Open network solutions

Complex networks have to connect huge numbers of diverse devices, operated by multiple vendors, with a mixture of protocols. A new open networking solution aims to reduce costs and dramatically improve network performance while simplifying their management and operation.

Zeetta Networks, a University spin-out company, is developing and marketing open networking solutions that reduce costs while dramatically improving network performance and simplifying their management and operation. Zeetta Networks' technology is poised to orchestrate Bristol's diverse Smart City network through NetOS®, a software platform that manages, automates and monitors these complex and heterogeneous networks.

In the last ten years, smart devices, including TVs, phones, computers and tablets, have infiltrated our daily lives allowing us to access a diversity of media and making us more interconnected than ever before. This new flow of information pushes the limitations of traditional networks, which were built to facilitate the exchange of more homogeneous data.

The University's High Performance Networks Group (HPN), led by Professor Dimitra Simeonidou is at the forefront of world- class research that is developing and applying advanced technologies to meet the challenges of future high-speed and high capacity networks for Internet of Things (IoTs), data centres, cloud based applications and distributed technologies.

Research carried out over five years by the HPN Group and funded by the European Commission, the UK Government and industry, now underpins the core technology behind Zeetta Networks' solution to this new era of networking. NetOS® is a versatile network operating system that manages and controls an extensive network of interconnected sub-systems. It is an open platform, enabling service providers to break free of expensive lock-in contracts with big operators.

Zeetta Networks formed after securing seed funding in 2015 from the ICURe Innovation-to-commercialisation programme, which provides training and support to help university spin-out companies validate their ideas in the marketplace. In January 2016, Zeetta Networks received £1.25 million to commercialise their product NetOS® and hired its CEO, Vassilis Seferidis. The funding was provided by existing investor IP Group plc, a leading intellectual property commercialisation company, and new investor Breed Reply, an advanced incubator for startups that are developing 'Internet of Things' solutions.

Seferidis said: "Within the first year of forming the company, we had achieved many impressive milestones. We had secured considerable revenues from our first customers, attracted enough investment to grow the business over that year and signed agreements to test and deploy NetOS® within some exciting and high-profile contexts".

First-in-the-world deployment

In April 2016, Zeetta Networks signed an agreement with Bristol Sport, the owners of Bristol City Football Club and Bristol Rugby, which will put NetOS® in the command chair of their new state-of-the-art Ashton Gate stadium. Funding from Innovate UK, awarded as part of a Small Business Research Initiative competition aimed at supporting world-first deployment of innovative technologies, will help Zeetta Networks install NetOS® as well as develop key network applications specific to the stadium's operation needs. It will be the first large scale demonstration of the capabilities of Zeetta Networks' primary offering

Martin Griffiths, Chairman of Bristol Sport said that Zeetta Networks' technology has the potential to be a “game changer in stadium management”. NetOS® will manage the many simultaneous flows of data that connect the infrastructure of the stadium - from data generated from the turnstiles and cash registers to the communications networks for the security and emergency services.

From digital stadium to Smart City

Zeetta Networks has also partnered with Bristol is Open, a joint venture between the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council, which is delivering on initiatives to develop Bristol's smart city network and IoT. Zeetta Networks and Bristol is Open are both participants in the €25million European Commission-funded Horizon2020 project, REPLICATE, where Zeetta Networks' NetOS® is an important enabler for the information and communications technology infrastructure of Bristol's Smart City. The project aims to deliver integrated smart city solutions to resolve urban issues, such as traffic congestion and sustainable energy use.

In October 2016 Zeetta Networks extended its partnership with Bristol is Open, agreeing to install, maintain and support NetOS® on the Bristol is Open network. Sensors distributed around the city and connected through a fibre- optic network, collect information about aspects of city life, including energy, air quality, traffic flows, security cameras and waste management. NetOS® will be used to orchestrate Bristol's different sub-networks, which will improve efficiency, but it will also enable Bristol is Open partners to use the platform for research and development projects aimed at overcoming the challenges of a Smart City.

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