Based in Singapore, the research center, called Wireless Intellect Labs, will lead in the research of cutting edge wireless technology, and will develop breakthrough technology to be licensed to third parties.
While other corporations, including telecommunications operators, have created research firms, it is rare that a research center is created as an independent entity. This makes Wireless Intellect Labs Asia Pacific’s first independent research center to be set up privately by a telecommunications company and a multichannel technology company.
Mr Neil Montefiore, CEO of M1, said: “The wireless frontier is continuously shaped by visionaries and players translating into reality the vision of anywhere and anytime communication. We are very pleased and excited to forge this partnership with EdgeMatrix to create this landmark wireless research initiative in Asia Pacific. I am confident that it would eventually be able to make a significant contribution to the depth of knowledge residing in the global wireless research fraternity.”
Both companies will invest an initial S$1 million to fund the research center’s first year of operations. Wireless Intellect Labs, which will commence operations in third quarter of 2001, will derive its revenue through licensing of its technology to telecommunications operators, manufacturers and solutions developers. Potential customers can also harness the expertise of the research center by the commissioning of separate research projects.
The research center will start with some 10 research staff to embark on three to four R&D projects in its first year of operations. EdgeMatrix and M1 will jointly oversee the operations of the research center, and there are plans to hire an independent General Manager by the third quarter of this year. A Steering Committee, comprising senior management from EdgeMatrix and M1 will provide the general research direction of the center.
For a start, Mr Varun Arora, Senior Director of Planning and Development at EdgeMatrix, is seconded to head the operations of the research center. Mr Arora said: “The initial funding gives us a tremendous boost to kick start Wireless Intellect Labs. Our operating maxim is to be lean, nimble, creative and efficient. Small yet independent groups of researchers would conduct research projects from infancy to fruition. Some of the initial projects would be at the fringe of unexplored wireless technology. We are therefore looking at hiring top notch research people who are creative and prepared to challenge other wireless research centers.”
Initial research will focus on multichannel commerce and transactions, location sensitive solutions and wireless broadband solutions, as well as 2.5G and 3G. Its early projects will include wireless payment applications, video-streaming technology for wireless devices, multimedia-messaging and Bluetooth applications.
Mr Dinesh Bhatia, President and CEO of EdgeMatrix, said: “EdgeMatrix has always been a leader and innovator in the wireless industry. The creation of Wireless Intellect Labs with M1 is going to put us further ahead of any competition. The research center has the capability to lay the building blocks for the development of next-generation wireless applications. I strongly believe that it will play an important part in shaping the wireless future, much akin to how Xerox’s PARC laboratory has shaped computing.”
The creation of the research center has set yet another milestone in the long-standing relationship between both companies. EdgeMatrix has been a close technology partner of M1 since 1996, where it was pivotal in building M1’s Internet, SMS and WAP initiatives. Just last week, M1 and EdgeMatrix unveiled an SMS-based vending-machine payment system that the two companies jointly developed. The system allows consumers to pay in a cashless manner for vending machine merchandise simply by sending an SMS to the machine.