BBA 2023 Winner Profile: Digi-Tech Innovation – Colt Technology Services

Written by Sterling Content
December 18, 2023


Written by Sterling Content
December 18, 2023

The British Business Award for Digi-Tech Innovation is the latest in a series of prestigious achievements for Colt Technology Services as it wraps up a remarkable year. The global digital infrastructure firm picked up the coveted trophy at the headline event of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), in early November.

Colt was chosen for “driving exceptionally effective digi-tech innovation in Japan over the past 12 months” by an illustrious panel of judges drawn from the UK–Japan community.

Innovation is at the heart of Colt, whose purpose is “to put the power of the digital universe in the hands of its customers, wherever, whenever and however they choose.”

The firm was established as City of London Telecommunications in 1992 to meet the digital infrastructure needs of the financial sector in the City of London, expanding to Asia with the acquisition of network service provider, KVH Co., 2014.

Today, Colt serves customers in all sectors and is one of the largest business-to-business-only telecom-service providers in the world. Its major services include the Colt IQ Network, as well as cloud, telephone and security services.


Boosting efficiency

Colt’s focus on customization is one of the firm’s differentiators, according to Gerard Byrne, Japan country manager and vice president of finance for Asia.

“Digital infrastructure is all about making companies more efficient. We’re going further to put the control of networks in the hands of customers,” he said, pointing out that Colt’s On-Demand service, which is based on software-defined networking (SDN), allows customers to order and change services in real-time. Customers will be able to adjust capacity on their network, thereby scaling connectivity and bandwidth, all while utilising dynamic billing.

Colt On-Demand is available through two supported platforms—a customer-friendly portal and direct API integration that allow customers to integrate Colt On-Demand into their own platforms—and off-grid, thanks to Colt’s partnerships with other telecommunications firms globally.

“The service allows customers to flex their utilisation in real-time based on their needs, which is quite unique in Japan,” said Byrne.

Colt’s SDN-enabled network in Japan has earned acclaim from enterprises and Japanese network service providers for its remarkable agility.


Fast and secure

With greater demand to access the cloud and the proliferation of artificial intelligence, Colt continues to extend its low-latency and ultra-low-latency networks through points-of-presence.

Moreover, amid growing concerns about cyberthreats, cybersecurity continues to be “one of the most important things we focus on,” he added. All the firm’s networks are fully secured, satisfying even the most sensitive of sectors and customers.


Expanding globally

In November, Colt completed the acquisition of Lumen Technologies Inc’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) business. As a result, customers can benefit from additional services including new security technologies, market-leading SASE (secure access service edge) products and managed hosting and professional services, all supported by 6,000 “Colties” (staff) worldwide.

The acquisition results in a total of 1.6 million kilometres of fibre connecting 125 European cities in 24 EMEA countries and 12 cable landing stations in six countries. Additionally, Colt has 1,100 data centres connecting 32,000 buildings across 230 cities and more than 50 metropolitan area networks in 38 countries and 230 points-of-presence in the largest business hubs of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and North America.

Speaking of the acquisition, CEO Keri Gilder said the industry “must deliver a digital roadmap for a hyperconnected global society in a responsible, fair and equitable way,” adding that “the acquisition gives Colt the opportunity to lead the industry in driving purposeful, meaningful change to protect our people and the planet.”


Industry Recognition

In October, Colt was awarded a Platinum rating from EcoVadis, the world’s largest sustainable ratings provider, for the second consecutive year. The accolade is the highest possible EcoVadis rating and is awarded to only 1% of global companies.

Colt was awarded 79 out of 100, an increase from 75 in 2022. The score is based on ratings for action and commitment in environment, labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement.

The rating recognises Colt’s ongoing efforts, which include building sustainability into critical business processes. The firm has removed 130,000 legacy circuits from its network, resulting in the decommission of more than 6,500 pieces of equipment across more than 2,000 sites in Europe. These changes are anticipated to result in an annual reduction in energy consumption of 13.2 Gigawatt hours per year.

Furthermore, as part of its commitment to Net Zero, Colt migrated 2,800 business customers to more energy-efficient, sustainable digital infrastructure and supported more than 70% of its suppliers to become engaged on ESG topics.

In 2022, Colt won the Gartner Eye on Innovation Award for Communication Service Providers in the EMEA region. Designed to recognise innovative use of technology to drive best-in-class initiatives, the award is the newest trophy from Gartner, a $5.5 billion firm specialising in IT research and consultancy.

Colt was recognised for its IQ Network Core Backbone Transformation project, which has addressed critical challenges such as demand and sustainability.


Looking ahead

In 2024, the Colt team is looking forward to engaging more with the BCCJ, said Byrne, noting that BCCJ members are among the firm’s customers, partners and contacts.

“Winning a British Business Award allows us to show the extent to which we’re a global player, that we’ve been in Japan a long time and are committed to Japan. And it recognises the decades of effort we have made,” he said.

Colt’s next steps in Japan are twofold: to expand its footprint in the southwest by creating networks in Fukuoka, Hiroshima and Okayama and to make its existing networks stronger and more-resilient through further investment, totalling ¥15 billion over the next three years.