competitions End User

Magical Megamug Advent competition #2

Timico Megamug has magical properties
It has been said that when drinking tea from a Timico Megamug you don’t need to add sugar. The drink always comes out perfectly to your taste. These mugs are ideal for having in the house in case you have builders around. Save you a fortune on Tate and Lyle. I don’t know if the same applies for coffee because I don’t drink the instant muck and I like a smaller cup with the percolated stuff.

It is also true that tea never goes cold when served in a Megamug. It’s a magical property that defies the Third Law of the Internet1 and is therefore invaluable for geeks, tweeters and general surfers who spend far too much of their time glued to one connected device or another.

Considering this, today’s competition is simple. To what magical use would you put a Timico Megamug? I refer you to comment #55 from yesterday’s competition for some other ideas. My decision is final though I am happy that people can praise others’ suggestions and so improve someone’s chances of winning.

There could be more than one prize here. If stocks run out we’ll get some more. Simples.

This competition is open to Timico staff and their families, subcontractors, occasional acquaintances, rear admirals, readers of this blog and anyone else that cares to enter including inhabitants of former British colonial territiories and Martians though I might struggle to deliver the mug if won by the latter. It would have to be “winner collects”.

Another great chance to win a Timico Megamug for Christmas. You know it makes sense…

1 The Third Law of the Internet states that a hot drink always goes cold before you have finished it when you are surfing the web

competitions End User

Nativity Megamug Prize Competition – guess the name of the donkey

The nativity scene in the Timico finance dept

donkey with Diane DaviesIt’s December. The radio is playing Christmassy music. I don’t mind. I quite like Christmassy music as long as it isn’t before December. It’s ok to start thinking about Christmas now. I used to leave it until Christmas Eve until the year when my wife wanted the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” board game as a present. Pretty simple really.

Only problem is I left it until 24th December. Could I find it in the shops? Not a chance. I must have tried 10 different shops and ended up buying Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Junior with a book of questions from the grown up game plus a ton of other stuff to try and compensate.

rockin' baby JesusIt didn’t work. She was disappointed. I was totally devastated but by then there was nothing I could do other than learn the lesson which was to make sure I didn’t leave the buying of presents until the last moment. Oh boy.

Anyway I was down in the finance department in Newark only to find an amazing Nativity scene. A wonderful array of characters, crafted by the ingenious folk in accounts.

They had held a competition to see who could make the best character. The winner was Diane Davies with her donkey. There were some interesting entries, presented here for your delight, including a Joseph that looked remarkably like a white haired Freddy Mercury plus a baby Jesus who would appear to be into hard core rock. Hey, who knows?Joseph looking like white haired Freddie Mercury

So now we come to the competition of the day. I know I don’t have a competition every day – that just sounded good so I thought I’d say it. The competition is guess the name of the donkey. No Timico staff because they might have already heard it. Answers via comment.

The usual Timico mega-mug as a prize which I guarantee for delivery by Christmas. You could even give it to your nearest and dearest as a present. Or a customer you want to impress. I leave it to you. They would be thrilled.

Yuletide greetings…

Business UC voip

Low winter sun, inbound sales leads and Unified Communications

early morning sun in December in Lincolnshire

On my way in this morning I had to stop off to take this photo. It was a misty morning and the sun was barely visible. V atmospheric.

We are coming up to the winter solstice and despite the short days I actually like this time of year, far more so than January and February. I guess because we are all so busy it takes our mind off the weather1.

Our inbound sales teams have been working their socks off. They take leads from web chats, inbound calls and emails all originating from the Timico website. These are for both existing and new customers. Businesses are trying to dot their “t”s and cross their “i”s2 and get their January communications infrastructure needs in place before Christmas.

The marketing department has also been busy and with the addition of Mitel and Avaya support we now have a pretty full portfolio of Unified Communications products that complement our own hosted service and the IPCortex.  As a council member of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) I get the odd raised eyebrow from industry colleagues who are by and large purely hosted players. There is an element of snobbery amongst the purist ITSPs. However the needs of the market are diverse and with 20,000 or so business customers we now have something to suit everyone.

What do you want for Christmas little boy?”

“Oo can I have an IP Office phone system with SIP trunks please Santa?”

Ho ho ho I’ll get the elves onto it right away

I wonder how it would go down with our engineers if we asked them to wear elf outfits when visiting customers in the run up to Christmas. We could stick big red noses on all our vans. Probably better not. At this point I should shut up.

In case you’re interested I have asked Santa for a vice for Christmas. At home we have a lot of tent pegs that need straightening and I thought it would come in handy for that. I think I’ve been a good boy so should be ok.

That’s all for now. C ya.

It was sub zero in Lincoln over the weekend which was very convenient because we needed to defrost one of our freezers. The freezing cold outside meant that we could do it without worrying about the food defrosting.

