If consumers everywhere can one day access all wireless networks--regardless of the acronyms such as Wimax or CDMA--using a single mobile phone, it is likely to be due to one Indian company.
The road to creating true wireless convergence for Advanced Radio Engineering (ARE) Technologies has not been without hardship, but CEO and principal founder Sanjiv Rai remains gung-ho.
The Mumbai-based company's D5 technology is inspired, in part, by his childhood dream of a device to let him communicate with anyone on Earth--and also to provide wireless access to the masses.
Sanjiv said: "I hope to make access to communication and information a basic human right, and we as a civilized society have to do something to something about the widening digital divide."
The patent-pending D5 aims to be the last word in wireless networking solution--a system on a chip (SOC) concept with a unique universal frequency and a universal base band architecture that covers the multiple wireless standards today.
The list includes 4G, WCDMA, UMTS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even global positioning systems (GPS).
On paper, consumer devices with the D5 technology built-in will be able to access and seamlessly roam networks across the globe, at speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
ARE's strategy is to target the device and network equipment manufacturers, as well as the telco carries and operators--targeting an estimated market potential of over US$15 billion, according to the company.
Hence, the company is building prototypes of potential devices incorporating D5, with several large OEMs.
It hopes to hit the big pay-off by getting bulk contracts from these partners.
ARE also has another revenue stream from its AceWP (ARE Certifired Wireless Professional) training and certification product.
Founder, ARE Technologies
Currently, ARE works with partners like training and e-learning companies to offer AceWP, and also to corporate customers that offer wireless training.
Both the businesses will be soon hived off as separate initiatives.
The D5 technology will be rebranded as uniRF (short for universal radio frequency).
AceWP, on the other hand, will be restructured to offer different delivery modes. It is set to roll out in 142 countries in partnership with Prometric.
The company has relied on self-funding and one angel investor in its history, and partly on revenues generated--ARE has been profitable albeit not on a large scale.
ARE currently operates in India and the U.S., and has satellite offices in the UK and Dubai. Offices in Scotland, Hong Kong and Singapore are part of the company's expansion plans.
Despite the company's focus on OEMs, it will be consumers with notebooks, PDAs and mobile devices who ultimately gain should uniRF become a universal wireless architecture.
Sanjiv said: "Wireless convergence is a reality that is not too far off. Soon, you do not have to pay for multiple gazettes that promise you connectivity for separate networks."