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Sunday in the park – with your laptop

Posted By Abby Margulies On June 4, 2006 @ 7:00 pm In | No Comments

Hudson River Park patrons will be able to enjoy wireless internet thanks to the Israeli technology of InspiAir.New Yorkers living in downtown Manhattan no longer need to take their laptop computers to Starbucks when they are looking for easy Internet access outside their apartment.

Thanks to the Israeli company InspiAir, they can enjoy the pleasures of nature alongside some of the city’s most popular piers at Hudson River Park and work on their summer tans, while they check their email and surf the Web.

InspiAir, an Israeli high tech company that provides outdoor wireless Internet, as well as voice over IP and video over IP, recently installed a wireless Internet system in the park that allows free public access without any additional software. The coverage spans from Clarkson Street to Horatio Street in Greenwich Village, the fourth of Hudson River Park’s seven segments.

InspiAir’s project is part of the Hudson River Park’s multimillion-dollar project to rejuvenate the park. The park – which occupies 550 acres of space – is Manhattan’s largest open-air development since the completion of Central Park. The Hudson River Park Trust, the organization heading the project, hopes that by providing wireless Internet to the public, they will draw people to the park. Members of the Hudson River Park trust heard about InspiAir, thought it sounded promising, and decided to try it out, according to InspiAir CEO Tamir Galili.

With their ability to cover large outdoor areas using minimal access points, InspiAir served as an excellent solution to the Hudson River Park Trust’s search for a wireless internet provider.

“We have been looking at ways to provide wireless Internet at the Park and InspiAir’s unique solution has enabled us to do it,” says Chris Martin, VP Marketing and Public Affairs for the Hudson River Park Trust. “We have been very pleased with the response from the park’s visitors and look forward to seeing how the network is used over this three-month test.”

Chief Information Officer for the Hudson River Park Trust, Michael Breen, said they have been pleased thus far with their work with the company. “We were amazed at how quickly and easily InspiAir installed their equipment. The system was up and running smoothly and effectively in no time,” he said.

InspiAir’s ability to provide access without the use of additional materials has helped to put them on the wireless Internet map, making them trailblazers in wireless technology. They were able to install the wireless system in the New York City Park in less than an hour, after Motorola and Cisco both failed to provide access at all.

“People can come to the park with their own equipment and need no additional equipment, they don’t need to download any software,” Galili told ISRAEL21c. “They can just open their laptop and connect to our system, which is one of the main differentiators between us and other systems. Everyone else needs CPE or some sort of other software. With InspiAir they don’t need anything else.”

Over the past several years, outdoor wireless systems have become increasingly popular, and numerous cities, including Jerusalem, Philadelphia and San Francisco have all tried to secure outdoor coverage. Though they have had varying degrees of success, all of the systems thus far have had their fair share of problems.

“San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Jerusalem all use a system called Mesh,” Galili explains. “These systems often get cancelled because of the cost, which companies aren’t willing to stand behind.”

The Mesh system functions by putting hundreds of access points, or transmitters, around the city in order to gain coverage. These transmitters work on a number of channels, which have to frequently be realigned, and thus the operational costs of the system can be very high.

“InspiAir is cheaper because we work on a single channel,” says Galili. “Once we install the system we don’t need to re-align it, and so the operational costs are theoretically zero. We installed the Hudson River system two months ago and haven’t had to re-align it since.”

And beyond just cost, InspiAir is also able to provide services that no other outdoor wireless company has been able to support yet. “Mesh can support Internet browsing or data, but not Voice over IP or Video over IP,” says Galili. Skype or Wi Fi phones are useable with InspiAir, and so far we are the only system that can use it.”

The father of three, Galili graduated from Tel Aviv University in 1982 with a degree in mechanical engineering and aerodynamics engineering. He initially went to work for the Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) as an engineer, and was eventually relocated to California by IAI to head a group of Israelis working with American company TRW in a joint venture with the US army and navy.

After serving as VP sales at a number of hi-tech companies, Galili received his MBA from the University of Derby of England in Israel, and became CEO of CogniTens, before landing his current job as CEO of InspiAir.

Founded in 1998, InspiAir originally focused on defense applications, and turned to outdoor wireless communications only last year. Since that time they have met with overwhelming success – their sales have tripled in the past year, and their company evaluation has grown over six times since 2005. According to Galili, there is tremendous interest in the financial community to invest in InspiAir, and the future looks bright.

In addition to their cutting-edge advantage in technology, InspiAir is also a more environmentally friendly company than most, making them an ideal candidate for outdoor wireless installation.

“People are very concerned about radiation with wireless internet and cellular communication,” says Galili, “but our transmission levels are very low, they are actually one tenth or less of the cellular level. One of our focal points is how to maintain performance while keeping transmission so low – that is exactly our specialty. It isn’t a yes or no question, it is a question of how much, and InspiAir is doing better than the others.”

Though the company’s main focus is on Europe and the US, they have been successful in Israel as well, with a wireless site covering the campus of the Ruppin Academic Center near Sharon.

“They had Mesh and cancelled it,” says Galili. “Mesh had fifty access points, and we came in and installed the system with four transmitters. Now all of the students can enjoy internet in the classrooms, cafeteria, dorms, and outside space,” Galili reports.

With projects in Africa, Europe, and Asia, the Hudson River Park Project should lead InspiAir to further expansion in the US. “We are looking forward to putting other installations in New York parks and other US parks as well,” says Galili. “We are already in dialogue with a few, and we see this project as the first step.”


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