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EMEA CEOs: Wirepas believes for IoT, the ‘thing’ is the network

TeppoH-8432I recently had the opportunity to meet with Teppo Hemiä, CEO of Wirepas, to learn more about the company’s offering and vision for the “Internet of Things.” This IoT vision at the simplest level is that the “thing” is the network. An intriguing concept.

Wirepas NetworkWirepas was launched in 2010 as a spin-off from Tampere University of Technology, where the technology was under development for 10 years. Wirepas Pino is a licensable multihop mesh protocol stack designed to be embedded in devices and is fully autonomous without the requirement for any external or centralized control. The intelligence is distributed throughout the network and built into every layer of the stack, allowing for additional devices to be added at any time without the requirement to build out additional network infrastructure. Gateways are used to balance capacity and the overall load, but each device allows you to add another new device.

Targeting IoT smart apps

Target applications include smart metering, smart grid, smart cities, traffic control, telemetry, sensors, health care, home automation, lighting and waste management. Today Wirepas is focused on the EMEA region. Regarding its expansion beyond EMEA, the priorities will be Korea, the U.S. and Central Europe. When asked how this expansion would be handled, Hemiä offered that “the U.S. is the obvious choice for general visibility and to build out the ecosystem. There are many important opinion makers and it represents one of the biggest markets.” He went on to say, “We are quite practical in our globalization efforts. On one hand we approach global companies that have business around the world. And on the other hand we build a local presence in important markets to reach small and midsize companies.“

In February, the company announced its first deployment with Norway’s largest power grid operator, Aidon. Wirepas said it will implement an automatic metering infrastructure solution for 700,000 customers in Oslo and 33 surrounding municipalities. The rollout is set to start during the first half of 2016, and is scheduled to be completed in 2019. To date, this is claimed to be the largest single network mesh IoT deployment.

The innovation coming out of Finland continues to grow. Whenever I speak to an executive from Finland I always query on the topic of why Finland seems to be jumping to the front of the pack of innovation locations in Europe. I asked Hemiä why there seemed to be so much innovation coming out of Finland, and he offered several reasons.

• Finland has always had many highly skilled engineers and deep expertise in IT, wireless, product creation, etc. But there has been a relatively small number of visible companies. Nokia dominated the Finnish job market and a lot of innovation was channeled into their products. Now the mobile ecosystem has shrunk and great competencies are available to new companies. In other words, the downsizing of Nokia has benefited the influx of new companies and innovations in this region.

• The entrepreneur culture has become more visible, especially the startup boom, as a result of this unleashed innovation and energy by people moving from a focus on mobile to new challenges.

• The Finnish innovation system means that young companies are provided with strong support from the Finnish government, which has made our country a favorable environment for startups. Incubator programs such as Startup Sauna and Protomo and the phenomenon-like startup events Slush and Mindtrek, play a big role in making the booming startup scene an easy place for startups to develop and flourish.

• The Nordic business climate means exchanging ideas and eventually working together on innovative projects, along with fresh thinking among government, academia and companies, big and small.

I continue to be impressed by the innovation coming out of Finland. Wirepas is another example of an organization that appears to be poised for great things.

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Claudia Bacco, Managing Director – EMEA for RCR Wireless News, has spent her entire career in telecom, IT and security. Having experience as an operator, software and hardware vendor and as a well-known industry analyst, she has many opinions on the market. She’ll be sharing those opinions along with ongoing trend analysis for RCR Wireless News.

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