Where it's based: Atlanta
When it was founded: 2003
Why it's Fierce: Axis focuses on so-called "smart cities," wirelessly enabled localities where municipal functions are linked together. The professional services company designs end-to-end network solutions that blend together a variety of different wireless applications such as smart-grid, broadband and infomatics. While Axis also focuses on core networks, RF engineering and strategic planning, a large part of what it does involves deploying dense, small-cell, self-organizing networks using licensed or unlicensed spectrum. Though Axis has yet to take off, and technology complications remain abundant, it believes in the potential for white space spectrum to revolutionize wireless applications.
One practical application the company has deployed is a parking system in Barcelona, Spain, that uses sensors in the ground to know when a car is parked in a parking space so that customers can pay by the minute.
Smart cities appear to be a whole new vertical market opportunity that carriers and infrastructure vendors likely will want to capitalize on in the years ahead. Axis' technological background and its relationships with many of the industry's leading players make it well positioned to participate in that market. The company's customers include AT&T (NYSE:T), Huawei, Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S).
What's next: Axis is looking to greatly expand its work in smart city projects across North America, and take advantage of white space spectrum as it becomes more widely available. The company also plans to grow its employee base from around 150 right now to 200 by the end of the year.