NTT working with US start-up Mist on improving Wifi for enterprise

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Former Cisco executives win support from NTT DoCoMo Ventures to use artificial intelligence to simplify Wifi

A Cisco-backed start-up in California has formed a partnership with NTT and NTT DoCoMo to simplify Wifi in enterprises and improve indoor services.

Mist, a three-year-old company based in Cupertino, says it has a strategic partnership with NTT DoCoMo Ventures, and both will work together for NTT DoCoMo and NTT Group on initiatives using artificial intelligence (AI) that simplify Wifi operations and bring high accuracy location to enterprise environments.

“The scope of NTT DoCoMo’s extensive research and development programme is unprecedented among mobile operators,” said Sujai Hajela, CEO and co-founder of Mist. “We are thrilled to be working with such a respected brand to develop new and exciting technologies that break down WLAN [wireless local area network] operational barriers, while enabling unprecedented new experiences for mobile users.”

Hajela, one of the co-founders of Mist, worked for Cisco as a vice-president for four years until he set up Mist in 2014. He worked in the company’s enterprise networking unit and was general manager of its wireless and cloud networking group.

At least two of Mist’s other C-level executives also have a Cisco background. Co-founder and chairman Brett Galloway was a general manager of Cisco’s wireless networking business unit; CTO Bob Friday was CTO responsible for Cisco’s enterprise business strategy until joining Mist in May 2014.

Mist says it has built the first wireless platform for the smart device era, using cloud, wireless, AI and big data technologies. It delivers “unprecedented insight into the user experience and eliminates the operational burdens of legacy wireless architectures by replacing time consuming manual tasks with proactive automation”, said the company. “In addition, Mist is the first vendor to bring enterprise-grade Wifi, Bluetooth Low Energy and IoT [internet of things] together to deliver personalised, location-based services for wireless users.”

As well as Cisco, Mist backers include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and GV – formerly Google Ventures.