Having just got back from the annual Unwired Innovation Expo, my head is spinning a bit from all that I was fortunate enough to see. Once again the event took place in scenic Clovis, New Mexico at the Llano Estacado Convention Center, and it was phenomenal. I remember first attending UIE back in 2012, and I once thought that nothing would top the amazing products I saw back then. This year not only exceeded the previous years’ excitement, but left me feeling nothing short of awestruck.
For those who couldn’t make it to the Expo, here are my top picks from 2015’s event:
- Cisco’s Braco Access Point Modules. Cisco has done well with add-on modules for 3600 and 3700 APs that add WIPS and small-cell capabilities. Now, to counter growing workplace BYOD anger and violence, the market leader in WLAN has partnered with The Gazer to produce the Braco Module. In addition to client access, APs can now broadcast a soothing energy force brought out by the new TGP (Transmission Gazing Protocol) that delivers the very essence of Braco’s Gaze throughout their coverage areas. I stood in a Braco cell for about two minutes, and left it feeling mellow as a cello. This is powerful tech.
- GlobaStar Barby. This fun product was the hit of the consumer side of the show floor. GlobaStar Barby is an upgrade to last year’s model, with improved dance moves (33% more spin), and she drives the cutest little Corvette around on Channel 14 Wi-Fi SUPERHIGHWAYS (additional licenses required).
- Fit-Pit. Billed as the ultimate “wearable” for fitness, Pits Inc. has mastered a roll-on version of BLE technology that you apply to your underarms. It gets operating voltage from your sweat, and transmits statistics on your workout to a smartphone app. Need help reaching your goals? Fit-Pit also comes with an electrode that mounts on either side of your posterior under your workout attire that applies a mini-taser blast when you slack off. Elegent, integrated, and effective- Fit-Pit sets the standard for what this sort of technology should be.
- New 802.11baa components. Though still in beta, a raft of products built on this agri-business-oriented wireless breakthrough was on display at UIE. Given the convention center’s proximity to Eastern New Mexico’s high plains, attendees were able to watch real-world demonstrations of livestock equipped with 802.11baa transceivers extending a network to the undeserved in neighboring enclaves like Ranchvale and Ft. Sumner. Also, a big screen showed a live feed from the Scottish highlands, where 802.11baa is also being combined with the experimental MDP (meshed dung protocol) for even further reach over difficult terrain.
- Phantom Fi. Sometimes simplicity is the best answer to tough or costly technical problems. Phantom Fi’s CTO Howard Hamilton walked me through his company’s approach to a scenario many of us can relate to: you want visitors to think you have a kick-ass wireless network, even if you really can’t afford it. Phantom Fi delivers the appearance of a robust, well-designed WLAN environment with simulated access points. “It’s all about appearances with a lot of people”, Hamilton informed me.Space-age polymer enclosures house a AA battery, a multi-color LED, and a small circuit that changes the light color at random intervals to create the illusion of wireless activity. Depending on customer requirements, Phantom Fi’s Professional Services will work with your staff on perfecting the “yes, we have Wi-Fi, and it’s quite good. But it’s also very secure, and only for important people” scenario, or alternatively will train the help desk staff to deliver real-world messaging like “look at the AP- the lights are on. Maybe you should update your driver?” to round out the real-world edginess of the ruse. With Gold-level support, customers can use either approach, as well as make use of optional simulated external antennas with double-sided tape included in the licensing.
- Marley Foundation’s Mon-itization Portal. The whole “engagement” thing really rubs a lot of people the wrong way, with the typical promise of some small discount or targeted marketing in exchange for the mobile client’s soul and whatnot. For those of us in that camp, the Marley Foundation is teaming up with dive bars, party barges, and frats to offer their Mon-Itization portal. You hit the web page, select your favorite reggae tune and herbal supplement (delivered via app on latest mobile devices) and soon We be jammin, mon…
I tried figuring out the business model on this one, but after a couple of logins on the demo portal I got so baked that I gave up and went to get some mozzarella sticks.
There was certainly more… much more at the Unwired Innovation Expo. From edible client devices to weird looking things that seemingly had no purpose to the latest generation of high-performance flatulence apps, there was just so, so much to take in at this year’s show. I know by now that next year will be even more impressive, but at this point I’m feeling like I have touched the face of our collective wireless future- and it made me warm and tingly.