Proximetry Emerging with Technology to Manage Performance of ‘Smart Grid’ and Other Wireless Networks

8/31/10Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego-based Proximetry’s co-founder and CEO, Tracy Trent, says he has been consciously trying to keep the wireless software company under the radar since it was started almost six years ago.

Trent began Proximetry after previously serving as the president and CEO of Stellcom, the San Diego wireless software developer acquired by Vytek Corp. in 2003, and as a senior vice president and e-business solutions group manager at government contractor SAIC. Trent says the premise for Proximetry was simple: What if a software technology startup could do for wireless network operations what Bellcore (the telecom R&D lab now known as Telcordia Technologies) did decades ago for telecom landline networks, in terms of end-to-end network management and performance optimization?

“We didn’t see anyone with a software platform that could manage this disparity in wireless networks,” Trent says, referring to the patchwork quilt of multiple frequencies, multiple vendors, and multiple protocols that exists in most wireless networks. Yet, if that could be accomplished—and “If you could promise a certain level of performance with a certain payload capability—that could be an interesting space” Trent says.

In developing Proximetry’s technology to fulfill that vision, Trent says the company focused on private wireless networks—such as the smart grids operated by electric utilities—because, as he puts it, “It’s the best wireless networking problem that’s ever existed.”

“Why is smart energy so exciting?” Trent asks rhetorically. “It’s big. The wireless networks that Qualcomm and others have built are not nearly as big as what the smart grid will have to be.”

In addition to the millions of so-called “smart meters” that utilities plan to install for every residential and business customer (San Diego Gas & Electric alone plans to install 2.3 million smart meters in its service area) Trent says utilities plan to also install millions of other wireless sensors to continuously monitor the energy coursing throughout its power grid.

At the same time, the performance of the wireless monitoring network also … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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