Exclusive Interview with Kevin McCauley, Director of Retail Market Development at AirTight Networks

LTP) Can you provide more insights on AirTight as a company? What are its key focus areas and how has the company designed its solutions in accordance?

Kevin McCauley) AirTight Networks is a global leader in secure cloud Wi-Fi solutions. We draw upon our long heritage of wireless intrusion prevention system technology (WIPS) to offer products and cloud services that combine a carrier-class multi-tenant cloud architecture with breakthroughs in Wi-Fi location, user analytics, social engagement, manageability, ease of deployment, and cost effectiveness.

Our global customer base includes leading enterprises in the retail, hospitality, financial, technology/telecom, manufacturing, healthcare, and government sectors.

Retail, in particular, has embraced Wi-Fi beyond just access seeing it as a way to increase revenue and brand equity. This sector derives business intelligence from real-time and historical Wi-Fi analytics, which helps transform casual customers into loyal customers. This deeper insight into customer activity also helps optimize business operations and marketing strategies.

Currently, we are focusing on the service provider market. My colleague, Tushar Saxena, VP of Partner Solutions, will also focus on growing AirTight’s presence amongst carriers, cable operators and MSPs.

LTP) What are the key initiatives/processes conducted in order to ensure that the cloud managed Wi-Fi networks are secure as well as "controller-less"?

KM) It’s crucial to know what is happening within your airspace, or your business could be exposed. Misconfigured access points, unauthorized access points or devices, employees connecting to a neighbor’s network, hackers and more can all lead to the exposure and/or the compromising of your company’s data.

AirTight’s wireless IPS solution can quickly and accurately identify and block threats to a wireless network, without affecting legitimate Wi-Fi communications on your own or neighbors’ networks. It can also accommodate secure BYOD policies for devices, give priority to critical mobile applications, eliminate network disruptions, and protect information.

Our cloud architecture has been built from the ground up as a native cloud-managed network, which now addresses the service provider needs. While controller-based Wi-Fi incumbents are busy reworking their traditional offerings to operate in the cloud, we built from our already extensive cloud-based security and access architecture to truly innovate for our customers.

We are the only technology company that can also enable multi-tenancy within a specific customer account (e.g., corporate vs. franchisee, or across multiple brands) using our patented hierarchical location based architecture. This allows us to keep the networks secure, while also being controller-less.

LTP) What was AirTight's key role in enabling the analytics driven study conducted by the IHL group? Any insights on actual methodology?

KM) AirTight partnered with IHL Group and EarthLink to conduct a survey on secure store networks and the customer experience in retail, which is the first study of its kind to be undertaken. The goal with the survey is to establish a benchmark that will help retail IT executives compare the state of their store technology investments (its benefits and challenges) against that of other retailers.

The study garnered some interesting results about Wi-Fi and its impact on customer experience. For example, 48% of overall study participants said that employee access to Wi-Fi increases customer loyalty. Additionally, retailers experienced a 3.4% lift in average sales after customer and associate Wi-Fi was added to their IT infrastructure.

LTP) Is AirTight looking to offer other wireless technologies in the near future, Bluetooth maybe?

KM) Yes, AirTight is evaluating technologies like Bluetooth since retail and restaurant customers are now looking for solutions that include other types of wireless technologies. Other interesting applications we’re seeing in our space include micro-locationing for enhanced location awareness and incorporation of Bluetooth sensors at tables for expedited meal orders.