A Lancashire business has won a global cash prize from US tech giant Cisco for demonstrating outstanding innovation.
OrmIT Solutions and its cloud-based WiFi Splash Access was overall winner of Cisco’s Sixth Annual Partner Innovation Challenge, beating competition from businesses worldwide to take the $200,000 grand prize.
The Leyland tech business, which employs six people, will now invest the money in more staff and developing new technologies.
Managing director Tim Ormrod, who founded OrmIT with wife Helen Ormrod, flew out to Miami to be presented with the award by Alex Pujols, a Cisco vice president, who said this year’s innovation challenge had shown ‘incredible creativity, expertise and pure passion’.
Splash Access has partnered with Cisco since launching 11 years ago and integrates into the global giant’s Meraki cloud. It provides secure internet access at WiFi hotspots in public places at the same time as collecting data for clients.
The business has specialised in the high street retail sector in the UK, with Splash Access used by coffee shop chains and restaurants as well as global brands like CK, Tommy’s and Tiffany and Co. The solution is also used at the United Nations and UNICEF.
In the US, Splash Access is increasingly involved in the education sector, linking up with Cisco Meraki in universities across the country. It gives students a home-away-from-home experience, allowing them secure internet access for all their devices.
As an example, it serves 45,000 students at Purdue University in West Lafayette and 20,000 at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
Ormrod said: “We are delighted to win Cisco’s Grand Prize against such tough competition from Cisco partners around the world.
“We are passionate about Splash Access as a solution that can meet industry and customer demands across a range of sectors and environments to make a positive impact. In giving us the grand prize, Cisco highlighted our enhanced security and user access as well as our user-friendly portal for private and secure communications.
“To have our work recognised in such a way is testament to the dedication of our team and our continuous desire to innovate. We look forward to seeing our business grow even further as a result of this prize money.”
Cisco’s citation said: “OrmIT Solutions’ Splash Access’s solution enhances security and user access control for universities and multiple domestic units. This ensures private and secure communications with a user-friendly portal for self-service registration.”
It went on: “It incorporates a feature-rich WiFi solution that simplifies the administrative burden for customers while delivering a home-away-from-home network experience. Tremendous work OrmIT Solutions.”
Since the Cisco awards started in 2018 cash prizes have been given out to businesses in 96 countries and this year saw entries surge by 68 per cent.