Mist, a Silicon Valley startup formed by former Cisco executives, is touting its wireless networking technology as an answer to delivering better connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT) and other applications.
Mist’s platform combines WiFi with a patented virtual Bluetooth low energy (vBLE) technology and incorporates machine learning to provide indoor wireless coverage for medium-to-large businesses, hotels, airports, retailers, and more.
The company, which was founded in 2014, already has several pilots of its technology on business campuses, universities, and hotels and has a long list of customers, including several large retailers.
The firm’s executive team includes former Cisco executives Sujai Hajela, who serves as CEO, Bob Friday, the CTO, and chairman Brett Galloway. The company is backed by Norwest Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Mist’s technology incorporates an 802.11ac Wave 2 Gigabit WiFi access point with three WiFi radios, an IoT module and a 16-element vBLE dynamic antenna array. The company’s cloud platform uses a micro-services architecture to manage the WiFi, and the analytics engine uses machine learning to detect problems.
Sudheer Matta, VP of products at Mist, says the company’s vBLE technology improves upon existing Beacon technology, such as Apple’s iBeacon, which provide background and positioning technology in environments like retail and airports. The vBLE can be used to identify users and provide them with a personalized experience but doesn’t require users to deploy Beacons on walls that can then be lost or broken.
Because of the cloud architecture, the customer can understand the coverage experience of the user, know how much capacity is available, and how long it is taking the user to connect to the network, says Matta.
Mist’s technology can be used today to help enterprises, hotels, retailers, and airports, provide a better experience for their users by managing capacity and coverage more effectively. It is also viewed as an IoT solution as more devices become outfitted with WiFi modules and sensors, and networks become more congested. Matta says the company’s cloud network architecture uses a variety of distributed systems including Apache Kafka, and Apache Spark, an open source processing engine, making it possible for customers to customize the cloud as necessary.