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Startup to build wireless data network

Posted: 18 Jan 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wipro systems? wireless? data communication? lan? bluetooth?

An ambitious venture christened July Systems Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.), started by a Wipro Systems founder, hopes to build a global wireless superstructure for data communications. The initiative was announced Tuesday (Jan. 15).

July Systems will roll out pieces of its infrastructure over the coming months and expects the network to be ready a year from now.

"The mission of the company is to create a new paradigm in wireless data communications by building a wireless superstructure that knits together the various elements in the wireless value chainunderlying technologies, applications, networks, platforms, services and devicesto make the delivery of enterprise-class wireless data applications a reality," said Rajesh T.S. Reddy, July's co-founder and president.

The company is betting that a large and mature market awaits it, since the various players in wireless communications work largely in isolation. Little now exists to bind carriers such as AT&T and Vodafone with infrastructure companies such as Cisco and Nokia or device manufacturers like Dell and Palm. July Systems "will be the gluethe enabling, connecting factor among these disparate entities," said Ashok Narasimhan, July's co-founder, chairman and CEO.

In addition to developing the required technologies for the superstructure, July executives plan to build strategic relationships with carriers, device manufacturers, software vendors, infrastructure companies and large enterprises.

The company plans products that support various wireless standards, such as General Packet Radio Service and code-division multiple access (CDMA 1x), and that accommodate such short-range wireless networks as wireless LANs and Bluetooth.

Thinks global, acts local

Billing itself as a global company, July said it will maintain a technology base in Bangalore, India to take advantage of the region's technology skills. The organization also expects to enter development partnerships with Indian technology companies.

"We believe the market conditions are perfect for our launch," Narasimhan said. "By 2005 it is projected that over 70 percent of the enterprises will have deployed extensions to mission-critical applications for wireless/mobile platforms, spending over $50 billion to do so. There is a clear demand for productivity-enhancing, secure, cost-effective solutions."

Company executives said some ill-fated first-generation wireless efforts attempted to develop applications using such technologies as the Wireless Application Protocol and short messaging services. That made them widely accessible, but the applications themselves involved a minimum of information and slow connection speeds that limited their utility. Most business applications, meanwhile, continued to center on the desktop, so wireless fell short on the first try.

Now, July Systems is focusing on the business market, where enterprises are focused on their return on investment and on robust, secure and cost-effective access. July will license its technology at the platform level as well as sell individual components of the superstructure to enterprises. Revenue would come from monthly access charges.

"We have validated our idea during talks with various companies in the wireless value chain. At this point we have not seen anyone else to be [in] competition [with] us," Narasimhan said.

Internally funded

An infusion of venture capital is expected soon, but thus far July has been completely funded by Narasimhan. Earlier, he founded Prio Inc. (later sold to Infospace Inc.), and before that he had been head of global marketing at VeriFone, later a Hewlett-Packard Co. subsidiary. Also an adviser for Softbank and others, Narasimhan was the founding president of Wipro Infotech and Wipro Systems, one of India's best-known information technology companies.

Reddy, one of India's youngest IR entrepreneurs, founded Unimobile, which developed the world's first commercial Internet-to-wireless messaging gateway.

K.C. Krishnadas

EE Times

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