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Rapid rise of skilled Solder

PUBLISHED: 11:38 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:11 01 April 2020

The Solder team collect the Technology Pioneer award, sponsored by Computer Service Centre   Picture: I Do Photography

The Solder team collect the Technology Pioneer award, sponsored by Computer Service Centre Picture: I Do Photography

Archant

There may be no such thing as an overnight success in business, but Norwich-based Solder going from start-up to award-winning technology company in less than two years certainly comes close. After setting up in February 2018, the firm won the Tech Innovator title at 2019’s Norfolk Business Awards last November.

Solder provide innovative technical solutions   Pictire: SolderSolder provide innovative technical solutions Pictire: Solder

There may be no such thing as an overnight success in business, but Norwich-based Solder going from start-up to award-winning technology company in less than two years certainly comes close. After setting up in February 2018, the firm won the Tech Innovator title at 2019’s Norfolk Business Awards last November.

In fact, partners Glyn Cotton, Nick Thompson and Scott Porter had worked together for about ten years before starting their creative technical agency.

“Working in technology is so fast-paced – and we’d delivered such big projects for clients like Netflix and 02 – that it felt like we’d been working for much more than 18 months,” Mr Cotton says. “When we’re on those kinds of projects, we rarely get a moment to step back and take stock of what we’ve achieved.”

That opportunity to reflect was one of the benefits of taking part in the Norfolk Business Awards. “The process was very different to any other awards we’d entered at other firms, which felt a bit scattergun – as if the more categories you entered, the greater the chance of winning,” Mr Cotton says. “This was a much better process. Everything was followed up and it felt like every word mattered.”

The interactive Christmas lights were powered by contactless donations   Pictire: SolderThe interactive Christmas lights were powered by contactless donations Pictire: Solder

Even so, winning still came as something of a surprise. “We were up against some very good companies, so we didn’t expect to get ahead of them,” Mr Cotton admits candidly.

The benefits of victory were immediately tangible. “It gave a great boost to our confidence and generated several new-business leads, making companies aware of us,” he says. “And it kick-started our marketing efforts.”

The business is continuing to develop though many projects have been put on hold, because of the current coronavirus crisis. For instance, the innovative fan-tracking system – which measures crowd response to allow bands to really understand their audiences’ reactions to live shows, or football clubs to connect with fans at matches – naturally faces significant challenge when events can’t be staged.

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The aim is still, Mr Cotton says, to have it installed in every Premier League ground and in as many music venues as possible in two years. Looking at what’s been achieved in the company’s first two years, it’s easy to believe Solder will manage this.

Other creative applications of technology – such as the use of contactless payment to power the interactive Seven Dials Christmas lights – also need to wait for people to be able to leave lockdown. That doesn’t mean that Solder can’t continue to innovate.

“With our Watr system – a rugged, easy-to-install smart water-quality monitoring system – we’re hoping to expand, to have offices in Hong Kong and Poland,” Mr Cotton says. “Team expansion is going to be the key. Some of our systems will generate huge amounts of data for clients, but unless that data is intelligible, it’s of no use.”

It’s precisely this ability to make technology accessible and data intelligible that secured Solder the Tech Innovator award in 2019 – but will the company be entering the 2020 awards? “We certainly will,” says Mr Cotton. “And there are a number of other businesses I’d recommend enter – companies who now are where we were a year ago: heads down, working away, not realising just how much they’ve achieved.”

For more information about Solder, click here





WHAT THE JUDGES SAID

Solder demonstrated a unique and truly innovative approach to problem solving, leveraging technology. They have built a business that solves complex challenge briefs from various industries and leverages technology to address them. They have applied their innovation skills to environmental issues caused by manufacturing, deploying toxin monitors in surrounding waterways to detect pollution. Another notable challenge was a brief from a large concert venue, they wanted to know the most engaging moments from shows to promote. Solder built multi-directional microphone rigs and used audience noise levels overlaid with the set-list to identify these moments. They displayed a truly innovative approach to business and problem solving, leveraging technology.

Christopher Cooper, Director

Computer Service Centre


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