Bob Hunsberger has a reputation. His track record for growing wireless communications companies is described by his peers as “outstanding,” and now he’s trying his hand at it again, as the newly appointed CEO of NetMotion Wireless. When Mobile Enterprise spoke with Hunsberger, he was three weeks into the job and already “a walking expert on everything NetMotion does,” he quipped. Or maybe he wasn’t joking—with more than 20 years of executive leadership experience, including time as president and CEO of Widcomm, chairman and CEO of Metawave Communications and senior VP and general manager of Siemens Wireless Terminals, all after establishing Nortel as a major player, it seems no challenge is too daunting.
Mobile Enterprise: What’s first on your agenda?
Bob Hunsberger: Improving profitability, taking business to the next level—focusing on the top line, if you will. In terms of the product itself, it’s adding things to the product that make its value more applicable to more people—or more precisely, to addressing its served market. So that’s where my head is at.
What NetMotion does for a living is provide a mobile VPN that allows people to use their applications on a wireless basis. That’s what we’re going to keep doing. That’s the company’s core confidence, and that’s where we have value, and that’s what we know how to do. We’re just going to make it a richer experience for [mobile workers], and maybe make it so it applies to a wider variety of devices. Right now it’s just devices that have a Microsoft OS on them, and there’s plenty of other devices that people use wirelessly.
ME: What is it about Mobility XE that makes it so well-suited for the FFA, healthcare and public safety industries?
BH: Well, first there’s the idea of persistence. For better or for worse, in a wireless environment, sometimes the connection gets broken or there’s interference and it interrupts the data transmission in some respect. With NetMotion’s product, persistence is built into it. … So if that connection is broken, our server tells the application to hold the data until the connection is reestablished. That way when the user gets back on, he doesn’t have to go back to square one. And that’s a big deal, in terms of productivity.
The next thing is roaming. Many of our customers use more than one wireless network. When they’re in the proximity of their campus, or in a hotspot, they use 802.11, and when they’re not they use a cellular interface. Our system gives them the ability to go from one of those networks to another. And it has some rules, so that we’ll connect them to the network that’s giving them the fastest service; so if they’re close to a hotspot, we’ll connect them to that.
We also compress the data that goes over the network, and that compression allows them to use the wireless interface much more efficiently. That may not always be as important with 802.11, but with a cellular interface I think that’s really quite important. To the user, it looks faster by a meaningful amount.
And of course, security is just a given. You’ve got to have security, and we feel that our security is absolutely world-class.
ME: You’re in a very exciting position. Is there something you’re anxious to attack first?
BH:We’re in a space that’s growing and that’s going to be a lot more relevant in the future than it is today, the company is well-positioned and we have a product that absolutely works. We’ve got a lot of things going for us, and that’s what I’m excited about.