I know I know 🙂

Business charitable

Mo’spotting gringo Timico

mospotting - it's that time of year again

I dont really know how to put this one across. Part of me wants to talk with a Mehican accent and go around saying things like I keel you Gringo.

But then again part of me thinks I should be talking in a rather suave voice, perhaps with a couple of marbles in my mouth for effect.

Whatever you may think yourselves there is one thing for sure I’m not sure I’d want to kiss any of them. Those moustaches must tickle1 big time.

Anyway well done to James Andrade, Richard Wright, Guy Beales and Simon Brown from Timico for making the effort. They have been raising cash for Prostate Cancer and other men’s health charities. You can donate here. Also well done to our creative genius Scott Wroe for the poster.

1 I should at this point establish the fact that I don’t go around kissing people with moustaches anyway, blokes or otherwise. It’s not my bag though if it is yours that is ok 🙂

Business Cloud datacentre

What to look for when choosing a data centre

the new Timico Network Operations Centre in Newark has gone liveA data centre’s a data centre isn’t it? Power, aircon, security and diverse connections in and out of the building? Pick a location and a Tier level – 1,2,3,4 to determine the resiliency and cost. Throw in some green credentials and your uncle’s name is Bob!

Well you could put it like that. You wouldn’t be looking at the whole picture. Before building our Newark data centre we at Timico did a fair bit of market research. We looked at the needs of our customer base and what was available in terms of infrastructure technology that fitted the bill. The latter ranged from getting all the electromechanical bits right and ensuring that the cloud story was absolutely up there. When talking cloud we are talking the connectivity, storage processing and virtualisation infrastructure.

There was one piece of the story that we found compelling. This was how to make sure

Business Cloud datacentre

Nobody around here complaining about the weather

cooling plant monitoring screen in Timico's Newark data centreWe often hear people complaining when it rains – great weather – if you’re a duck. Well it’s stopped raining here in Newark although I understand the river Trent is still running high and I see from Facebook that trains are delayed due to flooding.

It’s bloomin’ cold out though. Staff arriving for work are wrapped up well, scarves around their faces, hands thrust firmly in pockets. It may come as a surprise to many of you that in this freezing cold weather the old “duck” saying has a modern day equivalent which is “great weather – if you’re a data centre”.

Uh? 🙂

broadband Business

#FTTC video outtakes #broadband #fibre

Broadband video case study – the outtakes

Just browsing through some bits of video left on the cutting room floor after we finished the FTTC case study. Thought a couple or three might be of interest.

The first one was taken with a GoPro camera positioned inside the cabinet filming the door opening and the Openreach engineer coming in to do some work. In this one you can see one of the cameramen filming the cab from the outside.

Bit like the David Attenborough nature stuff where at the end of the programme they show you how they did the filming. Nothing particularly dramatic such as a close encounter with a shark or a yeti. We were however filming outside a school and a very concerned headmaster did come out so see what was going on. He went away though I sensed that he would have been happier if he had shooed us away.

The second film is a short one taken from the outside with the open cabinet so that you can see the workings. No GoPro camera inside this time – obv we had to do multiple takes to get all the different angles in.

The third is one I took of the BT crowd in my conservatory. Of course you only see me in the case study but in actual fact there was a huge support team including the outside catering van, make up artists, continuity, clapperboy, director, producer, personal masseuse etc – you get the drift. I couldn’t fit them all in the conservatory so you get four.

Some of them will be at my Xmas bash so if you are coming to that you will be able to chat with them in person. Not often you get the chance to meet the people behind the movie eh?

Some of you have asked for a video showing the process of the installation. I didn’t get any of that off the production team but I will ask. Bear with…

Cloud competitions End User

Mugs mugs glorious mugs and colo – fantastic offer

You find me in a playful mood. This is despite the fact that my rear driver side tyre picked up a nail this morning and I had to divert via Tanvic Tyres in Newark to get the puncture fixed. Tanvic are a customer of ours and did a great job.

They made my wait easy. There was a convenient coffee machine in reception, a PC offering me free access to the internet and the whole job was done for the really good value of £17. Use them.

The only downside was that I had to sit through the Jeremy Kyle Show. You have to like that kind of thing to want to watch it & I felt sorry for the bloke manning the desk, exposed to it day in day out. He didn’t seem to mind. A happy place to work 🙂

Anyway I digress. It feels a little like the Two Ronnies show where Ronnie Corbett told a joke from his chair and continuously got sidetracked. Look it up on YouTube if you are below a certain age. They were funny stories. Classic show.  They don’t make them like they used to.

