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WIRELESS LAN INDUSTRY LEADERS ESTABLISH CONSORTIUM: New Wireless Lan Association To Educate Market About Wireless LAN Solutions

SAN JOSE, CA, (Mar. 25, 1996) — Responding to the dramatic growth of the wireless LAN market, 12 major worldwide suppliers of wireless local area network (LAN) products and technology, today announced the formation of a new consortium. This new group, The Wireless LAN Association (WLANA) will promote increased awareness and knowledge of wireless LANs among potential customers, independent software vendors and systems integrators. WLANA will meet the need for more vendor-independent information about the growing number of applications at a time of significant market expansion and adoption.

Most industry experts place the current size of the wireless LAN market between $150 and $230 million in revenue for 1995, nearly tripling in the past two years. Industry estimates expect the market to reach the $1 billion mark by the year 2000.

Responsible for more than 95 percent of the existing wireless LAN industry revenue, the 12 founding members of The Wireless LAN Association — 3Com Corporation, Aironet Wireless Communications Inc., Advanced Micro Devices, Digital Equipment Corporation, Harris Semiconductor, IBM Corporation, Lucent Technologies (formerly known as AT&T;), Norand Corporation, Proxim, Inc., Raytheon Electronics, Symbol Technologies Inc., and Windata — have outlined an aggressive effort to raise awareness of wireless LAN solutions and provide a clear, consistent voice for the industry.

According to wireless industry analyst Craig Mathias, a principal with the Ashland, MA-based Farpoint Group, which specializes in wireless communications, the new organization will fill an important need in the marketplace, advancing understanding of existing and future uses and the increasing potential of wireless LAN solutions.

"Wireless LANs represent an exciting enabling technology for business information systems," Mathias said. "We are now seeing customers use wireless LAN solutions to transform the way they do business in a number of important applications and markets. By showcasing these successes to more industries and to the general purpose computing market, The Wireless LAN Association will help fuel the growth in this rapidly expanding market."

Customer, Industry Education Focus
At the heart of WLANA's mission will be efforts to educate existing and potential customers, software vendors and systems consultants in a variety of industries about the benefits of wireless LAN technology. Planned deliverables and activities include:

  • a wireless LAN "information clearinghouse" containing wireless LAN application case studies, an educational guide, bibliographies of key resources and other documents drafted by the alliance;
  • a WLANA World Wide Web site for easy access to information on wireless LAN technology and the alliance;
  • sponsoring educational seminars and panels to be held in key cities nationwide;
  • sponsoring speaking engagements and panel discussions at key industry trade shows;
  • developing position papers and general advocacy efforts on behalf of the wireless LAN industry as a whole; and
  • creating an advisory committee to the industry comprised of customers, ISVs and integrators.

According to Jeff Abramowitz, WLANA's founding president, the alliance is designed to be a vendor-independent organization aimed at communicating to a broad audience of customers, analysts and media.

"WLANA will provide ongoing education and support regarding the current value and potential benefits of wireless LAN solutions," Abramowitz said. "This significant cooperative effort is the best means to address the increased worldwide customer interest in wireless LANs."

The focus on education distinguishes WLANA from two other industry groups, the IEEE 802.11 standards committee and the Wireless LAN Research Lab. The former is an organization devoted to the adoption of a telecommunications standard for wireless LANs; the latter is a research-oriented group devoted to wireless LAN technology implementation issues.

Rapid Growth of Wireless LAN Market
Wireless Local Area Networking is an enabling technology that provides customers with a flexible networking option. This flexibility can result in productivity, service and convenience benefits in mobile solutions that are not possible with wired LANs, and can provide ease of installation and cost benefits over wired LANs.

In a wide variety of vertical markets, especially those where mobility is critical, wireless LAN technology has demonstrated the ability to dramatically increase workplace productivity. In three key industries — warehousing, retail and healthcare — hand-held information processing equipment combined with wireless LAN solutions provide customers convenient, real-time access to information in time- and mobility-sensitive applications.

For example, Springfield, Ohio-based Mercy Medical Center first adopted wireless LAN technology in October 1994, in an effort to automate and streamline the case management process. According to D. Jerry Haley, Mercy's information director, "The result has been a great success. The real-time access has helped to reduce the average length of stay from 6.4 days to 4.5 days. The wireless LAN has created a marked rise in reliability of data and system productivity that contributes directly to Mercy's bottom line."

In addition, with the explosive growth in the use of notebook computers, wireless LANs are beginning to help to increase the productivity of the mobile knowledge worker.

"With the explosion of powerful laptop computers, we see both the opportunity and the need to link our faculty, staff and students to the campus network, regardless of their location," said Charles Bartel, Carnegie Mellon University's wireless initiative project director. "Wireless LANs offer a viable solution to this need."

"Wireless LAN solutions are becoming mainstream applications in a variety of vertical markets such as retail, warehousing, healthcare and manufacturing, and are proving their value through increasing productivity, increased flexibility and ease of installation," said Bob Egan, the Gartner Group's director of research for wireless. "As portable computers proliferate and the workforce, in general, becomes more mobile, we expect to see wireless LAN solutions adopted with increasing frequency for a wide variety of general purpose applications."

As the potential of wireless LAN technology has become more widely understood, the result has been a steady increase in wireless LAN industry revenues since 1993, from $60 million to more than $157 million. In addition, according to recent analysis by The Yankee Group Inc., a Boston-based technology consulting firm, technology improvements, standardization of interfaces and greater awareness of the capabilities of the technology are expected to grow the market even more quickly in the next four years.

CONTACT Richard Henderson
Porchivina & Associates Public Relations
Voice: (415) 893-1891
Fax: (415) 893-8185
E-mail: [email protected]

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