Go Hands-free On Your Smartphone With AINA Wireless!
Boggled with work or tied-up with friends in a party? But somehow you’ve gotta make a phone call (or leave an instant message) to someone. How do you do it without affecting your on-going activity? Your modus operandi is to take out your smart phone and make a call (or leave a text message). This by-and-large is an impediment—but with little or no options whatsoever, you’re mostly sandwiched between events!
What if you had simpler ways to communicate? AINA Wireless Inc. gives you the luxury to go hands-free with your Smartphone. With products like the ALLCOM™, you have the option to respond, answer, reply or initiate all sorts of communication without actually having to take out your Smartphone from your pocket. Does it ring a bell? Yes, you have several smart phone apps that mimic the walkie-talkie experience of instant push-to-talk communication: Zello, Voxer, Azetti, Talk-IP and others. The ALLCOM™ serves as a cherry-on-the-cake by allowing users to go hands-free while using push-to-talk apps in the market.
Meet the brains behind it!
AINA Wireless Inc. is the brainchild of Maximilian LeRoux (Founder & CEO). With over 15 years of experience in international business development for telecom and IT, LeRoux has worked and lived in several countries like Germany, Finland, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and US. Later on, he was backed by Pasi Auranen (CTO), who like Maximilian LeRoux left Savox Communications in 2013 to take up higher responsibilities. In 2014, they got together to extend their dreams and aspirations.
Presently, the team is powered by the punch of five engineers; each having 15-20 years of experience in designing and building hardware, software and audio devices (cellphones, accessories, embedded Bluetooth software, and land mobile radios). While AINA Wireless Inc. is a start-up, it’s certainly not a bunch of enthusiastic kids in a garage but a team of highly ‘professional’ and ‘experienced’ people.
The story behind AINA Wireless
Every river has its origin and so does every start-up. Max and Pasi used to work for Savox Communications; a company in Finland that develops and manufactures accessories for critical communication in situations like fire, emergency and safety. Max was responsible for building their worldwide market for Bluetooth devices used in Push-to-Talk over IP, while Pasi used to be their Chief Engineer. Max left the Company in 2010 with the vision of creating something of his own and he got the support of Pasi in 2013—the year when he too decided to leave ‘Savox Communications’. In 2014, they got together to build a product that would be a 2.0 version of what Savox has been selling. They have been seeing the market trends for long and are now ready to combine their accumulated knowledge of how-to-build-such-products.
The biggest difference is that AINA Wireless builds products directly for walkie-talkie style apps, instead of customizing existing accessories for land mobile radios. Such innovations enable the products to act like a remote for Smartphones and are as versatile as using your phone. You’ll never have to touch it and you can keep it in your pocket while staying hands free and connected to your Smartphone all the time.
Push-to-Talk (PTT) traditionally used by 2-Way Radios, also known as Walkie-Talkies, is a half-duplex communication in which a momentary button switches from voice reception mode to transmit mode; one person speaks, the other(s) listen(s). Instant communication from one-to-one and one-to-many is quick and efficient. Talk-group users are “always on”; compared to traditional phones calls, no phone number has to be dialed and recipients do not “pick up”. PTT calls are short, e.g.: “Joe, go and get the car, over.” “Copy, that. Over and out.”
Professional communication (Push-to-Talk) is converging from Nextel and 2-Way Radios to IP based communication: Smartphones with Walkie-Talkie style apps. Users of Walkie-Talkie-Style apps cannot always look and operate touch screens. Hands free communication is indispensable; it has almost been like the law-of-nature. The end-users demand products like ALLCOM™ and the biggest players need it to sell more of their PTT infrastructure and apps.
Hurdles faced as a Startup
As a Company that develops hardware, challenges are inevitable. Starting from the basics like ‘how to build it’ or ‘where to build it’, to warrantees etc, the scalability is different to develop such products. Since it is ‘hardware’ at the end of the day that the company deals with, there is always ‘proactive’ business for it. You don’t have Google or Amazon coming up with the same thing for free to drive out business over night, so, the idea holds its own identity. While it’s a challenge to do hardware, especially when trying to find VC’s, the company’s conviction is that it is a steadily growing business.
Competition & Expansion Plans
All vendors with accessories for land-mobile-radios can be termed as ‘competitors’, because they are realizing that the time of traditional walkie-talkies is coming to an end. With the US government investing 7bn into FirstNet, there will be a time of co-existence after which most critical communication will be based on IP. Anyone who wants to stay in business will sooner or later have to change its business model.
AINA Wireless Inc. will launch their product in spring time of 2015 and will follow up with 1-2 additional products that will build out their portfolio. They will be based on similar functionalities, but will focus on the different scenarios that users have. One device alone can cover a lot of customer problems, but it is better to offer a small variety to give more choices. They hope to grow and then either continue to do so or eventually raise funds from external investors. There are pros and cons in both. Their main aim is to follow their product, technology and growth strategy. It is important for them to make sure they maintain control over it. Therefore they are very picky on investors; because money is also a commodity at the end of the day. For them, it is essential that an investor also adds real value to their operations.
Target audience & location
Push-to-talk enthusiasts who use Zello and Voxer are among the ‘prosumers’ that are one branch of target audience. Many people use PTT between friends and at work or when volunteering. Those people have a hard time getting their hands on professional devices. AINA Wireless is set to be of advantage for such people. The largest group of target audience are the ones they have initially built this product for: police, fire, rescue, emergency, industrial users like private and public transportation, aviation, warehouse management, and even military.
Plans to monetize their products
Their device is based on an embedded Bluetooth Software that cannot be copied easily and requires intense co-operation with the developers of Push-to-Talk style Smartphone apps. Their manufacturing process is set up in a way that will make it extremely difficult to copy what they are doing, especially because–while they build a Bluetooth device, the solution is in the software. There is far more demand on the market for such viable devices with their technological head-start. They hope to grow and become the market leader and draw attention of some of the largest players in the Critical Communications industry.
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