The other great show (while we are digressing) was Morecambe and Wise. They were unmissable.  My kids still like to watch them today. A couple of years ago a new friend came to our house for the first time. His name is Ervin Nagy. He is a famous Hungarian Concert pianist believe it or not and he now lives in Lincoln. We showed him the Andre Preview sketch where Eric tries to play Grieg’s Piano Concerto by Grieg. Ervin was in stitches. Their comedy transcended language and culture.

fantastic Timico mug colo giveawaySo how does any of this have anything to do with mugs and colo. It doesn’t really. It’s just the preamble to my latest and greatest mug giveaway offer. No competition this time. Just straight talking business.

I am offering a free Timico mug (the photo inset shows the mug with a branded Timico pen which I am also willing to throw in – just ask) to anyone buying colo from us between now and the end of 2012. It doesn’t matter how much colo you buy but it has to be new business. As an added extra I will chuck in a free blog post on a subject of your choice for the first five orders.

The colo will be in our spanking new data centre in Newark. If you want to come and see it let me know and I’ll organise a visit. Maybe you need some DR space or have run out of room in your existing rack or are exploring colocation for the first time. 24×7 manned Network Operation Centre? Look no further. We are the colo kids.

That landing page link includes a phone number to call or a button to press for a chat. Let me know when you have placed an order. I’ll send you the mug and pen and we can chat about the subject of the blog post. It can be on any subject, within reason and decency though you will have to trust me with the final copy. There’s also a mug for anyone referring a customer to us. Again, let me know you have done it.

Just a bit of fun. You know it makes sense 🙂

competitions End User

Jordan Watson man of action

Jordan Watson - click to see full frontal photoTimico is a great place to work and although we work hard here we also like to have a bit of fun. Last night Jordan Watson was out with the boys and the conversation somehow came to dress down Fridays.

Through his beer tinted specs Jordan accepted a bet that he wouldn’t turn up to work this Friday in a romper suit, or his “onzer” as he calls it. Jordan, who works on the Timico tech support desk boldly took up the challenge and appeared this morning in a very nice (and very cozy by the looks of it) blue and white onzer.

Note the one piece fashion item, purchased for a tenner from Primark (a value for money high street department store I’m told) comes complete with penguin faces on his feet. A fun thing to wear for both work and play.

Jordan Watson, man of action.

I’ll finish off this Friday, fin de semaine, post with a couple of parting comments. One is that I recently upgraded my SG3 to Jelly Bean with no problems but without yet seeing what it can do for me. This morning I found out that I can take photos by just saying “smile” or “cheese” or “capture” or “shoot”. V cool. The header photo, which you can click to see the whole of Jordan, resplendent in his attire was taken by saying cheese. Note I found it has to be exactly “cheese”. “Say cheese” didn’t work. Impressive.

Secondly, because we haven’t had a competition for a while I’m offering a magnificent Timico mug as a prize for the best caption for the photo of Jordan. Timico staff may enter.

broadband Business

Superfast broadband video case study by Timico and Openreach

Superfast broadband video case study

Never before seen footage of the inside of the Davies household now viewable on tinterweb.”

This is it, the video you’ve all been waiting for. Well I have anyway. A few weeks ago we shot some footage around and about Lincoln and chez Davies for a video case study of a Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) aka superfast fibre broadband installation.

Get your popcorn and fizzy drinks ready and settle in to your favourite armchair to watch this much anticipated movie. I don’t have an agent yet but if any major studios are interested in talking then you know how to get hold of me.

That’s all folks 🙂

Link to what BT has on their website

Archived Business

Looking for 3rd line VoIP engineer – can you help?

I’m looking for a 3rd line support VoIP engineer based in the Newark NOC. If you know anyone who might be interested or are interested yourself can you please drop me a line?



Business fun stuff

Annual watersports & BBQ evening another splashing success

hands up - is this team well balanced?

They're smiling now but can you spot the design flaws on this raft? The demise of team Foxy - click to see the view of the whole debacleLast week we had the annual Timico watersports evening at the Activities Away lake on Lincoln bypass. As usual a great time was had by all. I’m going to let the pictures do the talking other than to say our team won by a country mile nautical league. This was mainly thanks to the raft building prowess of Ian P Christian but also of course great teamwork.

The Hodge team works together to build a great raftwe win - what a fantastic raft! The first couple of pics are of Foxy’s team – travelling hopefully but failing to make the grade. Stay away from the high seas guys.

The second two pics are of the totally victorious Hodges’ team. We could have carried on to the Caribbean (man). Hoist the pirate flag. Splice the mainbrace.

dive dive diveI’ll finish off with a pic of couple of the lads diving into the water. Thanks to Carl Wright who stayed dry to take these photos but also got to ride in the boat:). You can see more of them on Google+.

charitable End User

No swearing day? WTF?

Ashley Carl and Luke after being shorn

Taking a look at the narrow letterbox shaped photo Luke, Cark and Ashley before the haircutthat is the header to this post you might be forgiven for thinking that it was a police identity parade. The strange thing is that the guys, Ashley, Carl and Luke are smiling. Clicking on the photo you will see that they are Timico staff, proudly wearing their branded shirts.

