Transcrypt forms three new units In an effort to further strengthen its position in the wireless systems and digital radio product markets, Transcrypt International is forming three new business units at its EF Johnson subsidiary. The State, Local and Commercial Business Unit will be led by Jim Ridgell as senior vice president and general manager. Ridgell joins the company from Microdyne, where he served as the COO of the Advanced Technology Unit. This new business unit will focus on marketing, sales and turnkey delivery of public safety and commercial private wireless communications networks. EF Johnson’s strategy is to support these markets as they transition to the APCO Project 25 digital trunked radio protocols.
The federal government’s adoption of the Project 25 standard should have a positive effect on the new Federal Business Unit, which will be managed by Craig Szczutkowski, the recently named unit senior vice president and general manager. This unit will concentrate on sales of EF Johnson’s digital Project 25 products to federal government agencies. Szczutkowski will hold the same position in the Value Added Services and OEM Business Unit, which is being formed to consolidate EF Johnson’s OEM production services, and engineering and support services. Szczutkowski, who has more than 20 years of experience in the wireless communications industry, will also serve as chief technology officer for the EF Johnson subsidiary.
Increasing revenue is expected as customers transition from analog to digital systems over the next five years. Michael Jalbert, Transcrypt chairman, said that the company will focus future product development on designing digital projects and systems that can interface with its customers’ network to handle voice and data between fixed and wireless backbones.
“We will further enhance on our leadership position in the APCO Project 25 arena,” Jalbert said.
Plans are also underway for EF Johnson to open offices in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area and to explore opportunities in the federal and commercial markets.
ATX, Trueposition team for telematics services An alliance formed by ATX Technologies, San Antonio, TX, and Trueposition, King of Prussia, PA, outlines the joint development of telematics products and services enabled by network-based location identification technology. The plan is to develop network-enabled versions of ATX telematics services for the wireless and automotive markets, while collaborating on additional new products and services. The companies expect to trial their telematics services during the first quarter of 2000 with a major wireless carrier.
Several services are being considered for the trial, including manually activated emergency calls, in which a telematics subscriber activates an emergency call feature to transmit location and vital information to the response center. Or, with a roadside assistance feature, a subscriber can contact the response center for location verification and assistance in contacting a roadside service provider.
With a proper password, a person can achieve peace of mind by using the lost-and-found service to locate missing or delayed persons carrying a handset device. Emergency navigation provides turn-by-turn directions to a specified address or, for the lost or distressed traveler, this feature can offer essential details such as locations of ATMs, gas stations and hotels. Other possible trial services include enhanced roadside assistance and voice navigation.
ATX location-based services can be enabled by most location-identification technologies, including GPS, and they are deliverable to most types of wireless communications terminals. Trueposition’s Wireless Location System technology uses a patented time distance of arrival (TDOA) product to determine geographical position, direction of travel and velocity of mobile transmitters. The company developed this network-based product to assist wireless carriers in meeting FCC Phase II requirements for locating wireless 911 calls.
Cooper headlines RCA breakfast Industry veteran Marty Cooper, chairman of Arraycom, San Jose, CA, will be the featured speaker at the Radio Club of America breakfast gathering scheduled for 7:30-9:00 a.m., March 23 at IWCE ’00 in Las Vegas. Attendees at the early-morning meeting will hear Cooper’s industry insights and predictions at the Las Vegas Hilton, Pavilion #10, before heading off to the day’s opening exhibits. The full breakfast is co-sponsored by Com-Net Ericsson, Maxrad, Intertec Publishing (publisher of Mobile Radio Technology and owner of IWCE) and Radiomate.
Wisconsin orders $1 million in dispatch software HTE of Lake Mary, FL, is set to deliver $1 million worth of public safety software to the Wisconsin State Patrol. A contract with the patrol details an installation that will encompass all seven districts throughout the state, which together house nine state patrol facilities. The deal calls for HTE’s CAD V dispatching software, the Crimes Record Management System and Integrated Mapping.
Under terms of the new contract, HTE will integrate the patrol’s existing HTE mobile system with CAD V so that officers can receive dispatch information, update their status and run queries from in-vehicle computers. The computer-aided dispatch application combines with mobile integration to assist in meeting the fast-paced needs of the state patrol. The Crimes software enables law enforcement agencies to record extended incident information. The mapping option provides an on-screen, pictorial reference of an entire jurisdiction.
Test companies merge create $800M union TTC, a unit of Dynatech based in Germantown, MD, and Wavetek Wandel Goltermann (WWG), Research Triangle Park, NC, announced merger plans to create a new company with broader capabilities in test and monitoring for the worldwide communications industry. TTC and WWG, recognized as number two and three in their market, expect the merger to result in an expanded product and service portfolio and a stronger global presence.
