Cork company to capitalise on infotainment

9 Jan 2007

Cork-based Firecomms has successfully developed a plastic optical fibre technology that will act as a low-cost alternative to copper cabling and put it at the spearhead of developments in next-generation IPTV, set-top boxes and hubs.

In May last year the company closed a €9.6m funding round with new and existing investors, including ACT Venture Capital and Alps Electric North America, an important strategic investor and key customer for Firecomms. Atlantic Bridge Ventures, the company’s anchor investor since its foundation, also invested in the round.

The company yesterday unveiled its Fast Ethernet fibre optic transceiver technology, a plastic optical fibre (POF) port called OptoLock.

The company said the OptoLock port quickens and simplifies the connection of devices in communications and infotainment networks.

OptoLock’s design enables the fibre to be cut and terminated to the exact required length on site, enabling even novice consumers to quickly terminate the bare optical fibre.

POF is a low-cost alternative to copper cabling and due to its ease of use is enjoying significant growth in a wide range of consumer, industrial and automotive applications where plastic fibre can be used quicker and easier than a copper or glass fibre.

The technology is also rapidly gaining ground in home network and point-to-point interconnection.

The POF market is estimated to be worth over US$1bn a year by 2008.

“OptoLock gives OEMs a low-cost interface for high-volume optical fibre applications,” said Firecomms CEO Declan O’Mahoney.

“With this device, all the advantages of optical fibre can be brought into the home with do-it-yourself simplicity and costs.

“The benefits of this simple, robust high-speed interface will be significant as high-speed services like 100MB IPTV are delivered into the home,” O’Mahoney added.

By John Kennedy