Most of the world's largest organisations use wide area networks, or WANs. They speed up internal communication, raise security and can even help to cut costs - and Bridgeworks, which won Infrastructure Innovation of the Year at the UK IT Industry Awards 2020, is working to develop them further.
There are a few reasons why some companies don't use a WAN. High setup costs can keep them out of reach of smaller firms, and latency can affect the responsiveness of services that rely on WANs. Bridgeworks' CEO and CTO, David Trossell, thinks that his company has managed to solve the latter issue.
"We are bringing a product to market that flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which usually prefers to talk about WAN optimisation and SD-WANs as if they are the answer to mitigating latency and packet loss.
"WAN optimisation can't transmit and receive encrypted data. SD-WANs are a great technology, but they are boosted when a WAN Acceleration layer is added, which enables the mitigation of latency and packet loss while significantly maximising bandwidth utilisation."
Trossell was both "surprised and proud" when Bridgeworks' name was read out in the UK IT Awards virtual ceremony, remarking, "We were against a lot of large and well-established entries." He thinks that the included case study may have been a point that won the judges over:
"[Our entry] shows the risks and the pain points that a large global organisation was taking, and with our technology we turned it around for them. It's a nice feeling when you can do this for a customer, resolving their issues gives us great satisfaction by deploying our technology - particularly when customers have often explored all other solutions."
Speaking after the event, Trossell said the win was "highly significant" for Bridgeworks, and hoped it would lead to further conversations around changing the face of WAN technology:
"We all like to win awards, but to be judged by independent peers and experts in your industry is a true measure of your product. That endorsement from our point of view is highly significant, showing us and our clients that we have a solution that can transform the industry. It gives us an industry-wide endorsement that we hope will lead to an increase in WAN Acceleration sales, and debate about how to mitigate latency and packet loss."
The company is not resting easy following the win - already looking at pushing into new areas this year and in 2021:
"We have only just started to scratch the surface with what we can do with WAN Acceleration, and as a Board we committed to investing 45 per cent of our turnover in research and development. This will also give a boost to our apprenticeship scheme and our involvement in STEM, and we are looking into new areas such as launch control, observation satellites and satellite grid architectures. We are also engaging with motor vehicle manufactures involved with the development of autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions."
2021 promises to be an interesting year for both Bridgeworks and WAN technology.