The new business, which will announce its name at a later date, will have more than $800 million in worldwide revenue and more than 4,000 employees. The company will also invest $135 million annually in research and development.
While WWG maintains a strong market position in Europe, Latin America and Asia/Pacific, TTC’s focus is in North America. WWG sells optic and testing systems to service providers and test equipment to manufacturers. TTC’s line includes transmission, data instruments, systems and software products.
“By combining the number two and three companies in the market, we will create a strong challenger for the top position worldwide,” said Ned Lautenbach, Dynatech’s chairman. “The companies are an excellent fit with largely complementary product offerings, and sales and distribution channels. This combination will allow us to deliver even greater competitive advantage to our customers and has the potential for significant growth opportunities worldwide.”
Lautenbach, who will be chairman of the new company, is also principal of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a private investment firm that manages a fund owning about 70% of Dynatech on a fully diluted basis.
Other top management position appointments include Peter Wagner, current president of WWG, as vice chairman. John Peeler, currently president of TTC, will be president for the new company. Albrecht Wandel of the former Wandel & Goltermann will act as chair of the International Advisory Committee and work with Lautenbach on the new company’s international strategy.
For additional information on the merger between TTC and WWG, visit www.power2lead.com.
Sonik enters exclusive distribution alliance In a strategic alliance with Shanghai Motorola Paging Products Company (SMPPC), Sonik Technologies, San Marcos, CA, has accepted an exclusive distribution agreement for SMPPC’s paging infrastructure transmitters in the Americas. According to agreement terms, Sonik will initially provide private-label distribution for the PTX-150 family of VHF paging transmitters, which meets industry requirements for Flex and simulcast operation. Sonik will also provide system design and integration serv-ices to paging customers.
Sonik’s existing product lines include the Pagepro paging transmitters, Dspage paging exciters, Pagelink paging data receivers RF Audience II, ReFlex 25 paging infrastructure receivers and Skyline wireless modems. China-based SMPPC, a joint venture of Motorola and several Chinese companies, currently supplies paging products to the in-country market. With this agreement, SMPPC begins distributing to other world markets.
Motorola selects Huber+Suhner as a supplier Motorola’s Network Solutions Sector (NSS) has selected Huber+Suhner as one of its global suppliers of transmission line products. Huber+Suhner will support Motorola NSS facilities in the United States as well as China, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
The company was selected as part of Motorola’s Strategic Ancillary Sourcing Program (SASP). The program, designed to reduce the number of suppliers used by Motorola, aids the development of long-term partnerships with companies that can support their operations worldwide. Huber+Suhner was selected after a quality audit at its global headquarters in Herisau, Switzerland. Huber+Suhner will supply transmission line products, including Sucofeed cable and Quick-fit connectors.
Nextel launches Internet-ready phone New Nextel subscribers had something to call home about in January when Cost Control Consultants, a landline and wireless communications consultant and national Nextel master agent, announced five plans from Nextel Communications. With these plans, new subscribers can receive incoming calls from anywhere in the United States or Canada without those minutes subtracting from their bundled cellular and long-distance minutes.
Traditionally, inbound and outbound cellular calls have been subtracted from a subscriber’s minute bundle. With the “One Rate” pricing, which blends cellular and long-distance usage, cellular users have a pricing alternative to consider. For new activations before Feb. 29, only outbound calls are subtracted from the overall minutes.
Also new from Nextel is its third Internet-ready phone, the rugged i700plus. This unit combines the capabilities of digital cellular, text/numeric paging and Nextel Direct Connect (digital two-way radio), and contains a Web browser for future access to Nextel web-based services. The phones, available in yellow or black, feature black rubber grips for added protection and are appropriate for the communications needs of builders, developers, contractors and field workers.
Enrev receives $25 million investment Enrev, Norcross, GA, has closed a $25 million equity investment round, bringing the total of private investment to $41 million. European Institutional Advisors (EIA), a merchant banking firm, coordinated the group of 12 major institutional investors from the United States and Europe, which includes numerous strategic relationships in the telecommunications and wireless industry. The Enrev battery operating system (B.O.S.) technology was awarded the Frost and Sullivan Market Engineering Product Innovation Award and is licensed to manufacturers of wireless devices.
“The strategic value of this investment is key to Enrev Corporation’s long-term plan for growth and market expansion,” said Karen Robinson, Enrev’s chairman . “It brings us world-class connections to the wireless and telecommunications industries. In an oversubscribed round, we were able to select investments with the strongest partnership potential.”
