Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, joined the ESTnet at the Wales Technology Awards 2018 to honour the achievements of the companies that are driving the future of Welsh tech.
Recognised as the must-attend annual event for Wales’ tech industry, the 2018 awards saw the Secretary of State joining over 400 guests of the ESTnet (the network for Wales technology industry), who represent the country’s largest tech companies, SMEs, and most ambitious start-ups.
Cardiff’s prestigious City Hall provided the backdrop for the awards, on an evening that saw nine companies claim the industry’s most coveted accolades. The winners include: AMPLYFI, Capital Network Solutions, DevOpsGuys, BCC IT, Signum Health Ltd, Silvertel, We Build Bots, and Wales Interactive.
Speaking at the awards, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, said:
“The sheer range of technological innovation here in Wales is breath taking. It ranges from the most advanced algorithms of Artificial Intelligence to the way technology is influencing the construction of traditional products like cars.
“The UK Government is doing all it can to nurture and cultivate the technology sector. But in an industry that moves at breath taking speed, events like the Wales Technology Awards allow us to pause and measure just how far we have come, celebrate our technology milestones and the vital contribution they make to the Welsh economy. I wish all the nominees and winners every success over the years ahead.”
Addressing the evening’s guests, ESTnet managing director, Avril Lewis, said:
“This evening is a true celebration of the outstanding successes of the Welsh technology sector, and the limitless opportunities it will explore and create in the future.
“We are an ambitious country, with a motivated and talented workforce that has attracted some of the world’s largest tech companies and enabled a new generation of start-ups to grow. The Wales Technology Awards stand to champion all that we, as an industry, have achieved over the past year, and all we will achieve in the future.
“Our winners exemplify the collaborative, enabling, and enterprising nation we know Wales to be. Their successes demonstrate how our sector is essential for the economic growth of our country, the creation of new opportunities for the next generation, and preparing Wales for the challenges of tomorrow.”
The awards were supported by some of the industry’s most influential companies and experts, including Headline Partner GoCompare, Barclays Eagle Labs, BeTheSpark, Capital Law, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Careers Wales, Cazbah, Cinemerse, Coleg Gwent, Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, CPS Group, IQE plc, Genero, MHA Broomfield Alexander, Mobilise Cloud, Newport Wafer Fab, Smart Solutions, Sony UK Technology Centre, Welsh ICE, and Wynne Jones.
Speaking on behalf of the event’s Headline Partner, Jackson Hull, chief operating and technology officer at GoCompare, said:
“We’re excited to partner with the Wales Technology Awards to celebrate and support the best of Welsh tech.
“As one of the UK’s most prominent fintech brands, our goal is to help support the future of tech in the region and help establish Wales as a UK tech hotspot, through attracting and developing the very best talent to drive innovation and excellence in the industry.
“Celebrating success is a key part of this and we couldn’t be happier to extend our congratulations to everyone nominated and in particular, tonight’s winners.”
This year’s winners were selected by a judging panel comprised of some of the UK’s leading business and technology experts, and chaired by one of Wales’ most successful entrepreneurs, Ashley Cooper.
The winners of the Wales Technology Awards 2018 are:
- The Sir Michael Moritz Tech Start-up Award – We Build Bots
- ESTnetNG Tech Prize – David Barton
- Technology Leader of the Year Award – Hywel Ifans from BCC IT Ltd
- Best New Talent Award – Callen Gibbs from Capital Network Solutions Ltd
- Best Tech Workplace Award – DevOpsGuys Ltd
- Best Application of Tech Award – Signum Health Ltd
- International Impact Award (Hardware) – Silvertel
- International Impact Award (Software) – Wales Interactive
- Innovative Product of the Year – AMPLYFI
The Sir Michael Moritz Tech Start-up Award – We Build Bots
We Build Bots has leveraged its knowledge of chatbots and AI over the past two years to develop its flagship product, IntelAgent. The company’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven customer service automation platform applies AI to conversations which are captured through messaging apps to automate answers, perform tasks, and identify sales opportunities. Current customers include the AA, Amnesty International, Welsh Water and The Telegraph.
ESTnetNG Tech Prize – David Barton
David specialises in the design of offloading (anti-pressure) devices that prevent and manage pressure-induced skin lesions, with particular focus on pressure wounds and ulcerations. His initial product is in the form of an insole, medically known as ‘orthoses’, named ZeroSole. The device is primary designed to aid the healing of diabetic foot ulcerations by reducing the harmful pressures acting beneath them which prevent their healing.
