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Wireless and Fries

Wayport's deal with McDonald's is getting a lot of buzz, like this article at Wi-Fi Planet that describes Wayport's business model for "Wi-Fi World," where McDonald's pays Wayport a monthly fixed price.

That seems a lot to ask, but Wayport -- who says its been sitting on this business model idea for a year -- sold McDonalds on it with the promise to bring in extra customers to the restaurant. For them, Vucina said the deal had to be about "driving their core business. It's about selling more hamburgers."

Wi-Fi, he says, gives McDonald's a real differentiator over other quick service restaurants (QSRs). In fact, during the trial phase, surveys indicated that 72% of the patrons asked might not have come to the store that day if Wi-Fi hadn't been available -- a number that made the restaurant giant, which has been losing customers for the last few years, stand up and take serious notice.

(I laughed when I saw "QSR" – you can tell it's serious telecom business when the customers are categorized with acros.)


Austin Wireless Alliance Newsletter - May 2004

May 2004
Volume 1, Number 2

In this issue:

1. WiFi Alliance relocates to Austin, joins Austin Technology Incubator
2. WNCG opens new lab at UT
3. AWA elects new chairman, new members join steering committee
4. Letter from the (new) chairman
5. News briefs
6. Calendar
7. Resources
8. About the Austin Wireless Alliance
9. Subscription information

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The Wi-Fi Alliance, http://www.wi-fi.org, the worldwide certification body for wireless products bearing the Wi-Fi trademark, has relocated its headquarters from Mountain View, California, to Austin, Texas, and has officially joined the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) at the IC2 Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, http://ati.ic2.org.

The organization's move to Austin reinforces the growing momentum that the wireless industry has seen in the Austin area over the past year. A recent study by the IC2 Institute identified over 90 companies in Austin involved in the wireless sector. More than $50 million in venture capital has been invested in wireless-related companies in Austin over the last six months. The Wi-Fi Alliance's selection of ATI for its headquarters bolsters its critical mass, which ATI is building to catalyze the growth of wireless industries in Austin.

ATI houses five wireless companies and is recruiting new ones.

"The synergies that are created at ATI by bringing together entrepreneurs, established firms in the wireless sector, research, faculty, and students from the University of Texas, the city government, and chamber of commerce are exactly what Austin needs to be successful," said Frank Hanzlik, managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "As a member of the ATI, the Wi-Fi Alliance is committed to actively helping make young wireless companies successful."

ATI membership is open to a wide variety of entrepreneurial companies. In the wireless sector, companies focusing on wireless semiconductor and infrastructure technology, mobile gaming and entertainment, and wireless data applications will benefit greatly from ATI. "We are actively pursuing the brightest and most proven entrepreneurs in Austin that are seeking to create companies that deliver products or services that leverage wireless technology," said Erin Defosse, director of the information technology and wireless division at ATI. "By collocating with organizations like the Wi-Fi Alliance, these entrepreneurs have unprecedented access to the right network of people with highly valuable know-how and connections in the wireless industry. The Wi-Fi Alliance adds exceptional value by bringing to Austin a network of people that form part of the biggest and most successful wireless companies in the industry."

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The Wireless Networking and Communications Group (WNCG) of the University of Texas hosted an open house Wednesday, April 28, in its newly renovated lab and office space on the fourth floor of the UT Engineering Science Building.

WNCG Director Dr. Ted Rappaport provided an overview of WNCG's growth since its launch in the fall of 2002, and laid out a vision for a broader effort of cooperation among other premier Texas wireless programs. Ben Streetman, dean of the College of Engineering, and Michael Rollins, president of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, also spoke about the success of the WNCG program and its role in galvanizing the wireless industry in Central Texas. They were joined by UT graduate Steve Papermaster, chairman of Powershift Ventures and a current member of the President's Council of Advisors in Science and Technology, who also spoke about the importance of strengthening technology research programs.

