API's - please see our 999 API section. There's two API's - one is for resellers using aql's own numbers via our provisioning API, the "hosted" API is for resellers for whom aql hosts entire numberblocks.
Resellers - Integrating and using these API's and echoing these requirements to your resellers and end users will fulfil your requirements under Ofcom general condition four (GC4) for 999 calling. If you require any further information on this service, please contact your account manager via your logged in homepage - they'll be happy to advise.
An extra Megawatt ordered for 2011 - to underpin high density hosting
We're pleased to announce we're now over half full in our new Leeds datacentre (DC2) and many of the remaining footprints are reserved. We're now well into the process of building the next phase - 150 racks of high density hosting.
This space will be brought online throughout 2011, with the first Megawatt of power being available at the beginning of 2011, also further underpinning high density hosting at DC2 at up to 64 amps per rack.
With fibre from all leading providers, carrier neutrality and Leeds' only exchange point, IXLEEDS, aql is the ideal colocation facility within the region.
IXLeeds - A First for Leeds based Peering @ aql
Back in October 2008, a meeting of northern Internet Service Providers was facilitated by Yorkshire Forward (The Development Agency for Yorkshire). The turnout was surprisingly good and the meeting identified that there was business to be done. Representatives from Zen, NYNet, LONAP, UK Solutions, Cable and Wireless, York Data Services, Exa Networks and LINX were all present.
Following this, the idea of creating a northern-based internet exchange was created. Further meetings followed and two sites were chosen in Leeds for the purposes of hosting the peering exchange.
Representatives from JANET and LINX offered their expertise to perform due diligence on the proposed sites - aql passed with flying colours.
Plenty of time has passed, but, 2 years on, we're proud to announce that IXLeeds will be ready for peering at the end of this week. I'm presenting IXLeeds to the European Peering Forum in Cannes this week, along with Thomas Mangin of EXA Networks. EXA are a business ISP and will be one of the first to peer on-site.
What this means is... aql's DC2 facility in Leeds will offer the greatest diversity of carriers for internet connectivity and also a
mechanism for ISPs to exchange data which is independent of London or Manchester. For more information on peering, please contact
Andy Davidson --> firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or.. if you just want to be kept abreast of what's happening :
An interesting name for a development corporation...! However, LSD's role is to respond and contribute to sustainable development in Leeds.
Through this process of consultation, it's been highlighted that the area surrounding aql in Leeds has been earmarked to become an urban park! aql's historic buildings will become the centre of this green area within the city. The presentation makes an interesting read - Please click here to download.
If this goes ahead, it will mean that engineers visiting the datacentre will be able to relax, play football or go for a jog! Check 3g mobile hotspot.
New aql Site Features
At your request, we're constantly adding new pages and features to our site, making it easier to use or adding more functionality. A few notable links are below (for best results please log in to your aql account before following the links).
1) We've improved our network lookup. You can now identify which network a phone is on (ie whether it is abroad, in the uk and whether it has been ported onto another network. We can also provide information as to whether the handset is live or not - ideal for list cleaning - contact us to discuss pricing which will allow you to clean your lists in a cost effective manner.
3) aql operate a range of services on the three.co.uk 3g mobile broadband network. We also allow access to a coverage and congestion checker. This interface is free to use and provides information based on postcode, so that you can integrate the service with your order processes, ensuring your customers have coverage prior to shipping/ordering.
4) Nothing to do with the website - But By Customer Request ! Showers ! Because our datacentre customers often send engineers to aql at night to perform maintenance and repairs, we've introduced some 'creature comforts' into our facilities. Engineers can have access to shower and washroom facilities (as well as our excellent & free coffee). Just ask.
5) Music on hold ! - We're really sorry we've had the same music on hold for so long. The band which we featured was "The Asteroids Galaxy Tour". The next band to be featured will be "Passenger". aql use our on-hold music to help promote up-and-coming bands and new albums. Please let us know what you think.
aql are continuing to expand and to that end we're expanding our representation on the board, appointing our longest-serving and most experienced members of the Team to join Paul Greaves and myself to steer aql. Welcome Darwin and Melissa.
New Technical Director - Darwin. One of the most frequently asked questions is "What is Darwin's surname?". It's not a typo - He actually doesn't have one.. This makes filing information at Companies House quite tricky. In his new role, he's now responsible for the entire technical team and strategy within aql. And he's still smiling..!
New Operations Director - Melissa Sherriff. A logical step for Melissa, whose holistic knowledge of the aql business is encompassed with responsibility for our teams of non-technical managers and also our project delivery strategy. We're appreciating the positive effect her input is having in the business already.
aql wholesale mobile partner focus - Gradwell.com Launches mobile Centrex
Gradwell provides "Hosted PBX" services primarily to the SME marketplace, currently serving over 10,000 UK businesses, approximately 20% of the 1-10 man business community.
Peter Gradwell, founder and managing director of Gradwell, said: “This is the perfect system for business people who are on the move, ensuring they can be contacted quickly and efficiently and avoiding the need to check both landline and mobile phone voicemail messages. It’s also valuable to small businesses and sole traders, meaning that those without a physical office can still benefit from the professional image associated with use of a landline number rather than a mobile number.
“We’re delighted to be working with the Three mobile network and their MVNO enabler, aql, to launch this new strand of the business and blazing a trail for the industry. It’s a really exciting development to be involved with and having spoken to many existing Gradwell customers I’m sure this will prove to be hugely popular.”
aql and Crispthinking.. Working closer together
Since 2005, Crispthinking have been providing unique and innovative anti-bullying and internet predator detection systems to increase the online safety of big-brand forums and virtual worlds. In the UK, Crisp utilise the aql network for their online systems, with equipment in several different aql facilities.
The images show aql Sales Director, Paul Greaves and Crispthinking CFO, Brendan Doherty in their new boardroom at aql, overlooking their newly renovated office in aql's grade II listed building. The second photo shows (left-right), Adam Beaumont (me!), Paul Greaves, Adam Hildreth (Crisp Founder) and Brendan Doherty.
Crisp have now taken this one step further and moved their business into aql's Salem Chapel in Leeds City Centre. The Crisp offices consist of a beautiful 2000 square foot Congregational Hall built in 1908, providing a contrast between the historic building and the highly technical backdrop of Crisp's unique product.
aql are pleased to be working closer with Crisp and are collaborating on a joint project which we'll be announcing later in 2010.
More staff, more processes, better support
As we gear up to support our MVNO and enterprise messaging partners expansion, there's a lot of 'behind the scenes' work, allowing us to ensure that our business processes allow us to expand with minimal growing pains. We're introducing more performance indicators, particularly to ensure our customer service and account management teams are running at 'optimum'!
We'll be texting you a business card (VCard) to your phone in the next few weeks, with your dedicated account manager and escalation details should you ever need it, including direct dial details.
Additionally - if you ever are unsure of the escalation process for any issue within aql, please log in and then click on this page. A screenshot of the page is shown here. Every customer has access to the contact details and direct dial/email for all layers of management and directors. And of course, my number is in the footer in the unlikely event that anything ever need escalating further!
Ofcom 999 Data - GC4 - General Condition 4 Compliance
As many of you will be aware, we're working closely with Ofcom and BT to produce a channel-oriented, automated interface, allowing customers and channel partners to update the location/address information. We hope to be launching this interface in October. In the meantime, we ask that all subscribers, resellers and channel partners start to ensure that they have up-to-date and accurate data for each subscriber line where possible.
So that you, our resellers, can be preparing this data in advance ready for the launch of our API and web interface, the data we will require is of the following type :
all * are compulsory
• number* : telephone number
• effective_date : Date on which the command associated with the listing is to be executed. Format used must be YYYYMMDD (where Y = Year, M = Month & D = Day)
• thoroughfare : The thoroughfare name and type Examples: Byron Close, Suffolk Lane, and High Street.
• locality : Village or an area within a town and Town if possible.
