OWLinx, Barcelona and a unique telecom solution

The annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona begins on February 27.

Read the trade mags and everyone is talking about the latest telecom hardware and software that is going to be launched – technology that most humans simply pretend to understand with a pathetic smile. Read Israeli coverage and all the media is talking about how a country of under 8 million will have the fourth largest representation at the show – around 8% of the booths.

So if telecom has been identified by many as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Holy Land has been a central part of that miracle. Very cool for us who live there, but is there more?

An interesting preview of the Congress from Shlomi Cohen in Globes discusses one of the key issues facing the telecom industry today. He writes: –

A smartphone in the Western world currently consumes around one giga of data a month, mostly video. This is expected to jump to 4 giga a month within four years, and data consumption by tablets and Ultrabooks will rise from 2 giga to 10 giga monthly………Solutions for diverting heavy traffic from cellular networks to Wi-Fi points installed in crowded cities have lately become a hot niche in telecommunications equipment, and large tenders are expected this year.

Mr Cohen then goes on to describe some of the Israeli tech on offer in this category. That is interesting in itself. However, whether or not the data is offloaded to WiFi, it needs to get back (“backhaul”) from an antenna node to the network backbone, and fibre – the technology primarily on offer – does not reach most of these nodes.  

I have recently been talking to a new start-up called OWLinx, a spin off from the Jolt department of the American conglomerate, MRV Communications. At its peak, the unit achieved annual sales of over US$3m with little formal promotional effort.

What makes OWLinx different is their understanding and near unique capabilities in the field of free-space-optic (FSO) wireless data links. This approach offers a cost-effective connection from such nodes to the fibre network point-of-presence hundreds of metres away, over the air, at fibre speeds of gigabit and beyond. 

To put it simply, this is a very convenient method to deliver large amounts of information at high speed. That means that with use of some compact hardware, owners of mobiles or whatever will receive data much much quicker.

OWLinx will not have a stand at Barcelona. The founders are currently initiating talks with investors. With the r&d complete, it is just a case of raising money to relaunch the marketing force. Next year in Spain?

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