One of the most important companies in the wireless space you may never have heard of is Aricent Group, the product engineering, carrier services and design company which renamed itself last year by combining Aricent and frog (formerly Frog Design). The name change was not done for cosmetic reasons, Aricent Group’s customers are carriers, and equipment providers who live in a brave new world requiring ever-faster time to market. In addition, in an increasingly standardized world of LTE, companies have to be able to provide bullet-proof interoperability and product and service stability while simultaneously adding value in order to reduce the brutal effects of commoditization which plagues virtually all markets where standards take hold. So faster product integration is necessary to keep up with evolving and hypercompetitive markets.
With financial backing from KKR and Sequoia Capital and 10,000 employees in 36 countries, Aricent Group is a major player in helping design and implement leading-edge wireless systems. And at MWC the company touted its 35th LTE win. Yes the word holistic is thrown around a lot but there seems to be no better term to describe how this corporate behemoth is helping customers from the consumer touch point to the core of the network. In fact many customers rely on Aricent Group’s 5,000 wireless engineers to provide them with protocol stacks and software frameworks to speed their time to market.
As an example, the company supports 3GPP Release 9 and Release 10 compliant protocol stacks and software frameworks for LTE span eNodeB platforms and components, IP Backhaul, and the Evolved Packet Core. Moreover they support reference frameworks support both the Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) modes of operation on LTE across different bands.
At MWC 2012 in Barcelona I spent time with Tim Leberecht the company’s CMO and Shrikant Latkar VP of Product and Solutions Marketing to learn about how the company is helping MVNOs with sophisticated OSS/BSS systems helping provide revenue assurance for MVNOs to how the drive towards the consumerization of IT has helped their company grow more quickly.
Some of the areas where they provide assistance have to do with designing products consumers don’t even know they want and helping their customers speed up their internal organizational structures to keep up with the rapidly accelerating market.
In the future, the company hopes to expand beyond the core telecom market into healthcare, financial and automotive spaces. In addition they have noticed a trend in the market where their customers now have in-house design departments meaning Aricent Group is becoming more of an advisor and partner.
Other areas where they see opportunity are M2M where they mentioned that if a machine-to-machine system is monitoring a heart patient they have to make sure it works and meets an SLA requirement. Other spaces of growth include big data, apps and the smart grid where they say they are helping consumers become aware of their energy usage.
Finally, we can expect the company to focus more on helping customers develop ecosystems as well as providing network-based apps.
At MWC much of the focus on the consumer press centered around the latest gadget and gizmos but the reality is while design is important, without the wireless infrastructure, support, billing and OSS systems – all our fancy smartphones and tablets would become paperweights. So while Aricent group does focus on the glitz and glamour side of the wireless space, they also help make sure our devices keep working as efficiently as possible while helping carriers make the money they need to keep reinvesting in their networks.