• line_type : This is for DDI/VoIP type number ranges or it basically will add a flag to show that the record which is being sent may not reflect the actual location of the caller. Options for the population of this field are EXT, DDI, FNET, or VOIP. Any of these possible mnemonics will flag to the Operator as well as an Emergency Authority who has the EISEC service. (This allows the Emergency Authority to see the name and address details we have for a customer at the time of a 999 call).
We'll be keeping you informed as our systems go live and documentation is available. If you have any questions in the interim, please don't hesitate to contact your aql account manager.
aql re-signs SMS Relay contract with BT
Back in 2008, aql won the ITSPA innovation award for our SMS Relay service which is now active on over 72 million numbers in the UK.
The service was created in partnership with BT Wholesale, who have now renewed the contract for the service for a second extended term,
allowing us forward facing assurance to all communications providers using the service.
Unfortunately, however, in the drive to reduce costs within BT, it is no longer possible to load additional numbers onto the SMS Relay platform because of restrictions in the core routing tables within some of the operators and the costs to expand the service further.
This means that :
• Any existing numbers which are currently active, will remain active
• Any new numbers which have not yet been activated, cannot be activated
We're currently reviewing this policy with BT and it may be subject to change in the future - we'll keep you informed as to how this progresses.
"Harry has the Flight of a Lifetime" - aql's Paul Greaves supporting the Sylvia Wright Trust
aql Sales Director Paul Greaves has been a helicopter pilot for over a decade. He kindly donated a pleasure flight as a prize for the Sylvia Wright Trust, who registered their domain names with aql back in 2002.
Sylvia Wright, a Leeds nurse and Senior Lecturer at Leeds Polytechnic (now Metropolitan University), sold all her possessions in Adel in 1982 and went alone to care for the poor, sick and disabled in one of the poorest areas of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. She now runs a 220 bed hospital, a boarding school for 225 profoundly deaf children, two centres for 80 severely disabled children and a recently opened nursing college. Sylvia Wright has been awarded the MBE and OBE in recognition of her outstanding humanitarian work. More details can be seen at www.sylviawright.org
Below is a picture of the prizewinner, Harry Lee (a former Senior Aircraftsman) enjoying his trip over the North Yorkshire moors. The following picture shows Harry and his lifetime friend and Sylvia Wright supporter, Hilary Thackray along with Paul Greaves, aql Sales Director (centre). Paul Greaves stated "I'm pleased to be able to support the Sylvia Wright Trust and Harry, as a former aviator, was clearly thrilled to be back up in the air."
aql Earns ITSPA Quality Mark
ITSPA, The Internet Telephony Service Providers Association, have awarded aql the ITSPA quality mark. This mark is awarded to eligible ITSPA members who demonstrate clear defined customer service specifications and adhere to ITSPA's defined frameworks for :
• Porting numbers (in and out)
• 999 Calling
• Membership of an industry standard Telecommunications dispute resolution scheme
• Operate a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for liaison with other telecommunications operators and also the Home Office and other agencies.
More information on the quality mark can be found here.
aql sponsors Hatfield Heath Festival
Not quite the o2 arena, but a great turnout and enjoyable local event. We're keen to get involved with community events of all sizes - please contact Melissa for more information.
aql wholesale mobile - 3g coverage quick-checker
3g Data and voice resellers can now perform instant postcode coverage lookups via the aql website. The data returned includes coverage and also any congestion (such as may be experienced in busy metropolitan areas).
aql powers bandwidth needs of Leeds Media Hub
In an article describing the ideology behind Manchesters Media City, John Nuttall (a key shaper of the Manchester music scene) describes aql's acheivements in Leeds, supplying true 100mb/s broadband links into leeds media and businesses.
NeoWave’s MD Justin Blaine today announced a significant new step in the expansion of NeoWave with the availability of a non competing MVNO offering to its resellers powered by aql.
Justin Blaine commented “The increasing need to be more efficient in the use of telecoms and the growing recognition by customers of a true FMC style service means a huge opportunity for the independent telecoms dealer, however not all MVNO offers are alike, and the technology available varies enormously.”
Firstly Neowave is taking a very different stance with its partner resellers, not only does NeoWave not compete with its channel customers but with its MVNO offering all resellers will always retain ownership of their customers. This non competing attitude will help create long term recurring revenues for our partners and net capital value within their businesses, Blaine also added, “This provides a unique double dose of Reseller protection, something that is totally unusual within our market place.”
Other significant features of the offering from NeoWave are FSA standard call recording ‘in the cloud’, and the ability to have multiple numbers on your mobile handset including geographic and non geographic numbers. The ranges of services available from NeoWave all come with market leading value including the new NeoWave unique ‘tracker’ pricing. This means there is no longer a vulnerability to fixed term pricing with a NeoWave supply contract, It is all part of the NeoWave partnership approach to its re-seller partners.
Paul Greaves Sales Director at aql said, “We are pleased to be working with NeoWave ‘the combination of our technology and their re-seller support means the best outcome for everyone.”
aql named amongst finalists at 2010 ISPA Awards
aql were lucky enough to win Best Internet Telephony Service provider in 2009. This year at the ISPA's, we've made it through to the final in the Access Innovation category for our wholesale mobile service. Similar to last year, we're up against stiff competition including Vodafone! We're also pleased to see many other agile companies in the finalists mix in other categories. Wish us luck for the awards ceremony on the 8th July!
ISPA 2010 Awards categories and finalists:
Best Consumer Fixed Broadband
Karoo (Kingston Communications)
Best Business Fixed Broadband
Entanet International Ltd
Urban Wimax Ltd
Best Mobile Broadband
Best Consumer Customer Service ISP
Best Business Customer Service ISP
Best Shared Hosting
Best Internet Telephony
Entanet International Ltd
iNet Telecoms Ltd (Voipfone)
South West Internet CIC
Bolton Literacy Trust
Kingston Communications (KC)
South West Internet CIC
Westminster City Council
BT Total Broadband
Corporate Social Responsibility
Dragon Boat Racing in aid of Leeds Community Foundation
On Saturday 26th June 2010, all staff from aql will be competing in a Dragon boat race set at Clarence Dock, Leeds in aid of a very good cause.
We have numerous 250 metre heats over the course of the day in a 40ft long boat that will be powered by a team of 16 aql paddlers (in fancy dress) and a drummer, with more than 100 races planned over the course of the day. It will be a great fun filled day competing against 40 other firms including Carlsberg, DLA Piper, Grant Thornton, Hammonds and KPMG. We know how competitive these lawyers are, so we've been training!
The Sponsorship money that we raise will go towards the Leeds Community Foundation, patrons of which include our MD, Dr Adam Beaumont. The Foundation supports more than 3,000 community groups and charities working in some of the most disadvantaged parts of Leeds and distributed over £9m in grants since it was established in 2005, sharing out more than £3.8m in the 2008/09 financial year alone. It should be a lot of fun too. See the youtube video from last years event.
It would be great if you could spare some change for this great cause and if you’re free come along and offer us some support on the day.... And, if you can, Please Please Please visit our Justgiving page.
The aql team
aql - Local News Coverage
aql are also in the news again this week. This time it's nothing to do with our MVNO-enabler service. Coverage in Yorkshire Evening Post describes our acquisition and renovation of our Grade II listed offices, saving an important Leeds landmark from falling into disrepair.
aql's Managing Director, Dr Adam Beaumont states "aql staff enjoy the unusual and historic working environment. We're trying hard to add a mixture of technology, whilst working in sympathy with the building".
To view one of the renovated corridors, click here (user aql, password guest).
aql Launch Gteq MVNO at Partner event
Coverage in Mobile Today describes the successful partner launch of the Gteq MVNO on the 3 network.
aql are well on track to acheiving our quarterly launch targets, with partners coming on board at a pace. There was an excited reaction to the Gteq product and a keen demand by Gteq's resellers to bring the services online as quickly as possible.
Launched at the same event was MVNO Anvil Mobile aimed at Enterprise business, with features such as FSA compliant call and SMS recording via Anvils strategic partners CTI group.
aql enable Telappliant MVNO
MVNO-Enablers aql have enabled Telappliant to launch an MVNO on the 3 network. Click here for full news article.
