Level39 (Europe’s largest technology accelerator for finance, retail, cyber-security and future cities technology companies ) is proving a hit for new FinTech startups in the UK. Originally created on Level 39, and now on levels 24 and 42, they are challenging conventional working practices with a fresh, fluid and open environment that’s driving digital innovation in the heart of London.

The Challenge

Opened in March 2013, Level 39 has purposely chosen a different path for its members, and its one that has grown from strength to strength. Concieved to be a set of ‘businesses sandboxes’ (with close proximity to their natural client base) to enable accelerator programmes, software engineers and builders of financial services platforms to refine, test and showcase their financial technology products in a safe, ring-fenced environment. Level39 offers its members a series of scalable business environments comprising open areas, private offices, access to industry leading mentors and a 200 seat event space.

Creating a collaborative work space that is highly adaptive and capable of hosting more than 500 connections at any one time with reliable and secure high speed access is not as simple as it sounds. Yet the 29,000 sq ft area has proven so successful with tech innovators, the company has now taken over floors 24 and 42 as well.

With a clear intention to further the growth of London and the United Kingdom as one of the leading technology innovation centres in the world, the Company wanted to create a unique, innovative and collaborative working environment for its members that could not be found elsewhere.

Each floor offers its own unique value – forming a separate stage of the business ecosystem, enabling its members to utilise more space and facilities as they develop and grow. In January 2015, Level39 opened its High Growth Space on level 24, specifically to help nurture companies between 8-30 people, most of whom have come from the 39th floor and now require more expansive facilities.

The original level provides a ‘Unique Technology Tunnel’ with secure wired and wireless internet access for all users. Tenants and visitors are separated by private networks, but can easily collaborate across either once permissions and registration have been granted. At all stages, users are logged and tracked throughout their stay, helping improve ongoing service performance and density management, as well as simplify and ease future visits.

Such a unique technology space demands a highly reliable and resilient infrastructure to remain relevant. It needs to be easy to manage yet quick in adapting to user and space changes. Furthermore, across the shared Sandboxes and Lounge area, security was given a clear priority, as any failing in one of these areas could lead to damage to Level 39’s reputation and credibility of value.

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The Solution

Block was selected to help deliver the connectivity and mobility solution after demonstrating extensive wireless expertise, a good understanding of the client requirement and for detailing how all the necessary components of this complex solution could be brought together.

The delivered solution combines a completely redundant wired and wireless access service to Level39 (also to levels 24 and 42) and 1GB of internet bandwidth with full end-user management. Back-end support is also being managed by Block to speed up user and service resolutions as well as minimise in-house IT overhead.

Level39’s service has the ability to recognise visitors, provide free self-service Wi-Fi and also log key data to position future events and offer additional value to them during their stay, all again with minimal IT involvement.

Delivered through a combination of Block technical consultancy, design, know-how and managed services, the project brought together key products from OpenDNS and Solarwinds for end user management, an infrastructure built upon a Cisco platform utilising Cisco LAN equipment, Cisco ISE and Cisco Clean Air Access Points and WLAN controllers. Blizzard provided the high speed failover backhaul lines to the internet, as well as SIP trunking to lower call costs.

The Outcomes

With a minimal IT team, tenants and visitors remain fully connected to their digital businesses, collaborating easily and effortlessly and with over 170 companies now using its facilities, Level39 is clearly delivering a great onsite experience, one that is in-line with the original vision and growing rapidly.

The semi-open and open-plan office areas that service the needs of early-stage and growth phase businesses fully benefit from the flexible, yet secure mobility design. This is helping the Group attract new technology talent to the area through their unique differentiation, generating strong long-term revenue opportunities.

User data collected from the wireless and mobile infrastructure allows Level39 to keep in touch with tenants and visitors past and present, giving the organisation valuable insight in to usage, movement and trending, so it can quickly adapt the environment and services available in-line with client demand, ensuring a consistently valuable and immersive technology experience at all times.

  • We had a new project to deliver high capacity, high speed and highly reliable Wi-Fi to our new technology floor within Canary Wharf. We managed to meet the tight deadlines and project delivery requirements.

    Mark Nallan
    Group IT Manager Canary Wharf Group
  • The Block team has given me the support i have needed. I’ve been impressed with the technical knowledge and end project we have been given

    Mark Nallan
    Group IT Manager Canary Wharf Group