Trusty Connections in a Wireless World

Radio IP software's programs allow networks, satellites and devices to talk to one another seamlessly. Roberto Rocha The Gazette

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 A businessperson on a train turns on a laptop and responds to e-mails the same way he would at an airport with a wireless hotspot. The experience is seamless, and he's blissfully unaware of the mind-numbing complexity of bringing high-speed Internet to a fast-moving vehicle.

Montreal-based Radio IP Software Inc. wants to keep it this way.

As more companies and governments go mobile, they need a way to make wireless devices and applications talk to each other and be constantly connected. This kind of back-end interoperability can be a pain for IT departments.

Radio IP is making its fortunes alleviating that pain.

"We don't make the end solution. We make the end solution work better," said Radio IP's vice-president of marketing Mike Bourre.

In a modern city, there is a mishmash of wireless networks and an even bigger ecosystem of devices connected to them. Radio IP's products allow any device to tap into any network, be it Wi-Fi, a high-speed EvDO cellular net such as those by Bell Mobility and Telus, or satellite signals.

This allows critical services like police to be constantly connected, even if they leave a coverage zone. It also compresses and encrypts data for faster and safer transfers.

"Let's say the police receive a 911 call," Bourre explained.

"The dispatcher punches in the information onto the computer and it's sent to the police car closest to the call."

This can spare the responders precious time checking the location of units and repeating the information over a radio.

Among their clients are the Surete du Quebec, the city of Laval, the Edmonton Police Services, the city of San Francisco and the city of Portland, Ore.

Oddly for the firm, they became better known in the U.S. than in their own backyard.

"Worldwide, people recognize Montreal as being very strong in wireless research," Bourre said.

"But in the beginning, we were having trouble getting local people's attention."

The privately-funded company posted revenues of $2.6 million last year, and expects $4 million for fiscal 2006. "With the boom in the wireless business, we wouldn't be surprised if it's double that next year," Bourre predicted.

While their clients have been mostly in the public safety and government sectors, Radio IP is looking into courting transport and utility companies. Hence the scenario with a Net-surfing train passenger, or a meter reader going house to house.

The company calls its software and servers "connectionware," a variation on what Bourre says is the overused "middleware" buzz word.

Middleware, he argues, is any computer that helps other computers communicate. "Connectioware has to do with wireless business that we're in," he said.

Copyright The Gazette (Montreal) 2006. Copyright © 2006 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc. NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at

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