The Internet of Things (IoT) race is on, and Ingenu, the machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless firm formerly known as On-Ramp Wireless, plans to cover 30 major U.S. metro markets with its Machine Network by the end of 2016.
Powered by the company's Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA) technology, the Machine Network will compete with myriad other IoT technologies that are either being deployed or still in development, which is one reason the company is stepping on the gas pedal.
Ingenu, with headquarters in San Diego, was started up in 2008 as On-Ramp Wireless. It developed its own proprietary networking technology, RPMA, which uses the 2.4 GHz ISM spectrum band. Ingenu CEO John Horn said that's a key advantage because 2.4 GHz is available around the world. Ingenu currently operates on more than 38 private networks globally.
In the U.S., the timing, number of cities and geographies are all strategically selected for deployment. Dallas and Phoenix will be the first two markets up and running due to the prevalence of current IoT applications operating in those areas. Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Miami are among the cities targeted for launch in the first quarter of 2016.
"We understand this business well. We know where the customers are, we know what applications need our technology and where there's a lot of pressure on the 2G turndowns and things like that, so we are definitely being very strategic about where we light up, when we light up, so that we are doing the things that will give us the greatest impact on the marketplace," Horn said.
"We can have a much larger ubiquitous footprint way faster than anybody in the market could build something," he told FierceWirelessTech. "We have to build so little infrastructure to do the coverage, it makes a massive difference."
When you start looking at dense city buildouts, Ingenu is looking at covering about 70 square miles per tower. If you're going to cover about 70 percent of the U.S. population, for Ingenu, that's going to require about 619 towers. That same footprint on LoRA requires more than 10,000 towers, and the same coverage area for Sigfox would require more than 43,000 towers, Horn said.
"If you look at other technologies, they have to put in so much more infrastructure to cover the area, and that allows us to deploy very quickly, very efficiently as we roll out throughout the country," he said.
As for battery life, Horn said Ingenu can put a device on a container, run it around the country for 10 years while pinging it five times a week and that battery will still be good after 10 years. In addition, some day, there will be an LTE sunset. "We don't sunset anything," he said.
While companies like Vodafone, Intel and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) are backing the narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) standard, that's still being developed and will need to go through development processes and deployment. "We're already there. We're already battle tested," he said.
"There is a little bit of a sense of urgency," acknowledged Landon Garner, CMO at Ingenu, noting the shutdown of 2G networks and the need for all those devices to go somewhere. "There's a huge, huge amount of turnover. We feel like we can capture a lot of that, but we do need to move quickly."
While Ingenu will be going after all sizes of enterprises -- big, medium and small -- it's also in various stages of discussions or pilots with 12 operators around the world. AT&T (NYSE: T) is among those testing RPMA, and while other operators like Verizon (NYSE: VZ) are building their own LTE network core to cover IoT, that doesn't necessarily preclude them from using a service like Ingenu's.
Ingenu has some well-known board members to give it credibility in the market. Horn was previously the president of M2M firm Raco Wireless, which was acquired by Kore Telematics. In addition, Ingenu's board of directors includes Dick Lynch, former CTO of Verizon Communications, former Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg and Andrew Viterbi, former CTO of Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM).
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