Firetide, a developer of wireless infrastructure mesh networks, forecasts 2009 as the year for large-scale, municipal wireless mesh networks deploying a variety of public safety, municipal and government services. The growth will be driven by a number of confluent factors which include, Firetide's proven market and technology leadership in city-owned video surveillance networks which are expected to expand, the Fed's stimulus package designed to dramatically increase spending on state and local infrastructures, and Firetide's new “game-changing” 400 Mbps bandwidth solution that enables larger scale, multi-service infrastructure mesh networks.
Since the company launched in 2003, Firetide has doubled its revenues year after year and experienced quarter after quarter growth. To date, the company has more than 2,000 customers worldwide, 1,000 Blue Chip systems integrators with leading distributors and solution partners. Firetide provides high-bandwidth wireless infrastructure for public safety with its new MIMO solution, is poised to expand into a large-scale, municipal wireless mesh networks. Building on its success, Firetide expects that its municipal wireless business will jump 200 percent in 2009.
"The municipal broadband market continues to be an exciting opportunity, and one with dramatic growth ahead,” said Craig Mathias, a principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group. “We're seeing increasing interest in municipal and public-safety applications, and we expect major growth in public access over the next few years. Firetide, with their introduction of the new 400 Mbps product line, their proven technology, and large installed base of customers and channel partners, is well-positioned to benefit from this growing demand for large-scale, municipal wireless mesh networks.”
While other vendors have struggled to find the right business model for enabling municipal wireless mesh networks, Firetide has focused on providing wireless infrastructure mesh technology for video surveillance — the most demanding muni application on a wireless network.
"Most people in the industry believe that public safety rather than free public Wi-Fi is the linchpin for wireless municipal mesh networks. The public Wi-Fi model was forced from the beginning because of the limitations of underperforming networks,” said Bo Larsson, President and CEO of Firetide. “We at Firetide took a different route and focused on developing the technology and public safety market to prove the viability of our products for large-scale, multi-service municipal mesh networks.”
The high bandwidth capabilities of Firetide's distributed Ethernet switch-based mesh, coupled with Firetide's patented flow-based routing protocol, have made Firetide the ideal solution for real-time video, the most bandwidth intensive and latency intolerant application on the network. The company's new MIMO product will increase performance more than five-fold over its earlier generation products, making ‘wireless fiber' performance available at a fraction of the cost and time needed for deployment of wired infrastructure.
Strong Growth Seen in the U.S. and Asia
In the U.S., more than 300 municipalities have deployed Firetide-enabled wireless video surveillance systems and are expanding the use of their wireless infrastructure to include other applications that protect and serve their communities. Firetide customers include some of the largest NFL U.S. municipalities: Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles County.
Internationally, Seoul, Korea has deployed two municipal networks covering 700 square miles and supporting upwards of 10 applications each: video surveillance for public safety, tourist information over Wi-Fi, video cameras for monitoring wildlife, sensor connectivity for water level monitoring, and event location services such as finding missing children in the park.
Impact of the New Administration's Stimulus Package
Broadband initiatives tie in extremely well with the new administration's plans to improve the country's critical infrastructure. Communication infrastructure and physical infrastructure are becoming one and the same. To improve efficiency of ports, roads and cities, municipalities need not only a sound physical infrastructure, but also a way to communicate easily and seamlessly — to share data applications, provide security and enable communications.
"Firetide sees a renewed focus on urban revitalization and economic development where wireless networking plays a critical role by supporting public safety initiatives through real-time video and communications, with wireless video surveillance, for example, increasingly serving as a force multiplier and an officer safety tool,” said Larsson. “With the funding from the stimulus package, multi-service, large-scale networks will become the norm, rather than an exception.”
Firetide also sees an even bigger focus on mobile applications — voice, video and data — to serve municipal and transportation markets. Always-on connectivity and visibility will improve productivity and public safety, whether on city streets, public transit or transportation corridors.