The only thing that has been smoothing the practice of radio longer than ATDI UK is Terry Wogan.
The company has been planning, modelling and consulting for regulators, air traffic controllers, commercial operations of all kinds – including wind farm developers – and the military for 15 years this month.
“It’s a big milestone for us,” says managing director Cyprien de Cosson. “Mindful that nine-out-of-ten new companies go out of business within 18 months, just making it this far is a compliment for any trader. Then, to have overcome within that decade-and-a-half every challenge that the radio spectrum can throw at us and to serve customers who, rightly, always want the maximum value from their investment has been exciting, satisfying and, yes, occasionally hair-tearingly frustrating.”
While the technology has changed beyond recognition during ATDI’s time in business, the principles of its operations have not.
“Whether we’re talking about 1996 or 2011, regulators need a clear picture of what resources they have, companies need to know how to create a network of maximum efficiency for minimum cost, and the guardians of public safety – from the emergency services to the military – need accuracy, accuracy, accuracy,” Cyprien notes. “It is, and always has been, our job to meet every demand put on us, and it is hugely gratifying that such a broad range of organisations have trusted us to do so.”
ATDI’s success has been based on two things: rock-solid, tried-and-tested software and the expert consultancy services that back it up.
“Sometimes I look at all the letters our guys have after their names and it’s like a bad hand at Scrabble,” Cyprien says. “Yes, it’s very impressive, but what always impresses me even more is their ability to think in novel and creative ways – and to do it under incredible pressure at times, too.
“But I know why they do it. Nothing satisfies an engineer more than solving a problem – that’s why you’ll see these guys wrestle with the numbers and the physics and, very often, the budget available, until they’ve won.”
ATDI’s flagship planning and modelling software systems are ICS Telecom and HTZ Warfare. Both have been in continuous development since the company’s foundation meaning that they now meet the needs of customers more closely than ever. “It is essential for every business to listen to its customers,” Cyprien notes, “and everything our customers have ever said to us about ICS Telecom and HTZ Warfare has been taken on board and used in the next stage of development. Even all the complimentary comments – and, happily, the overwhelming majority of views are positive – help us in our thinking about how to move forward.”
One of the huge steps forward that ATDI has taken over the years is the making available of many of its tools and services online. The company’s website now offers customers the chance to download maps and software, and ATDI’s webinar programme – whereby engineers share their expertise with an online audience – has replaced physical meetings. Even ATDI’s house magazine, Contact, is now digital rather than on paper. “We used to have a carbon footprint,” Cyprien says. “Now it’s more of a fingerprint.
“Besides, this is all about classic business philosophy: find out what people want and give it to them. Our customers want tools delivered at – close to – the speed of light, a magazine that they can read instantly and meetings where they can learn from and interact with our engineers but never have to go out in the rain or pay for a taxi fare to do it.
“The whole online philosophy is exciting because of the potential it carries. There will definitely be more coming soon. Watch this space.”
Such developments at ATDI in the UK are just part of a global picture of expansion. ATDI as an international group is now in its 20th year, and is continuing to grow with new affiliate offices in the US, Australia, Spain, Romania and Russia, and burgeoning business in the booming economies of South America.
ATDI: more international than a Lady Gaga tour, greater at modelling than Madam Tussauds, more sophisticated at planning than Sir Alex Ferguson, better measurements than Marilyn Monroe and smarter consultancy than Gregory House. And with the brightest 15-year-old you’ve ever met.