Author: Marina Traversari, Global Head of TEAC

Marina Traversari, Global Head of TEAC, talks to two of the TEAC team at BT

The BT sponsored TEAC has been running for three years now. I caught up with Paul Crane, Converged Networks Research Director, the TEAC sponsor at BT and Dean Gasson, TEAC Program Manager at BT to get their views on how things are going.

It’s been an incredible three years for all of us, and it’s great to look back and reflect just how far things have come in that time. Paul has been the sponsor of our work with BT and it’s exciting to hear him talk about the way in which the BT TEAC has helped to support BT’s objective of working more closely with and learning from startups in core network infrastructure.

“We are really pleased with the way that our TEAC and the whole TIP-TEAC program has evolved,” Paul added. “We love the quality of access we get to really innovative startups and the great people who lead them.

“The way in which the TEAC program wraps into our overall involvement with TIP and its working groups on some of the key issues connected to telecoms infrastructure has really worked well for us and, I believe, for the startups too. I love the real sense of community that is developing around the whole program.”

Dean described how the processes and ways of working between BT and the current startups, DoubleMe and Ori Industries have benefited from learnings with the first two cohorts. The BT team has done a great job of working at a pace that works for both them and their two startups. While one has been able to move at a rapid rate in developing its BT test-bed, the other has had other priorities and is only now ready to fully embrace the facilities at BT.

Ori Industries is focused on edge computing, where new applications are posing unique challenges for global infrastructure: from smart cities, immersive worlds and autonomous machines.

Melissa Dore, Ori’s VP operations, believes that the way physical infrastructure interacts with software needs to evolve significantly. She describes how Ori are building the technology to achieve that, paving the way for a more autonomous, smart and immersive future.

DoubleMe provides a unique 3D capture system, the HoloPortal, that converts 2D video into dynamic 3D models in real-time for various 3D content markets, including gaming, 3D Animation, VR/AR/MR and 3D Printing. It captures moving subject motion then generates a fully animated 3D model as well as still subjects such as furniture. Albert Kim, DoubleMe founder and CEO explained how the 3D models they create contain volumetric 3D mesh, movement, and real textures for skin, facial expressions and clothing.

“We can literally put your DoubleMe into virtual, augmented and mixed reality experiences,” Albert told me. Wow!

The BT TEAC team has learned to work at a pace which tries, as much as possible, to balance the needs of both the startups and the sponsor. By bringing in research mentors early on they’ve been able to work closely with both companies to really understand what is most needed at each phase of the relationship.

“Even if we are not active in the test-bed environment, we are able to connect with relevant people on the commercial side of BT and among the investment community to build their understanding of the potential of each business,” said Dean. “Then it’s much easier to engage when the time is right.”

I’m frustrated that I haven’t been able to spend any time at Adastral Park, the home of BT’s TEAC this year. I’m sure it must be even harder for Dean and Paul and the teams at Ori and DoubleMe, as they too, won’t have had the face time we all value, but like so many they have moved online and have kept the program running in spite of the limitations of Covid.

What always impresses me is the energy and pace which BT, as a big organisation, has managed to sustain. It’s great to have the support of large players like them and the individual leaders, like Paul and Dean, from within the business, who have become part of the TIP-TEAC community and who are the drivers and enablers of connections this program enables. Paul has been with the TEAC program since its inception, so I asked him if it has begun to achieve his own and BT’s wider objectives?

“We always expected the TEACs would take a while to become established, but to have come this far in three years shows they were absolutely the right thing to do,” Paul told me.

“There has been a lot of change in the telecoms infrastructure market. Governments have begun to support diversification. More and more networks are not just talking about, but are committing to OpenRAN solutions.

The BT TEAC has already achieved commercial success with its earlier cohorts, with companies such Accelleran moving through the process to win commercial agreements and Tethir, which pivoted to take its optical technology further to include the development of sensors for wildfire detection, finding sales opportunities in the US market and who recently won a UK Innovate grant to support this.

“We’re delighted with how the TEACs are working for the startups, for our own business and to help deliver against the TIP mission to drive and enable disaggregation and open systems in the market for connectivity. It’s clear the TEACs are playing to an ever more interested audience,” BT’s Paul Crane added.

Exciting times!

To find out more about TEAC, TIP’s global accelerator, visit the TEAC website