The B.O.S. software, effective with all major battery chemistries, is supposed to increase platform stabilization and deliver consistent, more reliable battery performance.
Investors named in the $25 million round include: Benevolent AG, Switzerland; Darier, Hentsch & Cie, Switzerland; Invus AB, Sweden; Island Capital Management, New York; Swiss Partners Investment Network GrowUnique fund, Switzerland; Paribas/Courcoux Bouvet, France; S Squared Technologies, New York; Sands Brothers Ventures, New York; and Vereins und Westbank, Germany.
Vision Software pens $370,000 contract The Sauk County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin signed a $370,000 contract with Vision Software, Castle Hayne, NC, for the installation of a new computer-aided dispatch (CAD), law enforcement records management system (RMS), wireless information system (Mobile) and Jail Management (Jail) software. The software, which is part of Vision Software’s integrated Public Safety Suite, operates on a WindowsNT platform. The Suite includes VisionCAD, VisionRMS, Visionmobile, Visionjail, Visionfire, VisionEMS, Visioncourt and Visiongeo.
Andrew, Channel announce partnership In an effort to broaden their individual ranges of earth station antenna products, Andrew and Channel Master have formed a strategic alliance. Channel Master designs and produces antennas and accessories, with antenna sizes ranging from 0.35m to 3m. Andrew’s line of fixed and motorized earth station antennas range from 1.2m to 9.3m. The alliance allows both companies to immediately extend their product lines and better provide for their customers’ diverse requirements.
While Gene Hammond, Andrew’s vice president, sees the Channel Master products as a natural, complementary extension to his company’s current line, Channel Master management expects mutual benefits. “The ability to capitalize on Andrew’s global presence and to include their antennas as part of Channel Master system proposal is a key benefit to our company and customers,” said Buddy Mills, president of Channel Master.
Pacific Wireless sets sites for IDEN net Pacific Wireless Technologies. Fresno, CA, will use Motorola IDEN equipment to build a digital SMR network with a “twist.”
BACE Capital Partners, along with its investors, Sagaponack Partners, Sagaponack International Partners and Rocky Mountain Mezzanine Fund II, provided venture capital to create and fund Pacific Wireless. The company then acquired and combined Sierra Communications and Cumulous Communications, two of the largest independent dispatch analog SMR service providers in the San Joaquin Valley of central California. The region has an estimated seven million potential digital mobile communications subscribers.
Analog SMR systems typically use high-power, high-elevation sites. Digital ESMR systems typically use low-power, low-elevation sites. The “twist” is that Pacific Wireless intends to install IDEN equipment at high-power, high-elevation sites, including the mountains bordering the valley, converting its inventory of more than 300 analog 25kHz channels to digital use.
Motorola’s time-division, multiple-access (TDMA) technology will deliver a six-to-one capacity increase compared to analog FM. Pacific Wireless will forfeit additional capacity increases normally yielded by ESMR frequency reuse. But placing its sites at high elevations means that it will need fewer of them, so its infrastructure will cost less, potentially allowing the company to offer service at a lower price than ESMR companies.
Pacific Wireless will use IDEN to offer two-way radio, wireless telephone and text messaging to agricultural, construction, distribution and trucking companies, and government agencies. Service is expected to be available this spring in Stockton, Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Modesto and other portions of the south central California coastline. The company will offer roaming in San Francisco and Tahoe, CA, and Reno, NV.
The San Joaquin Valley is an area where Nextel Communications has relatively limited coverage. SMR operators in the valley have been reluctant to sell their systems to Nextel. Also, they control the best mountaintop sites and have been reluctant to lease space to Nextel for what few channels it has been able to acquire. As a result, Pacific Wireless has an opportunity to sell IDEN service with little competition from Nextel.
Pacific Wireless has hired Jeffrey Fuller as president. Fuller was instrumental in setting up Pacific Wireless and arranging the acquisitions. He most recently headed Transcrypt International, Lincoln, NE, and has had sales, marketing and executive management responsibilities at Motorola, EF Johnson and General Electric Mobile Communications.
Dan Kopp is vice president of marketing; Gregory Glenn is director of network operations; Darin Alvord is director of switch operations; Ken Gilstrap is director of indirect distribution; and Damon Silva is director of new business development at Pacific Wireless. DB
Applied Power spins off electronics business Applied Power, Waukesha, WI, plans to spin off its electronics business from its industrial business to create a pure global supplier in the high-growth electronic manufacturing services (EMS) sector. The new company, to be called APW, will be a large player in the $90 billion EMS industry focused on integrated electronic enclosures systems. As part of the spin-off, APW will be converted to a Bermuda corporation. The spin-off should be tax-free to Applied Power shareholders.
