ICE Technology Services, aka ICE, turns 15 in May.
Embracing nostalgia, today we think back to a Q&A session between ICE’s co-founders, Conor Byrne and Ian Richardson. These popular figures in the IT world have many great stories to share. Not least the story of how it all began, which was one area of focus for that particular conversation*. In fact, there was so much covered on that day in October 2019 that some answers were left out. We’re delighted to now share those with you!
For those readers who are keen to hear more about our beginnings, we’d recommend this article written by Ian on theICEway’s origins.
~1995: Conor Byrne and Ian Richardson first team up
2007: Together they create ICE Support Ltd. (this is known as ICE Technology Services to some and ICE-ICT to others)
2014: eTestware joins ICE and the as yet unofficially named ecosystem is born
2016: CRIBB Cyber Security is born, prompting Conor and Ian to then create…
2017: theICEway ecosystem
2020: This is unveiled at Seatrade Cruise Virtual (this event was selected due to theICEway’s affinity with the cruise industry)
2022 onwards: Only time will tell but see below for more**
The Creation Of ICE Support Ltd
As aforementioned, this author first sat with Conor and Ian back in 2019 to ask how theICEway began. Our Q&A session initially touched upon their very first meeting – more on that below. It rounded off with a look at their new CMCA IT solution for cruise, a security framework from CRIBB Cyber Security – this will be revisited in a future CRIBB blog. In between those points, we spoke about the birth of the ICE brand, the crux of the ecosystem as a whole and a UK MSP / IT consultancy.
Ian Richardson (IR): In the mid-90’s I took a role in Conor’s IT department (Conor is a bit older than me!) and we worked together for the next 10-plus years. Our individual specialities seemed to mix really well so we decided to set up ICE Support Ltd in 2007.
Conor Byrne (CB): As ICE, we worked very hard to fine-tune a robust set of IT services and solutions. theICEway ecosystem was always in our thinking but we knew it would take a lot more hard work to get there. As we built ICE Support out we also added eTestware and CRIBB Cyber Security into the mix (in 2014 and 2016, respectively).
From ICE Support Ltd To ICE & TheICEway
IR: Adding eTestware and CRIBB was a huge step for us. It enabled us to offer ‘end-to-end’ digital solutions with more agility because we could incorporate software testing and IT security processes using our own people.
CB: As we completed more technology projects we found that people started referring to us just as ‘ICE’. That then became a nice lead off to ‘theICEway’, which was how we described our ecosystem philosophy at the start. It has really caught on and we were really proud to officially announce theICEway as a brand at Seatrade Cruise Virtual in 2020.
What now for ICE and theICEway? How do the two entities differ?
This author was lucky enough to catch a quick word from both Conor and Ian again recently. Despite the briefness, the chat was an interesting one – surely not a surprise to any of those who have met ‘the boys’:
CB: What now indeed! It’s been an amazing journey so far and it’s great to think back and see how far we’ve come and how we’ve grown. We’re fortunate to have many of the original team members still working with us, so despite the developments and changes, we’ve definitely retained a sense of self.
We’re always looking to be innovative and that’s one of the reasons we have constantly adapted and upscaled. It’s difficult to compare ICE Support Ltd. with theICEway in terms of their relative offering because one is so much more than the other. What I would say is that we needed to start with ICE to arrive at theICEway.
The three pillars that make theICEway successful are: People, people and people. This is a bit cliché however whenever we take a little time to reflect then this has always been the same conclusion.
IR: Agreed. It’s definitely been a challenging journey but it has been well worth it. There was always a certain direction we wanted to take. The objective was definitely to provide clients with a total digital solution. We just needed to grow together as a team so that we could transition from ICE Technology Services to theICEway. So we could go from providing IT support, IT solutions and IT consultancy to providing end-to-end support, solutions and consultancy.
Bespoke IT Solutions / Products
CB: We’re also developing bespoke IT solutions these days, which was something of a pipe dream 15 years ago. It’s been challenging trying to take them to market, especially given the situation with Covid in recent years.
IR: We have had some uptake in the last year. One example is fit2go, a secure solution for the capture of health data. We’ve been privileged to work with a lot of clients in healthcare and we used the knowledge we gained from that to produce it. It was successfully deployed at Seatrade Cruise Global 2021.
CB: tzChromar is another, a time zone solution for cruise ships. That’s being used by a major cruise line as we speak, which is fantastic.
tzChromar is nominated for a special award at the Travel Weekly Globe Travel Awards 2022. It is up against intense competition in the ‘Innovation in travel’ category and all of us at theICEway are delighted just to be shortlisted.