iPass: Enabling Always-on Connectivity Worldwide
Date: Tuesday , January 26, 2016
India has a great vision and aspiration to bring connectivity to the common man with initiatives like Smart City. But considering that only 30 percent of Indians have Internet connectivity, as opposed to the 95 percent in developed countries, we still have a long way to go. Indians can only spare $15 for Internet connectivity, ten percent less than what the rest of the world spends. In sharp contrast to expensive cellular data plans, Wi-Fi has the capability of reaching the masses. Prominent among Wi-Fi networks is iPass Inc. (NASDAQ: IPAS).
Enabling always-on connectivity across more than 100 countries, the Silicon Valley-headquartered company utilizes predictive analysis to connect users automatically to the best possible hotspot in its network. iPass has developed a great footprint by aggregating the networks of about 160 different partners, like TATA and British Telecom. Recently adding 30 million hotspots to its network, iPass\' total hotspot count is now 50 million, making the iPass footprint more than twice the size of the company\'s nearest competitor.
iPass SmartConnect - Secure, Cost-Effective & Convenient Technology
With more than 40 patents and another 19 pending in eight countries, iPass has been connecting mobile users since its founding in 1996. iPass recently launched iPass SmartConnect with enhanced user security via last mile VPN tunnelling between the user and iPass\' secure Internet gateway. iPass SmartConnect will create a global graph of hotspots, classifying the relative performance and reliability of each hotspot. In addition to mapping iPass hotspots, iPass SmartConnect will also aggregate anonymous usage data on hotspots not yet part of the iPass network. By having a better understanding of customer behaviour patterns, iPass will be able to add those new hotspots that meet its criteria, while blacklisting those that fail to meet its criteria. \"We use the data to unearth the high quality hotspots that match our customer\'s expectations. Amongst them, we connect with the one that costs us the least. This enables us to continuously drive down connectivity costs,\" explains Rajani Kolli, VP - Global Cloud Operations, iPass.
Fostering a Startup Culture
India has many limitations, such as unclear government policies and lack of purchasing power amongst ordinary consumers. However, India has a talented pool of workers. In fact, when Gary Griffiths took over as iPass\' CEO last February, he minimized the number of senior managers to reduce operational expenses, but he left the productive, 80-person team in India intact.
Despite the inherent difficulties in retaining the right talent, iPass has managed to flatten its organizational structure to enable effective communication and foster a startup culture. Providing equity in the form of stock options in conjunction with salary has helped iPass provide powerful incentives to its employees, who believe in the company\'s value and growth potential. \"We endeavour to involve our people in all our decision making processes, so they can be more productive and witness the impact they make,\" says Gary Griffiths, president & CEO of iPass.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has visited iPass, has laid out his plan for a hundred railway stations with Wi-Fi connectivity. Meanwhile, iPass is set to play a key role in bringing connectivity to India. In addition, iPass intends to create a Wi-Fi first, but not Wi-Fi only experience, by offering cellular and satellite connectivity options. If Wi-Fi is unavailable, expensive or of poor quality in a particular location, iPass will make the intelligent connection choice among various connectivity options, fulfilling its promise to keep customers connected anywhere, anytime, irrespective of the technology.