Veniam, a startup focused on what it calls the “Internet of Moving Things” by turning vehicles into mobile WiFi hotspots, was the top vote-getter at the CableLabs Innovation Showcase, an event put on this week in concert with the CableLabs Summer Conference in Keystone, Colo.
Veniam, which claims to have tallied 150% more votes than the event’s second-place entrant (a total of eight companies were entered), has developed a turn-key platform that turns cars, buses and other vehicles into moving WiFi hotspots, holding that the idea can help to build “city-scale” vehicular networks that expand wireless coverage and are capable of collecting terabytes of data in urban environments.
WiFi, of course, has become a key component of the cable industry’s wireless strategy, as MSOs continue to build a quasi-public network comprised of millions of hotspots deployed in outdoor and indoor locations as well as inside customer routers.
Veniam, deemed to have the product most likely to succeed at this week's CableLabs event, hopes to work with MSOs as they seek new ways to expand and enhance their WiFi networks. But Veniam, a company founded in 2012, has yet to announce any cable operator deals, but its platform (a mix of hardware, software and “cloud components) is being used to run a network of connected vehicles, including taxis, waste collection trucks and a public bus feet in Porto, Portugal, that delivers free WiFi to more than 210,000 active customers.
"This prestigious recognition by cable industry leaders further validates Veniam's disruptive approach to bring mobility to Wi-Fi," said João Barros, founder and CEO of Veniam, in a statement. "We are very excited to work with the leading cable operators and internet service providers to turn fleets of vehicles into mobile Wi-Fi spots and vehicular mesh networks, thereby generating new business opportunities for the industry."
San Francisco-based Veniam announced last December that it had raised a $4.9 million “A” round led by True Ventures, with participation from Union Square Ventures, Cane Investments and some private investors. Judith McHale, the former CEO of Discovery, and Om Malik, now a partner at True Ventures, are among the company’s board members.