Adam and evolution: enabling business, redefining a city

From fixing punctured tyres to enabling reliable and incisive corporate communication, Dr Adam Beaumont has always shown a knack for keeping wheels turning, be they the wheels of a bicycle or the wheels of business…

aql’s forthcoming £43 million data centre, DC4, is the latest in a long line of business millstones for Dr Adam Beaumont, founder and CEO of aql, who began in business by repairing punctured bicycle tires in his garage as a nine-year old.

His journey has also seen him as one of Leeds University’s youngest ever lecturers as a 24 year old; working in mobile security for government and establishing aql, which has grown from domain hosting and registration to a telecommunications and business communication solutions provider company with a current run rate of £7m.

aql operate from multiple sites around the UK and use their three Leeds-based independent data centres to send millions of text messages on behalf of companies around the world through their bulk SMS services. aql’s voice over IP (VoIP) services allow customers to make telephone calls over the Internet and the company looks after over 60 million VoIP telephone numbers. aql also broker mobile data to businesses.

aql’s customer base includes Deutsche Bank, Fujitsu, Boots, Stagecoach, Motorola, UCAS, Thames Water and Leeds-based medical software company Emis.
What’s come of all this is our need to interconnect to ISPs and to other fixed and other mobile operators, so we’re now a full-blown regulated telecommunications operator and with all that brings the need for infrastructure,” said Dr Beaumont, who owns aql.

aql plans to build a £43m data centre on part of the former Yorkshire Chemicals site in Hunslet. It is set to be the UK’s largest independent data centre outside of London.

Leeds is already home to three aql centres, Two of which are are run out of aql’s headquarters, the former Salem Church in Hunslet Road.

One of them houses IX Leeds, the only mutual not-for-profit internet exchange outside London, whose aim is to improve connectivity between ISPs and content providers such as social networks or web TV.

aql’s data centres in Leeds means that local Internet traffic no longer has to be directed via London, meaning the city can operate independently without relying on the capital. As improvements in infrastructure fuels demand for space in aql’s data centres, DC4 is set to play a major role in the next stage of Leeds’ evolution, and is set to play a part in establishing Leeds as a hub for the media industry.

The demand for our data space has been increasing exponentially to the point where we now need our next site,” said Dr Beaumont.”We have one of the largest Internet connections to our site with Media City in Manchester.

So as a mixed-use ecosystem starts to build around the data centre, between the Hunslet and the Holbeck corridor will be an ideal place for the media industry to grow in Leeds.

We are trying to create a proper joined-up story to say Leeds can have a media city… the bit that we do is the nuts and bolts, behind the scenes, so you can create a vibrant community. You can create nice buildings and a nice working atmosphere, but you have to have the support of infrastructure to make that happen.

Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Leeds and Partners, an organisation whose goal is to promote Leeds nationally and internationally, has said that the new data centre “anchors the region’s digital sector, sending a strong message to national and international investors that they can have confidence in our infrastructure”.

From his roots fixing bicycles in a suburban garage to establishing himself as an innovator at the forefront of his industry, Adam continues to go from strength to strength. Adam expects 2013 to be a big year for aql, as the company plans to expand further and push into new sectors.

Dr Beaumont said:
After consistently building innovative services about two to three years before they become market mainstream, I’ve started to trust my own judgement now.

For the original article published in the Yorkshire Post click here.

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