Rappaport reminded attendees to plan for the annual WNCG Symposium in October 2004 and announced the increased participation in WNCG activities of several companies, including Dell and AMD. http://www.ece.utexas.edu/wncg/

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The Austin Wireless Alliance (AWA) is pleased to announce that Richard Schwartz, CEO of Solomio; Greg Williams, COO of Wayport; and Jimmy Treybig, NEA Associates, have joined the 15-memberAWA Steering Committee. The AWA Steering Committee has also elected a new chairman, Erin Defosse, director of the IT and Wireless Division of the Austin Technology Incubator.

"The opportunities in front of us to develop the wireless industry in Austin are enormous. I am very excited about working with every member of AWA to turn our vision of Austin as a global leader in wireless into reality," said Defosse.

Outgoing chairman Randall Baker of Tuanis Technology continues as a member of the Steering Committee. "I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with such a distinguished group of people," said Baker. "Transitioning to Erin's leadership allows the organization to take the next step in fulfilling our goal of becoming a premier wireless center."

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Fellow AWA Members,

A New Chairman

On April 15 the steering committee of the AWA elected me as the new Chairman of the Austin Wireless Alliance. I am taking over the role that Randy Baker so aptly filled as founder of the organization. We owe Randy the very existence of our organization and I ask that you join me in recognizing his efforts by saying "Thank You!" the next time you cross paths, talk to him on the phone, or send him an email. Randy will continue to serve on the steering committee and he and I will work hand in hand to continue on the great work that he has done to date.

Building the AWA Brand

I want to thank everyone for the vote of confidence and would like to convey to you that I am very excited about taking on the opportunities and challenges ahead of us. One of the major opportunities that we will work on together this year is that of building the AWA brand. Our goal is that AWA become universally recognized as the leadership circle for the wireless movement currently underway in Austin.

For this to happen, we will be working closely with every stakeholder in our community to establish AWA as the organization that helps define and articulate our common goals and acts as the coordinating body between all stakeholders. This is no small feat but we are already making progress. We are working with the Chamber of Commerce to develop the programs necessary for the Chamber to sell Austin as a center of excellence in the wireless industry to companies that are considering locating offices in Austin, we are working with organizations like UT's WNCG to hold joint wireless events of global stature, we are cooperating with the Austin Technology Incubator to help build new wireless companies in Austin and convince major players in the wireless industry to invest in our community, we are working with the Austin Wireless City Project to leverage the phenomenal work they have done in turning Austin into one of the most unwired cities in the country, and we are actively participating in the development of the plans that will allow Austin to demonstrate its leadership in wireless during the World Congress of Information Technology to be held in Austin in May of 2006.

These and other opportunities ahead of us will require everyone's positive involvement in order for us to succeed. I urge every one of you to contact me if you have any ideas or suggestions that will help move our plans forward. You can reach me via email at edefosse@ati.utexas.edu or by phone at 512-799-8797.

Kind Regards,
Erin Defosse
Austin Wireless Alliance

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Austin Wireless City Project unplugs downtown parks with free WiFi

This month, the Austin Wireless City Project (AWC) delivers free WiFi to downtown historic squares and Palmer Auditorium Shores. The celebration is 18 May, noon to 1pm at Republic Square as the Austin Park Foundation and AWC team up with the City of Austin, Downtown Alliance and Schlotzsky's to bring free WiFi to three historic parks and Palmer Auditorium Shores.http://www.austinwirelesscity.org

McDonald's orders Wi-Fi from Austin's Wayport

McDonald's chose Austin-based Wayport Inc. to provide high-speed broadband connectivity andWi-Fi 802.11b/g high-speed Internet service in the U.S. Walk-up customers pay $2.95 for a two-hour wireless Internet connection, with other pricing options available from Wayport, including a $29.95/month unlimited use plan across the entire Wayport network. Service options via roaming partners will be announced. http://www.mcdwireless.com and http://www.wayport.net

"Austin, Texas: A wireless sector mecca?" from Telephony Online http://telephonyonline.com/ar/telecom_austin_texas_wireless/index.htm

Send your news to: mailto:awa@technopolis.com.

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May 4-5
Austin Technology Council Executive Summit, http://www.austintechnologycouncil.org The Austin Technology Council is hosting the Texas Executive Summit May 4 & 5 at the Downtown Hilton.