Telappliant, a leading supplier of flexible business telephony solutions can now offer their range of high-specification business communications options on a mobile platform. This will drive cost savings for businesses and allow mobile telephony with features such as call recording in the cloud. For more information - see the Telappliant website.
aql Partner Workshop a Success
Over 150 companies attended aql's offices on the 5th of may for a presentation and live demonstration of aql wholesale mobile. This included the real-time choosing of an aql landline number, assigning it to a SIM card, activating the card and making and receiving calls. A convergence demo was also shown, with group ringing across softphones, sip desktop handsets, aql 3g mobile, wifi voip devices and also low power gsm. A youtube clip of this live demo is available here.
aql's distribution partners, Data Select were present, along with many channel partners including Gteq and Anvil Mobile. The day was divided into two, three hour sessions, each for approximately 80 delegates, with standing-room-only in the second session, followed by the usual aql hospitality!
For pictures from the event click here. The next event is planned for the 20th May and is by invite only, interested parties please contact us
aql Sponsors International Telecommunications Conference
April 14th 2010 : aql and 3 were the headline sponsors for our special interests Telecommunications conference held in Gatwick, London.
The conference spanned over two days, including four parallel sessions for the 300 delegates and speakers, including many from overseas.
aql, following on from sponsorship of last years event with a "Casino Royale" theme, this years theme was "Top Gear", including a 8-lane slotcar track, with heated competition and a range of "Top Gear" related prizes for the winners. No caravans or morris marinas were harmed during the event.
aql hosts Leeds Interconnect
8th April 2010 - aql was host to the 5th "Leeds Interconnect", discussion, with delegates from Thales, Janet(UK), Zen, Geo, Globalcrossing, Exa, Ioko, and many other leading and influential operators. The "old billiard room", one of a suite of rooms within aql's recently restored Head office, provided a spacious meeting facility for round table discussion for the 30 delegates.
We're pleased to announce that the Summit was a success and aql intend to host the next event in approximately 3 months time.
If you're an aql channel partner and would like aql to co-host an event which has relevance to our sector, please contact Melissa Sherriff (01133 20 30 30). Our city centre site has parking for 60 and we can accomodate events for up to 70.
As you may have seen on the news over the last day, a fire at BT's Paddington site has knocked out access in that building. We're seeing mobile networks, landline and voip providers experiencing issues, as well as some online service providers reporting problems processing payments.
The main symptom of this outage is a busy or dead tone when trying to dial numbers. This will be caused by the call from one phone provider to another trying to pass through one of these unavailable routes. Although BT have been working hard to redirect calls through other sites, some calls are still experiencing this.
Initial estimates within BT suggest that this may take several days to fully assess and repair the damage caused, however we'll ensure to follow up with more as soon as it becomes available.
Update: April 6th 2010
BT have confirmed that following serious flooding in the North Paddington exchange, resulting in the serious failure of their network equipment there was a loss of service to a large number of end users in parts of North and West London and to a lesser extent throughout the UK.
Due to the severity of the flooding and the damage caused, there has been a major recovery operation, but we are pleased to confirm that BT engineers are now reporting they successfully restored all services to customers.
We have restored all our normal routes, and there will be no longer be any impact to our capacity as a result of this incident.
aql wholesale mobile mast rollout - 3000 new sites by october
The aql wholesale mobile service operates on the 3 UK 3g network. 3 underwent an aggressive mast rollout, acheiving 10,000 3g masts earlier this year.
Following the t-mobile/orange merger, this has boosted the available network estate which 3 can leverage. A plan has been announced by 3 to roll out a further 3000 sites by 10th of October 2010 (10/10/10) bringing the total 3g estate to 13,000 masts. To find out if you have 3g coverage in your postcode area, or to integrate this into your order processes, please see our coverage API or text your postcode to 88588 (Free!).
High Speed Internet in Leeds (and most other places).
The service allows local companies access to 100mb/s connectivity, providing working efficiencies and cutting transfer time for large data users.
aql's plans for 2010 are to expand the service to 100's of additional businesses following a cookie-cutter model. If you're interested in the savings your business can make by not having to wait for downloads and emails - please get in touch. All we need to know is your address and postcode and we'll advise on availability and cost/options.
Click the links below to view the current press coverage :
What does this mean? It means that aql can provide wholesale access to the 3 network to companies needing data for remote devices. aql can rebrand SIMS and allow the MVNO partner to own the customers.
It's been reported that there will be over 50 Billion connected devices on the planet by 2020. 3 have recognised aql's expertise and capability of building MVNO's on the 3 UK network.
aql intend to build 10 voice and 10 data MVNO's each quarter throughout 2010, through an unbundled approach (for more information see aql.com/mobile. This simple access approach allows aql to build more voice and data MVNO's quicker than any other operator partner in the UK.
3 mobiles can now be tracked via the aql location API
aql are pleased to announce we're the first mobile messaging aggregator to offer "mobile tracking" services on the 3 network. This service is available via our webservices API.
Location based tracking is ideal for putting a mobile user through to a local office, or checking which employee is nearest site. For more information or to arrange a trial, please contact us.
aql - set for expansion - hiring account managers!
We're pleased to announce that the renovation of our offices and training rooms in our Grade II listed Leeds city centre location is now complete. We now need to fill them. We're looking for capable account managers and channel managers to help us roll out our new suite of 3G data services into our existing reseller and enterprise community. If you want to work for aql - please see our careers section.
aql continues sponsorship of Leeds City Council webcam.
The webcam was installed by aql engineers back in 2000 and has operated fault-free for the last decade. The images are hosted in aql's secure datacentres and the camera itself is monitored every 30 seconds 24/7.
The cam overlooks millennium square in Leeds city centre, where you can currently see the construction of the temporary ice rink, which is built in the square each January.
aql are committed to many local projects and initiatives, including a quarterly local networking event for the electronic, media and creatives industries, hosted in our grade II listed landmark offices.
Please contact us to receive an invite to the next event or to find out how aql could use technology to change the way you work.
Snow stops play? Use aql to bridge the gap.
Another record day for mobile messaging alerts! (school closures, train and bus cancellations).
If your business is likely to be affected by snow, why not try our E-Burst service. This allows you to set up a special aql number. When you text to this number, your text can be relayed to all your staff or customers - ideal to keep everyone informed.
To use either service, simply log into your aql.com account and follow the link. If you need any help, don't hesitate to give our friendly support a ring on 011 33 20 30 40.
aql offers Encrypted SMS storage service
aql's high capacity messaging platforms have always offered the ability to perform historical message searches. However, to do this, means we need to store your data, which in some instances may be sensitive.
In addition to the option to delete data after sending, we now have the option to encrypt all data with your own cryptographic key. This means that we can archive historic messaging data using high strength encryption.
If you'd like to discuss the benefits of this service, please contact Mark Lodge (email@example.com // 01133 20 19 18) - he'll be happy to advise.
aql Christmas Party and Housewarming
Thanks to everyone who came to the aql Christmas Party and helped to make it a success!
This year the party was held in the newly restored "Billiard Room", within our Grade 2 listed Chapel.
Around 120 guests attended and many chose to take part in a torch-light guided tour around the unrestored parts of the buildings.
We were also pleased to be able to show prospective clients the progress on our datacentre build, which is now well underway.
The event was the first that has been held on the site for perhaps a decade, but which we hope marks the first of a series of monthly events which we'll be hosting in conjunction with our event partners at the opposite side of the river - the Leeds Design Innovation Centre, 46 The Calls. We'll also be alternating venues on a monthly basis.
0844 Fax/Forwarding numbers are now free
aql 0844 numbers are now available with no setup or monthly fee.
Not only is the rental free, but you can forward them to any UK landline and certain other destinations without any per-minute charge.
Our 0844 numbers can also be used for fax to email services, again, completely free. Click here to order.
How it works - we provide you with a unique number that only your mobile number can text into. Get one now!
