Firetide identified the market opportunity and chose the right go-to-market strategy for wireless mesh networks.
For 2010, Firetide forecasts 100-percent increase in demand for city-wide wireless infrastructure mesh networks but with a focus on municipal infrastructure rather than free public Wi-Fi applications. Eager for more and affordable capacity, municipalities will turn towards wireless infrastructure mesh vendors that can provide "fiber-like" performance at a fraction of fiber's cost for a variety of voice, video and data applications – fixed and mobile - for city-wide municipal and transportation projects.
Smart Grid wireless infrastructure mesh solutions will start to be deployed in 2010, with Firetide projecting this market to be large and fast growing. Firetide also sees an equally sizable opportunity in building secure, reliable and fiber-like wireless IP networks for mobile and broadband network operators in emerging markets.
Firetide is uniquely poised to take advantage of these trends because of its secure, reliable, and high-performance technology, already in use by hundreds of the most demanding municipal and transportation customers in extensive fixed and mobile video surveillance networks. Through its partnerships with Aclara and a global network of blue chip channel partners, Firetide will continue to expand into these attractive market segments.
Leadership in Municipal Public Safety Video
During the first decade of the new millennium, Firetide set industry standards in wireless infrastructure mesh networking technology and has emerged as the solution for municipal wireless infrastructure while most of its competitors have struggled.
Firetide has delivered continuous quarterly revenue growth since the company's first full year of shipping product in 2004. Customers include the largest municipalities, such as the previously announced deployments in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Orlando, Phoenix and Los Angeles County, with over 50 percent of current revenue coming from the installed base. Firetide will be expanding its EMEA presence while continuing to leverage its market leadership and focus in North America and Asia Pacific, including South Korea where Firetide products are the enabling wireless infrastructure for South Korea's “ubiquitous city” and other municipal and transportation projects in Seoul and Busan, Korea's second largest city.
"In the past decade, we delivered to our customers high-performance wireless infrastructure mesh for fixed and mobile video networks," said Bo Larsson, CEO of Firetide. "With 802.11 MIMO technology based infrastructure mesh solutions, launched in 2009, we have raised the bar for wireless mesh networks, expanding the opportunities for large-scale, wireless mesh networks around the world. The MIMO technology based solution gives customers greater flexibility in the design and deployment of their infrastructure mesh networks, enabling the addition of new applications and services on a single network never before possible."
The Decade that Reshaped Wireless Mesh Technology
The decade saw wireless mesh technology evolve from providing single-digit Mbps capacity to industrial-grade wireless infrastructure capable on taking on fiber in terms of throughout, latency, reliability and security. In 2009, Firetide further advanced the standard for high performance wireless mesh networks with the its MIMO-based wireless solution providing 300 Mbps in outdoor environments and 400 Mbps indoors, ten times that of any other competing wireless mesh network equipment.
In addition, Firetide's unique capability in providing video streaming to and from high speed trains was proven last fall when Korea Telecom selected Firetide's technology for a US$60 million project to provide the infrastructure for the world's first real-time mobile wireless surveillance system in Seoul's subway system. Firetide beat out the competition because “no other vendor's wireless mesh equipment could provide the high speed performance required to deliver streaming video from the station to moving rail cars and operate in one of harshest of environments for RF networks,” commented Larsson.
Technology and Business Model Helped Firetide Weather Muni Bust, Recession
Unlike other companies in the early part of the decade that were chasing city-wide Wi-Fi deals, Firetide was building its presence in public safety law enforcement and video surveillance. As a result, Firetide was able to weather the downturns when the free muni Wi-Fi market collapsed in mid-decade and later during the recession of 2008 and 2009.
During those times, Firetide focused on developing high performance and secure wireless infrastructure mesh products. 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 solution for real-time video, the most bandwidth intensive and latency intolerant network application. Meanwhile, many of Firetide's competitors overextended themselves in the days of "free Muni Wi-Fi" and have either been acquired, stopped innovating, or unsuccessfully tried to change market focus.