Applied Power’s current industrial business segment will operate on a stand-alone basis, and will remain incorporated in Wisconsin.
The spin-off is expected to be completed by fiscal year-end, at which time, each Applied Power shareholder of record would receive a dividend of one newly issued share of APW for each Applied Power share they hold.
“Over the past several months, we have been evaluating a range of alternatives to separate our electronics and industrial businesses,” said Richard G. Sim, chief executive officer of Applied Power. “The spin-off of APW from Applied Power provides for a clean and efficient separation of the industrial and electronics businesses, enabling each company to concentrate on its core business. This permits shareholders to make more focused investment decisions and allows the market to assign a more appropriate stand-alone valuation to each company.”
APCO breaks ground for new building The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International held its official ground-breaking ceremony on Feb. 6 for its new headquarters, the J. Rhett McMillian Jr. Building, in Daytona Beach, FL.
APCO board members, executive council members, employees and area dignitaries attended the ceremony held at the Christ Community Church reception hall next to the 3.5-acre site where the building will stand.
APCO named the building to honor the late McMillian, a past APCO president and the organization’s first employee. McMillian was responsible for transforming APCO, originally a police organization, into a not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications.
APCO members hope that the new 13,000-square-foot building will help make the organization more visible to the local population.
APCO’s Web site: www.apco911.org.
Simmonds Capital to sell A.C. Simmonds & Sons division Simmonds Capital Ltd. (SCL), Willowdale, Ontario, Canada, plans to sell its A.C. Simmonds & Sons division to a company named “1370388 Ontario” and known as “ACS Acquisition.”
A.C. Simmonds & Sons was originally a family business started by A.C. “Claude” Simmonds in 1917. It grew as a Canadian manufacturer’s stocking representative and distributor. It distributed EF Johnson radio products until the business split in the 1970s when Claude Simmonds’ son, David Simmonds, started Lenbrook Industries. To replace this gap at A.C. Simmonds & Sons, another of Claude’s sons, John Simmonds, began distributing Midland land mobile radio products in Canada. This Canadian business was subsequently sold to form part of Glenayre Electronics, giving the Simmonds family an interest in Glenayre.
In 1991, John Simmonds formed SCL to distribute Midland products in Canada. SCL later acquired A.C. Simmonds & Sons. A.C. Simmonds & Sons operates three sales groups focused on professional audio and video; consumer audio and video; and residential custom installation in Canada.
ACS Acquisition was formed by some of the senior managers of an SCL subsidiary, SCL Electronics, other employees of the A.C. Simmonds division, and other investors.
SCL expects to net about $1.8 million from the sale and collection of accounts receivable. SCL will retain a 20% equity interest in ACS Acquisition.SCL is in the process of selling its remaining operating businesses, in cluding its SCL Technologies manufacturing division, to focus on the management and development of its strategic investments. Those investments include minority shareholdings in several Internet service companies and in Trackpower, a live video service that broadcasts horse races to home viewers and facilitates in-home wagering.
SCL also is advising Relm Wireless, West Melbourne, FL, regarding financing, acquisitions and business strategy.
OEM Hitachi merges with Kokusai, Yagi Hitachi Ltd., Tokyo, will merge its Hitachi Denshi subsidiary with two other companies, Kokusai Electric and Yagi Antenna, on Oct. 1.
In the land mobile radio industry, Hitachi Denshi is known for manufacturing products for Securicor Wireless that in the United States previously carried the Midland brand. It has an agreement to manufacture mobiles for ComSpace, which offers DC/MA products. Hitachi Denshi has been in negotiations to sell to Relm Wireless some tooling that Hitachi Denshi owns to make FM two-way radios and to develop new products that Relm would sell.
The merger is expected to allow Hitachi Denshi, Kokusai and Yagi to concentrate their resources in wireless communications. The combined company tentatively has been named Hitachi Kokusai Electric. In addition to serving its current mobile communications system customers, the new company will pursue new business in IP networking, digital broadcasting and intelligent transport systems. Within mobile radio, the new company wants to expand its business in systems for disaster control, airport and public safety communications.
The new company will be headed by Makoto Endo.
