TORONTO (11/19/2003) - In Motion Technology Inc. and Lucent Technologies Inc. announced Tuesday the formation of a partnership to offer wireless service providers an integrated third-generation (3G) and Wi-Fi solution.
The solution will give wireless service providers the ability to tap into 3G CDMA2000 and UMTS/W mobile networks to move data traffic generated by Wi-Fi hotspots, the companies said. This will in turn give wireless device users access to the Internet and corporate applications from mobile environments including trains, buses, and cars, Lucent added.
Earlier this year, Lucent choose to partner with In Motion, a Vancouver-based passenger-area networking solutions provider, after it decided it would be looking to outside vendors to supply the hardware needed for the project, said Mike Charvala, product manager for mobility solutions at Lucent in Murray Hill, N.J.
The product In Motion brought to the table was its onBoard Mobile Gateway, which links Wi-Fi and 3G networks with Lucent's 3G CDMA2000 and UMTS/W-CDMA mobile networking equipment, Lucent said.
Charvala explained the companies are looking to target a few different segments of mobile workers. First is the mass transportation area, which includes trains, buses, cars and recreational vehicles. The second segment is mobile command units, which could be set up and torn down quickly in the case of an emergency situation like 9/11, Charvala said. He added that locations including kiosks and shopping malls would benefit from this type of technology, but that construction sites would be perfect for this solution.
"You put the box in the trailer and you have automatic connectivity. The wireless LAN is already set up, you don't have to worry about deployment on the trailer and you can move the box from trailer to trailer, it's a moveable situation," he added.
John Yunker, an analyst with Pyramid Research Llc in Cambridge, Mass. said that providing Wi-Fi solutions in moving vehicles is currently an undeserved market, so Lucent and In Motion make a good fit.
He added that the biggest competition the companies are going to see is from satellite providers that are currently playing a role on airplanes and cruise ships. He said that for deployment on buses or limousines however, Lucent and In Motion's solution makes more sense -- but it isn't perfect.
"My only concerns are (that) the downstream throughput isn't going to be off the charts. It is going to be slower than the DSL or cable connection (you would get at) home, but it is connection," he said.
He added that the most significant thing about Tuesday's announcement is to see "a 3G vendor like Lucent embracing Wi-Fi." He said that although it isn't a "full-embrace" it is interesting to see the company look for ways to fit Wi-Fi into its offerings.
"I think it's interesting to see how Lucent is responding to the fact that a lot of users are going to want data delivered through their Wi-Fi-enabled laptop," he added.
Yunker noted that the announcement is a big step for Lucent internally but externally the solution is more of a niche opportunity. "But when you take a lot of these niche applications and you add them up, it's ultimately a good thing for the user, the consumer."
Charvala said the testing phase between the two companies is complete and their combined solution is now available in Canada.