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The Wireless World in their Hands
September 11, 2002 was a time of mixed emotions for Rod White and Trevor Adey. Their top software integrators were in New York City on the first anniversary of the horrific attack on the World Trade Centre. But they were there to mark a very significant business success. On that day the Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) activated its newest wireless mobile-communications system. A critical component of that system is an innovative software package. Selected because of its security and reliability, the software was developed by Consilient Technologies, a Newfoundland-based technology company owned and operated by the two Memorial alumni.
"We were extremely pleased when New York City fire department purchased our software," says Rod White, B.Sc.’71, senior director of Consilient. "We believed from the start that graduates from MUN were capable of creating a world-class software product and when you have such a keystone customer as the FDNY, it's a clear sign that you're on the right path."
White and company president Trevor Adey, B.Comm.’91, co-founded Consilient in 2000. According to Adey their vision included "kick-starting a knowledge-based economy" to employ Memorial University computer science and computer engineering and business graduates - in their home province.
Adey and White have demonstrated their ability to grow successful technology companies in Newfoundland and Labrador. White was a co-founder of Stratos Global, the St. John's-based satellite communications corporation. Adey is a former vice president with that company.
Now with 50 employees - the majority of whom are Memorial alumni - Consilient Technologies has already made its mark in the wireless software sector, especially in the United States. Consilient's software uses the highest level of security and encryption available and according to Adey, the company is "making steady inroads into servicing the mobile data needs of emergency response organizations."
Eighty-five percent of the more than 5000 handhelds enabled by Consilient are south of the border. And sixty-five percent of those include state, local and federal U.S. agencies such as fire, police and emergency response teams. Early in 2004 they opened an office in the San Francisco Bay area.
Together Adey and White have used their business connections and their technical expertise to land some impressive customers for Consilient such as FDNY, the Office of the U.S. Attorney General, Architect of the Capitol, Hyatt Hotels and Toyota Technical.
Industry research reveals that wireless e-mail users in the U.S. and Canada will climb to 50 million by the end of 2005. Those users will account for 48 percent of the $7 billion in revenue from wireless data communication - up from a paltry $656 million in 2002. "Over the next five years mobile e-mail will be the key driver for wireless data," says Adey. And Consilient intends to carve out their share of that market.
White says their market niche is "real-time delivery of corporate e-mail to handheld devices.” Their research shows that the corporate e-mail market world-wide will reach 260 million users by the end of this year. They project market growth to 275 million users in 2005 and 300 million in 2006.
This surge in the market is driven in part by the trend among organizations to boost mobile professionals productivity by giving them access to wireless e-mail and other applications. The challenge for those organizations is that different e-mail platforms and handheld devices are not able to communicate with each other. "Consilient provides an innovative solution," explains Adey. "Our open-standard software enables any e-mail system to work with any handheld device and that’s a powerful market offering."
As might be expected in a market this size, Consilient faces some serious competition. Among their competitors are NotifyLink, Omni-TS, Toffa and The Messaging Architects.
Consilient's competitive strategy is straightforward. They market their expandable software platform at the enterprise level to medium-to-large organizations, not individual consumers. And, since their primary target market for Consilient's Java-based technology is organizations with e-mail/messaging system platforms developed by Novell, Sun, Sendmail and Oracle, they have aligned themselves with these IT giants. This strategy allows Consilient to move its software directly to these partner-companies’ growing customer base.
Their success has not gone unnoticed. The National Research Council recently named Consilient an "Innovation Leader" and the St. John's Board of Trade awarded them the "Business Excellence Award" in 2003. Demand for their current software product is increasing in the U.S. and a development team is being assembled for their next-generation product, which is slated to move into growing markets in Asia Pacific and Europe in less than eighteen months.
"We employ exceptionally capable individuals who share our vision of creating award-winning software and growing a successful company in Newfoundland," says Adey. "As demand for our products increases, the priorities for us include shaping the growth of Consilient and remaining competitive by recruiting top notch talent," he says.
The next step for Consilient appears to be more products, bigger markets and hiring more staff. Speaking with Trevor Adey and Rod White, you get the impression that anything is possible.
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