New wireless portal promises network of opportunity

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A Vancouver-based organization says its new Web portal will link various players in the wireless industry and spur innovation and business growth.

The new portal – dubbed WIP Connector – was launched today by The Wireless Industry Partnership (WIP) – a new business development service headquartered in Vancouver.

WIPConnector will support an online network of developers, venture capitalists, distribution channels, and other partners, according to Caroline Lewko, founder and CEO of WIP.

She said the new portal would also help bridge the gap between investors and developers, providing the latter with access to crucial resources. “Innovation is all too often stalled because developers fail to [accomplish] that final five per cent of the process – finding an investor.”

Lewko said investors, on the other hand, are always looking for new products to fund.

She said recent studies predict the global wireless services market will burgeon into a US$1 trillion industry by 2010, representing more than 55 per cent of the entire telecommunications market.

A Toronto-based wireless industry analyst echoes this forecast.

“The wireless market has been heating up and is poised for further growth,” according to Michael Rozender, principal of Rozender Consultants International, and a wireless expert at Fox Group Inc. in Mount Albert, Ont.

In Canada, much of that growth is predicted to occur in the government sector, Rozender said. “Trends show 40 to 45 per cent of all government employees will need mobile technology in the near future.”

The demand for wireless skills is rising as well.

“Canada has an excellent reputation in the wireless industry,” said Rozender. “We have our share of industry luminaries such as Research in Motion .

Aside from providing networking opportunities, WIPConnector will also offer tools and resources that speed up marketing of wireless products and services.

These services include timely access to vital industry information.

Lewko cited an example of a Canadian company that ran into trouble as it lacked critical information when developing an application for Nokia cell phones. “They spent eight months on development work only to discover they had built the product on the wrong platform.”

She said WIPConnector would help companies avoid such fiascos, by offering them access to a comprehensive list of industry standards and wireless development programs.

“WIP seeks to smooth over challenges by making it easy for developers to find application program interfaces, source codes, and tools as well as technical and marketing support,” said Lewko.

The portal site lists the services it provides. These include:

• Links to supporting organizations, such as trade associations;

• Access to the decision makers within leading companies;

• Market data and competitive intelligence;

• Offering participants global visibility so investors, customers, the media and partners can find them; and

• Information on standards and tools.

The WIP has some 145 member companies worldwide, but Lewko hopes to boost that number to at least 5,000 firms. Membership costs around $332 (US$300) per year. Use of the WIPConnector is free for WIP members.

The WIP has also signed agreements with global industry associations, including U.K.-based MXAlliance, the Ottawa Wireless Cluster, and the Wireless Innovation Network of British Columbia.

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