Ambient Design is a New Zealand based software development company specializing in creative tools for artists.

Working across desktop and mobile platforms it focuses on creating natural tools with intuitive interfaces.

Allowing artists from all backgrounds the digital tricks to get realistic results.

Graphics software company Ambient Design Ltd needs a high-speed internet connection to service its clients. It is a Kiwi company employing local developers and support staff, but does most of its business online in the US with its flagship product ArtRage for Windows and MacOS X. Co-founder of Ambient Design Andy Bearsley says that despite being located in Riverhead, just 35 minutes from downtown Auckland, he cannot get a fibre internet connection.

"The difficulty is that I’m a software engineer running an international software development company. We don’t have an office, everyone works from home, so a lot of data needs to be shifted around at a reasonably high rate," says Andy.

Ambient Design had tried several providers to get a decent internet connection, including a copper ADSL connection and a wireless connection, but these only achieved speeds of up to 10Mb/s.

"Given the amount of data we are using that’s not adequate and means we might be spending a day downloading software updates for a machine and that’s a waste of a day," Andy says. The company was previously based in the Waitakere Ranges where it faced the same issues around connectivity and consistently low broadband speeds have resulted in many staff hours being wasted, year after year.

In October 2017, Andy contacted Dale Daniels, managing director at Intellium Technology, to examine the feasibility of a Digital Microwave points of presence connection. A drone fly-over suggested clearing some pine trees to give line-of-sight to Intellium’s digital microwave equipment in the Waiatarua Ranges and Andy went ahead with that option. By the end of November, Intellium had built a dedicated point to point DMR link which was able to provide a 120 Mb/s symmetrical service. Andy was hoping for speeds of 50 Mb/s and describes having a reliable 120Mb/s connection as "amazing". He is also using the Internet connection for his phone line with Voice Over IP.

Dale says a lot of businesses and people working from home outside of New Zealand’s main cities struggle to get the required bandwidth to do their jobs efficiently, due to a lack of network capacity and unreliable connections. While the government’s Rural Broadband Initiative has expanded coverage, it is largely cellular wireless connections which can be hugely expensive for data-hungry businesses. The benefit for Ambient Design is there is no data plan so they can use as much data as they need.

"Commercially these DMR links make sense and they provide customers with a really good reliable service," says Dale.

Andy says the change to his working life is "phenomenal".

"There’s so much less sitting around waiting for software updates to be complete or if we send big source code dumps to programming partners it’s happening instantly. It’s all done at the snap of your fingers, which is a lot less frustrating," he says.

"My work is very creative and we want to avoid mental breaks. If you get into the flow of producing something you don’t want to be stuck waiting while something updates or downloads as that breaks your flow of work and creativity and that can have an impact for the entire day."

Andy says Intellium have done a "magnificent job".

"What impressed me most is their management of the project. There was absolutely no stress or problem for me, they managed it very well and I would absolutely recommend them."