At the summit, the AWA sponsors a CEO panel on Wednesday, May 5, featuring Ed Acosta as moderator and Chere' Heintzmann (Extend America) and Chris Davis (Metrowerks). This panel will explore the business opportunities in the wireless sector. ATC extends a special invitation to the wireless business community to sit in on the Summit for this panel.

AWA Panel 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., "Where are the business opportunities in wireless?"

This session will provide a high level overview of Austin's existing wireless industry, as well as discuss additional wireless investment opportunities on the horizon. In the first part of the session, a two dimensional framework positions all of Austin's wireless companies and each company's role the wireless value chain and frequency spectrum. In the second part of the session, additional investment opportunities will be discussed with a panel of executives from three of Austin's wireless companies. Each panelist will give a brief introduction of their company and the opportunity they are pursuing, as well as describe one additional opportunity they see in the wireless industry. Following the introductions, the audience will have a chance to ask questions about panelist-described and other opportunities.

May 24
Austin Wireless Group Monthly Meeting http://www.austinwireless.net/cgi-bin/index.cgi/MonthlyMeeting http://www.austintechnologycouncil.org

List your event. Send details to: mailto:awa@technopolis.com.

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Austin Wireless Alliance

Austin Technology Council

Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce

University of Texas Wireless Networking & Communications Group (WNCG)

University of Texas IC2 Wireless Future http://www.wirelessfuture.org/

Wi-Fi Alliance

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The Austin Wireless Alliance (AWA) is a non-profit organization that leads the development, coordination, and execution of all major strategic wireless innitiatives in Austin. Its primary objective is to develop and sustain Austin as a globally recognized leader in business activity, technical innovation, and community participation within the wireless industry. The AWA is composed of key leaders from all primary stakeholders in Austin including the business, academic, community, and government sectors. The AWA operates in partnership with the Austin Technology Council. Additional information about AWA is available on the AWA web site at http://www.austinwirelessalliance.org

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The AWA Newsletter is edited by Steve Leon, president of Technopolis® Communications Inc., http://www.technopolis.com. PR for software, hardware, Internet, services and wireless companies. Co- producer of ShowStoppers, http://www.showstoppers.com, media-only special events.


Send us your ideas. Or articles. Or events. We're listening. mailto:awa at technopolis.com.


The AWA Newsletter is delivered to members and friends of the Austin Wireless Alliance.

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Free WiFi in Austin Parks

Frank Hanzlik of the WiFi Alliance
Frank Hanlik
of the WiFi Alliance

On May 18, the City of Austin launched WiFi in the parks with an event at Republic Square Park, the first park to get the service, which is provided by the City in a collaboration with the nonprofit Austin Wireless City Project. [Link to article in dBusinessNews - Austin Metro Edition] | [Link to Photos from the event.]


In Austin, Paving a Way Past Invisible Tollbooths

Austin Wireless City is the focus of a May 4 article in the New York Times, written by John Schwartz, a University of Texas graduate who researched the article when he was in Austin recently.

Is there a business in such a network? Members of the project say they hope so, but they do not yet know what that will be. They know that there will be innovation, and they know that there will be surprises, for good or ill.

That might sound a little like the unfortunate if-you-build-it-they-will-come fantasy of the dot-com bubble. But Gary Chapman, the director of the 21st Century Project at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs in Austin, has written glowingly about the network and Mr. MacKinnon's company, which he sees as "kind of an anti-dot-com, or perhaps an Austin-weird way of doing things, but a model that could take off."



Wireless and Homeland Defense

Coming up in Washington, D.C.: Homeland Defense Jorunal is sponsoring a training conference on Mobile and Wireless Applications and Solutions on Wednesday, June 2.

The Department of Homeland Security has identified first responder communications as one of its strategic objectives for the agency. A new generation first responder mobile technologies designed for firefighters and law enforcement agencies will facilitate communications in the event of terrorist attacks and other emergencies.

Other federal, state and local agencies view mobile and wireless communications as a potential enabler of improved communications and reduced cost of operations.

These technologies will also help field health and medical personnel report, track and coordinate field response to biological and chemical terror attacks faster than ever before possible. There are even plans for small, wearable devices that sense bio-hazardous substances.

More information at Homeland Defense Journal.