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Ed Wood Leaps from Accenture to Dispersive Networks with a Vision for IT, OT and DevOps Innovation Through Software

October 11, 2018

Over twenty-plus years, Ed Wood traveled around the globe while on a journey through disruption that has driven him to understand the relationship of technology and economics, the integration of networks and applications, the impact of cloud, and opportunities and threats in a hyperconnected world that keep him awake at night.

“While all the innovation happening today is thrilling,” Wood said, “whether it’s the latest iPhone, Tesla, smart factory, smart home or a smart city implementation, there are challenges ahead, urgent challenges in a digitally insecure world.”

Wood recently started as CEO of Dispersive Networks, after working with the company over the last few years while as a Managing Director at Accenture in the communications industry.

“Dispersive is a start-up with the most intense background I’ve seen in the start-up world,” Wood said. “I’ve worked with hundreds of technology companies over the course of my career, delivering large scale programs for my clients or looking for ways to address important business issues,” Wood added,”
but when I began working with the Dispersive team, and understood their radically different approach to programmable networking, I knew that with the right scale, market positioning and focus, Dispersive Networks could be massively disruptive in how we securely communicate in the world of connected everything and especially in addressing the most pressing issues in mission critical.    I’m  anxious to continue the journey we started with Accenture and our customers to co-develop disruptive industry solutions.

Part of what Wood has been observing and accelerating across many innovation, strategic consulting and systems/solutions integration projects for many of the largest companies in the world is the shift from segmentation in enterprises (for example, voice communications teams separate from data communications teams, and applications development groups detached from cloud management and security teams) to an “age of enlightenment” under the most visionary CIOs.

“It’s hard for me to think of an industry that has not been impacted by digital disruption, or any successful business that has not undertaken a digital transformation over the last few years,” Wood said, noting examples where ride share companies’ valuations are higher than rental car companies, and digital music companies have exponentially higher valuations than record labels.

“We’ve seen it across the board in telecom,” Wood said. “Look at what over-the-top services have done to voice revenues, upending the VoIP world, even after VoIP upended switched voice.   “We believe we have the secret sauce.  To avoid commodization of connectivity services in B2B, service providers will need to deploy industry solutions that address the needs of those industries – and every industry is unique.  We provide the foundational capabilities to allow our partners to create solutions across traditional connectivity, IOT, connected applications, and across disparate networks in a secure manner”      

Dispersive Networks provides programmable networking for mission-critical solutions, with what the company says is a “radically different approach.”

Unlike the very popular and yet already commoditized SD-WAN approaches, Wood says Dispersive goes beyond the benefits of SD-WAN, while co-existing with it, MPLS and other connectivity paradigms.

“Until we dug into Dispersive a few years ago when I was at Accenture, and then implemented our first trials,” Wood said, “I didn’t realize its power – without the complexity and capex associated with 1st generation SD-WAN. The software and session management algorithms that Dispersive spent over five years developing for some extremely demanding organizations is delivering ultra-secure, resilient transmission of data, securing it while in motion and doing so across a huge range of devices like IoT, smartphones, laptops and servers.”

Wood sees the way in which enterprises can consume services from service providers as a game-changer. “We’re talking here about programming networks – without engineers, without special equipment, without upfront capex, without provisioning delays, without finger pointing. Service providers we are working with can turn-up services delivered over their infrastructure within days or weeks, using web-based administration consoles that their network designers can use, whether they’re professionals in devOps, developers themselves, network operations, and security operations. That user experience is so very important – it drives consumption without all the complexity, delivers reports and analytics, and can be scaled up and down in the same way VMs are spun up and managed.”

Inspired by “battlefield-proven wireless radio techniques,” Dispersive’s virtual networking technology dynamically splits session-level IP traffic at the edge device into smaller, independent and individually encrypted packet streams.

“In a world where IT teams are now responsible for managing across everything as a service – across their private and public clouds and combinations of hybrid and multicloud environments – we need to do all we can to help harmonize their work, while also securing everything,” Wood said.

“Enterprises are partnering across ecosystems, with integration options using APIs and other techniques. Yet at the same time, each new option presents a new threat and so the job of CIOs and other executives is getting more stressful each day,” Wood said. “There are so many opportunities for innovation, but so many fears about how digital services are going to impact the attack surface, for example. We believe that when security is built into the network itself and designed to work with all elements in the security stack – including IoT – we can unlock value without betting the farm.”

Wood assumes day-to-day leadership of the company and succeeds Richard Harrison, who will become the company’s chief operating officer. Wood spent 23 years in the Communications, Media and Technology Group at Accenture, a global management consulting firm. He had been a managing director of Accenture for 12 years before joining Dispersive Networks, focusing on carrier digital transformation.  

“Ed has worked closely with our team over the last few years and demonstrated that he is both a thought leader and visionary,” said Dispersive board chairman Steve Shane. “We have already benefited from his help articulating our value proposition, defining our market strategy, and launching joint customer initiatives enabled by Dispersive’s programmable networking and brought to market with Accenture. In his new role, Ed will have an opportunity to strengthen this partnership, accelerate our growth in new verticals and enable more customers to benefit from our solutions.”

 “This is a tremendous honor for me. I’m proud to be joining such an accomplished team,” said Wood. “Programmable networking has the potential to transform almost every critical industry vertical. Energy, healthcare, financial services, government and a whole range of sectors demand highly secure but elastic and fluid networking at the lowest possible cost. We’re going beyond the standard approach to networking to enable our partners to create unique and differentiated solutions that serve specific vertical industries,” added Wood. “It’s an exciting time in networking. Dispersive has the ability to make innovation and transformation a reality for organizations across the globe.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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