Today, we have the pleasure of having the CEO at Zeetta Networks give us an insight into 5G-ENCODE and their future endeavors.

1 – What do you do?

I am the co-founder and CEO at Zeetta Networks, a UK network technology provider, and leading partner of 5G-ENCODE.

5G-ENCODE is a Bristol-based, pioneering project looking to make the benefits of 5G technology a reality for UK manufacturers.

The project is one of the UK government’s biggest investments in 5G for manufacturing to date and has been set up to establish clear business cases and value propositions for the application of 5G technology in an industrial context.

Led by Zeetta Networks, activity started in early 2020 and will run until March 2022. Our key objective is to design and deliver a private 5G network within the National Composites Centre.

This will be used to explore new business models and 5G technologies, including network slicing and splicing, within an industrial environment. We’re focusing specifically on three areas:

  • AR/VR to support design, manufacturing and training
  • Monitoring and tracking of time sensitive assets
  • Wireless real-time in-process monitoring and analytics

These use cases will be sector agnostic and will be deployed across a range of industries enabling new business models and opportunities, streamlining operations and creating additional revenue streams.

2 – What’s the most exciting thing about what you’re doing?

The most exciting aspect of the 5G-ENCODE project is the progress we’re making towards realising 5G use cases for the manufacturing sector.

A great example of where this technology is already driving innovation is within smart factories where machinery and communication processes are not only faster but more efficient and accurate.

While we’re focused on realising the benefits of 5G in industrial settings, the results will form the foundation for developing the business model of the future for any organisation within any sector including Smart Cities & Venues, Transport & Logistics, Education and Healthcare.

Additionally, as the world looks for more sustainable ways to operate, 5G presents an opportunity to do exactly that. Research by O2, a 5G-ENCODE partner, found that 5G will facilitate greater flexibility, lower costs and shorter lead times for factory floor production that together could take up to 40 Megatonnes of carbon out of the economy by 2035.

It is only through projects like 5G-ENCODE, that are committed to building and testing the use cases, that we will establish clear, compelling value propositions for 5G in industry. These projects will play a huge role in 5G business models starting to become more commonplace.

3 – What are you most proud of so far?

Zeetta Networks is a home-grown technology company that spun-out from the world-renowned High-Performance Networks Group of the University of Bristol to commercialise the group’s leading network virtualisation technology.

In the last 5 years the company raised £7 million and created well over 50 full time jobs. Currently, the company leads the global 5G community with its network slicing and splicing technology that represents a clear differentiator compared to the conventional wireless technologies.

This is because, unlike 4G and Wi-Fi, the level of control provided by 5G enables enterprises to create virtual networks that are tailored specifically to the needs of their applications. Then, services and applications can be run in complete isolation, guaranteeing their delivery within strict performance targets and far greater monitoring capabilities.

The recent pandemic has demonstrated the importance of communication networks to the global economy.

However, as demand for connectivity increases networks become more congested, resulting in a poor performance and user experience. Dynamic and intelligent management of all available network resources can solve this problem by automatically prioritising and customising connectivity for different user groups, devices or applications.

Zeetta’s software automation tools simplify network operations and enable them to reach levels of function and utilisation never before possible.

4 – What have you found most difficult about being a startup?

Much like any startup, we have been juggling many different hats at any given time. We have definitely recognised the immensity of the challenge we have embarked on but driving us through is the prospect of delivering a private 5G network for the manufacturing industry.

Despite working with the added complexity of being a project made up of multiple partners, each and every one of them brings expertise and experience that is crucial in helping us achieve our mission.

Most recently we welcomed Accedian, a leader in performance analytics and end user experience solutions. Accedian is providing performance monitoring and assurance to the project’s network to help demonstrate the power of industrial 5G use cases. It’s collaborations like these that make the long days well worth it.

5 – What would you do differently if you started now?

Working at the cutting edge of technology innovation imposes additional difficulties to the normal product development process.

For example, lack of qualified human resources and scarcity of tested and certified equipment are two key issues that cause delays and require more resources. If I had the opportunity to start the project now I’d have allowed twice as much time and budget to complete it!

6 – Where do you think you’ll be in 12 months?

The next 12 months are very exciting for the 5G-ENCODE project. Last October, we switched on phase one of our Industrial Private 4G Network at the world leading National Composites Centre, to establish a baseline for existing technology.

Very soon, we will be hosting a launch event for phase two of our Industrial Private 5G Network. To reach this goal, the project has been testing systems and our outlined industry use cases using the 4G network. The baseline case studies can be viewed on the 5G-ENCODE website.

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7 – What tools/people/services/organisations from the cluster have helped you most?

Throughout our journey we have been supported by Bristol’s amazing start-up ecosystem. From the University of Bristol with its SETsquared incubator and Engine Shed team to the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DIT) they all have contributed in one way or another to our success story.

This is why Bristol has been named again and again the best city to start a technology start-up company.

8 – What’s the best thing about the Bristol & Bath tech cluster?

The pace of technology innovation within the Bristol and Bath area is really exciting.

There are so many startups that we’ve seen prosper here. Most importantly, it is the attitude of the people who are not afraid to take risks and try new technology innovations. For example, ‘Bristol Is Open’ is an award-winning Smart City project that used Zeetta’s open networking technology to transform the whole city into a experimental testbed of networking technologies.

Similarly, our high-density Wi-Fi deployment at Ashton Gate Stadium introduced the concept of dynamic allocation of network resources in a customisable way to improve efficiency and enhance the fan’s engagement and overall user experience.

9 – Who will you be nominating for a SPARKIE next year?

The 5G-ENCODE project would not have been made possible without the endless support of Marc Funnell Director of Digital Engineering, Technology and Innovation (DETI) at National Composites Centre and I’d like to take the opportunity to nominate him for a SPARKIE!

10 – Where can we find out more about you?

You can keep up to date with 5G-ENCODE via our newsletter, here. You can also find us on LinkedIn and Twitter, and I often share exciting project updates on my LinkedIn too.

Pedro Ferrandez Anton

Pedro is a first-year Accounting and Finance student at the University of Bristol interning at our IAP division. Aspires to have his future company featured on our website.