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Wireless Grids Corporation Drives Industry Standard

Research Summary

Since the company’s founding in 2004, Wireless Grids Corporation (WGC) has been driving a new industry standard in software applications with its mission being to simplify our ever-increasing digital lives. As digital technologies enter more and more into our daily reality – through high-definition TVs and set-top boxes, smart and smarter mobile phones, wireless-enabled laptops and networked desktops, as well as digital cameras, printers, sound systems and, soon, RFID tags – the task of connecting and managing this digitally hyper-enabled environment is set to become the nightmare of the twenty-first century. The research and collaborative effort that eventually developed into Wireless Grids first took its first steps in the 1990s and proceeded with the help of a National Science Foundation (NSF) funding grant in 2002. A follow-on grant from the NSF was awarded again this year to promote the continuation of developing an industry standard for the wireless grids technology concept.

Current Research Focus

Wireless Grid’s software debuted in beta form in the dorms of Syracuse University in January 2008. This initial product testing focused on giving students an easy way to connect their computers, speakers, printers, cameras and screens. A student simply needed to select which devices and information to make available for sharing, and content tagged for sharing would thus become available online so that users need not be at their computer to control or view it. These tests were well received, and input from the students has been incorporated into the product planning.

When the WGC product was on display at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the software was well received by a number of key blue chip technology companies, including Intel. This introduction to Intel eventually led to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two companies to further work on how the technology could become a part of Intel’s ecosystem. Beyond testing in the Syracuse dorm environment, Wireless Grids plans to continue testing its software in dorms at Virginia Tech, Florida A&M, the University of the West Indies in Trinidad, Lehigh University, and Moravian College. This beta testing aims to expose students to the new concept behind the WGC technology, allowing them to run free with ideas, including sharing music in “virtual jukeboxes” from different dorm rooms and beyond. Since access to the grid goes with you, it can be accessed from anywhere. Furthermore, Wireless Grid’s “overlay technology” will ensure that its software will work on a number of different operating systems, thus making access available to an even wider range of devices and users.

Patents, Disclosures and Partners

In 2005, Wireless Grids Corporation entered into exclusive license agreements with three universities to develop its technology. Among its current partners are Nokia, Intel and the National Science Foundation. At the onset, Wireless Grids received more than $2 million in grant money from the NSF and approximately $500,000 in funding and research support from Cisco Systems, Novell and a host of other technology companies.

The WGC Team

In September of 2009, Wireless Grids Corporation merged with Varsity Media Group (VMG), combining the management and financial expertise of VMG with the groundbreaking technology research that was coming to the market as a result of WGC. Following the merger, Dr. McKnight passed his responsibility as Chief Executive Officer to John Andrews. A technology industry veteran, Andrews has been CEO of both public and private firms, and his experience includes taking one company public. He also led the sale of Giga Information Group to Forrester Research. Most recently, Andrews was the CEO of Evans Data Corporation, an advisory and consulting firm serving the tech industry. During the merger, it was announced that the team had plans going forward to partner with potential technology industry leaders, including Qualcomm, Sprint, Twitter and a host of others.

Wireless Grids was conceived and created by Dr. Lee McKnight, Associate Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and former CEO of the company. Prior to Wireless Grids, Dr. McKnight conducted cutting-edge research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, co-edited Internet Economics (MIT Press, 1997), and worked on the NSF-funded “Virtual Markets and Wireless Grids”, which is the idea behind Wireless Grids Corp.

Ian Pringle is the Vice President of Engineering, and prior to joining WGC, he spent six years at France Telecom’s Technology Research team. He has consulted for a number of startups in technology strategy.

Contact Info

John F. Andrews
Wireless Grids Corporation

Dr. Lee McKnight
Wireless Grids Corporation
School of Information Studies
Syracuse University
228 Hinds Hall
(315) 443-6891