The mirth is becasue they have just had a haircut after betting that one of colleagues, Adam Rutter (photo withheld to protectCarl the thinker - from Timico tech support the innocent) could not go for a whole shift without swearing. I know, I know wtf do I hear you say?

Well Adam, who is a really nice guy is an inveterate swearer and undertook to maintain expletive silence in order to raise cash for the “Dogs Trust”. Adam brings his dog into work every day and keeps him in the kennel in the data centre car park.

The guys figured he didn’t have a hope so said that if he succeeded in going the whole day without upsetting Mary Whitehouse they would have their hair shaved off.

Luke looks like something out of the Adams Family whilst having his haircutTbh they really needed the haircut. They will benefit from huge side effects of the act of generosity – their consumption of shampoo will plummet and whenever they go out on the town will be able to squeeze in that extra beer because they won’t have had to spend as much time “doing their hair”.

Thanks to Faye Hemingway for performing the shearing – she has undoubted skills in that direction. Thanks also to Graham Busby for the photographs.

They raised a total of £250 which is great – if you want to chiplooks like a poignant moment for our Ashley in you can do so here.

You can also check out the kennel here.

Well done to everyone involved – great sports.

End User fun stuff

Rain doesn’t have to stop play you know

This is not a spear - it is a golf flag lying prone and lifeless on the 9th green at Belton Woods Golf Club Woodside Course

It rained yesterday. It’s been in the news. Trains cancelled or stranded unable to move due to “water on the line” – millions of gallons of it. In Lincolnshire we saw 33mm of rain fall in one day in a month that has an average rainfall of 52mm – for the whole month that is. Gigantic crashes of thunder reverberated around the Timico HQ building in Newark and flashes of lightening lit spectacularly the town darkened by the black anvil clouds above. The good honest folk of the borough took shelter wherever it could be found. Police cruised the streets in 4x4s interrogating the occasional stray pedestrian as to their sanity or motives. Noah would have been in his element.

So of course I went to play golf!

I left that last sentence as a one liner on its own for effect. Truth be told we played golf later in the day after the rains had gone. It was a warm summers evening in Belton Woods where the (by now) annual Timico golf night out took place. I hadn’t played for a while so took a few holes to get going but managed to get back into the groove. The course was somewhat waterlogged but my trusty Dryjoys kept my feet completely dry and a great time was had by all.

The videos below represent live action putting scenes of me, Kirsty Woodman and Dean Bruce, neither of whom had played before but did very well. That is all.

Archived Business

We got quality

Check this out. We just got awarded our ISO9001 certification.ISO 9001 certification for Timico Hooray. This year we will also be adding to the existing ISO27001 certification in the Timico Technology Group.

This game is a continuous process of improvement and as the company gets bigger the importance of sticking to quality processes and procedures becomes ever more important.

For some in the business this is a champagne moment – it is the culmination of a lot of hard work. For me it represents one of those moments of quiet satisfaction – another milestone on the road to the top 🙂

Bit more on this here.

Business Cloud internet

Rolls Royce visit Timico NOC as model example – well impressed

Rolls Royce visit to the Timico NOCIt’s hugely satisfying to get contacted by people out of the blue to be asked if they can come and visit your Network Operations Centre because they have heard that it is a great reference  model.

This was the case with engineering giant Rolls Royce who are building their own NOC and wanted to come and visit ours to give them some ideas. Ten of them turned up for a look around and I am pleased to report they went away mightily impressed. If anyone else out there wants a tour just drop me a line. We are proud of our NOC and the staff that operate it are a great bunch. I am always delighted to show them off to visitors.

PS they didn’t realise they were going to be photographed – it’s a security measure 🙂

Business datacentre

What do students and CEOs have in common?

One of the data halls at the new Timico data centre in Newark

Students from Lincoln University Computer Science dept visit the Timico datacentre in Newark I’m a fairly egalitarian sort of guy. CEOs from Nottinghamshire District Councils visit the new Timico data centre in NewarkIf someone says to me they have heard we built a new data centre and “can they come and see it please” I go all misty eyed and rearrange my diary to fit in. Whoever they are.

In the case of this post it is two hugely differing groups of people. The lot on the left threw away their ties after their ALevels as symbols of repression imposed on them by a controlling Establishment. They are first and second year students from the Lincoln University Computer Science Department. I was pleased to find out that among their courses they study are networking and virtualisation (plus the c-word).

The extremely respectable bunch on the right are clearly well practiced in smiling for the camera (Galaxy S2). They are the collected CEOs of all the District Councils in Nottinghamshire for whom we got out the good biscuits.