On-hold advertising for The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Sometimes its not about the money, but about doing something fun. aql provide a managed music on hold service which allows unsigned bands to provide a snip of music and to promote their new or soon-to-be released albums in partnership with ie:music
The current on-hold adverts include short snips of music from The Asteroids Galaxy Tour's forthcoming debut album, ‘Fruit’ along with a personal message from lead singer Mette Lindberg.
ie:music embraces unconventional approaches to promoting up and coming talent. The company’s reputation continues to grow as a forward-thinking and boundary-breaking music organisation, as does their long list of headline acts. ie:music manage an impressive array of talent, including; Sia, Ladyhawke, Passenger, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Robbie Williams and Archive among others.
Tim Clark, joint Managing Director of ie:music, commented: “We’re delighted to be working with a partner that helps us find new ways to reach the public. Thanks to aql, we can now reach thousands of potential new fans and are looking forward to getting our artists in front of new audiences.”
Dr Adam Beaumont, Founder and Managing Director of aql, added: “We are very excited to be working with ie:music, helping to promote bands through our enterprise. Anything that makes being on hold a more enjoyable experience can only be good!”
aql offers Unbundled 3g Data Access
aql has a unique partnership with the 3 UK network allowing data to be transported into third party networks for onward routing. This is ideally suited to fixed line broadband access providers (see LINX article. The offering allows the fixed providers to offer a 3G mobile service under their own brand with wholesale real-time billing. For further information, please contact us and a specialist will call you at your convenience.
International DDI's added to aql conference platform
By popular demand, we're pleased to announce a list of local DDI's which give access to aql's free conferencing platform.
To access aql conferencing services - simply log in via aql.com and choose the conference option.
Additional DDI's include many UK area codes and also the following International numbers :
Finland - Helsinki - 358942419020
Luxembourg - National number - 35220880575
Poland - Warsaw - 48223009181
Norway - Oslo - 4721547860
Slovakia - Bratislava - 421233006730
Slovenia - Ljubljana - 38616009345
Estonia - national number - 3726680302
Georgia - Tbilisi - 99532473825
Greece - Athens - 302311180218
Ireland - Dublin - 35319030094
Switzerland - Zurich - 41435080122
Austria - national number - 43720881548
Belgium - Brussels -3228085430
Croatia - Zagreb - 38517776327
Hungry - Budapest - 3618088380
Sweden - Stockholm - 46840309987
USA - New York City zone 1 - 16468103922
aql creates the Salem Innovation Award
Earlier this year, aql expanded into a new and unusual city centre location - aql's office building dates back to 1791. The historic Salem Chapel has seen many events including the formation of Leeds United Football Club in 1918, Leeds Corinthians Rugby Union in 1956. We're pleased to have acquired the original communion cup which commemorated the opening of the original Salem Congregational Chapel, which seated over 1000 members.
We no longer hold communion at the aql offices (!) - but starting in 2010 the 220 year old cup will find a new lease of life as the aql innovation awards trophy.
aql takes delivery of Half-Megawatt generator
It was a tense day in the aql office as the 200-tonne crane carried the 12-tonne generator over our grade II listed building in leeds city centre! The additional generator is part of our n+2 power solution in leeds city centre. Additional fibre is also being pulled through new dedicated ducting over the coming weeks.
The extra power resilience helps us underpin our services across multiple sites and maintain and exceed our SLA's. To see how we are different to many other messaging providers, please contact your account manager to arrange a facilities tour.
aql peers with JA.net (Joint Academic Network)
aql are pleased to announce that we've completed the engineering works to peer with the JANET network. This network services all universities and many other academic institutions. By operating peering direct with the JANET network, academics wishing to take advantage of IP voice or streaming services can operate via the aql network with minimal latency and jitter (high quality of service).
Because the aql network also acts as a wholesale network for over 40 other UK telecommunications providers, it's possible for our partners to benefit directly from this increase in throughput and quality into the academic cloud.
Port your number to aql
We've been really busy behind the scenes over the last few years. There's a lot of hard work that the customer doesn't see - we've got regulatory and affairs staff and also porting establishment staff. Their main job is to make sure we've got porting agreements with all of the main UK telecoms operators, so that if you want to move to aql, we can make it as easy as possible.
Following an announcement from Thus Plc that they intend to shelve their pipecall service, we're keen to ensure that customers maintain service. Please contact us and we'll do our best to ensure a smooth transition!
aql selected as Finalist in BCS Awards
aql has been selected as a finalist in the "Mobile Product of the Year" industry awards, run by the British Computer Society.
Our entry will now go on to a final Judging panel. Fingers crossed! The nomination was for our Mobile Access service - sms-enabling the Public and Private Sectors to increase accessibility by the "text generation" and also by deaf and hard of hearing subscribers.
aql builds resilient metropolitan fibre network in Leeds
As part of our ongoing expansion, aql are installing multiple gigabit connectivity via diverse routes into separate buildings within leeds city centre.
In addition, the buildings are linked by aql dark fibre and a private power network, which, when complete will ensure both leeds Points of Presence are N+3 for power (this means two separate generators and two separate power feeds).
If you are a business in Leeds and see an aql manhole cover nearby, it's likely we can provide future-proof, high capacity voice and data at surprising prices.
Please contact us with your postcode and we'll provide a no-obligation quotation for connectivity from 10mb/s up to 10Gb/s (where available).
Are we heading for 0870 Black Monday ?
Way back in 2006, The UK Telecoms Regulator, Ofcom, made a rule change which affects the way that 0870 numbers work. These changes came into force on the 1st August. It’s expected that most businesses will not notice the results of these changes until 9am on Monday the 3rd of August, when many businesses and any other users of 0870 numbers may experience disruption.
In the past, 0870 numbers have been expensive to call. These charges are shared with the telecoms operator and are usually used to pay for the forwarding of the phone calls to a company’s landline number.
However, the new changes mean that the numbers are cheaper to call – this is good news for the public, but bad news for the companies operating 0870 numbers.
As a result of the changes, many telecommunications operators have moved from a position where 0870 numbers and forwarding are provided free of charge, to a model where each number is charged a rental and a per-minute fee to forward the calls.
There's a danger of disruption : Because the change in the model is so dramatic, many businesses who operate these numbers have lost touch with the original providers and are unaware of the changes. Many businesses will not have entered into any agreement with their telephone company to pay the forwarding charges or new rentals.
aql have run a substantial email campaign to keep customers informed and aware of the changes. However, we're still expecting the changes to be a shock to a significant number of customers. To minimise this impact, we're looking to migrate our services over to the new model over the coming week and ensure our customer services department is running at full speed to deal with any issues promptly and effectively.
Following our membership of LONAP aql have joined LINX - this is the main London INternet eXchange.
Membership of LINX allows aql to exchange traffic across a high quality interconnect at low cost. If you are planning any high bandwidth projects, aql's membership of LINX is another good reason to use aql colocation or network services.
In addition, aql's membership of LINX will allow aql to provide high quality IP telephony into LINX members.
aql wins Best Internet Telephony Service Provider
We're pleased to announce we won the Best Internet Telephony Service Provider category at last nights ISPA Awards.
The ISPA's are the main and most prestigious awards within the internet industry. The judging criteria included voice quality, speed of set up, choice of numbers and also customer service.
Here's our happy smiling faces... Craig (Customer Support Manager) and Adam (Managing Director) presented with the award by the category sponsor.
It was also an opportunity to plug and congratulate some of the other industry leaders in the category, such as Telappliant, Enta.net, Inet, C4L and BT.
There would have been more of us present to accept the award, but several of the aql team were over in Manchester as finalists in the National Business Awards. We didn't win the NBA's but we're very pleased to carry a win at the ISPA's. It was also a pleasure to see so many familiar faces who were in at the start of the dot-com boom, still at the forefront, such as UK2.net winning the Best Dedicated Hosting category.
York Data Services sign 10,000 number deal with aql
York Data Services are a technology company, providing fibre into Business and Science parks, with many blue chip clients. aql have recently interconnected the aql high speed network with York Data Services to provide 10,000 York business phone numbers, allowing delivery of IP voice services into their infrastructure.
It is not exactly the Oscars but for the industry it is the nearest thing.
..quotes Techwatch. aql have been shortlisted as finalists in the 2009 ISPA awards. We're pleased to be listed amongst companies who we we hold in the highest regard - including enta.net, C4L, BT, Telappliant and Inet Telecoms. Techwatch calls this list "the usual suspects!".
