D55: Innovation In The Cloud

Disruption North looks to the cloud for the latest business innovations

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D55 – the Manchester based cloud services company – takes its name from a specific data flow in the energy industry. This is a domain where co founders and directors Jonathan Rothwell and Rhys Jacob have extensive experience, and which inspired them to launch their business.

“We felt that lots of organisations were struggling with their cloud computing,” says Rothwell. “In many cases opportunities were there but it was a business challenge to bring products through internal systems more quickly. A lack of skill set in internal teams wasn’t allowing companies to innovate fast enough.”

To bridge the gap between hypothetical opportunity and business reality, D55 works with organisations in two different ways.

“We might help a company to develop new products that are cloud native,” Rothwell notes, “or work alongside the existing team to help them upskill and learn about cloud technologies. This way, we can provide the architectural design they need to work within.”

Working with energy

Although the company has helped clients in a variety of different industries, energy continues to be a firm favourite of the D55 team. Why? Because there is an impressive level of innovation taking place there, particularly when it comes to green energy solutions.

“We are seeing a lot of innovation around renewables, and carbon neutral initiatives,” says Rothwell. “There are a lot of legacy systems in and around those organisations, so for us it is quite an interesting sector to be involved with.”

“In this industry in particular, big data is becoming extremely important. Whilst lots of companies are starting to innovate their products, the challenge now is leveraging the value out of the data, particularly in the context of initiatives like smart metre rollout. That is going to exponentially increase the amount of data, and there is significant value to get out of that. Time of use tariffs will be a big product that you can get out of the data eventually. But a couple of new entry companies have had a go at it, and failed.”

Along with uncovering previously unknowable insights into peoples’ energy usage – and deriving valuable new products from this data – Rothwell sees other technological innovations on the horizon for the energy industry in the near future.

“Another thing for me is I think things will move more towards peer to peer networking, so you’ll have things like blockchain coming into it. This is already being played around with now – you might generate energy and someone who lives down the street can consume it. Being able to track that through, and taking the grid out of it to a large extent, means that the energy is so much cheaper. I think that is where the next innovation will come from.”

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