Uplands Communications is celebrating a major contract win to the tune of £67k, having closed a deal with a division of Techtronic Industries EMEA Ltd.
The deal sees the Swansea-headquartered telephony specialists supply connectivity for more than 130 users.
Techtronic owns brands including Ryobi, Milwaukee and AEG. The company enjoyed record 2021 worldwide sales of US$13.2 billion and has more than 51,000 employees.
Paul Hooper, MD of Uplands Communications, which is based in Swansea, said: “We are pleased to forge a new partnership with Techtronic Industries EMEA Ltd, a leaders in its field which is committed to ensuring its customers receive the best experience whenever they interact with the business.
“The past two years have been challenging for businesses across all industries, including for telephony and communications, and, of course for construction and for their supply chain colleagues.
“However, we are seeing, across the board, companies becoming increasingly aware of the need to make sure their communications are in the best shape possible and are modern and fit for purpose.
“The pandemic has brought about a sea-change in the way consumers and businesses interact with each other. Carefully-tailored telephone and communications solutions are more essential than ever if businesses want to thrive.”
Natasha Russell, Financial Accountant at Techtronic said: “We operate a multi-million pound operation across a range of products and sites and we deal with a broad customer base – both commercial and domestic.
“The solution we sought from Uplands will give us a more seamless billing functionality and smoother processes, as well as more robust day-to-day support. We are pleased to enter into an agreement with Uplands Communications and we look forward to our ongoing relationship with them.”
Uplands Communications, based at Swansea Enterprise Park, is a leading managed services company delivering flexible voice, data and mobile communications.
The firm, which has its HQ in Swansea and an office in Somerset, specialises in independent network management and providing bespoke, converged solutions that aren’t tied to technology and supplier.
It’s in the game: First ever Welsh Esports team head to Commonwealth Esports Championships
The first ever Welsh e-sports team are heading to the 2022 Commonwealth Games’ Esports Championships in Birmingham to compete in the prestigious inaugural main event, thanks to support from the Welsh Government’s Creative Wales agency.
Esports is a form of competition using video games played competitively for spectators, typically by professionals.
Esports is a growing industry. It provides people of all-abilities the opportunity to participate a wide range of competitions, providing them with the opportunity to develop new and existing skills.
Esports Wales, the not-for-profit Welsh body for competitive and grassroots gaming, is heading towards an action-packed summer at the Commonwealth Esports Championships, amidst a growing awareness of the scale and potential of this new industry.
The contest at the Commonwealth Games, being held from the 6th-7th August, will feature topflight esports athletes from across the nations of the Commonwealth, with Esports Wales fielding teams in six categories:
- Rocket League Open
- Rocket League Womens
- Dota 2 Open
- Dota 2 Womens
- Efootball Womens.
Creative Wales recently confirmed £25,000 in funding to Esports Wales to help with their next stage of growth. The funding will support the establishment of a Welsh league, which will then lead to representation at tournaments in the UK and beyond.
The funding will help secure coaching and training for staff and teams, enable the hosting of new in-person and awareness-raising events, and support membership growth and marketing.
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden said: “Esports is an exciting and inclusive new development for sport and for Wales. I’m delighted we have been able to support the establishment of Wales’ first ever Esports team, which will further support the growth of the games industry in Wales.
“I very much look forward to cheering on the Welsh team in Birmingham. Pob lwc i chi gyd!”
Chief Operating Officer of Esports Wales Jack “Anders” Lawrence said: “The practice the teams put in showed through the qualification process with the mixed Rocket League and mixed Dota 2 teams advancing through the qualifiers without dropping a series.
“I’m thoroughly looking forward to watching all of our six brilliant teams compete at the Commonwealth Esports Championships. It will be a fantastic step for Welsh Esports and its community to be part of an event of this magnitude.”
(Lead image: Esports Wales)
Award-winning Pembrokeshire pub celebrates ultrafast broadband boost
An award-winning pub in the heart of Pembrokeshire has been supplied with ultrafast fibre broadband in a move to boost connectivity in the area.
In 2010, Simon Vickers and Sian Mathias took over 300-year-old award-winning pub, The Griffin, moving from the city to their home roots with their two children for a lifestyle change. Accidental Chef, Simon, was also recently named Pub Chef of the Year 2021.
The couple celebrated their new broadband connection last Friday (15th July), which has been supplied courtesy of Broadway Broadband.
They were joined by Pembrokeshire Council members Patrick Hannon and Michael Odlin as well as County Councillor Paul Miller, and members of the Broadway Broadband team.
Broadway Broadband has pledged to connect all 224 properties in Dale Village with ultrafast fibre broadband, in their aim to tackle the digital divide currently affecting remote, hard-to-reach areas of Wales.
