This is Ultraleap, winner of Tech Innovation of the Year
As the UK Tech Awards announces its winners, Business Chief takes a closer look at the winner of best tech innovation of the year award, Ultraleap.
[Image: Jass Sarai, Partner, UK Technology, Media and Telecoms Industry Leader, PwC; Anders Hakfelt, Ultraleap (winner); Sean Duffy, Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms, Barclays; and Babita Sharma (awards presenter), UKTech Awards]
Ultraleap is a company that specialises in “creating touch in mid air” through hand tracking and mid-air haptics. Ultra Leap is a partnership of two companies: Ultrahaptics, a virtual touch technology company that creates the feeling of touching air without the use of controllers or wearables; and Leap Motion, a 3D hand tracking solution, which has been used by over 300,000 developers worldwide and can now be downloaded into VR sets.
“Driver safety is paramount as cars become more connected. The ability to track the user’s hand and give feedback for gesture commands reduces the mental load for infotainment controls, helping drivers to remain safe on the road,” said Stefan Marti, Vice President of Future Experience, HARMAN.
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“We’re building a company that will break down the barriers between physical and digital and connect people and technology in new ways. Ultraleap is the epicentre of an interaction revolution that will open up limitless worlds to everyone.” Steve Cliffe, President & CEO
Originally from Bristol, the team now has over 150 employees across the world, with a location also in Silicon Valley. Ultraleap are working with a number of other clients and partners to build creative and immersive entertainment: Arrow, Bosch, Dell, Harman, IGT, Intel, Nike, and Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire.
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GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”