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From September 2013, the Redwood prize will be awarded to the student achieving the best overall performance in the King’s College London MSc Telecommunications and Internet Technology course. Named by the Board of Examiners for the Institute of Telecommunications, the chosen recipient will be formally presented with their prize before their peers at an annual ceremony held in November.
At each year’s prize giving ceremony, the winner of the award is to be honoured with a trophy, decorated with the King’s College London crest, as well as a personalised silver medal engraved with their name. The chosen winner will also be rewarded for their accomplishments on the course with prize money to the sum of £1000.
Redwood’s donation to King’s has also been matched by sister company, Content Guru, with the money from this contribution used to set up another prize: ‘The Content Guru Prize for Best Performance in Strategic Management’.
“We are delighted that Redwood Technologies has decided to support the College by backing the foundation of this new award,” said Professor Hamid Aghvami, Director of the Institute of Telecommunications at King’s College London. “Every year, the Institute of Telecommunications works with gifted students from around the world as they undertake world-leading research at the college. This award will enable the College to support these individuals and help them realise their full potential.”
“I’m delighted on a personal level as I was a student at King’s and Professor Aghvami (Dr Aghvami in my day) was my tutor. He is a great motivator and the guidance he gave and the knowledge gained from his department continue to help me in my job today.” said Sean Taylor, Managing Director at Redwood Technologies.
“At a wider level, over the last 185 years, King’s College London graduates have had a profound impact on the development of science and technology as we know it today. We hope that the foundation of the Redwood Prize will help to inspire the next generation of King’s students to carry on this tradition, keeping King’s College London at the forefront of technological innovation for many years to come.”]]>
The 400 revolutionises the possibilities of communications technology by incorporating significant upgrades to the DNX’s multi-core CPU and memory capabilities, creating the most powerful server ever offered by Redwood. Eight parallel 64-bit processors, each with its own dedicated memory channel and memory banks, replace the single processing unit of the DNX-1200, representing a quantum leap forward in the power and resilience of the platform.
This unprecedented processing capability provides the capacity demanded by the latest RTSinfonia® Microkernel, the MK2013, to accommodate the increasing volume and complexity of Redwood services. Additionally the higher density of the chassis, which makes the 400 a third of the size with three times the capacity of the DNX-1200, enables the platform to be more easily combined into high-powered, resource-sharing INX clusters than its predecessors, providing users with significantly more power while optimising physical space usage.
The storage method utilised in previous DNX models, based on a dual disk setup, has also been substantially revamped, replaced by an array of up to eight SAS (serial attached SCSI) drives which provide the capacity necessitated by the 400. The flexibility of the enhanced DNX architecture enables either SAS Solid State Disks (SSDs) or SAS Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) to be utilised, depending on individual requirements.
Each DNX platform serves as the basis for the extensive range of Redwood communications services, providing the underlying capacity and reliability at the hardware level. The open architecture of DNX hardware accounts for the flexibility of Redwood applications, which can seamlessly interoperate with a huge number of external systems and processes without compromising performance.
Martin Taylor, Sales and Marketing Director at Redwood Technologies, comments:
“It’s always exciting when we release the next model in the DNX series, but the 400 represents more than a simple upgrade – it is a state-of-the-art communications system that is radically more advanced than even the DNX-1200, which itself is a market-leading system. When we released the original DNX back in 1995, we were instantly able to offer a far wider range of services than our contemporaries. The reliability, capacity and flexibility that made this first platform so effective are maxims to which we’ve strictly adhered, and the 400 represents the pinnacle of our twenty years of hardware development.”]]>
The project, spread between 2012 and 2015, looks to realise savings of £180 through the re-use of applications in a centralised Application Store, as well as £160 million through data centre consolidation. Through the CloudStore applications library, total sales in the 13-month period from March 2012 – March 2013 amounted to £18,244,138. The overall trend is positive, with the latest recorded month amounting to roughly a third of total spending, giving every indication that the project will continue its drive towards creating a successful business exchange.
