There are certain people in just about any industry who can be thought of as “thought leaders,” those people who have perhaps the best handle on where an industry is going and thus how best to take advantage of those moves. Wi-NEXT, itself regarded as a fairly major name in industrial Wi-Fi mesh as well as in distributed computing, has recently reached out to a pair of those considered thought leaders in the field of connected industry to join its advisory board, and the pair in question, at last report, has signed on for the ride.
More specifically, Wi-NEXT has brought in Flavio Bonomi and Ken Forster to join the advisory board, and each has a substantial list of accomplishments to his name. Bonomi, for example, was not only a Cisco Fellow, but also the former head of advanced architecture and research organization at Cisco Systems. Bonomi is also considered by many to be “the father of fog computing,” and has previously been involved with such groups as AT&T Bell Labs, a pair of Silicon Valley startups as the principal architect, and has a doctorate in electrical engineering from Cornell University. Meanwhile, Forster is managing partner for ThingMUSE Ventures, a group largely devoted to early-stage funding opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT) systems, particularly those with industrial applications. Forster has been involved in connected products for over 25 years, working with such names as Philip Morris, ThingWorx, and the Coca-Cola Company.
Both seem excited to be involved in Wi-NEXT's operations, with Bonomi calling Wi-NEXT one of the first systems to successfully combine three important traits—communications, processing and storage—into one system that can operate at the network edge. Forster, meanwhile, noted that Wi-NEXT had successfully established itself as “...an early leader in industrial mesh networking...” and further noted that Wi-NEXT was “...poised to be leader in fog computing.”
With these two involved in Wi-NEXT's operations, it's a pretty safe bet that if Wi-NEXT already weren't in line to be a leading firm in fog computing—as Forster asserted—it likely would be now. Having names like these around and contributing is almost like having Werner Von Braun on a space program, or having Spielberg attached to direct a movie. That elevates the entire concept, if on something of a subtle level, and increases its likelihood of overall success. Throw in the fact that fog computing and the IoT these days are on something of a growth track and it looks like Wi-NEXT has what's needed to really succeed in the field. Since Wi-NEXT's technology has the potential to reduce costs in industrial operations by reducing the complexity of the network overall—and thus the costs associated with operating it—it should have plenty of market interest, which likely won't leave it wanting for capital to pursue new research topics.
Only time will tell just what the overall impact of having Forster and Bonomi in on the operations, but it's a reasonably safe bet that the involvement of these two luminaries in the field will likely result in some unexpected breakthroughs and some clear pushes toward absolute leadership in the market to come.
Edited by Maurice Nagle