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Optify: the future of fibre optic

Sponsored: CEO Paula Benoit discusses Optify’s vision for universities and future direction for its accommodation internet services

Who is Optify? 

Optify is a new name, but the company used to be known as Keycom. We were established in 2000 and from the outset were firmly invested in providing networking technology to the education sector. In 2008 – with the acquisition of Media Force – the company moved into supplying internet services for the military market, before most recently branching into private domestic broadband. While our new name – Optify – unites our UK operations, our parent company is international communications service market-leader, PCCW Global.

How has the company’s involvement in the education sector grown and evolved?

As Keycom, we initially offered telephony solutions to universities and later shifted towards internet provision to the student accommodation market. As demands changed, we’ve introduced the best and newest technologies from manufacturers to the market, and now as Optify, with the expertise of PCCW Global behind us, we can provide smart buildings and campus services, in addition to gigabit internet.

What does Optify do better than its competitors? 

We are in a unique position. Optify is agile enough to respond quickly to customer needs but is also backed by one of the world’s largest telecoms operators. PCCW Global’s parent company, HKT Limited, defined smart living and we are in the process of bringing that smart technology to university buildings, estates and campuses. Our full fibre-optic capability is not only fast and easy to install but future-proof and cost effective. The improvements are not only in speed but also in enriching the user experience. We want to add value.

How are the demands of customers changing and what advantages does Optify offer in customer experience? 

Increased speeds are an ever-constant requirement – but the real solution is often better hardware. The proliferation of Wi-Fi dependent devices has exploded and providing a service that meets that demand is a primary concern. On top of that, we’ve invested lots of energy in ensuring our user interface is incredibly light-touch. The feedback we’ve received has shaped our product and ensured it is ideally suited to the university market.

How do you collect that feedback and how has it shaped the product you offer today?

Polling of our users is an ongoing process. The positive development that feedback has spawned is noticeable in user satisfaction scores and a drop in the number of support requests. Often, we find, it is not about adding features, but taking the service back to basics. We offered users an option to customise bandwidth, for example. Not all customers utilised the tool, so we re-engineered the system so that it would automatically add hardware to an account and give it full access to all the bandwidth. In the same respect, we minimise the amount of advertising our users see. Users have said they want a light-touch service and we respect that.

Paula Benoit

Do you feel universities are keeping up with advanced technology? 

In some ways, yes, they are, but they could be more reactive. As a partner, we can introduce them to innovative technologies to pre-empt issues. For example, security is a subject that should be at the top of their list of priorities.

With security, for example, could you provide an example of what you’re offering customers?

Security systems are multi-faceted and report data in an overwhelming and non-standardised way. PCCW Global’s Crypteia is an extra layer of intelligence which works alongside existing security products. It compiles, compares and learns from information drawn from firewalls, routers and intrusion-detection software to better protect users.

What are Optify’s plans this coming year? 

This is the first time we’ve introduced Optify to our users in the education sector and at the start of the new academic year, students will be signing into the Optify service for the first time. We will also be introducing to our university partners those advances in smart buildings, security and unified communications.

It’s going to be a busy and exciting year!

To learn more, please visit www.optifyyourworld.com  

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