Redwood was previously approved for the framework in the first and second tender requests, in February and October 2012 respectively, forming part of a select group of SaaS and Specialist Cloud Services providers. Through the G-Cloud portal, organisations such as the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Justice are able to search for IT services which are charged on a pay-per-usage basis, ultimately saving on CapEx investments demanded by traditionally sourced solutions.
Sean Taylor, Managing Director of Redwood Technologies, commented:
“We’re pleased that Redwood Technologies has been re-selected as part of the G-Cloud initiative, which in little more than a year has already fomented a steady amount of business. As the framework continues to grow, more and more organisations will be able to experience the benefits of the cloud delivery model and the principles of resource-sharing. G-Cloud is the only policy of its kind in Europe, and has already begun to realise its potential to significantly aid the UK economy, which only narrowly avoided a triple-dip recession in April.”]]>
The FCA survey states that the total number of complaints made against financial services companies rose to nearly 3.5 million in the second half of 2012. Of this total, an estimated 2.1 million complaints were made in relation to mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) policies, a 5% rise on the figure for 2011, says the FCA. Though the genesis of the PPI scandal stretches back more than a decade, it continues to generate hundreds of thousands of customer complaints each month, and remains an ongoing source of mistrust between banks and their customers.
“Since 2008, successive crises and scandals have rocked consumer confidence in the financial services industry, the PPI scandal being a prime example,” commented Irfan Habib, Senior Solutions Consultant at Redwood Technologies, a provider of mission-critical communications to some of the world’s leading banks.
“Trust is one of the most valuable assets that a financial institution can have.” Habib continued, “Businesses in the financial services sector must start doing more to promote greater transparency and protect the interests of their consumers. A big part of this is simply making it easier for customer to get information and services relevant to them, such as interest rate increases or changes in legislation.”
“There are technology challenges, because different communications channels have always been considered in isolation in the past. This means the customer experience is inconsistent across different methods – web and mobile banking, calling or emailing a contact centre and using SMS or social networks (if the bank decides to open up those avenues). Technology has now moved on to the point where financial institutions can start to monitor, react and get pro-active with every channel of communication. All these requirements should now be considered elements of the ‘contact centre’.”
Habib added, “However, there are also cultural challenges, and these will take longer to address. Many banks simply see channels like web and mobile as an opportunity to cut out the cost of providing hands-on customer service. They are starting to realise, as customer complaints rise and pressure from the regulators increases, that this mentality is no longer sustainable, and it will start to cost them – whether they incur penalty fines or simply see their customers go elsewhere.”]]>
This fine is the latest in a series of severe penalties issued by the ICO, as they seek to clamp down on illegal marketing campaigns. In November last year, the regulatory body dealt out fines totalling £440,000 to the directors of a company engaged in an illegal campaign that sent hundreds of thousands of unwanted spam texts to consumers.
The ICO’s commitment to meting out these heavy punishments has also been matched by UK communications industry regulator, Ofcom. In 2010, the maximum penalty that Ofcom is able to impose was raised significantly from £50,000 to £2,000,000. In late 2012, the industry regulator began to exercise these powers more liberally, in one case issuing a fine of £750,000 for failure to meet industry standards on silent and abandoned calls.
The tough stance of industry regulators appears set to continue. In recent weeks, the ICO has announced its intention to “impose significant penalties” on two more companies for similar breaches of industry regulations. In every such case, the organisation is empowered to issue substantial fines up to the sum of £500,000. Meanwhile, a further 10 businesses remain under ICO investigation.
“The complexity of dialler systems means that maintaining compliance with industry guidelines can be a technically challenging process,” explains Mushfaqur Rahman, Project Manager at Redwood Technologies, a provider of predictive dialler solutions. “As a consequence of this, many companies have historically been lax in ensuring their dialler systems are legally compliant.”
Rahman continued: “The current tough stance of industry regulators is now forcing telemarketing businesses to be more rigorous in ensuring that their outbound infrastructure is compliant with the latest standards. This is great news for the consumer, and likely to have a positive long-term effect on the reputation of the contact centre industry as a whole.”]]>
According to the most recent published figures, Rightmove’s website is the 6th busiest in the UK, coming in after only Facebook, Google, Youtube, eBay and Amazon. The site’s popularity in the UK continues to escalate, with a 20% increase in page views on last year, placing it ahead of even BBC News and making it the busiest of all British websites.
