Aberystwyth may not be the most geographically connected place on earth, but the introduction of superfast broadband in November 2014 has opened up a world of possibilities for one Ceredigion-based company with global ambitions. The company may be located a long way from key customers, but the introduction of superfast broadband has not only made them feel less remote as a company, but certainly made them much more connected as a result.
Environment Systems, which was formed in 2003 and employs 30 people ranging from ecologists to geographic information system (GIS) analysts and statisticians, is a specialist environment consultancy with a valued reputation from its UK and international client base for its expertise in data analysis - specifically geoinformatics and earth observation.
The company can detect the spread of invasive species in the UK, monitor the effectiveness of agri-environment schemes and even map changes in habitats on remote islands in the Caribbean and south Atlantic.
The company leverages such environmental knowledge and earth observation skills, statistical analysis and mapping expertise to provide planners, policy makers and environment professionals with the evidence and insight they need.
Steve Keyworth, Director, said, “Our main specialism is remote sensing or the processing of environmental data from satellites and drones. We are driving research projects from our offices in Aberystwyth that place us at the leading edge of developments in a number of fields whether we are pioneering new data workflows or developing algorithms to deliver an unrivalled understanding of the prevailing state of our environment.
Facing connection challenges
“We may well be operating at the cutting edge of technology, and it’s hard to believe now, but until late last year we had to ration the use of the Internet in the office thanks to our painfully slow 3Mbps connection speed.
“We had become obsessed with tracking the progress of the introduction of superfast broadband as soon at its roll out was announced. When it became available in Aberystwyth I think we must have been one of the first companies to sign up!
Revolutionising how we work
“We now have an incredible 100Mbp connection speeds. There’s no way that we could go back to where we were before. It has revolutionised what we are able to do on a daily basis as a business and how we approach projects in the future. We can now easily move and receive much larger data sets than ever before, coupled by incredible upload speeds. The cost of superfast broadband, while marginally higher than our previous Internet connection, pales into insignificance when compared to the added value gained by our business systems.
The potential that superfast broadband offers us in supporting our future business aspirations is immeasurable.
“We are looking at introducing a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) system, but in the meantime we are already making use of applications only available to us thanks to superfast broadband, including GoToMeeting, interactive webinars, increased remote log-in, secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) and large file transfer. We are also looking to build on our use of cloud-based business applications by further developing our cloud-based data processing capability.”