I enjoyed meeting both sets of visitors and have to say to the students that I’m sorry they didn’t get any biscuits but there weren’t enough packets to go round:). Thanks go to Timico’s Ian P Christian for the tour on both occasions.

Archived Business datacentre

Advertorial for Timico Managed Service Provider Partner Programme

Timico Manged Service Provider partners get a tour of the Newark datacentre facilitiesI realise that most of you reading this blog think that life at an ISP is exciting. We seem to only do fun things you say? Pigeon versus broadband racing, major industry parties at the London Transport Museum to celebrate the end of the IPv4 address space, Charity world record attempts, 4G testing on double decker busses in London, cake baking competitions, Christmas parties, offsite seminars in 5 star country houses etc etc etc.

You would of course be completely right. What you don’t necessarily see is all the nitty gritty hard work that goes on back stage that keeps the show on the road.

4g Engineer mobile connectivity

More O2 LTE trial datapoints – very impressive upload times

Continuing with the day’s theme of the O2 LTE (4G) trials I found myself back in the Devonshire Arms with Cliff Saran of Computer Weekly. I’ll leave most of the story to Cliff and his column but I herewith provide you with the video footage of 4 more iPlayer streams – we could have streamed more but screen size becomes an issue.

At the Piazza in Covent Garden I uploaded a 298MB video in eight minutes at 9Mbps uplink speed. O2 LTE 4G upload speeds at the Piazza in Covent Garden
In the Devonshire Arms I videoed the process of setting up the iPlayer streams and then uploaded that video again to YouTube so that we could compare performance with the Covent Garden upload.

This time the file size was 795Megabytes

Business olympics

Timico’s Olympic preparations – a public service announcement

All sensible network operators around the world are completing their preparations for the London 2012 Olympics at the moment. And Timico is no exception; we and our strategic partners have been planning for the Olympics for some time and have taken a number of mitigating actions.

We’ve emailed all of our customers to give a summary of the likely impacts and the steps we’re taking to minimise problems. This blog expands on that email with some more details. You can also see what some of our strategic partners are doing to maintain their network integrity during the events.

How busy is the Timico network going to be?

Cloud Engineer media

Videos to delight and entertain

Couple of videos here for your delectation and delight. We had a Dell film crew come and visit a few weeks ago. They were very professional, all three of them, and had flown over from gay Paree the night before. Their one mistake was flying into Manchester where they stayed the night and then took a 2 1/2 hour taxi ride to Newark the next day. Next time they come they said they will try East Midlands airport – less than an hour away. Very sensible I’d say.

Anyway here are the vids:

There were three of them. I don’t know what happened to the first. I must have said something.

Apps Engineer mobile connectivity

Did you know? some facts from around the world on LTE / 4G

iPlayer screenshots using 4G - multiple simultaneous streamsDid you know1 that LTE was launched in the USA in December 2010 where a most aggressive competition between operators has been taking place, led by Verizon? In the USA LTE has high penetration across all devices, comes at no premium over 3G data services and LTE users typically use around 50% more data than 3G users.

LTE was also launched in Germany in December 2010 but has had a slow adoption rate with the initial focus being on fixed/mobile substitution. This I understand is in part due to regulations ensuring that owners of LTE bandwidth have to service “the final third” as part of their licensing arrangements. There isn’t much of a choice of devices on LTE in Germany.

South Korea was relatively late to the game here. They launched in July 2011 but had nationwide coverage by mid 2012 and has the highest penetration rate, focussed mainly on selling to consumers. LTE has brought innovative new services to the South Koreans  eg richer high quality interactive maps.

Norralorrapeople know this. Brings the scheduling of 4G in the UK into perspective doesn’t it?

1 source Ericsson & GSA (Oct 12th 2011)

Archived Business

staff wanted

the new Timico Network Operations Centre in Newark has gone live

Get on board – we are looking for staff for our Newark based Network Operations Centre. Vacancies include a 24×7 NOC position, 1st and 2nd line engineers and a “Helpdesk to Helpdesk” person to interface with IT Staff of our larger customers.

We are also after a senior network engineer Cisco, Juniper, MPLS, BGP,VPLS, TCP/IP (both IPv4 and IPv6), GRE, IPSec, PPP (including Radius), HSRP and SNMP.

Check out the vacancies here.

4g Engineer ofcom

O2 LTE – the game changer

iPlayer screenshots using 4G - multiple simultaneous streams4G is like lightning, it’s an eye opener and seriously enhances the mobile data experience. This post talks about the truly exciting O2 4G trials in London and thinks about how the technology is going to change the mobile game.

Mobile data is already an important feature in the business communication landscape. As an ISP we see demand for it in the area of machine to machine, rapid site deployment, backup solutions for Disaster Recovery scenarios and of course straightforward internet browsing and email access from mobile devices.

