Thursday, November 14, 2002

Wireless Alliance 2002: Finnish Consulate, New York, NY - by Tery Spataro

Seven Finnish wireless companies met with sixteen US companies to bridge business from across the waters. FINPRO provided the opportunity for the businesses to meet each other hosted by Consulate General of Finland. Finnish Wireless companies are looking to form relationships with US based businesses. FINPRO and the Finnish Consulate arranged for the opportunity to bring both countries together for tabled business discussions. According to Jari Sinkari, Deputy Consul General, the group partnering program is a very efficient way to test the attractiveness of products and services in the American market during a period when the demand of wireless services is starting to get off the ground, but is in early phases. "We at the consulate were very happy that we could be facilitators in the process."

Lasse Baldauf, Head of FINPRO Stamford, said "New York is the first leg of the three meetings planned for the group who is continuing this week onto Comdex and concluding in Silicon Valley. At the end of the tour, several tens of meetings with potential partners, customers or other relevant players in the wireless marketplace will have taken place." Mr. Baldauf also went on to say, "Since no single continent has a leading edge over the others in terms of migrating to the 2.5 and 3G networks. It is vitally important to form global relationships, and thus be better geared for the launching the next level of services and products, wherever it may be."

Finnish Wireless companies comprised of entertainment wireless technologies to wireless business based services and technologies. US companies invited included big business: IBM, HP, NEC, Sony Music Entertainment to smaller businesses focused on wireless technologies, creative services, legal and professional services. Larry Gardner, CEO of CyberExtruder based in New York, is one of the US businesses that met with Finnish companies, commented, "companies are eager to build and extend their businesses with foreign businesses as well as share technologies. It's an exciting opportunity!" CyberExtruder developed software that converts a single 2-dimensional image into a fully developed 3-dimensional model in seconds.

Vivian Rigney, CEO Moom Solutions Helsinki, is looking for; "Intelligent, effective partnerships in which both succeed in increasing shareholder value." I like the potential that Moom's technology brings to the direct response arena, in creating new effective way to distribute e-Vouchers and e-Tickets. You can either receive a bar-coded offer on your mobile device for scanning or have the option to print-at-home (PAH).

A discussion about the killer apps broke out. Eero Knuutila, VP Marketing for Sumea, a game development company, which creates cutting-edge games for Java-enabled, mobile phones, enthusiastically answered that "games are the killer app." Though all Seven Finnish wireless businessmen agreed that email is still the number one killer app. The mobile device of choice, Mikko Riepula, Managing Director of WIFICOM, said is his mobile phone! "It's easy to carry and I get all of my email on it!" WIFICOM is a leader in the European service management business.

International wireless companies wanting to do business in the US have to consider the challenge the US carriers present. Sprint and Verizon use American-designed standard called code division multiple access, or CDMA. ATT Wireless, Cingular and T-Mobile use the global system for mobile communications, GSM used in Europe and Asia. Nextel has it's own technology, called Iden. (*Source New York Times: Simon Romero) Aware of the various US platforms Finnish companies present technologies that are agnostic.

The joint effort between the Finnish Consulate and FINPRO's pre-arranged tabled meetings made doing business so much more friendlier, for both parties. At the reception, Leonard LaVardena, FINPRO, made sure business executives were being introduced to potential business partners. During the reception I bumped into international entrepreneur, Mark Frieser, CEO Consect, who was enthusiastic about the opportunities that the Finnish companies present. Mark accompanied by his lovely and always engaging wife, Elyn Wollensky.

FINPRO has arranged meetings in with US Wireless businesses in Las Vegas and Silicon Valley for the coming week. Finnish wireless companies represented: WES, MOOM Solutions, LOOPM, WIFICOM, CIDERCONE WIRELESS, SUMEA, CREANOR

Written by Tery Spataro of Mind Arrays (November 14, 2002)