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My notes from the iBreakfast with Cometa


Ted Schell – Cometa


Ted was overwhelmed by the interest in the Cometa announcement – 30k hits on just a press release

Lot of sizzle but not as much of a marketplace

This (creation of the company) is an ‘evolutionary’ event

It has to grow in way that matches increase in demand

Everyone’s not walking around with 802.11 cards looking for a node....yet


Estimates suggest only 3-3.5 mm portable computers

This is a disconnect between perceived demand and numbers of actual users

But this will change and grow

Intel will announce intro of tech that will be chipset designed specifically for portable computers (including wireless 802.11 a and b onto the chips)

Should extend battery life – computers become “utility” that can be carried around without worrying about power

By 2007 estimate with laptop and PDA shipments (similar tech for PDAs in a year) – approaching 45-50MM devices.

As a corollary- same tech will come into other devices like cameras – downloading to home pc or to a server on network instead of changing roll of film. Also, next gen of music players as well

Bet 60 and 70 MM devices in hands of consumers


Extending wifi into public spaces is a next step of diffusion of tech from early adopters and enterprises to general mkt


Enterprise workers will be the first customer base. Many professionals only ‘stop in’ their offices, or “hotel” – sales to reps to consulting positions – that have need to stop in only to basically connect to corporate net.

Calls take place during day but in inefficient manner – they end up spending extra time 1-3 hours at home to “finish” the day.

Insurance adjuster scenario – file report almost immediately – reduces error rates, etc.


Intercity traveler – demand in transport nodes. But ‘windshield warriors’ is the real demand.


Where does consumer fit in? – social computing is a concept in some retail spaces. Substitute for broadband access if it’s not in the home but in the neighborhood.

Consumer app will develop slowly.


IF enterprise not consumer is the customer- changes the tenor, and characterists of the service. IT becomes “carrier” or enterprise class – reliability – minimum level of assured capability –

The actual access point needs to be addressable, manageable, the MAN and WAN it connects to needs to be high quality.


Enterprise needs their VPN client they’ve chosen will work with this network.

Will work with way that they sponsor external computing in the environment

User shouldn’t have to change setting – should automagically go back to settings it had before hand.

Enterprise wants to integrate with their ‘integrated existing service providers’


Consumer ‘wants’ the same thing.


Roaming – not all access points are the same – can you assure consistency of service in different networks?


People “want” density or ubiquity of the network – I need to know where the network is, not that it’s “5 or 10 min” from where I am. Has to be inside or with national, regional or local brands  - where’s the local Dunkin, McD’s or Kinkos that points me to the access point.

Some other early entries tried to occupy the entire value chain – build network, points, sales, marketing, etc. that the carriers already have


If they create transport and wholesale it to existing “?” – they could mainstream the product.

This becomes product that leverages existing infracstructure (sales, cust service, etc) of the existing carriers.


Cometa -  build and infrastructure using 802.11 access point which will be available in highly visible national branded locations, licensed to any carrier with no preferences and provide reliability and density of network demanded by enterprise customers.



 Questions that came to my mind: 

High power wireless(spread spectrum for Internet access)?

Supporting 802a and b – what about G?


Insurance adjuster scenario  - what’s difference bet. 802 app and cellular app (if app is on the client side and just data is exchanged?)

- Answer was basically - G3/GPRS currently doesn't have bandwidth to do full apps (I disagree- depends how you design your apps) - G3/GPRS devices dont' have interfaces you can use (disagree- they just haven't made ones the right way yet - or put the right combo of app and bandwidth in phone). 

Comment from one panelist that Mesh type networks will probably be an interim tech (Cell net+Wifi on same card/device)



Windshield warrior vs “consultant” market


Panel –

David Rose – Early “wireless” pioneer –

Cometa  is a good idea and nails many of the points earlier folks missed.

But if you look at the map  of NYC Access points- this is more points than any company will deploy. 
this is where Joltage comes into play – it’s a backend for anyone to share their nodes. Person gets money from people who sign up. Joltage allows people to use access in many places in same way.


Marcos Lara – allow consumer to pay for access that already exists in peoples’ homes – where payments go to all constituents in the market.


Ramana – positive that IBM and Intel and others are bringing the value chain together.

Incremental  capex in revenue? –

People who are late adopters don’t use devices in same usage pattern as early adopters – though the services devices are usually prices based on the early or ‘standard’ adopters.



Developing a client that is an applet that integrate into the VPN client of the computer that automagically sets the settings and restores the machine’s settings when you log out.


Risk of fragmenting market (similar to early ATM network where cards would only work in certain banks).

Multiple networks –less revenue per network/less incentive to build out networks


Higher bandwidth enables a different class of application and interaction than a cell-based network will allow.



What apps will this infrastructure enable that will provide exponential growth.

Ex:Pharma sales reps – want data before a sales call that gives them lots of info on inventory and sales pattern, and after call want to initiate report, order initiation, etc.


Ramana – business sales force automation – sales force info, inventory and component access.


Vending machines, meters, and other physical and vending info – status reporting, sales, etc.




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Last update: 1/29/2003; 8:55:12 PM.