The strategic importance of mobile data has even led Timico to invest in an Ethernet connection direct into the O2 network. We can now offer mobile MPLS solutions that sit within the same environment as existing fixed line MPLS networks – ideal for businesses that need security in both fixed and mobile networks.

Over the last year or two in the UK the focus in fixed line broadband has been on Fibre To The Cabinet, or in marketing jargon Fibre Broadband. With downlink speeds of “up to”40Mbps (to be upgraded to 80Mbps this coming April) the technology is revolutionising how people use their broadband connection. Add in the growth in high quality streaming video and gaming services and it is easy to see how the additional available bandwidth will be consumed.

Until very recently the mobile world, in the UK at least, has remained firmly in the domain of 3G – a technology that now seems relatively stone aged compared with Fibre Broadband. HSDPA makes the experience more bearable but it is still many Mega-bits apart from its fixed line counterpart.

The mobile companies are poised to change all this with LTE (Long Term Evolution) otherwise known as 4G. Trials are being conducted in a small number of locations in the UK.  Timico is the first O2 Service Provider partner to be invited onto their London trials I am pleased to be able to report on my experiences.

This service is like lightning. It’s fast, speedy, call it what you like it’s a life changer. It’s been one of those projects that has been a pleasure to be involved in.

With only 25 masts around central London coverage is nowhere near what you would describe as ubiquitous but this is only a trial. When in a coverage area the speeds are great.

I started off in McDonalds at Kings Cross with a dongle fresh out of the box. After installation of the software, which was easy, the dongle performed an automatic firmware upgrade, also easy, using its own 4G connection.

At McDonalds I was getting over 13Mbps down 4g speeds at McDonalds in Kings Crossand 540Kbps up which in my mind was a bit disappointing though I’m not sure it should have been. I have experimented with O2s 4G at their offices in Slough and seen much faster speeds both up and down  than this. In fact this speed at McDonalds is faster than I get from my home ADSL2+ connection so I couldn’t grumble.

I knew I could do better than this. Roaming around town on the top deck of a number 25 bus I got 15.5Megs down4g speeds atop a number 25 bus in London and amazingly 25Megs up – near Wardour Street. The ping times for all these measurements were impressive.

In torrential rain I moved around on foot dipping into various places to check out the speeds and moving generally towards known good hotspots.

In the end I took shelter in a pub called the Devonshire Arms on Duke Street, just off Oxford Street. Sat in the window and sipping a cup of tea I hit the jackpot with4g speeds seen in the Devonshire Arms on Duke Street 40Megs down and 23 Megs up. I did various tests including varying the browser – Chrome was much better than IE. I also did video calls with both Timico’s own VoIP service and Skype.

The screenshot on the right is of four iPlayer daytime TV streams.  The things you have to do to get a blog post written!

multiple iPlayer streams on a single screenshot using O2 4g

The highest I have seen recorded  is 97Megs in the O2 Arenaspeeds seen on o2 4g trials at the O2 Dome itself. The 2,600 MHz LTE itself will go to 150Megs but the dongle tech doesn’t currently support this. We do have to remember this is very much a test rather than a production rollout so it isn’t going to be perfect but even considering this the experience has been great.

There were a few observations to be made out of this trial. Themobile data usage increases dramatically with the higher available speeds of 4g raw speed I saw with O2s 4G was terrific when in good coverage areas. The amount of data you can download in a very small amount of time is going to change the game. In upgrading the dongle firmware for example I used 50MB in around a minute. If you consider that until recently a typical “fair use” policy for an “unlimited” data package was 500MB then you can see that the model is going to have to change. The backhaul capacity that mobile operators are going to have to build in to their networks is going to have to see growth measured in orders of magnitude.

Spectrum allocation for 4G rollout is going to be very important. At 2,600MHz the bandwidth you can get is much higher than at 800MHz, say. However the in-building penetration at the higher speed is not as good so the overall network design represents an interesting (though not insurmountable I’m sure) challenge for engineers. This makes the forthcoming Ofcom spectrum auction important – there is a mix of spectra that is going to be optimum for commercial success.

As a side note it is going to be interesting to see how much the operators are prepared to pay for spectrum – they all think they overpaid for 3G but the demand has not been there for most of the time that 3G has been around. It is different this time and people are starting to get used to paying for the bandwidth they use.

From an end user perspective the ability to have genuinely fast internet access on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone is going to change their experience. Whilst WiFi is becoming more common, at least in pubs, coffee shops and other public places the need to authenticate is still a nuisance. Also not having to wait whilst a screen loads up on your mobile phone needs to become a human right!

It is certainly going to drive more business into the mobile environment. Timico, for example, gives all its salesforce an iPad so that they can demonstrate Timico applications and our customer portal on the fly at a customer’s premises. An iPad with 40Megs of bandwidth all of a sudden becomes a low cost endpoint for a telepresence HD conferencing system.

