I recently participated in the Wi-Fi Now USA event in San Francisco, where Tsahi Tal, our AVP of Product Management presented Celeno’s take on the future of intelligent Wi-Fi networks. Here are some of my impressions from an industry leading Wi-Fi conference.
This was my first time attending the Wi-Fi Now event. I joined Celeno in late 2017 with a background in IoT and Enterprise Software, and I’m still considered a newbie in Wi-Fi technology, so this was an opportune chance to meet colleagues and competitors in the field. My objective, beyond networking, was to test the waters for our take on where the industry is heading, and hear what others have to offer in this rapidly developing domain.
My first positive impression came when I received the conference agenda. I loved that while the event focus was 100% on Wi-Fi applications, the topics that would be presented, ranged from revolutionary tech enabling new use cases, to vertical applications of these use cases.
My next impression came at the conference itself, where I realized the diversity and seniority of the attendees. The conference was targeted to business decision makers. Claus Hetting, CEO and chairman of the event, managed to bring together top executives from market leading companies to present their Wi-Fi vision, and connected them with a crowd of over 400 attendees. According to the data published by Claus and his team, over 30% of them were C-level. It was a tremendous learning and networking opportunity!
The conference included presenters from companies from all parts of the Wi-Fi value chain. Companies such as Google, ARRIS, Intel, Mojo Networks, as well as end-user companies who presented their offerings and views on Wi-Fi market direction. We discussed innovation and adoption considerations. I was quite proud that we were included on stage, alongside this impressively high caliber of companies and presenters.
What I felt that was of particular importance in the staging of the event, for the industry itself and for Celeno in particular, was the all-round comprehensiveness of the agenda. As far as I know, Wi-Fi Now is the only event that is 100% focused on Wi-Fi applications while catering to C-level participants from all parts of the Wi-Fi value chain. The IoT revolution takes wireless connectivity from being an IT issue, to being a business enabler. Hence, the importance of the event for the industry, and the excellent quality of high-level participants that we saw at the event.
And, for Celeno specifically? – Well, Celeno started out as a Wi-Fi chipset provider (which is still our main business). However, as Celeno expands to offer capabilities at both the silicon-level and the embeded-software level that go way beyond connectivity enablement, I found Wi-Fi Now to be a perfect fit for our thought leadership marketing goals, concerning revolutionary capabilities soon to be enabled by Silicon companies, such as revolutionizing the way access points get designed, making APs more flexible to enable run-time configurations.
Oh… did I just make a shameless plug for Celeno’s disclosure of the ‘Elastic MIMO’ concept? Hmm… guess I did.
Here's what Clause Hetting, CEO and Chairman of Wi-Fi NOW said about us right after the event:
"Celeno has rightfully earned its place as one of the main innovators shaping the Wi-Fi industry, which is why I was so excited to get them on stage at Wi-Fi NOW USA 2018. Celeno’s disruptive concept of Elastic MIMO™ raised much interest on the potential to change how AP equipment is designed. Not having to specify MIMO configuration during system design but instead have it defined at Run-time per use-case and environmental interference conditions could save a lot of time and money for OEMs who today must predict these in advance and pre-define the MIMO configuration years before customer deployments”
But what you’ve probably really been looking for in this blog, is: “What were the most important trends/info/insights that I felt that I got out of this event?”
My biggest take-away is probably the industry consensus that Wi-Fi is no longer merely an operational pain-point to be solved by IT, but mainly a business enabler for new data-driven products and services.
Listening to the presenters, and talking with colleagues, I’d say that the major challenges facing Wi-Fi are as follows: While Wi-Fi is more ubiquitous today than most wireless connectivity technologies, alignment on connectivity standardization is still a “Wild, Wild, West”. Innovation is progressing rapidly, and interoperability is a major issue – as is security. While leading standards bodies like the Wi-Fi Alliance are working tirelessly to release new certifications to align the industry, there are many siloed proprietary solutions that are difficult to integrate with full systems, as well as between systems.
I’ll end this post with a brief plug on Celeno’s presentation and how it was received. Celeno's presentation was focused on the challenges of OEMs that design systems long before deployment and need to predict things such as physical environment considerations, or services to support. We also discussed how removing the rigidness of pre-designed MIMO configuration opens opportunity to both better user experiences for end-users, as well as better operational efficiency for the OEM.
The presentation was received quite well, judging by the outreach we received as follow-up by attendees that want to learn more about Celeno’s plans in this area – much of which will be publicly revealed later this year.
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