Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Adrian Sunderland

Adrian founded Griffin Information Systems in 1992 and has held multiple roles including Chief Technical Officer and Managing Director of Allurian (the development arm of the business) until 2012 when the company was sold. Adrian started Griffin as a software house and the business evolved into a regional system integrator, the UK’s first Internet service provider and an award-winning channel Internet service provider with over 100 employees. Adrian is one of the leading technical experts and visionaries in the communications industry. Apart from regular columns in industry publications he has addressed many industry conferences and events. Adrian designed and built Griffin’s first IP network and has been responsible for numerous technology refreshes and upgrades.
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Recent Posts

UC and CC

Posted by Adrian Sunderland on 27-Mar-2024 13:50:00

Investment in UC/CC

In the past, it was the PBX or hosted PBX providers that were providing UC add-ons to their basic service sometimes at a significant premium.  Now it is the collaboration vendors that, with the addition of PSTN calling, are now displacing the PBX and/or hosted PBX.  It is now relatively easy to port a UK PSTN number to a Teams user and use that single client (desktop and mobile) to be able to interact using the rich Teams experience or make and receive traditional voice calls as required.


It is clear that COVID has changed the workplace forever and beneficiaries have been the UC and collaboration solutions such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and WebEx.  In many workplaces, the option didn’t exist to regularly work remotely and as a result, companies didn’t necessarily provide the UC and collaboration tools required.  COVID changed all that and remote working became mandatory for most of us.  At first, we used the tools for multi-person video calls, but quickly started sharing screens and in many cases moved to mass participation web conferences.

What's new?

At the moment the UC collaboration experience is all based on two dimensions video and screen sharing.  However, we already see our SIMs being used in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications in specialist industries with purpose-built tools and devices.  However, companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google are investing heavily in AR and VR for both consumers and businesses.  This combined with the widespread availability of 5G makes me think it won’t be too far away before the UC and Collaboration tools that we use every day start to open up AR and VR for widespread B2B use.

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Topics: Microsoft Teams

Subscription Services

Posted by Adrian Sunderland on 14-Feb-2024 12:14:05

Subscription Services

Subscription services allow organisations to benefit from new technologies and services without having to spend large amounts of CAPEX.  It also allows them to scale up or down, which is invaluable for organisations facing seasonal demands. 

Impact on the Channel

Subscription services generally work exceptionally well for channel companies because we’re all used to supplying services such as fixed line and mobile on a monthly recurring basis, often with some term discount to reward loyalty.  The only channel business model that could get disrupted is traditional hardware and perpetual software sales funded by leasing. 

Nowadays, many companies that would have had a PBX in their office and a bunch of servers, switches and firewalls in their comms room or data centre will likely have replaced everything with the private or public cloud equivalents. 


In the mobile data world, we’re seeing a shift towards CPE as a service. This enabled, for example, many customers to deploy 5G routers in their networks where it would have previously been prohibitive due to the relatively higher upfront costs compared with 4G routers. 

This is a win-win.  The reseller gets a more valuable stickier solution sell than they might have otherwise enjoyed.  The end-user gets the performance and productivity benefits offered by the latest 5G technologies. 

Key Trends

The key trends that are driving subscription services are the ever-accelerating march towards digital transformation and the cloud.  This has created a virtuous circle that means constant growth in customer adoption drives innovation which delivers improved services which drives more adoption. 

The other side of this equation is that organisations are more reliant on their digital infrastructure and all professional services that provide peace of mind have never been in more demand such as 24x7 network monitoring and support and 24x7 security operations centre services. 

Of course, these professional services are an ideal candidate to be delivered as a service.  We have MSPs delivering managed network and managed security services on a per-user or per-device per-month subscription basis. 


The best place to look for opportunities is always in your existing customer base.  Seek out those customers that may have struggled to sign off on a project in the past due to CAPEX constraints but that could do using a purely OPEX model.  Look for customers that have experienced rapid growth organically or have grown through acquisition, they will be facing technology and communications problems that you can help with. 

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Topics: mobile data


Posted by Adrian Sunderland on 31-Jan-2024 13:42:32

During 2024 3G will be switched off by most, if not all, UK mobile operators. This transition will leave end-users stranded with devices that no longer work such as vehicle trackers, payment terminals, and industrial handheld devices. This situation presents a significant opportunity for the Channel to offer new devices paired with SIMs supporting 4G and 5G.

While most of the population will have access to 5G, fostering the adoption of higher bandwidth applications, SME businesses can expect optimal performance and value for money through (FTTP). In cases where FTTP is unavailable, 5G is likely to hugely outperform (SoGEA) based broadband in terms of performance and efficiency. The cost of 5G hardware is expected to decrease with advances in performance, making it an attractive investment.