The gaming experience is going to be great1. Who knows what mobility combined with high speed internet will do for that industry, freed from the shackles of the lounge or the bedroom. City wide action games? Orienteering for the 21st century?

The use of mobile technology for backup purposes will also extend into many more areas of businesses. Typically 3G is used where only low bandwidth is required or where any bandwidth is better than no bandwidth. 4G becomes a viable solution for offices – even company HQs.

Of course with many more people on a production 4G network the average speeds available may well come down but LTE really is a game changer.


It’s nice to to be in a position of being able to play with these new toys but there is a very serious business side to this. As those of you who have met me recently will probably know I’ve been testing  the technology for a few weeks now – Timico is the first O2 service Provider partner to be given access to their 4G network. It forms part of the long term mobile data strategy of our business and follows nicely on from the direct connection into the O2 network I referred to at the start of the post.

I should finish off with a big thank you to O2 for including me in the trials. It’s good to be able to work with such a progressive partner.

1 I’m not a gamer but one of my kids would spend his entire live tethered to the Xbox. I have heard the tinny VoIP it emits.


datacentre End User

photos from the surreal world of a CTO

Monty Python has nothing on thisThe smartphoneanonymous guest at Stapleford Park Hotel revolution continues. Probably the biggest single game changer has been  the incorporation of the digital camera. We all have memories  of photos taken during major world events, the Arab spring, the London riots and no doubt the coming London Olympics.

the two alternative forms of transport at the Stapleford Park HotelPhotos of the mundane can be just as interesting and unexpected. I offer here some shots from an average week at the Timico coal face. I’ve omitted some of the more exciting pics because wanted to give you a real feel for day to day work at a business ISP.back on the Monty Python theme

I’ve left out any shot containing the datacentre or the 24×7 NOC because these have so much coverage of late that I have a feeling people want to see other aspects of the job.

The Little Drummer Boy grows upAlso there is no point here in mentioning the fact that we won an ITSPA Award because I did that in this post and Vint Cerf is covered here.

So there you go. It isn’t a glamorous life but somebody has to tread that mill. The hotel, Stapleford Park, might want to get an expert in to sort out the damp that is clearly visible on that drum.

I don’t always get to stay at this type of hotel – sometimes they are fully booked  and I end up staying at the Kings Cross Travelodge as I did last night. There is a story behind that which  I will share with you next week1but you can picture the scene – living like a duke one day and being woken up by incessant noise of tube trains and the beep of reversing lorries the next. I’ll also be posting about some of the content of the #Timico2012 customer conference. V interesting stuff from Cisco, and O2 in particular.

That’s all folks.

1 I know, I know I’m such a tease.

Business media

Experience preferred but not essential – the art of movie making

the Dell  film crew gathers round to start shooting at the Timico data centre in NewarkJust had yet another film crew in. You know what it’s like. photo of me looking serious (and eloquent) taken by Dell film crewEarly start,  breakfast provided by the outside catering company. Shoot a few scenes followed  by bacon sandwich. Bit more then 3 course sit down lunch – it’s hungry work this location based filming1.

This one was from Dell. They had flown into Manchester from Paris and took a 2 1/2 hour taxi ride from the airport. Should have flown into

Engineer mobile connectivity

Murco 3G Mobile Access Management case study – huge operational impact

Mobile data has been a bit of a theme recently on the blog. It must be trendy1. This is quite gratifying because when Timico was set up 8 years ago this Easter the mobile play was part of the vision of an overall convergence story that also included IP data networks and VoIP. At the time the sales pitch was the convenience of being able to source all your communications requirements from one supplier and on one bill. The approach back then was pretty revolutionary and stood us in good stead.

What we couldn’t foresee at the time was how the use of mobile data would grow and the effects of the more powerful mobile handset on our patterns of behaviour. That early decision to include mobile in the portfolio is now starting to payback and today we are announcing a case study with customer Murco Petroleum.

Last Autumn we got our first Ethernet connection into the O2 3G data network. The plan was to offer customers a cost effective multi-tentant version of the secure APN (Access Point Name – don’t ask) used by large corporations as private mobile Wide Area Networks. The resulting Mobile Access Management service is what is being used by Murco today as a mobile backup to their Timico broadband based MPLS WAN – the key infrastructure over which they carry secure payment transactions.

This MAM service has some significant benefits

Business UC voip

Timico Technology Group acquires Redwood Telecommunications < good stuff

Redwood Telecommunications - a great asset to the Timico Technology GroupI am pleased to announce that as of today we have Redwood Telecommunications as a new member of the Timico Technology Group.  London based Redwood is a highly professional  provider of communications solutions with particular expertise in Mitel and Avaya IP telephony systems.

