PROVO, Utah, Jan. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- MULTIVOICE™ today announced it has received a $5.0 million round of strategic seed funding from OTTO Engineering.
Chicago-based OTTO is one of the leading designers and manufacturers of radio accessories for military, public safety and industrial use. For its investment as a strategic partner, OTTO has acquired a minority stake in MULTIVOICE at a post-money valuation of $25 million and will lead the integration of MULTIVOICE's new wireless communications platform into the two-way radio market. MULTIVOICE has also raised $750,000 in "friends and family" and angel funding.
"As a leader in the design and manufacture of critical communications accessories, OTTO has been searching for a cutting-edge solution for local team-talk or 'wireless intercom,' said Tom Schreiber, General Manager of OTTO. "When we saw the advancements MULTIVOICE had made that bring new capabilities to the wireless industry, we knew we wanted to do everything we could to support their efforts. We're very pleased to now be a part of Team MULTIVOICE and to help take MULTIVOICE's technology throughout the world."
MULTIVOICE expects to use the proceeds from this strategic seed round for research and development efforts, expanded sales and marketing programs, and general operations.
MULTIVOICE Overview and Background
Ron Fraser formed MULTIVOICE over three years ago after a 30-year career supporting and developing specialized radio solutions for Texas Instruments, TRW, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, the Titan Missile program, 3M, Porta Phone and several Silicon Valley start-ups.
While working in "stealth mode" in the engineering workshop in the basement of his Utah County home, Fraser's goal was simple yet complex: to augment and go beyond the technical limitations of traditional Push-to-Talk (PTT) handheld mobile radios to facilitate safer and more effective wireless communication among team members in
- Industrial/Manufacturing settings,
- Coaching Staffs (during training or on game day),
- Public Safety professions, and
- The Military.
As a result, Fraser has invented new approaches to radio communications that have allowed MULTIVOICE to create personal wireless intercom devices that enable simultaneous, hands-free wireless communication by teams of individuals in rigorous environments working together at distances of up to 1.0 mile apart.
"Nearly everyone is familiar with the basic workings of a 'Walkie-Talkie' and how they enable groups of people to communicate with each other at distance, whether at work or at play," Fraser said. "Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks of such PTT radios is the fact that when one person pushes their button to talk, that individual is the only person that can be heard on the network until he/she stops pushing their PTT button. In some circumstances, such a drawback merely means that certain jobs are not done or the group is unable to be as effective or efficient as it might be otherwise. But in other settings, this limitation can mean the difference between life or death. My goal was to fix this problem."
MULTIVOICE's first product—the MV900™Wireless Mesh-Network Intercom™—allows teams of up to eight co-workers to talk simultaneously on a secure, hands-free wireless network at distances of up to one mile apart without using a base station. Because MULTIVOICE incorporates the functionality of a traditional base station into each MV900, a group of MV900 Intercoms forms a self-healing, wireless mesh-network to ensure continued group communications even if the signal from one user is lost.
Additionally, the MV900 allows an unlimited number of listeners on the same wireless network, while also allowing listeners to become speakers as previous speakers drop into "listen-only" mode. Further, MULTIVOICE has also begun testing a new accessory that allows team members to simultaneously and securely share MV900 communications with a network of P25 radio users, thus augmenting and enhancing the functionality of P25 radios. This is critical because P25 radios are one of the most commonly used wireless systems in manufacturing, industrial, public safety and military settings.
The MV900 delivers up to 17 hours of actual talk time without recharging. Built to fit in standard 5.11 pockets and pouches common in military, public safety and industrial clothing and gear, the MV900 measures 5.2x3.0x1.0-inches, weighs under 11 ounces, uses two 3000mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, and features a 3.5-inch-high antenna.
The MV900 operates in the 900MHz ISM band (902—928MHz) and utilizes a patented mixture of FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access), TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access), Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum and other proprietary radio communications methodologies to deliver its breakthrough capabilities.
"I was simply trying to solve what I saw as a dangerous problem confronting professionals who put themselves in harm's way every single day—our soldiers, police officers, firefighters, SWAT Team members and EMTs," Fraser said. "I later realized that if we could deliver such capabilities, others might also benefit: from construction workers to manufacturers and from football coaches to oil rig operators. So I'm humbled and honored at the same time to welcome OTTO as a strategic investor in MULTIVOICE."
For over 50 years, OTTO has been designing and manufacturing a full line of products for unique and demanding applications. Located in Carpentersville, Illinois, OTTO is recognized worldwide for superior performance and innovative wireless accessories, controls and switches. OTTO is a vertically integrated manufacturer with in-house injection molding, stamping, CNC machining, cable assembly and cable overmolding capabilities. Our strong mechanical, electrical and RF design capability, A2La-certified test lab and computer-controlled production line testing is unmatched in the industry. For more information about OTTO, please visit http://www.OTTOExcellence.com.
Since its formation in 2011, MULTIVOICE has been developing and perfecting mobile, hands-free wireless systems that enable simultaneous and secure group communications among fearless individuals in rigorous environments, with MULTIVOICE's first solution the MV900. For more information about MULTIVOICE or the MV900, please visit http://www.MULTIVOICE.com.
MULTIVOICE, MV900 and Wireless Mesh-Network Intercom are each trademarks of MULTIVOICE. All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
CONTACT: David Politis, MULTIVOICE, [email protected], 385-375-8855(W) or 801-556-8184(C)
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