The opportunity

The ongoing PSTN switch-off represents a substantial business opportunity. Many major operators and resellers may underestimate the amount of businesses using PSTN lines in locations where high-speed broadband is unnecessary. Resellers offering PSTN replacement solutions leveraging 4G find they are easy to sell. Many resellers will already be talking to their customers about the PSTN switch-off and guiding them towards appropriate solutions in plenty of time, potentially saving their customers money whilst making more margin.

Internet security is no longer a nice to have. In the mobile data space, the Fixed Public IP SIMs present the easiest attack surface for hackers.  There have been many examples of CCTV cameras, IoT devices, VoIP handsets and mobile data routers being hacked, used as part of botnets and used to facilitate DDoS attacks and telephony fraud.  At Jola, we’ve been running all our Fixed IP traffic through Cloudflare for two years and we now prevent hundreds of hacking attempts against our customers monthly.  

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Topics: PSTN Replacement

Transport and Logistics

Posted by Adrian Sunderland on 10-Jan-2024 14:43:04

Current Trends

The increasing demand for reliable mobile data extends beyond traditional tracking to broader applications that require precise control. This involves leveraging technology in diverse ways and supporting different requirements across the sector, such as optimising scheduling processes and managing sensors.

As we explore trends in the transport and logistics sector, it's evident that the focus is shifting towards sophisticated solutions. While the tracking of assets remains crucial, smart transport networks are now delivering substantial benefits to passengers, operators, and local authorities. Urban services are becoming more efficient, effective and safe.

End-to-end solutions within the industry leverage advanced technologies like 4G routers and cameras. Tracking systems for trams, buses, and trains are becoming more sophisticated, accurately estimating and advertising arrival times while factoring in potential delays. These solutions often rely on 4G data SIMs, some with a fixed IP or delivered via a secure Private APN.

Warehouses are increasingly adopting these solutions to stay competitive and realise significant benefits in terms of manpower savings and cost reductions. The advent of 5G further empowers companies, even in rural locations, to adopt new technologies that streamline and enhance workflow tracking.

MSP Priorities

In serving the evolving needs of the transport and logistics sector, resellers and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) need to offer choice and control. A wholesale supplier with a diverse range of connectivity options, from single to multi-network to Fixed IP, is essential. Many MSPs have established robust relationships within this sector, understanding the challenges and proposing customised solutions.

End-users require continuous connectivity and control over their data usage to prevent data overage charges. Jola’s partners play a crucial role in managing global SIM estates through Mobile Manager, providing real-time data usage insights, alerts bolt-ons, and data pools. These tools enable efficient monitoring of usage, preventing bill shock. Additionally, the use of mobile data networks expedites start-up processes, eliminating delays associated with lengthy fixed-line installations.

Key challenges

Service providers, without the assistance of an intelligent aggregator, encounter several challenges in the 4G landscape. Firstly, varying network strengths in specific locations necessitate relationships with multiple network providers. Secondly, the absence of data usage tracking leaves devices susceptible to high overage charges when exceeding monthly allowances. Thirdly, there is a crucial need for a secure channel for transmitting financial data.

Cost-effective multi-network SIMs, coupled with an online ordering and management portal, address these challenges. Portals which facilitate data usage tracking, enable the setup of usage alerts and allow for the retroactive application of bolt-ons ensure data costs are controlled. Data pools provide the flexibility of sharing data across multiple SIMs, while buffer pools eliminate high data overage charges. Furthermore, the utilisation of Private APN networks enhances security by facilitating the encrypted transmission of data across a private mobile network.

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Topics: mobile data

Providing support for PSTN replacement solutions

Posted by Adrian Sunderland on 20-Dec-2023 15:17:46

Businesses don’t have ISDN, WLR3 or ADSL problems. Businesses have credit card payment processing, voice communication, security alarm monitoring and emergency lift line problems. The channel’s job is to be the trusted advisor and recommend the right solution for each problem. As a mobile broadband company, we’ve seen resellers use low-cost SIMs to solve all the problems mentioned above whilst saving their customers money and making more margin than they would be by simply pushing fibre-based solutions.

The country will be split into businesses with type A and type B resellers. Type A resellers will already be talking to their customers about the PSTN switch-off and guiding them towards appropriate solutions in plenty of time, potentially saving their customers money whilst making more margin. Type B resellers will be too busy to worry about 2025, so they won’t proactively do anything about the PSTN switch-off.  As a result, they might lose some of their customers to the proactive Type A resellers. Alternatively, they will be having a very stressful time in 2025 when suddenly their customers are being bombarded by warnings coming from every direction about their services being disconnected and then rushing to prevent that from happening.

