Fifteen years ago, six of us started the current Isode company. We’ve had quite an adventure and this seems an appropriate time to step back and reflect.
I founded the original Isode organization 25 years ago and we focussed on the M-Vault Directory and M-Switch SMTP/X.400 products (which had different names then). Isode became a part of MessagingDirect which did e-Billing and was sold to ACI (as US Company). New Isode took on M-Vault and M-Switch in 2002, along with a number of customers still using these products. We were fortunate that many old Isode customers had continued to use M-Switch/M-Vault and were delighted to see Isode return.
I started drafting this message with a history of new products, customers, and markets. It became clear that this would end up as a very long messages of limited interest. So I have picked out a few highlights of the 15 year road from a start-up without offices or cash to a financially stable company with many products, customers and markets.
The Isode achievements I am most proud of are where our software products get deployed to support mission critical deployments around the world. Some of my favourites are:
- The AMHS (Aviation) market, where M-Switch is used in a majority of countries in the world to support ground to ground communication in support of civil and military flights.
- The NATO M-Link deployment in Afghanistan, in support of the Resolute Support Mission.
- Use of M-Vault directory to underpin most of our messaging and XMPP deployments, and as standalone services such as support of the US Government Federal PKI and our oldest UK customer.
- M-Switch MIXER deployments, particularly in the UK, to support transition from X.400 to SMTP
We are foremost a technology company and I’m proud that we are able to lead in new technology areas (notably XMPP and HF Radio) and to apply modern innovative engineering to our products supporting older technologies (notably the world of ACP 127, Serial Lines, and messaging without lower case letters that we have recently embarked upon). Open Standards are central to the Isode Philosophy and I’m delight that Isode staff (including me) have been able to contribute to new standards in IETF, XSF and NATO. We plan to continue this and to have products supporting new open standards to help effective deployment.
A board member of the original Isode told me that start-ups initially see technology as the priority and as they evolve the priority shifts to people; he was spot on. I am immensely proud of the Isode family of staff; there are about 40 of us now, with a few who have been with Isode for over 20 years. We are centred in Hampton, with individuals spread around the world (Canada, Netherlands, USA, Germany, Peru and Turkey). This relatively small group of people have brought a wide range of high-end software products to market and are able to support them through a wide range of our channel partners.
15 years is not an end point, but where we are on the journey. We are seeing exciting growth opportunities, particularly in our military markets, and we plan to take advantage of this. Over 15 years we have shifted from “server only” to providing clients, servers and comprehensive management and provisioning for both Messaging and XMPP. Our initial client focus is very much for our evolving military markets, but I am looking forward to applying the security and resilience characteristics that are central to these markets into broader areas in the next 15 years.