Its collaborative partnership of joint innovation with Redwood helps Rightmove stay firmly at the head of its market. As part of the 2,000 enhancements which it made to its platforms in the last year, it signed an exclusive 4-year contract with Redwood for communications services targeted at increasing both the quantity and quality of leads which it delivers to agents.
The cloud model of the Redwood-built storm platform has meant that Rightmove has been able to scale seamlessly as more and more traffic has been generated. As the programme of service improvements has been rolled out with Redwood over recent months, estate and lettings agents have seen a transformational uplift in the number of calls they receive – for many, the quantity of calls has increased by over 100%.
The Redwood platform has opened up new options for Rightmove to help it turn web visits into calls, as well as providing estate and lettings agents with tools to enhance their conversion rates and maximise their competitiveness as the property markets recover their momentum.]]>
Relocation from the company’s current UK headquarters, also in Bracknell, will take place at the end of May 2013, coinciding with the twentieth anniversary of Redwood Technologies Ltd’s foundation.
Work is underway fitting out Radius Court with a range of high-quality facilities, including well-equipped meeting rooms, a state-of-the-art demonstration suite, and a gym for company employees. Most importantly, at 36,000 square feet, Radius Court provides the necessary headroom to accommodate Redwood’s continuing expansion in the UK market.
“The acquisition of Radius Court marks an important step change for Redwood Technologies Ltd as we plan for our third decade of UK operations,” said Sean Taylor, Redwood Group Director, commenting on the purchase of the site. “As last month’s launch of Redwood Technologies BV in the Netherlands demonstrates, this is a period of strategic growth across all our key markets, and it is important to ensure that the company’s investment in physical facilities keeps pace with the speed of our technological advancement and the expansion of our business.”
Taylor continued, “Radius Court is a high quality facility in a highly sought-after area and I am delighted to announce our plans to relocate there. I firmly believe that this new head office will provide the perfect foundation on which Redwood can build sustained UK success over the next several years.”]]>
In many markets, a lack of standardisation and testing for Charging Data Records (CDRs) has meant that communications providers have been billing inaccurately, sometimes seriously so. This, coupled with the inability of many older billing systems to account accurately for the non-call charges associated with today’s multimedia and IP communications services, has led to a crisis of trust and capability that threatens the continued growth of the European reseller sector.
The UK’s new Ofcom proposals aim to tighten up standards of accuracy for billing and include maximum error rates for billing systems as well as demands for enhanced visibility across processes through improved monitoring and reporting. Additionally, large fixed and mobile voice providers will also be required to submit their billing systems to audit by Ofcom before billing is implemented.
Martin Taylor, co-founder of Redwood Technologies, comments:
“If passed, Ofcom’s new regulations will create a range of exciting new opportunities in the industry – however, they will also cause problems for many resellers and carriers. We’re fortunate enough to have been successfully accredited to the German regulator’s stringent standards for a decade, and this has given us invaluable experience in providing compliant – not to mention fair – billing solutions to our resellers and carrier partners. We’re confident that our technology, coupled with our experience in providing cloud services through partners, will help spread compliant billing capabilities throughout the sector.”
Exacting regulations have already been in place for the last ten years in Germany, Europe’s largest telecommunications market. It is a requirement for companies operating in the telecommunications sector to submit to regular independent, third-party-examinations by an accredited agent of the Federal Network Agency (in German the Bundesnetzagentur), the country’s regulatory body for electricity, gas, telecommunications, post and railway markets.
As the core technology provider behind numerous billing deployments throughout Germany, Redwood Technologies was recently audited by Dipl.-Ing. (Master-qualified Engineer) Stefan Eberle, the public certified and sworn-in expert for telecommunications of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Berlin (IHK-Berlin). Following three days of detailed testing and analysis at Redwood’s UK laboratories, Eberle issued the renewed certificate of compliance on March 14th 2013, enabling Redwood’s billing technology to continue in operation with Germany’s major networks, including Deutsche Telekom.
