October 12, 2016
As if more proof were needed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the sexiest buzzword in tech right now, here comes startup KodaCloud with a cloud-based, self-learning management system for enterprise WiFi.
Silicon Valley-based KodaCloud Inc. came out of "stealth mode" (whatever that means these days) on Wednesday with $10 million in Series A venture funding in its belt. The startup's founder and CEO, Bernard Herscovici, describes the company's offering as "network as-a service" (NaaS) -- not to be confused with the rapper -- in a press release introducing KodaCloud. (See KodaCloud Intros AI-Enabled Cloud WiFi.)
What this essentially means is that KodaCloud claims it can make it easier and quicker to deploy and manage an enterprise WiFi network, using a model that is less labor-intensive for the end users and the managed service providers (MSPs) that take the service to market. In that model, enterprises order a WiFi service from a MSP, but it is KodaCloud that ships the access points direct to the enterprise user, which can activate those access points via a smartphone or web-based app. Once activated, KodaCloud manages the access points from its cloud-based operations platform, leaving the MSP to manage the end user relationship but without having to be involved in any logistics or inventory management.
That's where the AI (or "machine learning") part comes into play. According to KodaCloud, its service is constantly monitoring interference and usage in the WiFi environment and making real-time adjustments, based on "learning" what works in any given environment over time.
"KodaCloud's service monitors, learns, adapts and automatically acts to adjust interference parameters in all customer networks using learning and real-time calculations with contextual information in real time, when and where needed without the active involvement of a network IT person," the company says.
The service is aimed at multi-office enterprises, hotels and small and medium-sized businesses. Once the network is up and running, the MSP collects a monthly fee from the end users, of which KodaCloud takes a cut.
KodaCloud says it's already managing more than 500 access points from its cloud network and has signed up more than 100 MSPs to take the service to market.
That's because the company has already been developing its business, though until today it has traded under the name of Art2Wave -- which just goes to show it's harder to come up with a good startup name than a good band name these days.
This is by no means the first time that startups and larger vendors have promised enterprises easier ways to install and manage their WiFi networks. KodaCloud's senior team knows that only too well: CEO Herscovici was formerly VP of WiFi at Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), while CTO Subbu Ponnuswamy held engineering roles at Aruba and Vivato. Chief Marketing Officer Ronny "The Rocket" Haraldsvik held a similar role at enterprise small cell startup SpiderCloud Wireless , with a brief detour into mobile cloud computing at Luminate. (See SpiderCloud Evolves Its Small Cells, Management Lights Dimmed at Mobile Edge Startup Luminate, It's Official: Vivato Winds Down and HP Sets Sail for Aruba.)
And taking WiFi control into the cloud is also an industry trend, arguably pioneered by Meraki (now part of Cisco) but now baked into the strategies of traditional WiFi hardware manufacturers such as Ruckus Wireless (now part of Brocade) and Aruba (part of HPE). (See Ruckus Wireless Launches Cloud Wi-Fi to Simplify Wireless Networking and Cisco Extends Meraki Cloud to the Enterprise .)
KodaCloud is backed by Comcast Ventures , Celtic House Venture Partners , and Voyager Capital . The startup is now looking for Series B funding.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading
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