The area surrounding The Griffin Inn had previously grappled with poor download speeds of around 5-10Mbps, with Superfast and Ultrafast packages completely unavailable. The package supplied by Broadway offers speeds of 100 Mbps for only £19.99 per month.
The new connection hopes to provide a boost for businesses and residents in the local area, who rely so heavily on the internet for day-to-day activity.
Simon Vickers/Sian Mathias, co-owner of The Griffin Inn, said: “We are over the moon to have now been connected by Broadway to fast broadband! This will bring much needed stability and speed to The Griffin Inn which relies on digital connectivity for almost all aspects of its daily running.
“On top of that, Dale Village is a popular tourist destination for families and water sport enthusiasts, so we hope our broadband upgrade will draw in more tourists looking for a ‘staycation’ holiday.”
Reece Simmons, Wales Regional Manager, Broadway Partners, said: “It has been great to witness first-hand the positive impact superfast, reliable broadband can have on local communities who previously have been disadvantaged by frustratingly slow internet speeds.
“The first connection in Dale Village at The Griffin Inn is a welcome first step in our goal to connect all the properties in the area with affordable, highspeed, reliable broadband and begin to bridge this connectivity gap we see across many rural areas”.
Library staff help bring new-style Swansea stories to life
Swansea library staff are at the forefront of a unique new storytelling experience coming to the city this month.
Teams from around Swansea Council’s libraries service are playing their own unique roles in immersive experience StoryTrails.
“Our library staff provide the Swansea public with a great service day in day out.
“It’s great that they’re using their talent, skills and dedication to help bring StoryTrails to life in Swansea.
“It will be an amazing two days of fun for local people and I know that families from around the area will enjoy the new experiences it brings.”
Library staff involved include Karen Gibbins, Gwilym Games and Bethan Lee.
Library services manager Karen said: “StoryTrails is the UK’s largest ever immersive storytelling project. It’s great for Swansea to be one of the 15 venues and it’s great for us library staff to get involved.”
Local studies and special collections librarian Gwilym said: “StoryTrails will allow local people to experience Swansea in a completely new way through the magic of augmented and virtual reality. They’ll use new technology to travel back in time, experiencing gripping local histories.”
Principal librarian Bethan said: “Our Swansea stories will be brought to life in the places where they happened, reanimating public spaces and creating a free, entertaining and playful family-friendly experience.”
StoryTrails will visit Swansea Central Library on August 10-11 from 11am -7pm when local creative talent will help showcase the stories.
Digital storyteller Owen Richards is making an interactive immersive map of Swansea. Filmmaker Jay Bedwani is making an augmented reality story trail around the city.
Stories will be brought alive in new and surprising ways with the help of archive material from the BFI, national and regional film archives as well as the BBC.
Swansea’s audiences will be guided through an immersive tour of the city as they explore stories across virtual and augmented reality and via a series of installations.
Outside the library, visitors will enter a virtual story portal to begin the StoryTrails experience, guided by a free mobile AR app and local performers. Photo ID will be required to borrow equipment for this.
The AR trail, accessed through mobile devices, invites visitors to discover Joe Cascarini’s route to building the now famous Swansea brand Joe’s Ice Cream, from his arrival from Italy in the 1920s, through his supportive relationship with his sister to present day and a digital centenary party to which everyone is invited.
The trail was created using film from BBC, British Film Institute and local archives to present a window into the past. Visitors can borrow devices from the library and follow guided AR trails across the two-day event as well as follow the route independently by downloading the app onto their own devices.
Inside the library, visitors will be immersed in a virtual map of the city that will be made up of 3D models and audio stories. They will also have the opportunity to explore further stories via bespoke virtual reality experiences.
The immersive map reveals 10 stories of local people and familiar landmarks, such as Mumbles Pier, the Swansea.com Stadium and the National Waterfront Museum.
The map was created by 3D-scanning people and buildings that build up a picture of the life and heritage of each location. The 15-minute films play on a loop throughout the day and a further 20 stories can be viewed on iPads in the library.
Professor James Bennett, director of StoryFutures and StoryTrails, said: “This is about getting people excited about where they live – helping them connect with stories of their towns and cities from the past and present through a new lens.
“New technologies like AR and VR can help build these connections and reignite people’s passion for the past.
“These technologies are for everyone – we want to find ways to engage people from all generations and spark a genuine celebration in each of our incredible locations.”
StoryFutures Academy, the UK’s National Centre for Immersive Storytelling, is at the forefront of training and up-skilling creative media professionals in the use of the next generation of storytelling tools.
It is run by Royal Holloway, University of London and the National Film and Television School (NFTS).
StoryFutures Academy wants to ensure that the UK’s creative industries are not only the best trained in the use of these game-changing technologies but that the future workforce properly represents the full diversity of UK talent.
Lead image: Swansea libraries staff – key members of the city’s StoryTrails team. (Image: Swansea Council)
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