Five Tech Companies to Watch in 2015

Publisher�s Outlook

Five Tech Companies to Watch in 2015

By Rich Tehrani, Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC  |  March 04, 2015

There are so many companies I meet with that have interesting stories to tell. So I spent some time putting together a list of a sampling of those worthy of recognition.

Here goes.

Although you may not have heard of this company, Airtight Networks is likely involved in providing the Wi-Fi in the stores and banks you use. I’m impressed with its solutions, which add security to Wi-Fi – either guest or internal.

Airtight’s wireless intrusion prevention system can overlay on hardware from companies like Aruba. It also has standalone boxes and cloud-based solutions.

By working with Airtight you won’t have to manually deal with Wi-Fi AP security configuration at all your locations. Ksenia Coffman (News - Alert) and Hermant Chasker told me organizations with more than 100 locations really can’t rely on manual security solutions, so this offering makes perfect sense.

Imagine Communications may be one of the more disruptive companies out there, and that fact doesn’t get talked about enough.

Former GENBAND leader Charlie Vogt (News - Alert), who has been a frequent ITEXPO keynote speaker, leads Imagine as CEO and seems to be confidently executing on his strategic vision. The company has put together a staggering list of acquisitions and spin-offs – too voluminous to go into here. The goal is to build a major company that addresses all the needs of video production and distribution companies.

The video industry is changing rapidly thanks to time-shifting, on-demand, and mobile devices. This affects the whole broadcast chain. The typical broadcast studio has lots of big iron with blinking lights – roughly analogous to mainframes or perhaps Class 4/5 switches. While the cable companies have moved to standardized IT and SDN, these companies haven’t made the change.

Imagine thinks the market needs to move to virtualized networks, software-defined architectures, networks, and workflows, which would allow the players to move a lot faster. The endgame is all IP multiscreen, multiplatform distribution.

Speaking of video, Polycom (News - Alert) is a huge video and voice player but over the last few years a number of cloud-based startups have been gunning for them. Expect the company to continue fighting back with a slew of new services and business models.

I had a long talk with Jim Kruger (News - Alert) and Maurizio Capuzzo at the company about how they are spending more on R&D and will also focus on getting higher levels of user utilization of products already in the field. They also think WebRTC will be good for business as more video will be used as a result.

Expect to see Polycom in 2015 positioned as the collaboration company focusing on voice, video, and content as a service.

Mavatar Technologies Inc., meanwhile, is a company that delivers a mobile commerce engine that ties into many different back-end ecommerce sites.

It takes into account discounts by enabling you to get a final price quickly. It further lets you compare products via a quick button press. This is great because it works across stores. In the detail compare mode you get to factor in shipping, tax, etc.

Mobile shopping is taking off and Mavatar is positioned well. I spoke with Susan Akbarpour about the company many months back and at the time it seemed like it was on fire. I’m surprised Mavatar hasn't generated more buzz lately. 

Download it free for yourself (iOS) to try it. It seems very useful.

Elsewhere on the communications frontier is Talari Networks (News - Alert).

Revolutionizing WAN economics and disrupting the MPLS monopoly, Talari Networks allows companies to use the networks they have already (such as cable and DSL) to bypass the need for individual high-quality and expensive connections such as MPLS.

Buying the company’s boxes can set you back as little $4,000 each but can provide a rapid ROI while also boosting QoS. In fact, Talari says DSL and cable can outperform MPLS in some cases.

Edited by Maurice Nagle