JT Lab – just a concept, or a reality?

JT Lab – just a concept, or a reality?

When our Chief Executive Officer Graeme Millar officially opened JT Lab back in December 2011, he said that it could be “a historic day in Jersey’s economy”.

However, for JT Lab to really work we needed the connectivity. This is why three years on we now have connected nearly one third of the islands premises and laid fibre cables around nearly the whole island, so that vision really can now be a reality. Alongside our own work, Digital Jersey has also done an excellent job of helping to position Jersey as a tech hub and together, supported by the connectivity (including our new 4G network) we’re in a position to make the Lab a reality.

But what’s happening with Lab?

Thanks to this infrastructure the reality is JT Lab is going from strength-to-strength. Due to the confidential nature of those using JT Lab for trials and test launches we can’t provide too many names in terms of who is using the facility and what they’re doing. However, we can confirm that a number of diverse global tech companies, are taking advantage of the opportunity to test new products and services, right here in Jersey; including some very well-known names.

The beauty of JT Lab is now that technology has helped to dissolve geographical barriers, your customer isn’t necessarily based in your local market anymore; they can be anywhere in the world. Which means testing anywhere becomes an option also.

What’s more in a world where reputations can be made or broken in a moment online, testing (especially on a ‘live’ audience) becomes an increasingly integral part of any robust product development process

Why Jersey?

There are many reasons which make Jersey and JT’s facilities really attractive in a test-environment. These include the fact that Jersey offers the sixth highest GDP per capita in the world; it has the broadest demographic spread in the EU and a profile similar to the East and West coasts of the USA. Combine that with a Telco who is willing to open up their doors and let companies test and develop on a live network in real-time, it makes Jersey a very attractive option for tech companies.

Although JT Lab – on first appearances – may appear to have little to do with our core Channel Island business, there are already real benefits for our local customers. For example, through JT Lab we have already formed a partnership with a world-leading security firm called RadWare, who successfully used our facilities to test their state-of-the-art DDoS protection systems prior to launch. Today, those same systems are now protecting Island-based businesses from cyber-attacks using a world-class solution against a growing risk.

Another proof point is that we have been able to form a partnership with US based experts, KPMG Analytics, who are specialists in Big Data. This, more than any other area of development will provide the opportunity for all businesses, in all sectors, to differentiate from their competition, through the development of new business models using data analytics. Increasingly we and our customers are leaving complex and revealing digital trails of data behind us. This provides an enormous opportunity for companies to analyse behaviour and then far more accurately target their marketing and services to fit their needs. KPMG’s work in this area is at the cutting edge of data analytics and we’re working with them here in the Channel Islands.

The most recent addition to JT Lab (that we can talk about!) is the technology firm Compass, who are trialling their new Compass-EOS Routers here. Basically these new routers are powered by a breakthrough technology called ‘photonics’. This technology provides an enormous leap forward in routing, while providing a reduction in power consumption and heat production, making the systems far more efficient. The hardware is intended for use in Data Centres, which need very capable and resilient connections to operate, and which have enormous operating costs in terms of electricity consumption. Although there is no immediate, or direct benefit right now, working along-side Compass means that JT gains some valuable insight and experience with this future technology to help benefit our own hosting customers.

In conclusion we believe our work with JT Lab and its partners is bringing significant and world class intelligence of emerging digital technology back to our island – as the sector demands high skills, innovative thinking and importantly the right infrastructure. JT and JT Lab is committed to playing our part in helping nurture this growing ‘third pillar’ of our economy and judging from the interest so far we think our customers feel the same.

So, as our vision is to become the provider of choice for global telecommunication innovation we hope that the JT Lab will help move us further towards this.