Startup SignalSet has developed a machine-to-machine (M2M) solution that lets enterprises deploy and control wireless devices that are capable of remotely switching between GSM and CDMA networks in real time.
The Seattle-based company, which recently announced it secured $6 million in financing from Vanedge Capital, Point B Capital, Globespan Capital Partners and Razorback Capital, characterizes itself as a multi-carrier virtual network operator. It has signed agreements for network access with CDMA operator Sprint and GSM operator T-Mobile. It also has an OEM deal with a Fortune 500 corporation that will soon introduce to the trucking industry a new telematics service featuring SignalSet’s technology, called Remote Carrier Switching technology.
“We’re taking a unique approach to M2M with a continuous wireless choice,” said Peter van der Gracht, CEO of the SignalSet. “The idea of changing carriers down the road is a major pain point for the customer. These assets can last a decade. And national OEM manufacturers that buy devices need a national footprint. They have this challenge of having to choose a carrier at the time of installation that might now serve the device over time.”
SignalSet is working on securing wholesale deals with all of the major operators in both the U.S. and Canada, van der Gracht said. Eventually, smaller operators will be taken into the fold. The company’s solution basically works using combination of radios and a connectivity platform in the backend.
IT administrators then have the power to switch between the various networks in real time over the air. They also can establish business rules as when to switch between networks based on criteria, such as time of day and network traffic.
“One of the big advantages is the ability to fill in gaps in coverage,” van der Gracht.
The solution requires a second radio, which increases the upfront cost. However, the lifetime operating costs are reduced, because users won’t have to replace equipment as fast as they would using a single operator. Moreover, ubiquitous coverage is a value proposition, van der Gracht said.
While the company has a variety of vertical enterprise markets it can target, it currently is focused on the trucking industry and telematics market. Interestingly, van der Gracht said operators are open to making deals with SignalSet, even though traffic will be running on competitors’ networks as well.
“They understand that this opens up new revenues for them,” van der Gracht said. “Our ambition is to sign everyone up, starting with those that have the biggest and broadest coverage.”