Just when you thought Nortel was only focused on Wi-Max, it comes out with an ambitious plan to tackle the Wi-Fi market as well. In a press release, the company said it is “increasing its investments” (didn’t provide details on how many dollars are involved) by creating a new municipal Wi-Fi lab, launching a new P.R. campaign for its Wi-Fi technology, and aligning itself with a handful of industry players. This group (none of whom I’ve ever heard about) includes, 121Media Inc., Accela Inc., Aptilo Networks, Blue Vector Systems, NetMotion Wireless, Pronto Networks and smarTVideo Technologies. Nortel said this alliance will allow it to offer broadband wireless services such as in-vehicle communication systems, automated meter reading, digital video surveillance, asset or fleet tracking, subscriber management and mobile television. In theory, the focus on all these wireless services sounds encouraging but how many of these partners are among the leaders in their respective service markets? It’s one thing for Nortel to get everyone excited about a technology – be it Wi-Max, Wi-Fi or metro Ethernet – it’s quite another to be a viable player. If Nortel announced an an alliance with Ottawa-based Belair Networks, which provides base stations for muni Wi-Fi networks, that would be an interesting partnership. Or if Nortel did a deal with AirIQ, which is a player in the fleet tracking market, there would be cause for enthusiasm. Nortel has good intentions, the question is whether good intentions can lead to good results.
Nortel Jumps on Wi-Fi Bandwagon