Technology Leader of the Year Award – Hywel Ifans from BCC IT Ltd
An award-winning IT company, BCC IT is located in the small Carmarthenshire market town of Newcastle Emlyn. Having joined the company in 1997, Hywel’s expertise and dedication saw him rise through the ranks to become managing director in 2002. Today, he steers one of the few bilingual Welsh IT companies, supporting hundreds of businesses and organisations, including some of Wales’ largest companies.
In addition to BCC IT’s remarkable growth under his tenure as managing director, judges were particularly impressed with the volume of praise Hywel received in his nomination. Many credited his genuine dedication to developing his team, providing a personal service to customers, and encouraging businesses in rural areas to see that with the right infrastructure and IT support in place, you can achieve success- a message he regularly shares as a go-to IT expert for multiple S4C and BBC Radio Cymru programmes.
Best New Talent Award – Callen Gibbs from Capital Network Solutions Ltd
A cyber security specialist at Capital Network Solutions, with a first-class honours degree in computer security, Callen impressed judges with the sheer volume of endorsements he received from some of the most senior experts in the industry.
In addition to demonstrating his significant expertise and successes working at the highest levels in his field, it was clear to judges that Callen had, in a relatively short space of time, gained a deserved reputation within the cyber-security industry for making valuable contributions at the highest and most critical levels. Callen also demonstrated his willingness to use his own initiative and his own time to develop his skills, training and standing within the industry. It is also clear that Callen has extended that professionalism and expertise, to raise awareness of cyber security issues and emerging risks to local industry via initiatives such as the “Friday Phish Breakfast”.
Best Tech Workplace Award – DevOpsGuys Ltd
DevOpsGuys demonstrated a genuine commitment to utilising both an individual approach and data to create an equal environment for all which motivates and empowers its team, industry, local community, and future generations.
It was clear to judges that this young company is dedicated to a face-to-face approach to ensure that each person can have their say, utilising technology to ensure everyone is included. While data and surveys play a role at DevOpsGuys, the organisation has established a regular series of cultural, coaching and bureaucracy busting initiatives, to ensure individuals are supported to voice their opinions and aid their personal development.
These activities are, in part, made possible by the company’s state-of-the-art offices, which have been specifically designed to provide an innovative and creative space to encourage ad-hoc discussions and collaboration; an environment the company has made freely available to organisations and businesses in its local community.
Best Application of Tech Award- Signum Health Ltd
Signum Health has created a cloud-based MedTech platform that connects users directly to the specific health specialist or service they require to allow them to get help fast and remove the need for unnecessary GP appointments.
The company’s Cybernetic Health software enables healthcare professionals to electronically and remotely diagnose, triage and refer patients to a variety of health, social care and wellbeing providers.
This optimises current care pathways, meaning specialists can be accessed from geographically remote areas through technology-enabled consultations, thereby reducing the number of appointments through the NHS.
International Impact Award
Silvertel (Hardware category)
Silvertel, who specialise in the design and supply of electronic modules to a global customer base that includes blue chip names such as Samsung and Panasonic, secured the award in the hardware category. Over the last three years, the company has experienced dramatic growth in every overseas operating territory including: Australia, Italy, Russia and Japan.
The company’s strengths in technological innovation have seen it become the only company in the UK designing its particular product range of power over ethernet (POE) modules, and it is seen as one of the leading developers in the world for this type of product. A focus on miniaturization has also seen Silvertel create the world’s smallest POE module, which are perfect for the latest generation of Internet of Things products.
Wales Interactive Award (Software category)
The International Impact Award in software category was presented to Pencoed-based independent video games developer and publisher, Wales Interactive. The company’s titles are sold globally via PlayStation, Xbox, Steam and Nintendo online stores. This international distribution reach has allowed the company to achieve over two million downloads to-date and sell games in nearly every country in the world. Last year saw the developers’ ground breaking interactive movie titles, Late Shift and The Bunker, alone achieve over half a million downloads.
Innovative Product of the Year – AMPLYFI
AMPLYFI works to unlock the entire internet using artificial intelligence to enable organisations to actively monitor for emerging risks or opportunities, and make smarter, faster strategic decisions.
The company secured the award for its flagship product, DataVoyant™, a user-friendly business intelligence and research platform that mines billions of resources in the surface and deep web, to make powerful predictions and projection models. Such data includes: academic papers, patents, government reports, financial databases, and news items.
The AI-powered tool was specifically designed for B2B purposes to enable quicker and more agile strategic decision-making, by delivering wholly unbiased insight and reducing traditional consultancy-led projects from around three months to as little as one week.