The awards ceremony is on the 9th of July at the Grosvenor Hotel, Mayfair.
Wish us luck!
Get ready for the unexpected - get an aql E-Burst(tm) number
Every company needs to plan for the unexpected. Part of that strategy is to be able to keep in touch with your workforce and keep them informed quickly and effectively.
Using your aql E-Burst(tm) number, you can send an SMS message from your phone and have this message relayed to hundreds or thousands of recipients in seconds. The service can be set up in minutes and will be there when you need it.
BarCamp is a grassroots tech conference, where the programme is created and delivered by the attendees. The event was held over the 30th and 31st of may across several venues, with a strong turnout and representation from the telecoms, digital and creatives industries.
Make sense of your marketing with aql Dashboard(tm)
Ray Kroc, founder of Macdonalds, once said "Early to bed, early to rise, advertise, advertise, advertise". However, it's well known that over half your money spent on marketing is wasted, but the skill is to know which half!
aql Dashboard(tm) is the solution for marketeers. Simply apply a different aql contact number to each marketing campaign or webpage. aql Dashboard(tm) will give you real-time statistics on which numbers have received the most calls or text messages, giving you at-a-glance feedback on which marketing campaigns are working best. A CSV service allows you to export the statistics to your own analysis software to perform all-important return-on-investment (ROI) calculations. Log on to your aql.com account and click here
aql Dashboard(tm) screenshot 1
aql Dashboard(tm) screenshot 2
aql - FREE - conference bridge
We're pleased to announce the beta-launch of our new conference bridge service. (you need to be logged in to follow this link).
Why a beta launch? We'd like you to give as much feedback as possible so we can streamline the service over the coming weeks. At the moment it has sms-reminders, email invites and automatic conference recording. Please let us know what you think.
aql finalists in the National Business Awards
aql has been shortlisted in two categories in the National Business Awards (sponsored by Orange).
The categories in which we've been nominated as finalists are "The Orange Best Use of Technology" and "The Business Innovation of the year" awards.
Both of these nominations are for our SMS relay service which we operate for the UK's fixed line industry (Currently supporting over 74 million numbers). Please wish us luck at the award ceremony on the 9th of July!
Messaging to the USA - Increased Coverage
Messaging to the USA has been problematic and expensive for many technical and legal reasons, however, aql can now offer more robust messaging to the USA for any aql customer needing to send messaging to either its own opt-in lists or to its own employees. Many networks can be reached including Verizon, Cingular, Sprint, Nextel, T-Mobile and Alltel.
To enable this option on your account, please contact us and we'll be happy to assist.
This API has been developed to allow Carriers to divert the SMS delivery on any Ofcom numbering which has been SMS-enabled via aql. To date, over 74 million numbers have been enabled by aql.
We hope these enhancements are of interest - please feel free to contact our developers team via phone or support interface.
New SMS Enable tracker
The SMS Enable tracker operates in a similar way to the porting wizard. However, instead of porting the number to aql for SMS and voice services, the SMS Enable tracker allows customers to set up aql's award-winning SMS Enable product and route the inbound SMS on an existing landline number via aql, whilst leaving the voice services in place with your existing carrier.
Once a number has been submitted, aql will perform some network investigations and then (usually same day) confirm whether the number can be activated, timescales and costs.
New number porting wizard
Porting has just got even easier for resellers. The porting wizard allows resellers to initiate the porting process with a complete audit trail, including at-a-glance submission and completion dates. Resellers can submit numbers on a "trusted" basis on behalf of subscribers.
This means that it's now possible for a reseller to handle hundreds of ports without losing track of which ports are due to go live and in which order. Again, we'd value your input and feedback - we're continually improving this interface and service.
New Feature - RSS Feed for Support announcements
At the request of several of our resellers, aql have created a support announcements RSS feed. To access the secure RSSfeed simply point your RSS client at https://www.aql.com/account/service.php, and enter your username and password.
Please tell us what you think. We hope that this is a better system for sending out any maintenance alerts or systems information. Now that the aql network spans 6 different sites and consists of over 150 servers, we have a lot of maintenance announcements and we hope that RSS makes this more manageable for those who need to receive this information.
aql network number lookup now even easier to use
The aql network number lookup is a free tool which lets you find out which network owns a mobile or fixed line number. You can even add it to your Firefox search bar in one click!
This is useful if you're wanting to port a number to aql or just want to find out which phone network someone uses.
aql can also provide information on ported numbers, although this is an advanced service charged at 1 credit per lookup. To use the free service, simply go to the aql network number lookup page, or to use the advanced service, go to the aql network number lookup page and log in with your aql account details.
aql shortlisted for Best Application of Internet Technology
aql has won four awards since 2003 within the Yorkshire Digital Awards. aql has been shortlisted in a Yorkshire Forward sponsored category for our work in SMS-enabling telephone numbers within the public sector. This service increases accessibility and allows deaf and hard of hearing users to text-in enquiries to local councils from their mobile.
aql at the Unified Comms Show 2009 11th-12th March 2009 -
Please come and find us on stand 316! We'll be providing more information on our range of products, including advice on FSA compliant call recording, SMS and voice audit trail via our text or call product.
aql is pleased to announce the strategic acquisition of a new leeds city centre building.
The site, adjacent to the existing aql offices, will allow room for significant expansion. The £2M refurbishment will include office space, meeting rooms, over 10,000 sq ft of datacentre floor and also overnight accomodation for engineers.
Call recording now available on all aql numbers
Whether you're using an aql number for centrex or for call forwarding, aql are offering our standard call recording service on all numbers free of charge. To enable the service, simply log in and goto "call settings" >> "call recording" or log in and click here. As soon as the call has finished, the audio file is available for download from our site or via email.
The service is ideal for users who need to enact call recording for compliance or legal purposes. For more information on the service or how it can be tailored to your requirements, please don't hesitate to contact your aql account manager.
Text to an aql number -> Receive on Many Handsets
New feature - aql "text or call" numbers can now not only forward both SMS and voice to another number - It's also possible to forward the SMS part to several numbers at the same time. This means you can set up an aql number and when you text it, the text is relayed to multiple recipients. Ideal for creating a one-to-many service for clubs, organisations or for business emergency response purposes. Click here to set up an aql number. Note - only geographic numbers can be enabled to receive SMS.
aql engineers noted huge throughput on our messaging platforms this morning as a result of many businesses choosing to use SMS to alert their workforce with weather related communications. Many major transport operators rely on aql in these circumstances. pdf of press coverage here.
SMS text messaging is an ideal way to communicate last minute information. Sending business alerts is simple - you can create your distribution list in advance (aql users - click here when logged in) and then simply send by logging onto the website, enter the message. With a single mouse-click you can alert tens of thousands of employees or customers within seconds.
aql feature focus - sending vCard text messages
Sending a vCard or Business Card SMS text message to your customers can be a great way of making sure they always have your number to hand when they need it.
aql make it easy for you to do this - simply log on to the aql.com website and go to "send" >> "vcard" and enter your company details, contact numbers and the list of recipients you'd like to send to. Then simply click "send". If you're already logged into aql click here to send vCard messages now
Developers - this service is also available as an API - click here for more information.
aql porting wizard
Subscribers migrating phone numbers to aql will now experience a smoother process via our new porting wizard. This system allows the initiation of a porting request and handles all of the paperwork and process tracking.
We're hoping this takes some of the admin out of this process for our customers. To use the process, please log into aql.com and click on "account" >> then "porting". Alternatively, if you are already logged in, then click here to access the porting system
aql wins best innovation at the 2008 ITSPA awards (Dec 12th)
aql is a member of the ITSPA - Internet Telephony Service Providers Association. This organisation provides a code of practice and a voice for the industry. The packed-out award ceremony was held on Friday 12th December at the House of Commons Members' dining room, with speakers including Ian Taylor MP and representatives from Ofcom and Bletchley Park trust.
aql are pleased to announce that the "aql SMS Relay" service was voted Winner of Best Innovation. The aql SMS relay service has been used to "sms-enable" over 74 million numbers within the VoIP and fixed line telecoms industry, allowing telecoms providers to create innovative "text or call" services. We've plans to roll this service out across the entire industry before the end of 2009.
aql voice services users can now configure inbound voice, fax, sms, voicemail, call forwarding from one simple interface.
