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Ruckus positions Singapore as location analytics R&D center

Its 6th research and design facility will partly specialize in location-based services, building on last month's acquisition of technologies and talent from Singapore startup YFind. New integrated products expected by year-end.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Communications technology provider Ruckus Wireless is setting up its sixth global R&D center in Singapore, which will focus on developing location-based analytics products and services.

This follows last month's acquisition of Singapore startup YFind, which specializes in indoor positioning and real-time location analytics.

Melvin Yuan, co-founder of YFind, which was acquired by Ruckus Wireless.

Rob Mustarde, vice president of marketing at Ruckus Wireless, noted it made sense for Singapore to be the center of excellence for location-based services and analytics with the talent acquired from YFind. The other locations of research and development centers are already mainly in Asia: in the U.S., China, Taiwan, Israel, and India.

A product integration roadmap to embed YFind's technologies in Ruckus's products is underway, he said. More information would be shared in the fourth quarter of the year, with products likely to be available by the first quarter next year, according to Mustarde.

Ruckus, which has 750 staff globally and 10 employees based in Singapore, will look to combine with the 9-man strong startup. "We expect to increase headcount significantly within the next 6 to 12 months," said Melvin Yuan, who co-founded YFind in 2011 and is now the director of product marketing for location services at Ruckus Wireless.

Mustarde said potential applications of location-based services would go beyond the obvious such as retail.

For example, it could allow hotels to know when a guest leaves his or her room so someone to clean it, the vice president explained.

"We haven't even begun to scratch the surface," said Mustarde. "If we can fast forward a year or two, I think we'll look back and say the ideas were too simplistic, and the real ideas would be to considerably more sophisticated."

Some LBS applications would be developed in house by Ruckus but the API will be released for third party developers.

TV White Spaces won't take off

Rob Mustarde-Headshot
Rob Mustarde, vice president of marketing, Ruckus Wireless.

With the rocketing Internet usage over mobile devices, operators will need to make smarter use of Wi-Fi networks, said Mustarde. However, he said carriers were unlikely to find much relief from the freeing up of TV White Spaces especially in the U.S.

First of all, on a global basis there is no commonality of frequencies for TV Whitespaces unlike Wi-Fi in general, he said citing his observations.

TV Whitespace are likely to be a niche market as the variance of frequencies internationally is likely to mean high cost of devices, according to the Ruckus vice president.

"When you start getting into an individual country, the frequencies that they use are all over the shop, it doesnt allow a vendor to make a chipset to cover all those. You're making much much less volume which means it's more expensive," Mustarde explained.

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