Imagine a nation’s air force unit being able to immediately operate as a virtual private network (VPN) under a wireless band for all support systems that go into an airfield – before it can get landline communications in.
Or visualize an immediate enablement of police and fire departments operating on a combined wireless circuit for a joint operation in support of an emergency. It happened recently in North Carolina. “You did what?” was the stunned response of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
DOJ is not the only one astonished by the system known as UNIPOP. Its use has ramifications for those at the helm groping for solutions in Homeland Defense Emergency Response Command/Control; deployment of military troops and government agencies worldwide with wireless access back to the home nation; as well as reconstitution of destroyed corporate communications during a disaster.
The domino effect of UNIPOP’s mastery of communications technology startles those who grasp its impact. It opens up frontier nations in South America and Africa, where the high cost of investing in infrastructure has, to date, outweighed potential benefits. Likewise, UNIPOP’s affordable use in rural America impacts the proposed Tauzin-Dingell Bill, which aims to force deregulation on IT and telecom companies to open up rural regions to broadband connectivity and reliability.
Think of an enormous global organization, such as the World Bank, having an instant wireless network infrastructure with broadband access. Or consider the impact on healthcare payers and providers of having access to an instant, affordable wireless network infrastructure that’s automatically compliant for HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
Medical groups understand UNIPOP’s benefits in a heartbeat, says Dr. Howard Whetzel, UNIPOP’s inventor. So do state and county school systems and community colleges, housing communities, apartment complexes and businesses looking at competitive advantage solutions.
UNIPOP (Universal Internet Point of Presence), the first (and currently only) fully transportable Internet access in the world, is a system contained in a 19 x 22 x 36-inch box on casters. It weighs 150 pounds. Whetzel says it can go anywhere.
“It’s designed to operate in the European E1 systems and U.S. T1 systems,” he explains. “It works off the standard POTS line, the standard telephone line, and it will take a DS3 line into it with no problem whatsoever. It even has a portable generator that allows it to operate without electricity. It has an integrated wireless (802.11) package and can handle 31 systems per router (at 11M/bits per second).”
Although clients can request customized security, UNIPOP automatically comes with an encryption package, multiple firewalls and DES 3 level (equal to U.S. Department of Defense level of “Secret” and HIPAA) security standards built into it.
UNIPOP is not a recent IT innovation being rushed to market for brave early adopters who are willing to put up with challenges of integration and debugging evolving technology. It was tested for a year and passed muster before it recently hit the market. It’s now up and operating successfully in several government and commercial organizations in the U.S., and the line of potential user organizations is forming quickly.
Scotland County in North Carolina is currently using UNIPOP as the wireless network system running all of its government agencies. A rural town in one state is running 11 small businesses on a secure VPN through Comprinet (Community Private Network, a service built on the UNIPOP system). The 11 companies have cost-effective, secure, broadband wireless access without having to buy separate T1 lines.
UNIPOP can even handle full video transmission (850k up and down a T1 line). Companies using UNIPOP systems also enjoy the benefit of baseline operations always having an instant backup; the system is set up on a multiple-point circuit, and a failed segment automatically reroutes to reconstitute each node. The top-of-the-line UNIPOP system is priced at $85,000 with a smaller version at $55,000. Maintenance services are optional.
What’s Behind UNIPOP
Whetzel is president of Native Technologies Inc. (NTI), the Native American-owned-company that handles UNIPOP systems for the government sector. He also owns Wave Technologies, Inc. (Wave), which handles the commercial side of the business; an Internet service provider (Native Wave) and a telephone company providing worldwide VoIP telephony.
NTI and Wave are headquartered in Lumberton, North Carolina, the convergence of the North-South fiber optics of the U.S. – giving the companies, according to Whetzel, “more bandwidth than we can use.” Because the UNIPOP incorporates Wave’s ISP and telephony resources, its customers experience much faster speeds and a much higher level of service.
NTI, whose core expertise is in software development, systems integration, financial services and program management, has a sizeable list of groundbreaking technology “firsts” among its accolades. Joe Abbate, NTI’s CEO, notes the company is recognized for its pioneer work in wireless systems, including design and implementation of one of the first wireless networks for the Pentagon.
NTI holds a Small Business Administration’s 8(a) status and Hubzone status, providing for streamlined contracting for the federal government. The provider has worked on a variety of projects for the U.S. intelligence community and a host of agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Interior, Army, Navy, Marines, National Institutes of Health, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management.
On the Healthcare Front
Among the most recent to reap the benefits of NTI and Wave expertise and solutions are the various segments of the healthcare industry. Healthkeepers, a U.S. medical equipment company, outsourced its eCommerce processes to Wave, which installed a small UNIPOP system and designed software programs and a Web site to streamline equipment orders and processing of Medicare reimbursement processes. As a result, physicians now place their patients’ medical equipment prescriptions online; the order is processed immediately and reimbursement is in process; and the equipment is dispatched. Patients pick up the equipment at their doctors’ offices.
Wave provides services and products to healthcare providers and payers, as well as the vendors targeting healthcare providers and payers.
As If UNIPOP Weren’t Enough
Wave’s newest niche in services and products is in document scanning and storage. The company has a fully mobile, high-speed scanner that can handle any type of format and scans around 250 pages an hour – or as high as 4000 pages an hour (if not in color).
County agencies, large law firms and financial institutions have been the first drawn to this service. Wave’s solution includes its own secure storage buildings located in low-cost Native American territory, eliminating the need to send documents overseas to reduce costs of storage. As Whetzel says, “We just scan the work, hand the client a CD, and the original document sits in a building right here in the U.S.” This is a very effective and attractive outsourcing solution for lowering the cost of scanning and storing multitudes of papers.
Doing Business Better
NTI and Wave’s services and products are more than a “Wow!” factor in today’s business environment. As service providers devise exciting, highly effective enterprise-wide solutions that create strategic value for government and commercial clients, decision-makers can leverage those resources and expertise to enhance competitive advantage without putting the business at more risk. It’s what outsourcing is all about.
Lessons From the Outsourcing Journal:
- The UNIPOP system is a crucial component for service providers looking to add strategic value to their capabilities and solutions for buyers of outsourced services.
- The UNIPOP eliminates the areas of risk associated with alternative current wireless solutions – security, access points, bandwidth for faster speed, affordability, limitations in connecting, use radius and integration.
- As in the Healthkeepers situation above, more value is produced through outsourcing by selecting a provider with multiple capabilities, such as systems integration and software development.
About the Author: Ben Trowbridge is an accomplished Outsourcing Consultant with extensive experience in outsourcing and managed services. As a former EY Partner and CEO of Alsbridge, he built successful practices in Transformational Outsourcing, Managed services provider, strategic sourcing, BPO, Cybersecurity Managed Services, and IT Outsourcing. Throughout his career, Ben has advised a broad range of clients on outsourcing and global business services strategy and transactions. As the current CEO of the Outsourcing Center, he provides invaluable insights and guidance to buyers and managed services executives. Contact him at [email protected].