To view the new interface and configure settings, simply log onto aql.com and then click here.
New Services and Features
Wholesale text or call
aql has bundled its' wholesale voice and SMS numbering service as one offering under the name "aql text or call". This can be ordered and controlled either via API or our website. The specification PDF for this service can be downloaded here. The service allows you to give one number to your customers to receive both text messages and voice calls.
Additional Systems features
We're constantly adding new features in response to customer requests. New services available to logged in customers include :
1) a search facility for looking through past support enquiries - log in and click here.
2) a search facility for finding particular fax to email numbers - log in ahd click here.
The name's Bond..... 007 numbers - selling like hot cakes!
With the opening of the latest Bond film, Quantum of Solace, aql have seen a sharp rise in customers choosing phone numbers ending in the magic digits - 007 !
With over 12 million numbers and no extra charge for "007" numbers, aql makes the ideal choice for your follow-me, SMS, fax or voip number.
aql were pleased to sponsor the bar and food for the WYLUG (or West Yorkshire Linux Users Group) summer meal this August.
Judging by the number of friendly emails we've got saying "thanks for the beer/food", guys (and girls) - you're most welcome - we'll be doing it again!
aql celebrates 10th Anniversary with £3000 Developers Competition
To celebrate our 10th Birthday - we've launched a developer competition! This competition is free to enter - full terms can be seen here. The prize fund is £3,000 to be distributed in cash as follows:
* 1st Prize: £1,000
* 2nd Prize: £500
* 3rd Prize: £300
* 6 x runner up prizes of £200 each
The competition is to be judged by a panel consisting of :
* Dr. Mike Short - Vice President of R+D - Telefonica / PAST CHAIRMAN MOBILE DATA
* Jay Daley - Technical Director - Nominet UK
* Ewan MacLeod - Director and Lead Journalist - Mobile Industry Review
* Victor Keegan - Technology Writer - The Guardian
* Dr. Adam Beaumont - Managing Director - aql
Entrants will be judged on the best application which uses one or preferably more of our API's and creates either a standalone web application, or an SDK, or a plugin for a 3rd party application. Help your fellow coders - entrants community focus on helping fellow developers via our forum. We want you to help each other (but dont tell each other about your competition entry!).
To sign up for the competition, please create an account on our developer forum at http://developers.aql.com. All developers will be given access to some free SMS credits for testing and also a geographic inbound SMS number.
Keen to get started?
1) Join the forum at http://developers.aql.com - our moderators will set you up with all the test account access you need - including SMS credits and API user/passwords. aql have millions of inbound numbers capable of receiving SMS. You will get one of these to play with.
2) If you have any general questions relating to coding, API's etc, please post them via our forum in the relevant category.
3) While on our forum, if you find you can help anyone else - please do!
4) Please feel free to ask any of the moderators if you're unsure about anything or need to check you're doing the right thing! Good luck!
Teachers texting Parents....
A recent article by the bbc, highlights the growing demand by parents to be kept up to date with their childrens' progress at school.
Text messaging is only just starting to become a mainstream growth area. This years' Mobile data association report confirms that text messaging has many years of life left as a technology, even in the face of alternative messaging technologies such as mobile based instant messaging.
999 calling via the aql network
The most "frequently asked question" to aql at the moment is related to the Ofcom requirement for "VoIP" providers to offer 999 calling wherever possible. [see here].
aql is actively pursuing this aim. Like many wholesale telephony suppliers, we are looking to acheive 999 calling with a mechanism which is usable by our customerbase and is practical.
The problem (as many are aware) stems from the fact that "VoIP" handsets can move from one location to another. Because of this, aql needs to maintain an address database, which the customer (or reseller) must update and keep accurate. This information will be passed automatically, by aql, to the emergency services at time of dialling.
The scope for accidentally sending the emergency services to the wrong address is, we feel, more than significant and whilst we attempt to comply to Ofcom guidelines, aql are actively working with BT and other suppliers to streamline the process and apply diligence such that the risks relating to opening up 999 calling are minimised. Until aql feels that the process can be applied with levels of diligence that we feel are commensurate to the importance of this change, 999 calls will not be routed via the aql wholesale telecoms service.
Feature update - Search distribution list tool.
By customer request - we've added a simple feature to search to check if a mobile number is in a distribution list.
To do this - simply log on to aql.com and goto "account" >> "search distribution list".
This feature is useful if you want to check that you've removed instances of opt-outs from particular lists, or to check overlap between lists.
We're always trying to make subtle improvements to the aql.com portal and are always pleased to hear of suggestions - please contact us if you have any feature requests.
sms-enable your existing landline number
aql have developed a unique wholesale offering which allows aql to sms-enable any existing 01 or 02 geographic number and relay any inbound SMS from the major UK networks sent to that number to the number-owner either via email or via our programmatic API's.
This service allows end subscribers to be able to advertise existing landline numbers as "text or call" numbering.
Interested end subscribers or resellers, please contact us for more information
aql join LONAP
As part of our strategy for increasing Voice over IP quality of service, aql have joined the LONAP peering point.
aql has completed a strategic acquisition of coralbridge ltd this week.
The move aggregates telecommunications assets and adds several million phone numbers to the aql portfolio.
Further news will be released shortly which will highlight the benefits to aql customers which will follow the cash purchase of the private telecommunications company.
aql are looking to acquire other strategic assets within the telecommunications arena. Please contact us to initiate confidential discussion.
aql acquires Quicktelecom
aql completed acquisition of the goodwill assets of Quicktelecom today.
Thousands of Quicktelecom customers will be able to migrate their services onto the aql platform and take advantage of additional features such as time-of-day forwarding, fax to email and email to fax.
Further news will be posted on this topic in the new year once migration has commenced.
UK now sending over 1 billion SMS/week
MDA 2007 reports show messaging usage is still on the increase. MDA chairman, Mike Short, comments that some of this increase is attributable to increases in business messaging.
Comments on the industry by Mike and also Adam Beaumont, Director of aql can be found here. A further article can be found here
At this months aql-sponsored Leeds Media breakfast briefing, Roger Cutsforth, Station Director at Galaxy Yorkshire, gave an insight into the role of radio and it's influence in the present day to a full house at the Leeds Radissson SAS.
Roger discussed the challenges faced with the emerging media channels of the Internet, Music TV and pod-cast generation, and how it retains it's influence and position amongst these.
As ever, the delegates, including many new faces, munched their way through the aql sponsored breakfast spread.
Melissa Sherriff (aql) and Roger Cutsforth (Galaxy Radio)
Creating Communities : aql breakfast briefing
This months LeedsMedia breakfast briefing sponsored by aql was held at the historic Leeds Club.
A full house attended to hear Tom Bloxham MBE, joint founder and major shareholder of Urban Splash Group Ltd talk about their work in urban regeneration and the creation of their brand. Leeds-based customers interested in attending future events or speaking, please contact us.
aql become RIPE LIR
aql are now a member of RIPE (Réseaux Internet Protocol Européens).
RIPE is the body responsible for the allocation of IP addresses within Europe. The aql network now spans over 6 different points of presence and over 10,000 customers. The move to become a local internet registry (LIR) was motivated by the rapid expansion by aql and the need to plan and design large networks with significant numbering.
If you have a network requirement or would like to interconnect with the aql messaging and voice network, please contact us.
New Feature on aql.com site -> Content Based Reporting
Management information is vitally important in order to gain an understanding of how your SMS messaging is being used.
aql's content based reporting tool helps you analyse your message use online. Simply log on to aql.com and goto "history" then "content based reporting".
Enter (one per line) the message content that you would like to view statistics on. eg :
and choose the period you would like to analyse. A graphical result will be displayed.
