The Mobile 15: Our picks for the most innovative companies

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Intucell

 

CEO: Rani Wellingstein

Number of employees: 100

The business:

Intucell develops self-optimizing network (SON) technology, which turns the mobile networks from static grids of cells into systems that can dynamically change shape to meet traffic and subscriber needs.  It sells that technology to carriers like AT&T.

The backstory:

Intucell came out of the hotbed of radio technology startups in Israel, and though it has relocated much of its operations to the UK, the U.S. and Singapore, its R&D center remains in Ra’anana, outside of Tel Aviv.

The innovation:

Intucell’s technology will allow our static mobile networks to become self-aware, self-acting entities. I’m not talking about cell towers rising up to the conquer the Earth. Rather networks that can detect each other and the overall conditions of the network and reconfigure themselves accordingly.

What that means is that one day cell towers will start following us, expanding and contracting as we move from cell to cell in order to give us the best connection, voice quality and data speeds possible. An example Wellingstein likes to use is a bus with a Wi-Fi-distributed 4G connection moving through a city like London. Normally the bandwidth of that connection would fluctuate considerably as the bus traveled from the center of a cell to its edge, and then into another cell. Using Intucell’s technology, the network would morph to account for where the bus is at any given moment and where it is heading, ensuring not only a persistent high-speed connection, but also maximizing the overall capacity of the network.

The plan:

Right now Intucell has only two announced customers, but one of them is quite the catch: AT&T. It’s in trials with several more, and hopes to make its technology a key part of carrier’s network planning. So far, carriers are using the technology to automatically retune their networks throughout the day, rather than rely on engineers to do so manually every few weeks.

Eventually, though, Intucell expects carriers to start using the technology dynamically, allowing the network to reconfigure itself in real-time. As mobile networks evolve from big tower-based macro systems into dense clusters of small cells, that kind of optimization will be key to powering the heterogeneous network (or HetNet) of the future.

—KF

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