Andy Harter

Andy Harter

Areas of Interest


Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Science, 2015


"Andy Harter is an engineer, innovator, entrepreneur, and Chief Executive Officer of RealVNC.

Born in Yorkshire, Andy attended Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield before heading to Cambridge University to study Mathematics and Computer Science. After graduating he remained in Cambridge to work on his PhD.  His doctoral thesis was judged the best UK Computer Science dissertation of 1990 and was later published by Cambridge University Press.  He subsequently became a Fellow of St Edmund's College and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.

In 1990, Andy started work at AT&T Laboratories in Cambridge, where he would rise to the position of Director of Research and Engineering.  It was during his time here that he developed a new technology - Virtual Network Computing, known as VNC - which allows a computer screen to be accessed and controlled remotely via another device.  Although other technologies that Andy was responsible for had been successfully commercialised previously, on this occasion he persuaded AT&T to allow him to give the software away freely.  Later, in 2002, he founded the company RealVNC with the objective of further standardising, promoting and commercialising the technology in the very market that his previous strategy had created. 

The feature that sets Andy’s solution apart from the competition is that his technology uses an ingenious algorithm to select and send only a fraction of the data from the source screen, just those elements that are changing.  This minimises the volume of data that needs to be transmitted, facilitating rapid communication and sharp images.  The other distinct advantage of Andy’s efficient, streamlined technology is that it can be embedded into all kinds of devices – in fact, just about anything with a screen.

VNC technology is now embedded in Intel and Apple products and Google also utilises RealVNC technology to enable remote access from its Chrome products.  Impressively, Andy’s VNC technology is present on over one billion devices around the globe and is now recognised as an integral part of the internet.

In 2010, Andy was the recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal for his outstanding personal contribution to British engineering.  In 2013, RealVNC won its third Queen’s Award for Enterprise, and later that year the company received the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award - a most prestigious prize in the field of engineering.

Andy is an internationally renowned engineer and tenacious entrepreneur.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and Fellow of the British Computer Society.  He is Chairman of the Cambridge Network and has lived in Cambridge for 35 years.

Andy’s ability to successfully combine ground-breaking research with outstanding commercial acumen will make him an outstanding role model for our students and we are delighted to welcome Andy Harter to our Anglia Ruskin community."