Hi, I’m Ian Vernon—I am the Chief Operating Officer at AWTG, an end-to-end engineering services and technology solutions provider for companies in telecommunications, internet, media and various verticals that use technology. Our company has been around since 2006, leading in 5G networks and collaborating with network operators and communication service providers, we are also starting to lean towards 6G.
AWTG has a brilliant partnership with the UK Government, with several ongoing projects, around 60% of which are funded by the government and the remaining 40% by AWTG. My focus, at the moment, is on the FRANC project but I am also involved in FONRC and Flexi-Das, the winning consortium for the Open RAN R&D collaboration with the Republic of Korea.
My overall aim is to ensure my team develops a strong, innovative and efficient product for the market. The Open RAN R&D collaboration agreement is that it must be made in the UK but can be exported globally. For projects further along, such as FONRC, I also spend my time engaging in lots of discussions with the different partners: for example, we are about to take a broadcast use case to trial and will be hosting a showcase between two different venues in Cambridge and Manchester very soon.
Collaboration is vital. We could never deliver on our plans without government support. These projects need hundreds of millions of pounds to succeed. This isn’t just about the cost but also the sharing of knowledge and experience between the various consortium members, which is extremely important.
1/ What do you enjoy most about working in this space?
The challenge of creating something new.
2/ What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done in the name of work?
I have done plenty of ridiculous things over the past 20 years. I think you have to in this field of work: your aim, after all, is to create a product or solution that will make the world a better place for future generations.
Being that ambitious goes hand-in-hand with being ridiculous.
3/ What excites you most about working in telecoms?
Creating something that will change the world and improve lives for this generation and the next.
4/ What would you like people to know about your work?
We are developing leading-edge technology and there’s plenty more of that to come in the near future. However, it is not all about work but creating balance in everything I can contribute to society and the world.
5/ Why is a vibrant, flourishing telecoms ecosystem important for the UK?
It is crucial for the economy and the UK's prestige in the world, not only on the hardware side but also when working with the software. We need to improve the UK economy, one way is through technology. We need to be seen as a world leader in terms of advancements and innovations and the world leader in future telecoms and technology solutions.
AWTG is investing heavily in these innovations since we believe that the future for the UK is very bright and can be seen as the new technology innovation and invention accelerator.