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Topics: PSTN Replacement

PSTN Switch-off Preparation

Posted by Adrian Sunderland on 13-Dec-2023 12:55:29

Are we ready?

Of course not!  The BT Digital Voice debacle and the Salisbury and Mildenhall delays show that neither industry nor customers are ready.

What support is available?

Businesses don’t have ISDN, WLR3 or ADSL problems.  Businesses have credit card payment processing, voice communication, security alarm monitoring and emergency lift line problems.  It’s the job of the channel to be the trusted advisor and recommend the right solution for each of these problems.  As a mobile broadband specialist, we’ve seen resellers use low-cost SIMs to solve all the problems mentioned above whilst saving their customers money and making more margin than they would be simply pushing fibre-based solutions as the solution to every problem.

How will it all play out?

I think the country will be split into businesses with type A resellers and businesses with type B resellers.  Type A resellers will already be talking to their customers about the PSTN switch-off and guiding them towards appropriate solutions in plenty of time, potentially saving their customers money whilst making more margin.  Type B resellers will be too busy to worry about 2025, so they won’t be proactively doing anything about the PSTN switch-off.  As a result, they might lose some of their customers to the proactive Type A resellers.  Alternatively, they’re going to be having a very stressful time in 2025 when suddenly their customers are being bombarded by warnings coming from every direction about their services being disconnected and then rushing to prevent that from actually happening.

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Topics: PSTN Replacement

Powerful Hardware

Posted by Adrian Sunderland on 06-Dec-2023 11:19:40

New hardware for FTTP and 5G

We are seeing significant demand for single devices that support Gigabit Ethernet and 5G or for 5G devices that can sit alongside Gigabit Ethernet routers.  Internet connectivity is now mission critical to virtually all businesses whether they are SMEs, mid-sized or the largest of enterprise or public sector.  For the channel, these devices need to be robust, reliable and manageable out of the box.  At Jola, every single device that we supply includes unique software that we’ve developed in-house to make the device provisioning zero-touch and to enhance the remote support that the reseller can provide.  Supplying hardware isn’t just a case of shifting a box anymore, now the reseller needs to make sure it will work perfectly with the customer’s particular mix of connectivity as well as any wide-area network-specific requirements such as SD-WAN or VPN connectivity to other locations.  


The latest generation of equipment is significantly more powerful than what’s gone before.  Two years ago, using the best external antennas, a typical cellular router, even from a premium brand, would struggle to perform much beyond 40Mbit/s.  The constraint was both the device itself but also the cellular service available.  In a recent test, our entry-level 5G router, inside a building, using its internal antenna delivered 490Mbit/s.

The other major benefit of the new equipment is the cost savings.  Our average leased line customer has 100Mbit/s of bandwidth but our average FTTP customer has 300Mbit/s available to them.  On average our 5G customers achieve speeds of 276Mbit/s (using the Three UK network).  FTTP is around 80% cheaper than a leased line and 5G is around 97% cheaper than a leased line!

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Topics: 5G, Intelligent 4G Routers

Mobile data opportunities in health and social care

Posted by Adrian Sunderland on 30-Nov-2023 17:24:44

The digitisation of healthcare has had a major impact on IT and telecommunications requirements. In recent years there has been a huge effort within NHS trusts to move to 100% electronic patient records which are more easily accessible.


The demand for mobile connectivity services and devices has been increasing consistently since the start of COVID. During the pandemic, there was a need for healthcare professionals in the field to be able to work remotely rather than return to a GP practice or hospital at the end of each shift to update records.  However, that simple change has now led to those mobile devices being used for so much more than simple data entry. Now that single device and SIM card will be likely used for video calling, collaboration, lone worker safety and access to the latest reference material and procedures.

Given that this mobile access is now so mission critical and in some cases life critical then it is no surprise that we seeing more and more demand for data and voice SIMs that can roam un-steered on all the UK networks providing better coverage and resilience than any traditional SIM from one of the big four mobile operators.  


When you’re dealing with an individual’s health information, cybersecurity is a top priority.  With internet-based health applications, this is usually addressed with application layer encryption.  However, where the application isn’t hosted on the Internet but is hosted within an NHS Trust's data centre or cloud then it is very common for a private APN to be required.  A private APN works using standard SIMs and devices but instead of providing access to the Internet, it provides secure access between the SIM and the application without requiring the traffic to traverse the Internet at all.  Private APNs used to be the sole preserve of the mobile operators, but now our resellers can set these up in a matter of days and choose from a variety of different tariffs that provide support for single or multiple mobile networks.