By delivering the same reliable and compliant technology through a cloud-based model, Redwood Technologies enables partners to gain complete control and visibility over their billing processes, with fully customisable tariffs ensuring that only the relevant parts of any transaction are charged. Additionally, Redwood’s platform produces reports that drill down into detail across multiple layers, providing resellers with accountable data on their own and their customers’ transactions. An automated calculator produces an estimated total bill and this can be compared against actual results to enable pre-emptive investigation of any potential discrepancy.
Stefan Eberle, the public certified and sworn-in expert of IHK-Berlin, commented:
“This Ofcom proposal does not come as a surprise. Ten years ago, the German telecommunications industry was suffering from the same problems – many organisations were providing billing that was simply inaccurate. For this reason, we introduced new, more stringent regulations, and these ushered in a complete change of billing practices across the entire sector.
“There needs to be more understanding that when it comes to billing, the switch doesn’t make mistakes – errors are made by individuals, or result from poor tariffing. In a voice call, for example, there are technically three stages of the process that are tracked by the switch – the first is from the connection to the answer, the second for the duration of the actual connection, and the final stage is from the end of the connection through the cleardown phase. Of these three intervals, organisations should only bill for the actual connection phase. What we found in Germany, and what has now been seen in the UK, is that without any regulation, many businesses will simply charge for the entire duration of the call, distorting the overall bill.
“The Ofcom imposition is a step forward for the UK telecommunications industry. And we are pleased, in the midst of this regulatory reform, to be able to once again accredit Redwood Technologies for a billing system that remains fully compliant with German regulations, and should serve as a positive example for good billing practices in the UK. The open nature of the technology and the accountable reporting are precisely what is required to promote best practice.”]]>
Operating out of a new head office in The Hague, close to KPN headquarters, Redwood Technologies BV is to focus on the development and deployment of new technology, including that which is used to underpin the recently launched storm Benelux platform. Meanwhile Content Guru will work closely with the newly established company, specialising in the provision of cloud deployments of Redwood solutions.
The new Netherlands-based team is to operate out of a new head office in The Hague, close to KPN headquarters, and will be headed up by Country Manager, Michael van den Brink. Van den Brink joins the company from KPN, bringing with him more than a decade of telecommunications industry experience.
Asked about his new Country Manager role, van den Brink commented: “I’m very excited at the opportunity to work for Redwood Technologies. I have a strong belief in the company and the technology, and I am confident that we have a unique proposition that will continue to be successful throughout not only the Benelux, but also Redwood’s other global markets. I have already been made to feel very welcome and it’s clear that my colleagues really enjoy working for the company, which creates a very positive atmosphere.
“Because of the flexibility of Redwood’s platforms, we’re able to offer a wide range of solutions to address very real concerns throughout the Benelux market. One of the key differentiators is the ability to provide not only packaged products for simple business needs, but also complex, fully integrated solutions for complicated, large-scale requirements – there’s something for everyone. I look forward to using my experience in the Benelux market to help develop the strategies that take Redwood Technologies to new heights across the continent.”
Formally launched on the 1st November 2012, storm Benelux is a key part of Redwood and Content Guru’s ongoing global strategy. With the 7th largest population and the 6th largest economy in the EU, the Benelux is a highly important European market. The Benelux deployment has extended the availability of Redwood services to this key region, enabling the platform to provide mission-critical communications to an ever greater number of established European businesses and institutions.
The foundation of the two companies represents the next major step in this global strategy, as Redwood Technologies seeks to build on its firm foundations in the region and consolidate its European footprint. Working closely with key regional partner, KPN, the company’s team of specialist engineers will be responsible for maintaining the Netherlands-based platform, guaranteeing the highest quality of service for storm’s increasing number of European customers.
“This is a critical market for us and the success of storm Benelux is a key part of our ongoing European strategy,” explained Sean Taylor, Managing Director of Redwood Technologies. “Given the importance of the region, it was vital that we appointed a truly exceptional individual to lead our new Netherlands team as our operations in the Benelux enter a crucial stage of development.”
Taylor continued: “Michael’s managerial credentials and close ties to our key regional partner made him the ideal candidate for the role. We are delighted to welcome Michael to the business, and I have every confidence that Redwood Technologies BV will flourish under his stewardship.”]]>