Selkirk IT firm puts new Forth bridge on solid footing
WHEN traffic starts flowing for the first time over the new Forth crossing when it opens in 2016, drivers will have a Selkirk company to thank for the fact the bridge is in the right place.
The Networking Company, which is located in the town’s Back Row, is a specialist in IT and network support, and in installing business computer networks across Scotland and the north-east of England.
It also provides disaster recovery services, offsite backup, and broadband and internet services. In addition to business support, it is one of Scotland’s largest providers of public wi-fi systems to the leisure industry and connected more than 20,000 users across 64 sites this year.
Started in 1999 by Lilliesleaf husband-and-wife team, Allan and Pauline Williams, the company now has a workforce of 12.
At the end of the summer, a team of four from The Networking Company found themselves scaling cranes and sailing on barges, all as part of work to ensure good wireless communication links between the various operations at the site of the new £790million bridge.
The brief was to provide wireless links to connect three 30-metre high caissons that support the three legs of the new construction and the floating barge-mounted cranes that manoeuvred them into position.
The link connected the crane operators to satellite-positioning devices on the caissons that determined their position and level.
The job was therefore critical to the timeous positioning of the three support legs of the bridge – and to be entrusted with this was a fantastic opportunity for a small local business.
Following on from this, company staff were asked to create long-range wireless links from the shore to the workforce on the Forth so that they can connect to the internet and continue to monitor the caisson positions.
This has meant developing a solution which can withstand all weathers.
“The new bridge is supported on three legs and obviously it was crucial these were sited in the right places,” explained Mr Williams this week.
“They were working to tolerances of just a few centimetres and if there had been a loss of communication for any reason and the legs ended up located in the wrong positions, it would have been a pretty big problem.”
Mr Williams explained staff had to undertake specialist marine and harness training.
“Because we had to work at height and work on the water, we had to undertake specialist marine and harness training to cover those risk areas, including jumping into swimming pools and swinging about suspended in the air which are not usual activities for people involved in IT support!”
Mr Williams, who has worked in the IT industry since 1986, says his team of Borders communications experts are also working on providing long-range wireless links across Loch Fyne for caravan sites.
“When it comes to tourism, if you are wanting to attract people out of their homes and into rural parts of the country, more and more you are having to supply services such as internet links,” he told The Wee Paper.
“We are also working on sites in Yorkshire, Cornwall and Devon. As well as that, we have been involved with a project in the Ettrick and Yarrow areas, so it’s a busy time.”
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Weather for Selkirk
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North