The U.S. wireless industry is maturing and consolidating. LTE is pervasive, smartphones are ubiquitous and the industry is already looking ahead to 5G networks. But there is still a great deal of innovation occurring. Over the years, FierceWireless' "Fierce 15" winners have been the emblems of that innovation, and our lists are an annual celebration of the most creative and promising privately held wireless companies.
The ingenuity that is currently on display in the industry is reflected in our 2015 "Fierce 15" list, which includes a diverse set of startups.
Several themes are apparent in this year's list. For example, the list clearly reflects the growing importance of the Internet of Things to wireless carriers, which are looking for new revenue opportunities. A number of our winners are tackling different aspects of IoT. Helium Systems is focused on getting connected devices to talk to each other in areas like factories or neighborhoods; Open Garden wants to use mesh networking to connect IoT devices to each other; SapceCurve aims to help carriers, device makers and application developers make sense of waves of data from sensors via spatial analytics; and Veniam wants to turn vehicles into nodes of new networks.
Other winners are focused on enhancing networks. Aoptix, for example, is using curvature adaptive optics to deliver advanced wireless backhaul; A2Zlogix and Kwicr are optimizing and speeding up the delivery of content; and Parallel Wireless is using software-defined networking to more quickly and cheaply deploy LTE.
All of our winners are engaged in interesting work that has the potential to reshape the industry. They are the ones we should be watching in the years ahead.
To give you some insight into our selection process, Fierce editors are always on the lookout for interesting start-ups and emerging companies in the wireless industry. We typically ask for Fierce 15 nominations in May and make our selections in June.
To qualify, a company must be privately held, well-funded, emerging (founded in the past five to 10 years) and have the potential to be a major player in the industry. We prefer the firm to be based in the United States, but if it is not, we expect it to conduct a significant amount of business in the U.S. since that is where the majority of our readers are located.
Here are the firms that we think will be making waves in the years ahead.--Phil
P.S. Be sure to look forward to FierceOnlineVideo's Fierce 15, which is coming soon!