The global telecommunications network is arguably the largest, most complex and most transformative piece of machinery ever built by our species.
This makes it amazing, but it also makes it very difficult to see. Getting a view of the network has a lot more in common with discerning a distant galaxy in radio-astronomy data than it does with drawing a map of your office LAN.
Communications service providers of all sizes - from the smallest ISPs to the biggest trans-national telcos struggle with this problem: how do you operate a network you can't see?
In 2005, drawing on experience from previous startups in the telecommunications space, Benedict Enweani and Leo Zancani realised that data technologies emerging from research on how to make sense of the ballooning volume of information available on the web could be applied to this task.
In 2007, following early "sweat-equity" work with Southampton University, they raised £3m in funding, gathered an experienced and talented team and got to work.
With some of the biggest providers across the world as customers, Ontology was acquired earlier this year by EXFO Inc, a leading manufacturer of network measurement technology. In combination, data from EXFO’s existing products (what the network is doing) and Ontology (how the network is structured) provides exciting opportunities, especially in the wave of automation taking place as service providers start moving the telco to the cloud.
Within EXFO, Ontology remains an independent product unit with a small team mentality and culture; we think this is important to getting stuff done!