Bayes Centre


Get to know NET AI.

About Net AI

Net AI is a real-time network analytics company revolutionising cloud-based virtual network management, to help Telecom companies generate significantly higher profit margins by reducing their CAPEX/OPEX/TCO. Our mission is to put mobile network management on autopilot in the cloud. The company was formed as a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh in 2020, building on years of research at the intersection of mobile networking and deep learning, conducted at one of Europe's leading computer science research centres, led by Dr Paul Patras. The Net AI core team consists of Mark Chapman (Co-founder & Chairman), an accomplished executive and Global Scot with 25+ years experience in strategic planning, and product/business development; Dr Paul Patras (Co-founder & CEO), Associate Professor at the University of Edinburgh with 7+ years experience of leading research in networking, security & AI; Dr Marco Fiore (Co-founder & CTO), Associate Professor at IMDEA Networks Institute and world expert in mobile traffic characterisation; Dr Alexis Duque (VP Engineering), former Director of Research & Security Lead at Rtone, with experience in IoT, security & ML; and Bill McDonald (Finance & Admin), Chairman of Young Enterprise Scotland and former Managing Director of Scotland for Accenture.

What we do

Net AI are developing Microscope, a customizable AI-driven software tool offering real-time analytics that drive the optimization of virtualized mobile network resources, making 4G/5G deployments efficient and profitable. Microscope harnesses the unique ability of deep learning to extract abstract features hidden in mobile network traffic, in order to perform decomposition. This is a lightweight method of breaking down traffic aggregates into separate time series for each individual service (e.g. Netflix, Google Cloud Services, Facebook, etc; down to each individual base station) and shows just how much traffic is coming from any given service, at any given time and from which location. Microscope allows data to be collected in the cloud rather than from expensive location-based probes, and also works with encrypted data sources which are impossible to analyse with traditional approaches such as using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). It is also very accurate, with validation on metropolitan-scale carrier data showing Microscope predicted streams to be within 1% of empirically measured data.

The journey

The origins of Net AI go back to 2016 when Paul Patras and Chaoyun Zhang (Net AI Co-founder and recent Edinburgh PhD graduate, now with Tencent) bootstrapped new research crossing the boundary between network engineering and data science, to tackle complex problems in the mobile networking domain. These included mobile traffic super resolution, long term forecasting, and more recently traffic decomposition. Work on Microscope began in 2018 after discussions with Marco Fiore (then at the National Research Council of Italy), who is a long-time friend of Dr Patras with a wealth of experience in mobile traffic characterisation. What started as an attempt to detect urban anomalies (e.g., sport events, concerts, demonstrations, etc.) by mining mobile traffic, turned into an AI-engine for mobile traffic decomposition that is now at the core of Net AI's Microscope technology. Mark Chapman is a Scot based in Southern California and has been friends with Paul Patras and following his research since he joined the University of Edinburgh. Mark was attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2019, when the two got together and discussed the recent Microscope research pursued by Paul's team. As with many disruptive ideas, Net AI was born over a few pints and a curry. The idea turned into reality with invaluable technology transfer support from Veronica Ferguson and Liza Sutherland at Edinburgh Innovations, and business development advice from Craig Skeldon, Jim Ashe, and Keith Edwards in the Bayes Centre/School of Informatics.

Recent success stories

Net AI ranked in top-5 out of 140 teams in the Creator Fund Challenge 2020, the first pan-European student VC, and was a semifinalist of the Converge Challenge, Scotland’s leading company creation programme for staff, students and recent graduates of all Scottish Universities and Research Institutes. We are now in the final stages of the Innovate UK Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) programme and aim to qualify for an opportunity to apply for further Innovate UK funding. The Microscope project has recently secured Scottish Enterprise funding through a competitive High Growth Spin-out Programme (HGSP). These funding streams enable us to deepen market discovery, undertake commercial validation of Microscope, and further develop our product. The research behind Microscope was peer-reviewed and has been presented recently at the flagship ACM MobiCom 2020 conference. To protect our technology, we have filed a patent application with the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Plans for the future

Over the next 18-months, the company will bring a first product to market and aims to secure its first customer engagement. We are in discussions with several VCs, aiming to raise £600,000 to fund product development, trials, patents and business development. We plan to hire leading experts in the Telecom AI space, and develop additional modules and functionality based on the Microscope core.

How to get involved / collaborate with Net AI

Net AI is keen to speak with mobile network operators interested in partnering with us in view of a commercial trial, as well as with potential investors who want to help us turn our vision into reality. We are also interested in multi-party collaboration such as UKRI, Research Council, or other EU & International Funding Agencies where 5G applications may require our expertise

Enquiries are welcome at