News Notes Odetica Telecom, Anaheim, CA, a provider of timing and synchronization products, has changed its name to Zyfer. “The decision to change our company name to Zyfer directly reflects our new strategic direction. In addition to expanding our growing telecom synchronization business base, we are leveraging our expertise to enter the network and mass media data security market,” said Hugo Fruehauf, president of Zyfer. … Airxcel, Cordele, GA, is separating Crispaire, its Georgia-based air-conditioning company, into two divisions: the Marvair Division, with manufacturing based in Cordele, GA, and the Crispaire Division, with manufacturing based in Norcross, GA. “This change increases our ability to meet customer needs more effectively,” said Mel Adams, Airxcel president. … The Dispatch Bookstore, now in Platteville, WI, has changed hands. Leslie Marquardt has assumed operation from Alan Burton. “I intend to run the business with the same high degree of quality and service that Alan Burton has provided the dispatching community through the years,” said Marquardt. “I look forward to the challenge of providing materials for one of the most underrated and underappreciated groups in the world-dispatchers.” … David Clark, Worcester, MA, has opened authorized repair facilities in Europe and Australia. “The addition of these professional partners enables David Clark to service our rapidly growing international customer base with factory authorized warranty repairs,” said James Comer, international sales manager.
The Quebec government, in cooperation with the Quebec Movement for Quality, has awarded Harris, Redwood Shores, CA, its 1999 Grand Prize. The award recognized Harris’ achievements in all aspects of total quality management. … Cerulean Technology, Marlborough, MA, has been named to Deloitte & Touche’s “Fast 500” Program, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing U.S. technology companies. “We attribute the remarkable growth of the company’s software and services revenue of more than 4,100% in five years to our team of dedicated men and women who have worked hard to make Cerulean a significant contender in the wireless market,” said Bob Badavas, president of Cerulean.
Hirschmann, Pine Brook, NJ, has been selected by Metricom, Los Gatos, CA, as a supplier of custom-designed Wired Access Point antennas. … Georgia-Pacific’s Building Products Distribution Division has 0purchased Clemmons, NC-based Eaton’s Trucking Information Services’ Fleet Advisor.
Sweeping up that old backlog In an order released March 1, the Commercial Wireless Division (CWD) of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) dismissed petitions filed by Roamer One and Pagers Plus Cellular on behalf of 27 non-nationwide 220MHz licensees to modify rules affecting relocation of authorized base stations. Waiver requests had been denied by the old Land Mobile Branch of the WTB’s Licensing Division (now the Licensing and Technical Analysis Branch of the CWD) in April 1997. The petitions for reconsideration that were filed one month later in May of 1997 were the same petitions that the FCC finally dismissed this month. In 1996, the FCC gave 220MHz licensees a time frame between March and May to file modification applications to relocate base stations. Waiver requests, denied a year later in 1997, cited “unforeseen and widespread” delays and dropped transmissions experienced with the FCC’s electronic filing system. Roamer One, the systems manager, and Pagers Plus, the preparer, asserted that the system glitches had extended the transmission time from minutes to hours during the spring of 1996 and that disconnects required complete resubmissions, thus extending the filing time past the deadline and requiring time waivers requests to be filed. The Licensing Division denied the requests a year later, saying that because technical difficulties had been experienced more than 30 days out from the deadline, and because manual filing options existed, the deadline was not beyond the control of the applicants. The FCC also denied that the computer filing problems were widespread. Petitions for reconsideration were filed 30 days later.
In denying those Petitions for Reconsideration in March, the CWD held under FCC rules that Roamer One and Pagers Plus do not qualify as “parties of interest” to be petitioners because they were not the actual licensees. The CWD also held that neither entity had demonstrated a direct injury that would result from the waiver denials. However, the CWD did recognize the 27 licensees who joined the reconsideration petition as parties of interest. In denying the petition, the CWD supported the original waiver denials saying that alternative filing methods existed. The CWD also contended that because no other applicants had complained about the electronic filing system, the problem must not have been widespread. Roamer One asserted that manual filing should not have been necessary because the burden was on the FCC to suspend electronic filing or to extend the filing deadline when problems were reported. Roamer One also argued that the commission staff had recommended that Pagers Plus continue to file applications after deadline and had indicated that waiver requests would be considered. The CWD refuted the first argument by saying that electronic filing was an option, not a requirement. In the second case, the CWD held that alleged statements by the staff do not support grant of relief. Roamer One also argued that denying waivers in the case would have a chilling effect on increased electronic filing, which is a commission policy goal. The CWD’s dismissal said that “while the commission does in fact encourage electronic filings, parties availing themselves of this method of filing are not excused from the requirements of due diligence.” All affected applications for modification of licensees were dismissed.
New deputy chief for policy Blaise Scinto has been named as deputy chief of the Policy Division of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. Scinto was formerly deputy chief of the Network Services Division of the Common Carrier Bureau (CCB) and had previously served as legal counsel to three successive chiefs of the CCB.