Axians Show DTX 2019 Special Matt Shanahan
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:00:20] Hello and welcome to the Axians Networks broadcast here with Disruptive at the Digital Transmission live show here at London’s Excel. Straight off, if you were expecting the dulcet tones and debonair dressing of our own Dave Eighteen sadly he’s not well at the moment. And so we’ve sent our very best to him and hope he gets better soon. In his place, I managed to ring-fence Dan Thomas, who is the head of product engineering at Axians thank you for coming on Dan.
DANIEL THOMAS [00:00:47] Thank you for inviting me.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:00:49] So our first guest today is Matt Shanahan, who is the founder and CEO of Stream Networks. Welcome to the show.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:00:57] Thanks, Chris thanks for having me.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:00:59] So I understand you you founded in 2007. Take us back to then. What was your sort of inspiration to start Stream Networks?
MATT SHANAHAN [00:01:06] Well, yeah, 2007. Long, long time ago. 12 years ago. What was my inspiration? I guess at the time I saw. There is a lot of consolidation in the marketplace. A lot of large telcos buying out, smaller telcos. And I thought there was an opportunity for for an ISP to operate in the mid-market. Give great business service and support where some of the big telcos. The bureaucracy is difficult to deal with them. Yeah so I also thought that there was a need for innovation either miles behind or can’t operate as quickly. I thought innovation was a key to the business and that’s where the ethos of the company going forward.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:01:55] So as a 12 year old company and by your own admission, you know aiming to be innovative. It must have meant a fair amount of investment in kind of time and technology resources. I mean, how how would you kind of covered that sort of activity?
MATT SHANAHAN [00:02:12] So, yeah, lots of investment has gone on in the business and in infrastructure. I think going back to when we started as a start-up, there was a lot of investment required in core networking equipment to service customers, broadband, fibre internet circuits at the time. So that was a significant investment in the network early doors. We continue as a company to do to do that. I think in 2012 time we saw the opportunity in cloud services really driven by the fact that ethernet and broadband service were increasing in speed. Pricing was coming down. So we invested it in cloud infrastructure in 2012. VM ware and high availability storage. And you know that investment continues in that platform today. We’re now in multiple data centres all clustered between the data centres and that’s a good platform for our customers.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:03:15] So pretty permanent then.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:03:16] Yeah. You know, some of the other things we’re investing in now are just on another core at a rate of the network to support with Juniper to support software defined networking. We’ll do some stuff with SD-Wan. And also we are investing in our own portal, which is called Cascade helps our customers interact to the portal. You know they can run line checks.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:03:41] Fabled single pane of glass for everything,.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:03:43] That sort of thing would be great.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:03:45] A holy grail.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:03:45] Yeah and also we’re getting ready for the 5G revolution. Integration for carriers to be ready for that next digital transformation.
DANIEL THOMAS [00:03:57] So it sounds like you have been very innovative you’ve been obviosuly tracing the market. So is it even more customer driven now would you say?
MATT SHANAHAN [00:04:04] Yeah. I think it is customer driven. You know, the customers can’t stand still. Digital transformation happens all the time. You only have to look in the news that companies recently, you know, big companies that have failed in their digital transformation strategy failed to change and the business has failed. So, yeah. And it’s important that customers do change and they are driving that change. We’re we’re happy that we are part of that change and we’re supporting in that process.
DANIEL THOMAS [00:04:37] Any particular market any sector at all you think sort of changing faster than others?
MATT SHANAHAN [00:04:43] I’m not sure about any particular sector. You know, digital transformation is is changing all sectors. I think if you go back 20 years ago, you know, connectivity is is the driver for each digital transformation. So, you know, 2000, we have broadband connections and you know, that that gave us online shopping and websites and then moving forward into 2017.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:05:09] Definitely an enabler.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:05:10] Yeah. And 2006/7 4G and mobile and social media networks changed the face of advertising and how businesses connect with their consumers. And then moving forward into high speed, reliable, connect connectivity that has driven the change in moving customers into cloud, that’s become a reality that you can actually run services in the cloud. So, you know, we’ve now got the 5G stuff coming on board and that is probably going to really drive and it’s kind of automation, AI. So exciting, really exciting times ahead. I saw recently read an article recently on the legal sector and just yesterday actually and how that they think that AI will actually remove some of the junior solicitor’s roles of checking paperwork and checking page studies.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:06:09] I’m actually selling a house at the moment.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:06:09] Right, okay.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:06:10] If they could automate that and speed it up a damn sight more than it currently goes, I would be a very happy man.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:06:15] Yeah. So, indeed.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:06:17] You mentioned that you mentioned SD-Wan and SDN in particular is this areas where you feel that Stream has particular expertise or focus.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:06:25] Yeah. So I think we’re obviously a connectivity aggregator. We’ve just obviously touched on the SDN stuff with Juniper, and that allows customers to sort of interact with our core network like never before and make changes on to separate part of our network. But I think, you know, SD-Wan is going to be a real driver for businesses going forward. You know, there’s so many different access connectivity methods. There’s many changes in the ethernet marketplace and access marketplace and SD-Wan, you know, delivers an overlay network that helps customers, especially if they are rolling out multi cloud strategies with stuff hosting Amazon, you know, with Azzure, you know, how do you connect all of those different cloud platforms up securely? NPLS networks can be expensive. And, you know, you’ve got to go to your NPLS provider. Can I have access secure access into what my cloud platform over here, which is then, you know.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:07:29] You can there’s a lot of zeros on the end of it.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:07:31] Or you do it by a VPN. It becomes complex where SD-Wan gives you that single plate of glass again control over your entire state and puts the power into the customer’s hands rather than the service providers.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:07:47] So the sun is almost setting on our session here. If you look at horizon for Stream Networks, what are you expecting to see coming soon into the trends or as things you’re focussing on.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:07:59] Just going back to the SD-Wan piece again. We are currently in investment in Juniper to look at their contrail platform we think is quite exciting. SD-Wan I see at the moment is quite enterprise driven. You know, it’s quite cost prohibitive for the mid-market sector. You have to invest in controllers and hubs and stuff per customer. So we’re looking at Juniper contrail to roll out SD-Wan as a service. So we are planning to invest in the contrail platform which is multi tenant along with hubs. So that removes that cost for the mid-market and it’s done on as a SD-Wan as a service.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:08:42] Continued investment on your behalf to kind of help your customers?
MATT SHANAHAN [00:08:44] Yeah. And in terms of, you know, the business, we we think we are, we’ve got one of the UK’s most connected networks in terms of aggregation. So there’s a lot of changing changes going on in the fixed line connectivity base with public and private investment in full fibre. And there’s loads of full fibre providers out there. So we’re bringing those into our platform along with all the LLU stuff and 5G and mobile connectivity. So that’s a real cool driver so the customer can come to us and have every single access method that they need to connect their business.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:09:27] Almost, almost sounds like you got to try and work out how are you going to focus on all of those different areas, at the same time help your kind of customers to move on so. Matt it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking to you. Thank you so much for coming on.
MATT SHANAHAN [00:09:38] Thank you.
CHRIS GILMOUR [00:09:39] And if you want to learn more about Stream Networks, it’s StreamNetworks.co.uk, we’ll take a short break now. And then we’re going to be talking to Neil Sperring from Xiria. Thank you for your time.