This is version 1 of the tool, further modifications are coming soon. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.
aql win hat trick at Newsco Internet Awards
Immediately following 3 days at Internet World at Earls Court, the aql team were back in Leeds, accepting awards for Best Mobile Technology, Best Innovation and the "Grand Prix" prize for best of best.
Photo shows (left to right) Neil Bellamy, Mundia Miles, Melissa Sherriff (aql) and representative of DLA Piper, category sponsor.
Full press release can be downloaded as a pdf click here
VoIP for business is now a viable proposition. This was highlighted by the extensive interest in the aql stand at the VoIP show at Olympia last month.
If you didn't get chance to make it along to see us, you can find us at the Internet World Show www.internetworld.co.uk on the 1st-->3rd May at Earls Court.
aql VoIP for Business, Earls Court, March 2007
Fax to Email now possible on all 9 million aql numbers
Following investment in cisco(tm) fax routing technology, aql can now offer fax-to-email on all 9 million UK geographic numbers. Simply log in via our telecoms website and choose the fax to email option on the login portal page. Faxes will be delivered to the nominated email address in .tif format.
As with any new service, we'd welcome your feedback and comments for improvement.
aql voip service - The Times Business Section
aql were centre comment on todays article in The Times with reference to the aql mobile VoIP service - the full article can be found here.
aql partners with Fone Logistics for Nokia E-Series Service
aql have forged a unique parnership with Fone Logistics, one of the UK's largest Nokia Distributors. Fone Logistics are promoting the aql Nokia VoIP service directly through distribution and also through their retail channels.
This September, mobile VoIP has dominated our press coverage with over 20 separate articles in September alone.
Following aql's announcement of the launch of the first commercial Nokia E-series compatible VoIP service, the concept of using a
conventional WiFi-enabled mobile such as the Nokia e60 for making and receiving VoIP calls has captured the imagination of the press.
This months aql sponsored Leeds Media breakfast briefing featured Ann Pickering, Head of Customer Service and Retail for o2. Ann Spoke about the approach used to inspire and motivate all departments within o2, the steps implemented to help create both an interesting and exciting place to work and how this lead to maintaining and increasing customer satisfaction.
A full turnout and a lengthy round of questions by an interested audience paid testement to Ann's stimulating presentation. Next months briefing will be presented by Alan Hyde, Corporate Affairs Manager for GNER.
Image - Ann Pickering (o2) and Mundia Miles (aql).
The service, targeted at Nokia ESeries users (E60, E61, E70) is enabled by texting "nokia" to 64446.
The user receives an over-the-air configuration message, enabling VoIP calling on the mobile handset. Users can make free VoIP-to-VoIP calls for life, with no subscription charges. Low cost calls can also be made abroad and to landlines.
Sunday Times Feature on aql VoIP and Messaging Services
Following last months' press release, aql has had substantial press exposure - most notably in the Sunday Times and Times Online.
The article describes the usefulness of mobile VoIP as a method of making low cost calls whilst abroad. The full article can be found here.
This article highlights the useful reminder service launched by aql to remind registrants of their domain renewals.
aql launches Text over VoIP
Leeds 24th July 2006 - Telecoms and mobile messaging provider, aql, has today announced that it is the UK’s first VoIP infrastructure provider to allow customers to send and receive free text messages over it’s VoIP network and has opened up it’s network to receive text messages from other VoIP providers.
The new service allows free, unlimited calls and text messages to be sent and received over the Internet between message-enabled VoIP handsets, while outbound SMS or calls to GSM handsets are priced competitively.
As part of our ongoing initiative to provide greater resilience and data capacity, aql are currently building a multi-homed BGP network, spread transparently over two of our London datacentres.
The network, which will span seamlessly between Harbour Exchange Square and Telehouse East will form a geographically redundant hub, underpinning our new voice and data services.
It also increases our data capacity by up to fifty times, enabling us to provide transit for any application, no matter how large or small. Other advantages will include a private peering arrangement for business critical customers (due online July 2006).
This network initiative will allow us to further reinforce our commitment to our 100% SLA to our corporate messaging clients.
February Breakfast Briefing
As in 2005, Each month throughout 2006, aql will be sponsoring a breakfast briefing held at the leeds SAS Radisson.
This month is a study of the rebranding of one of Yorkshires largest Telco's. Although technically a competitor of aql, we welcome Kingstons' marketing manager, Richard Griffiths who we believe will provide an interesting angle on the public perception of telecoms companies during the necessary transition into providers of "converged services".
As a major Yorkshire PLC with 100 years of history, Kingston Communications is one of the region's most recognised brands.
However, a major acquisition by Kingston at the end of 2004 initiated a strategic shift and branding review of its national business. Launching a completely new identity faced significant resistance, both internally and externally, but Affiniti was unveiled to great acclaim in April 2005.
At this breakfast briefing, Richard will examine the rationale behind the rebrand and outline the ways that the in-house marketing team and its creative agencies worked together to create excitement and anticipation for the new identity.
Local support this Christmas
This year, aql will be making a Christmas donation to local charity St Gemmas Hospice.
Late last month, aql also sponsored a winetasting held at LS7 cafe bar in Chapel Allerton, north leeds, also in aid of St Gemma's. The evening was a great success and was hosted by Harvey Nichols' resident wine buff Michael Dilworth. Michaels' down to earth style ensured the evening was both informative and laid-back. We'll be sponsoring another event early in 2006.
aql launches email to speech service
In recognition of the fact that certain destinations (such as the Americas) are difficult to message to via SMS and also recognising the requirement to send SMS to non BT landlines, aql have launched an email to speech service.
The interface also features "delivery receipting" by an IVR acknowlegement function. Please click here for more info.
Stagecoach Group Plc use aql.com for new Transport site
Following the success of the megabus.com site, Stagecoach Group Plc have launched a new rail travel portal - megatrain.com. Both portals use aql.com for their reliable ticketless booking solution.
Click here to download the press release as a pdf.
Text to Speech API
aql is looking for early-adopters to provide feedback on its Text to Speech services, due for production launch in the coming weeks.
The system is designed as a second method of paging engineers or for reaching networks which do not support SMS text messaging.
The service is only available as an API at the moment, but several other options are to be rolled out over the coming weeks.
Please contact us if you would like a free trial of this system.
Some of this months quotes.....
We had a call around some of our clients this week to find out what they think about us... Some of this months quotes are .....
"The service has been perfect." BSI Inspectorate ltd -- 12/9/05
"really really really useful. easy to use and reduces manpower." Fortnums -- 12/9/05
"without a shadow of a doubt...excellent" Ruella James Plc -- 12/9/05
"Have found the service to work well. Had a few teething problems, used support system, liked the fact that everything was written down" Fortis commodity derivatives -- 12/9/05
New aql shared shortcode service
aql now offer a shared shortcode service on one of the best shortcode numbers available - 64446
For £100 setup and £100 monthly (exc vat and subject to contract), you can have 10 keywords on our 64446 code. You can use the 64446 number purely for inbound texts (ie data gathering) or you can send back billing texts at £1. We share the revenue with you via our administration portal, offering excellent payouts.
There are several options for setting up billing messaging - you can define an automatic reply (which will cost the sender £1) or you can use our HTTP(s) POST API to send/receive messages (click here for more info).
Keywords are available on a first-come-first-served basis. To place your order and begin the application process, click here
aql supports leedsmedia for 2005-2006
aql have just agreed to sponsor the leedsmedia breakfast briefings for a further 12 months.
Based on the success of previous briefings, aql are proud to be sponsors of the monthly event, now held at the SAS Radisson in Leeds town centre.
Watch this space for details of forthcoming events!
A change from the norm - Breakfast talk on Lobbying!
Presented by Geoff Lawler, himself a former MP, founder of the Company which has worked on many issues covering anything from dog welfare to the licensing of stretch limos, and including major energy questions, diabetes treatment, the regulation of chiropractors and new laws affecting landlords.
The event and the bacon butties were both a success. We pride ourselves on hosting events which are a break from the normal "technology" topics.
