A company with a product that turns moving vehicles into mobile WiFi hotspots has taken the prize for the "best new innovative product idea most likely to succeed" at CableLabs' Summer Conference this week.
Veniam, a three-year-old startup with offices in Silicon Valley, Portugal and Singapore, won out over seven other firms in the latest "Innovation Showcase" competition staged by CableLabs at its summer and winter gatherings of cable technologists and vendors. In fact, Veniam boasted in its news release Tuesday that it earned more than double the votes of the undisclosed second-place finisher at the Keystone, Colo., confab.
The conference voters were apparently impressed by Veniam's vision of an "Internet of Moving Things" platform that would transform cars, buses, trucks and other moving vehicles into mobile WiFi hotspots. The company is now developing what it calls "a simple turnkey solution" that would greatly expand wireless Internet access to passengers in those vehicles and collect "terabytes of valuable, high-definition data" in congested urban areas.
Veniam says this platform -- which consists of hardware, software and cloud-based elements -- could also enable "a whole new set of apps and products" in such areas as connected transportation, industrial logistics and smart cities.
"This prestigious recognition by cable industry leaders further validates Veniam's disruptive approach to bring mobility to WiFi," said Joao Barros, founder and CEO of Veniam, in a prepared statement. "We are very excited to work with the leading cable operators and Internet service providers to turn fleets of vehicles into mobile WiFi spots and vehicular mesh networks, thereby generating new business opportunities for the industry."
With more than 10 million outdoor and indoor hotspots deployed by the cable industry in the US alone and cable operators still rapidly expanding their networks, Veniam is clearly aiming for a big sweet spot. It's also looking to fill a huge gap in WiFi hotspot coverage, which is largely limited to fixed-mobile locations.
Veniam has not yet announced any North American MSO deployment deals. But the startup does have its platform deployed in Porto, Portugal, where it's running a large network of connected buses, taxis and garbage collection trucks that deliver free WiFi to more than 210,000 active customers. It's also counting on the CableLabs Innovation Showcase stamp of approval to drive business, as it apparently has for such previous award winners as Gainspeed . (See Gainspeed, Avegant Share CableLabs Top Honors.)
Backed by venture capital, Veniam raised $4.9 million in a "Series A" funding round led by True Ventures last fall. The company has said it will use that money to expand its operations in the US.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading