Today, most computer and consumer electronic devices require wires to record, play or exchange data. UWB (Ultra Wide Band) eliminates the need for such wires freeing people to perform activities such as remotely connecting their mobile PC to a printer, streaming audio from an MP3 player to speakers, or wirelessly transferring digital pictures to a photo print kiosk.
Tel Aviv-based Wisair develops UWB chipsets that facilitate the production of low cost, low power, and high bit-rate communication components for use in home and office audiovisual and data applications. Ultimately, Wisair envision their technology being installed in a wide variety of appliances such as DVDs, PDAs and digital cameras.
UWB is a short-range radio technology that complements other longer range radio technologies, such as WiFi, which have difficulty handling large video files. It can be used to relay data from a host device to other devices up to 10 metres away.
As with many communication techniques used in consumer goods, UWB started life as a military technology used to avoid eavesdroppers. Yaish became familiar with it when he served in the Israeli army in the early '90s as a wireless specialist. Today, Wisair is part of a large consortium backing one proposed UWB standard while Freescale, a Motorola spin off, is promoting another. The existence of competing standards means that forecasts for the size of the UWB market in 2008 vary between $400m and $1bn.
Wisair is a privately held company that was founded in June 2001 by Yaish and the Zisapel brothers. In October 2003, Wisair secured $15.5m in a second round investment led by Apax Partners. Recently, Gal Hayut, Partner at Apax, commented: "We are pleased with our investment in Wisair, which has achieved remarkable progress in the last two years."
Earlier this year, Wisair was a recipient of the Red Herring 100 Europe Award. Commenting at the time, Yaish said: "We are proud to be part of the Red Herring Top 100 Innovators and thrilled that the editors have acknowledged our innovation and leadership in the wireless technology field."
Wisair successfully led the ULTRAWAVES project which developed a low cost wireless UWB system for transmission of high quality video in the home. The system employed a low power UWB transmitter (below 200µW) and evaluated using HDTV data streams. "The evaluation showed that UWB technology is very efficient for video-based applications," remarked project coordinator, Rafi Zack.
The company is also currently involved in PULSERS, a wide ranging follow up project, which includes the development and assessment of two classes of UWB radio systems - Single Antenna Systems (SAS) and Multiple Antenna Systems (MAS).
Yaish concludes confidently: "Millions of people will enjoy the freedom of anytime, anywhere fast wireless connectivity between all consumer electronic devices in their homes and offices. This is the new reality."
Source: Eurekalert & others
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