World Economic Forum names Kerry firm Altobridge ‘Technology Pioneer’

2 Sep 2011

Pictured: Altobridge CEO Mike Fitzgerald

Tralee headquartered wireless communications firm Altobridge has been selected by the World Economic Forum as a 2012 Technology Pioneer. To be selected as a Technology Pioneer, a company must be involved in the development of a major technology that has the potential to make a long-term impact on business and society.

Altobridge joins a stellar list of previous Technology Pioneers recognised by the World Economic Forum, including Google (2001) and Twitter (2010). Privately held Altobridge’s shareholders include its employees, Intel Capital, the IFC and Enterprise Ireland.

Previous Irish companies to be labelled ‘Technology Pioneers’ by the World Economic Forum include Cicero Networks and Raomal Perera, founder of two successful Irish-based tech firms – Isocor and Network365 – was one of 40 entrepreneurs worldwide who were invited to join the prestigious World Economic Forum

In recent weeks reported that Altobridge won a major contract in Iraq to provide voice, broadband and SMS services for all of Iraq, after securing a major deal with Iraq’s major telecoms firm Asiacell.

Since its creation in 2002, Altobridge has focused on the enormous challenges involved in getting basic connectivity and mobile broadband to the world’s unconnected. While the world’s service providers, governments and Universal Service Obligation funds have made strides in these endeavours, the operational costs associated with running these remote communications systems remains high.

Investment could, therefore, have a negative impact on overall network running costs. Service Providers must get a return on investment from these remote systems in order to continue to offer competitive prices to consumers and Altobridge has proven that this is achievable.

Most transmission-efficient solution within the industry

The Altobridge lite-site is the most transmission-efficient solution within the industry, requiring 0kbps in idle mode and only 4kbps of bandwidth per active call. Local Connectivity switches local calls at the remote base station, thereby completely eliminating backhaul requirement for local calls.

At 90-Watt average power consumption, the solar-powered solution is the most power-efficient solution for remote community connectivity and the Altobridge breakthrough, Data-at-the-Edge, cuts mobile broadband costs while improving user experience.

To date, Altobridge lite-site deployments have brought first-time mobile connectivity to remote communities across Northern and South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

“In the developed world, where mobile voice and mobile broadband access is near ubiquitous, we often forget that nearly a quarter of the world’s population do not have access to any form of telephony services,” Mike Fitzgerald, Altobridge chief executive explained.

“Through our R&D initiatives, we have removed the historical cost and technical barriers that have, to date, limited mobile network operators’ ability to deploy commercially-viable solutions for connecting unconnected communities. We welcome this recognition and look forward to building further partnerships and alliances within this very important forum.”

Kerry: a hive of entrepreneurial activity

Commending Altobridge on their latest award Dr. Vincent Cunnane, chief executive, Shannon Development the regional economic development agency who own and manage Kerry Technology Park where Altrobridge is base said: “Mike’s win one again proves that Kerry entrepreneurs are world leaders. We are particularly pleased that this award comes as Kerry enjoys its reign as European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year for 2011. Kerry is one of just three regions in all 27 EU states to receive this much sought after title.

“Shannon Development’s relationship with Altobridge has grown and developed over the years. Mike was our first client when Kerry Technology Park first opened in 2001, with his hugely successful company Microcellular Systems which was subsequently bought by a US company.

“We saw the potential of his next company Altobridge from the onset and were delighted to support it at KTP from early start-up days when it employed just a handful of people, to where it is now – a world leader in the communications sector employing 130.

“This latest accolade is due in no small part to the immense talent, leadership and drive of Mike, who with his team earlier this year secured a US$12 million investment from the private equity arm of chip giant Intel and a unit of the World Bank,” Dr Cunnane added.

As a Technology Pioneer, Fitzgerald will represent Altobridge at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2011 in Dalian, People’s Republic of China. A World Economic Forum video interview with Mike Fitzgerald outlining the role of Altobridge as a Technology Pioneer can be viewed at:

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years