Start-up Camp

Last night I attended the “Start-up Camp” at the IT-Expo in Miami. It was a showcase for four start-ups to make their pitch.

The session was started with a rousing presentation by Jamie Siminoff—an accomplished start-up entrepreneur who gave an excellent presentation encouraging all innovators to follow their passion. The session was very well done.

I am looking forward to attending future start-up camps. All four companies had good ideas and gave good presentations.

The presentation I found most interesting was given by a company called Close-Haul Communications. The founder is Robin Coxe, a small lady with a lot of energy and PhD in particle physics. The company's product is called GAPfiller—a low cost, open source based femto cell for the masses.

The idea with GAPfiller is to place a GSM cell site anywhere there is a GAP in existing GSM coverage. The difference is that GAPfiller is directly connected to any SIP network. There is no MSC and so no handoff to other cell sites for full mobility. But GAPfiller enables is a very low-cost access network that works with a billion or more existing GSM phones.

The GAPfiller is based on Asterisk and OpenBTS. Companies like Magic-Jack, which announced its new product at CES that can use any GSM phone as a wireless handest for its Magic-Jack service, and Close-Haul communications are the start of an exciting new trend. Companies that are directly attacking the last great walled gardens of telecom—the wireless carriers.