Latest aql sponsored talk - Full to capacity!
aql have been sponsoring breakfast briefings for LeedsMedia, a consortium of leeds based media and technology related companies. We've been dragging members out of bed at 8am on a Friday morning each month for a full breakfast and a short talk from a guest speaker.
Past speakers have included the MD of ITV yorkshire, representatives of Xscape, Marshall ward and others.
The briefings have been growing in popularity. This months' briefing was by S W A M P, a leeds based agency who talked about their creation of the new UMBRO website and was a sellout even at our new larger venue of the SAS Radisson.
Image shows Andrew Brown from S W A M P (left) and Adam Beaumont from aql.
New Resources for Resellers
In response to numerous enquiries from resellers, aql has created a collection of scripts which form a simple SMS website which can be re-branded by resellers and hosted on their own servers. It allows users to sign up and also for an administrator to assign credits.
The script can be downloaded from here and is offered for free distribution. An aql.com account is required in order for the script to send SMS.
This is the first version of this script and as such, we welcome your feedback. Future plans include incorporating worldpay payment pages.
Upgraded SMS Capacity
Following significant investment in additional infrastructure, aql® now has extra routes into the mobile networks to handle further traffic and offer greater per-network redundancy.
In addition, we now have failover routes available into Hutchinson 3 giving further PSMS resilience.
WAP isn't that yesterdays news?
A recent publication in the mobile press by aql® highlights how WAP is not past-technology, but one of the few well-developed standards available to mobile and handset operators. If you've ever downloaded a polyphonic ringtone, you've used WAP-push, the "new" WAP.
The aql® broadband telephony site is launched. Broadband telephony allows users to make free calls between broadband users, in addition to a host of other additional services. aql.com and sms2email.com site users should be able to log in with their existing usernames and passwords.
To sign up or log in please click here. Signup is free!
Identex rely on aql for timely alerts
Database management specialist, Identex, uses aql.com to provide alert messages to their engineers, allowing Identex to react more quickly should any of their business critical systems need attention.
(aq) is expanding its telephony services to land services. In less than one month, (aq) will be launching its internet based broadband phone service.
Existing accountholders can preview this service which allows inbound and outbound pc based phonecalls.
Signing up gives you a unique 0870 number. Calls to this number can be routed to your pc (you need to install some pc phone software such as the x-lite software.
You can also make low cost calls to landlines and mobiles. If you want to do this, you need to pre-purchase some call credit (Which can be topped up at any time).
Features available on your VoIP number include voicemail, voicemail-to-email, call transfer and message forwarding.
We'll be adding more features as time goes on, including geographic numbers (eg 0208 0207 0113 etc). Please contact us if you would like to trial this service prior to rollout later this month.
New site : aql.com
As part of our expansion into fixed line telephony, we have launched a new SMS portal site. All sms2email customers can log in using their account details. The aql.com site is faster to load and easier to use.
The following release announces (aq)s sponsorship of the 2004 to 2005 session of monthly breakfast briefings. Companies presenting a series of interesting casestudies this year include ITV Yorkshire, X-Leisure (castleford snowdome) and Yorkshire Water.
SMS text messaging to BT landlines
Users of our Premium(uk) tariff should now be able to message to British Telecom (BT) UK landlines. This follows the release of a new service by BT which means that all BT landlines can receive texts, either via a display on a compatible handset, or, where the handset is not compatible, the recipient will receive a call with the sms text converted to speech.
Sending is the same as to mobiles - however, the numbers -must- be in international format eg :
0113 2582220 would be 441132582220.
Please contact us if you have any queries. (Note - you cannot use alpha originators - your originator must be a valid mobile number - eg +447778123456).
" ...mobile phones, internet access, good coffee... essential business requirements..."
A short article highlighting (aq) gaining planning consent to open a high street internet cafe in the trendy Chapel Allerton area of Leeds. The cafe will, of course, have wireless access and great coffee! . To read the article click here.
"fastest growing mobile messaging provider........"
This months INTERNET WORKS magazine kicks off a series of articles on mobile messaging. (aq) is quoted as "UK's fastest growing mobile messaging provider........".
The article advocates MMS and multimedia messaging. To read the article click here (large download).
(aq) Sponsors Horde Project
The horde project create secure and reliable webmail portals for ISPs, schools and corporates.
(aq) is proud to be sponsoring a small development project to help the HORDE framework interface with our SMS gateways. For more information please click here.
(aq) has been closely involved with leedsmedia since its startup, as both a regular advertiser and Event sponsor.
(aq) is proud to be sponsoring a series of 10 breakfast briefings throughout 2004/2005. For more information please click here.
Nagios Server monitoring recommends sms2email.com
Nagios is one of the most comprehensive network monitoring solutions available.
For more information on their network and environmental solutions, please click here
Blogging is here!
Take a photo with your phone and send it to your sms2email.com blogging account. This allows you to display your latest images on your own website and to automatically share your images with your friends via email in real-time.
Every time you submit a new photo, your friends can log on and comment - it's a more personal way to keep in touch than simply texting.
This is probably one of the most unusual applications of our scheduled message service that we've seen. It's captured the imagination of a few newspapers. Click here and here to view the story as a pdf document.
Taxi Firm uses SMS to help the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
An article showing how our email to sms and sms to email systems can make it easy for busy companies such as Taxi firms to send and receive SMS. The article shows how the system lends itself perfectly to Taxi booking for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Thanks to our customers feedback, version 1.2.1 offers the following new features :
o Send from address books and distribution lists
o Create/edit/delete Address books and distribution lists
o Proxy support - support for corporate internet access
o Message scheduling - queue messages for sending at a particular time
o synchronises with your sms2email.com settings
The above features are in addition to the original features (including our secure 128 bit encrypted message transmission).
SMS works for radio ads ..
SMS is the ideal medium for interaction with your radio audience. Our radio ad says it all....
A search on google will find some of our users. Simply search for our main gateway number - 01138 590690 or click here
Desktop SMS : Version 1.1.1 released !
Our first release of our desktop SMS software for windows (tm) operating systems, allows easy messaging from your desktop. Click here to download [5.3MB] [md5 checksum b6a0510dd5f8ba28e9c79ab38f51cfaf].
The application connects to our SMS gateway via a secure 128-bit encrypted connection, protecting your messages from being intercepted.
Version 1.1.1 Features :
Remembers your password (no logging in and out)
Synchronises with your online address book
We're looking for customer feedback so that we can improve upon the application for release 1.1.2 scheduled for mid to late January.
in the press : "high tech links with tradition"
"high tech links with tradition". A trade journal feature - A case study of an unlikely candidate for SMS. To view this article as a pdf, please click here
In the press : e-source article
"e-hq news". A local feature - An overview of SMS based services. To view this article as a pdf, please click here
In the press : "out of office solutions"
"out of office solutions". An article on mobile communications and the relevance of SMS as a tool and not a toy!. To view this article as a pdf, please click here
In the press :
"Text messaging success...". A local article aimed at company startups and how SMS texting can be used to save money and time. To View, please click here
In the press :
"more SPAM anyone". An article on the usefulness of direct marketing and interactive services when used properly and responsibly. To view this article as a pdf, please click here
(aq) sponsors Refuel 2003
(aq) - the company that brings you sms2email.com is one of the sponsors for the Refuel 2003 marketing and media conference.
If you are a client relying on SMS for your business, please contact us regarding our range of support services.
SMS2email.com operates several backup systems which can route your SMS messages should the main systems not be contactable. If you are a client using our HTTP POST gateway, we can provide a further two redundant (backup) HTTP gateways, to help ensure you can always send SMS - Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
If you are an email to sms client, you will already benefit from the high level of mail routing redundancy offered by our geographically and physically redundant network of incoming mail servers.
New Message history function.
In response to feedback from high-usage clients, we now offer a large-volume message history function.
This allows users to choose to download their entire message history (or part of it), even if they have millions of outgoing messages.
To use this, go to - history - and then to - download outgoing messages -
Note - requests are processed every hour - you will be notified when your request has been completed.
Technical info : This batch process runs on a replicated database which is synced with the live database every 5 seconds. By running the batch process on a non-live server, this helps to ensure that large batches can be processed without slowing down other essential functions.