This is is a highly strategic acquisition for both parties. It beefs up Timico’s capabilities in the VoIP systems space and gives us a base in London. Like it or not London is where a lot of the commercial action is in this world. Redwood also has a great list of customers that includes Jimmy Choo – my daughter will be after a discount !:).

Redwood, which will continue to be run by the same management team under MD Charlie Whelpton, will benefit from gaining access to the Timico network, system and data centre assets and skills.

This is a very exciting world to be working in but you have to be one of the players. There is no point in sitting on your hands and watching the world pass by.

It is interesting though that whilst we see a lot of hype surrounding new technologies & platforms aka the current frenzy over the Facebook IPO at the end of the day1 it is sticking to the basics that makes long term value and sense.

Warren Buffet, for example, invests mostly in areas of businesses that he sees value in rather than those that attract all the media interest. In our business, communications, we need the technology but most important is the investment in relationship with, and the attitude towards the customer. The customer is king. No customers = no business. Lots of happy customers = long term business value. Timico is in the value game.

Redwood’s philosophy fits very well with that of the rest of the group and I look forward to working with the team.

1 when all’s said and done etc 🙂

Business datacentre

Service status updates at Timico – Thunderbirds are go

service status reports at TimicoSome time ago I mentioned we were working on a new service status update page for the Timico website. Well the status of this service is now “up”. It’s been in testing for some time but I welcome any comments or observations as you come across them.

There is a lot of system development going on at Timico. Ultimately I expect the service status page to be integrated with our newly rolled out Service Now implementation although there are a few hurdles to over come first not the least being the amount of deep jargon that seems to fly around incidents and on ticketing systems. The service status page needs to be easy to read and understand. I am also wary of a status that always shows up a green so in our case the fault stays visible for 7 days after it has been fixed. If you sign up to email alerts you can get access all historical data prior to that.

One thing that caught me a bit by surprise was the number of service types we have to cover. It’s only when you see them all graphically illustrated in front of you that it hits home. Mostly they all come as facts and figures on reports.

You can see the new service status page here. Note that this site is hosted at a totally separate external location – if the entire Timico network crashed you would still be able to see that it has done so!

That’s all folks

Business Cloud datacentre

The communications world of the future #TimicoDC

Datacentre of the future

For the odd one of you that missed last week’s datacentre opening day I now have a few photos to fling your way (rhyming purely coincidental but reveals a deep natural talent 🙂 )

reception open for business at Timico datacentre in Newark

We had a great line up of VIP guests including from Newark Madam Mayoress, Mr Mayor and our local Member of Parliament the Rt Hon Patrick Mercer OBE, pictured here with our Chairman Tim Radford.

Mr Mayor, Madame Mayoress, Rt Hon Patrick MErcer MP and Mr Tim Radford attend the official opening of the Timico Newark Datacentre

Hover your mouse over photos for narrative.

TV cameras roll at opening of Timico datacentre in Newark

We had the TV cameras in and have also recorded the event for our own purposes (available in time for Christmas).

Timico Chairman Tim Radford makes a few opening remarks at opening of Newark datacentre

Tim gave a very inspiring speech supporting local business initiatives and talked about the great communications infrastructure that Newark has making it an ideal place to do business.

Patrick Mercer MP  swipes iPad to open virtual curtains officially opening the Timico datacentre

Patrick Mercer swiped some virtual curtains on an iPad that opened curtains on the big screen in the NOC revealing a virtual plaque replicating the real one downstairs in reception.

Trefor Davies is interviewed for the TV at Timico datacentre opening


Trefor Davies says a few words about Timico datacentre capability

I was interviewed by Central Television and then gave what I can only imagine must have been a highly intelligent and entertaining talk about the new datacentre to an audience of over 200 invited IT Directors, CEOs and CFOs.

Panel discusses future of IT at Timico datacentre opening

We were fortunate in having a top class panel that discussed the future of the communications world for business – you can wait for the video to come out – it would take too long to discuss on the blog.
audience focused on panel discussion at Timico datacentre opening


artistic shot inside data hall at new Timico datacentre

The panelists were Christian Craggs, Director of O2 Strategy, Delfino Canas, Strategy Director of BT Wholesale, internet entrepreneur Rob Wilmot and last but not least Ewan Macleod of “Mobile Industry Review” fame.

another artistic shot inside Timico datacentre

Incidentally we have a great meeting room on the top floor of the new new building that can be used for many purposes – look out for news in the future of events that we will be planning here.

last artistic shot showing front of new Timico datacentre Finally if you are wondering what on earth that fancy dress get up is all about in the header photo then join the club. The things I have to do for this business!!

Keep the faith…:)

Oh and I almost forgot. Thanks to everyone who helped to make the day a great one. This includes staff, the panelists, our VIP guests and of course customers both existing and of the future variety. Having been involved in many successful events over the years I can honestly say this was up there with the best of them.