Thales launches Digital Business Unit
Thales, a global technology leader for the aerospace, transport, defence and security markets, has announced that it will be regrouping its digital assets under a new Digital Business Unit, beginning 1 January 2018.
The unit will group the Thales Digital Factory, responsible for the company’s development of new digital products; Thales eSecurity, a world leading cybersecurity and data protection service; Guavus, specialising in big data analytics; and the company’s future Centre of Research and Technology in Artificial Intelligence expertise (CortAix).
With a variety of leading brands across a multitude of sectors being housed under the same unit, Thales will be readily positioned to accelerate digital transformation across a range of advanced technology sectors.
This will enable Thales to support its customers – a venture that the company has already invested more than €1 into over the past three years, with a focus on key technologies including the internet of things (IoT), big data, AI and Cybersecurity.
David Jones has been appointed as the Senior Vice President, Digital Business Unit, Thales, to spearhead the new initiative, alongside the leadership team of its existing digital asset groups.
This includes Olivier Flous as the Vice President of Digital Transformation & Digital Factory, Cindy Provin as the CEO of Thales eSecurity, and Faizel Lakhani as the CEO of Guavus.
Thales reported sales of €14.9 billion in 2016, with over 64,000 employees across 56 countries.
Future-tech and IXAfrica: Full Life Cycle Expertise
Future-tech is unique among data centre consultancies for a number of reasons. Not only does the Reading-based firm have high levels of expertise in markets ranging from Helsinki to Johannesburg, but Future-tech offers services across the complete life cycle of a facility.
“We are involved with projects from the initiation to completion,” explains James Wilman, Future-tech’s CEO. “We go from initiation phase - which could mean the site selection process or technical due diligence for a merger or acquisition - all the way through establishing the brief, the various design stages, construction oversight, commissioning, operation, end of life cycle replenishment, and can start right back at the beginning with refurbishment.”
While some factors, like the facility requirements for major tenants, remain the same no matter where you are, Wilman explains that “it's the environmental conditions, construction methodologies, supply chain, and skill sets available in different locations that vary, and that makes this a very interesting job.”
Future-tech was selected by IXAfrica as the life cycle design strategic partner for its hyperscale campus project in Nairobi, Kenya. Wilman explains that, over the past year, Future-tech has been leveraging its strong local knowledge, working closely with Kenyan architects and engineers, and collaborating with both Guy Wilner and Clement Martineau, to help IXAfrica successfully deliver Kenya’s largest hyperscale data centre.
“Future-tech did its first project on the African continent in 2012 in Kenya. I've been involved in the data centre space there for a long time, and have known Guy for a number of years through projects and interaction in Europe,” says Wilman. “As the IXAfrica project came into being, Guy and I spoke about it as he knew that we were already quite familiar with the area. We assisted out with the initial planning and project design, and the relationship really grew from there.”
Wilman adds that the experience helping Future-tech support the IXAfrica project has been hard-won. “It's been a steep learning curve, figuring out how to work in Africa. Some of our earlier projects were quite challenging, but we're fortunate to be at a point now where working throughout the region feels really comfortable,” he explains. “One of the things about Nairobi - which we found out when we were working on our first project in the city back in 2012 - is that, because it's about 1,200 metres above sea level, the altitude actually de-rates the onsite equipment. Having your equipment perform less well because of the altitude can massively impact the whole facility.” Understanding the factors that define a local environment can be the difference between success and disaster for a data centre, and Future-tech’s extensive experience in Kenya is a key supporting factor for IXAfrica’s success in Nairobi.
Wilman has also developed a strong collaborative relationship with Guy and Clement. “We've got over a gigawatt of design projects going through our office at the moment with different clients, which means that we're always learning new things. What is refreshing about working with Guy and Clement is that when we bring them a new idea, they listen to us,” says Wilman. “We've had a good run in Nairobi with IXAfrica built off of a long relationship, and I hope we get to continue working with them on their future projects.”