eDigest: Give me a little history on Ingenu.
Gregor: We started in 2008 as Onramp Wireless, which created using random phase multiple access (RPMA). They built private networks to cover the oil fields and the electrical infrastructure. One such partner is WellAware whose network monitors oil and gas fields across 50,000 square miles. We have struck an agreement with WellAware and their private networks have become part of our public Machine Network. Today, I can use that footprint, if I have a street lighting opportunity or a fleet tracking application.
eDigest: What is your vision for the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Gregor: It will enable connectivity to any object or device to obtain information from it, whether it is the location, temperature or weight. Any attributes you would like to receive from any object. The IoT provides a conduit to realize that information to analyze it and make more informed decisions to save money and be more efficient.
eDigest: Where does Ingenu fit into the future of IoT?
Gregor: We are focused on machine connectivity. Our proprietary technology, RBMA, was purpose-built for machine communications.
eDigest: Who are your potential customers?
Gregor: It is the solutions partners that are developing the IoT applications. Water heater monitoring, vending, parking meters, streetlights, fleet tracking, asset tracking, pet tracking, the entire ecosystem of IoT. Any application that used 2G cellular for IoT. We are a direct replacement.
eDigest: How does RPMA compare with cellular IoT?
Gregor: We are not taking a technology and trying to repurpose it for machines’ needs. From the ground up it was designed to support long battery life and with security built in. It also features bi-directional communications so that machines can send or receive information, whether it is a firmware update or a configuration change to the machine or the device itself.
eDigest: What stage are you in concerning the network deployment?
Gregor: We are very busy deploying the network in the United States. We have five markets already launched with RPMA coverage. We fully intend to have a nationwide footprint of RPMA for machines by the end of 2017.
eDigest: Is there an international component to your business plan?
Gregor: In parallel, we are licensing our RPMA to other entities outside the United States to build their own networks. We have 50 companies that are under contract; some networks are under construction and others are working toward that goal.
One of the beautiful things about RPMA is it can be deployed on 2.4 GHz ISM band, which is available globally. Eco-system partners can build one device that can be use around the world.
eDigest: What is your biggest challenge?
Gregor: Our biggest challenge is just getting our footprint of coverage out to the different geographies and different markets.
eDigest: How you are meeting that challenge?
Gregor: We are working with the largest tower vendors — American Tower, Crown Castle International and SBA Communications – and others to deploy in other geographies. We collocate on existing structures. We have deployed the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, covering 2,400 square miles with 18 sites. Mostly American Tower. We have also rolled out to Houston, San Antonio and Phoenix. We will bring coverage to an additional 25 markets by the end of 2016, with 100 markets by the end of 2017.
RPMA affords us a tremendous link budget. When we collocate on a tower we can achieve up to a 200- square-mile radius coverage area. We can be flexible on where we want to site our antennas and achieve the same coverage footprint.
We are being very aggressive in our build out. We staff the team with folks that have experience deploying cellular networks. They bring tremendous value to our buildout strategy. The tower companies have been great partners too, providing collocation services, pre-construction services and construction services to get us on their towers.
eDigest: What does your deployment look like on the cell tower?
Gregor: Our requirements at the tower are very minimal. We put up a 32 inch omni antenna with a single coax run to the base of the tower. Ideally, we like use a shelter for our indoor cabinet, which contains the RPMA access point, the backhaul modem, and backup battery.
eDigest: Who are your customers?
Gregor: Riverside, California, a smart city application customer, will use RPMA to monitor their overhead electrical lines, read electric meters and water meters among other things. We are converting their private network in to a public one. By the first week of August, we will have all the entire city under RPMA coverage. Now they don’t need to invest full time employees in IoT.