is More Than Just That
HotAir Network Group is rising in the tough wireless field.
Brian Monroe, Florida Today
-- May 29, 2003
someone said they were gaining ground in the volatile telecommunications
and wireless network industry, you might think they are full of
HotAir Network Group, that's exactly what's happening.
Indialantic-based startup already has "hot-wired" several
local businesses -- a microbrewery, coffee shop and hotel business
center -- so patrons can go online sans the constriction of cables
and telephone lines.
someone needs is a wireless access card in his or her computer to
be able to log on. Currently, HotAir is not charging for its service.
But when it is further established, it said it would charge in the
$20 a month range for access.
business has really started to take off this month," said John
Hogan, one of the company's co-founders.
which launched in January, already has a paying customer, Charlie
& Jake's Brewery and Grille, located in the Centre at Suntree.
The company also is conducting trial tests at Indian River Coffee
Company in Melbourne, the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Palm Bay and a medical
and business center.
the company's plan to continue adding local businesses and branch
out into Orlando and the rest of Florida comes to fruition, it could
be profitable by 2004, generating potential revenues of $1 million
this year and $2 million next year, Hogan said.
that happens, the company's workforce could mushroom to 15 to 20
people by this time next year.
could give more residents a chance at a cyber delight on the menu.
are enjoying a side of technology with their meals, said Debbie
Holman, a manager at Charlie & Jake's, which has offered the
wireless Internet service up for just more than a month.
customers love it, and we have a lot of people asking questions
about it," she said. "They are really enthused about it."
said she has seen more people coming in with their laptops to finish
work, take online classes and the like while they munch burgers
and sip suds.
can work and relax at the same time," Holman said. "I
really think it's a positive."
positive, Hogan said, is the future of HotAir.
his 15 years in telecommunications, he has worked in engineering,
marketing, program management and wireless communications with such
companies as Harris Corp., Tantivy Communications Inc. and Globe
He and fellow founder Steve Gould started HotAir, which specializes
in wireless fidelity, dubbed "Wi-Fi," because he believes
the market has great potential for growth and is "taking off
in leaps and bounds right now."
who worked at Harris for 17 years in advanced programs, research
and network security, said his company has a simple goal: Make the
Internet "convenient enough to be used anywhere, anytime, without
a lot of wires."
has competition from such household names as Intel, AT&T and
T-Mobile, which are investing millions in the hopes of one day having
a seamless wireless network throughout the country.
Gould said his plan is not to dive headlong into a new and emerging
remembers all too clearly the Wild West attitude in the early days
of online -- and the eventual industry implosion that ensued.
goal is to execute a sound business plan in an incremental fashion,
build a solid foundation and then launch a much larger operation,"
he said. "Using skills and experiences from Harris is an advantage.
We bring that discipline into a fairly wild marketplace."
is a good time to jump on the "Wi-Fi" bandwagon.
Smyser, a senior analyst in radio frequency and wireless networks
for iSuppli/Stanford Resources, a market-research firm that focuses
on the technology sector, said the industry is expected to grow.
access cards that plug into laptop computers are expected to jump
in worldwide sales from 922 million units in 2002 to 1.3 billion
units in 2007.
sales for wireless access points -- the hub that transmits the data
to the computers -- is expected to rise from 644 million units in
2002 to 845 million units in 2007.
not bad," Smyser said. "Wi-Fi has gained a lot of interest.
Intel has made a push in their Centrino mobile processors, which
are integrated Wi-Fi technology, by investing more than $150 million
into wireless-related companies just to help it gain acceptance
has staked its wireless claim in Starbucks' coffee locations.
it's not surprising HotAir chose Indian River Coffee Company as
a test site for its product.
more sedate atmosphere, filled with the aroma of roasting coffee,
can be a welcome respite from office pressures or home distractions.
had a lot of good responses from businesspeople," said Dale
Longstreet, who owns Indian River Coffee Company. "I have seen
them pop in and pay their bills while sipping coffee, work on spreadsheets
or finish up letters."
only do you get a chance to hang out and relax," he said, "you
can get some work done."
said Indian River Coffee Company customer Daryl Mullins.
recently went to get a jolt of caffeine and try out the company's
new wireless-access capabilities.
great," he said, adding he used a pocket PC with a wireless
card and it worked fine. "I have two friends, and we were all
here trying it out.
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