Three years ago we were involved in a project to connect over 30,000 ambulances to the Internet to be able to access electronic patient records which has been a tremendous success.  However, now the requirements have moved on significantly from just being patient records.  The mobile connectivity we supply is now being used to replace the traditional 2-way radio voice communication using either cellular voice or PTT over IP technology.  The largest increase in data usage is coming from video calling which is being used to connect patients, control centres and paramedics to improve the speed and quality of clinical decision making.

A more recent initiative is the concept of ‘virtual wards’. Jola is involved in several different projects of this type throughout the UK with several different partners.  A virtual ward is a term used to describe how digital technology can be used by a hospital to communicate with and monitor the health of hundreds or thousands of patients.  Typically the patient will have a device such as an iPad with a SIM card in it that is linked to wearable sensors that monitor things such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and environmental conditions.  The data is then combined with virtual or in-person outpatient visits that can give the patient more choices about their care and free up valuable hospital beds.

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Topics: mobile data

The importance of mobile data

Posted by Adrian Sunderland on 08-Nov-2023 11:44:53

Your customers are working on mobile data projects right now and demand is predicted to increase dramatically over the next few years, writes Adrian Sunderland, CEO at Jola. If you get it right with M2M and IoT, you will quickly generate high-margin recurring revenue and, due to higher EBITDA multiples, increase the value of your company.

According to McKinsey, revenues from mobile data are set to increase dramatically over the next five years due to the availability, speed and reliability of 4G, 5G and IoT. Statista forecasts that there will be over 25.4 billion IoT devices worldwide in 2030. Fortune Business Insights predict this market will be worth £1085bn by 2027.

People think IoT is low revenue and you’ve got to win hundreds of thousands. You don’t. You can often get a decent ARPU of £10 to £15 on thousands of devices and sometimes margins of more than 40%, so it’s an attractive line of business to pivot into.

Your mobile data partner will need to give you the tools to win deals, usually competing with the direct sales arms of the mobile networks. Your supplier will need to be an aggregator with access to all the networks and ideally, they will also be an independent MVNO. Most importantly everything must be automated, with real-time APIs offering zero-touch provisioning and management through a single self-service portal.

They will need to be innovative, with a constant stream of relevant mobile data and IoT products
that the networks would take years to develop and launch. When you partner with the right channel supplier, mobile data is easy to sell, support and bill.

The opportunity for the channel is significant. ICT resellers already have strong relationships with business customers for IT infrastructure, asset tracking, digital signage, mobile WiFi, monitoring and utilities.

Mobile data is an easy product to sell and provision and needs very little support. Jola took on just over 200 new partners in 2022 and now has over 1300. We put 30,000 multinetwork SIMs into iPads for one public sector project, with a very quick book-to-bill timeframe and no issues. Our SIMs are in devices such as ANPR cameras, CCTV cameras, vending machines, digital signs and tracking devices around the world.

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Topics: mobile data

Changes create compelling events which create opportunity

Posted by Adrian Sunderland on 25-Oct-2023 13:28:08

This has been true for UK resellers since deregulation in the early 1980s through the launch of the first competing telephone service to BT in 1986, fax, telex, ISDN, 21CN and now the transition of everything to IP. At the same time, the constant need for more speed drives another fibre revolution creating a plethora of local, regional and national fibre companies. Similar to what happened to cable companies in the 1990s these will inevitably consolidate into a handful of national providers. Most will get bought and some will go bust.

This move to full-fibre brings challenges as well as opportunities. BT has led the way with its ‘unbreakable’ proposition and for ISPs to compete it must develop its own Layer 2 4G/5G proposition. Unless they decide to build their own mobile infrastructure, this requires network integration with a mobile data aggregator. Neither solution is technically trivial and ISPs need to be careful to evaluate the technical competence of potential suppliers before deciding which way to go.

The networks are already switching off their 3G networks and there are thousands of routers out there that need to be replaced to work with LTE. This is a great opportunity for MSPs, many of whom are unaware that their customers are using mobile data already. A channel-only aggregator will use their experience to help you find and replace these with high-margin, high-value alternatives.

Finally, the move to all-IP is bad news for customers of the millions of single telephone lines servicing lift lines, retail, alarm lines and healthcare services. Rather than pay twice the monthly rental for a SOGEA service they are choosing to use tailored 4G/5G products. Apart from hitting the price point, these get around logistical issues like laying cable across third-party space.

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Topics: 4G, 5G

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