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AZ Technology & Innovation: Quantenna Communications
Original Airdate: 2012-10-03

A California company that produces Wi-fi video networking for whole-home entertainment is expanding to Arizona. Quantenna Communications will open a research and development facility in Tempe, bringing 12 engineering and management jobs to the Valley initially, a number expected to triple over the next few years. Quantenna Chief Executive Officer Dr. Sam Heidari will talk about his company and its expansion to Tempe.

 
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Ted Simons: Our continuing coverage of Arizona technology and innovation issues looks at a key opening a new research and development company in Tempe. Quantenna develops semiconductors capable of delivering video and data service over wireless networks. Their new facility will initially have 12 engineering and management jobs. That's expected to triple in the next few years. Joining is now is Quantenna's chief executive officer Dr. Sam Heidari.
Dr. Sam Heidari: Thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: focusing on wi-fi. Are we talking about being able to walk around the home without being connected?
Dr. Sam Heidari: That and more. Today I think the wi-fi is a dominating interface. 1.4 billion chips to be sold this year. It's becoming dominating interface. So wi-fi you'll see everywhere. Now we're making it a lot better than it has been.
Ted Simons: trying to match it to broadband connections and these things?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Absolutely. Before wi-fi or wireless connectivity it's about convenience. So you can be mobile and use it as you please. Quality was secondary. The market is changing. There's a lot of video applications, video recorders, high quality, enterprise applications, mobile off loads and things which requires a lot of coverage and a lot of throughput. The legacy wi-fi is not designed for that. Quantenna has merged quality with convenience. We have high performance, highest coverage wi-fi in the world right now. It's getting deployed where the fidelity and performance and coverage matters. Especially in services like the pay TV services, satellite providers, cable providers are looking at Quantenna's solutions in order to do video distribution inside the home.
Ted Simons: As far as a Tempe facility, what will be done there in accordance to what you just mentioned?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Basically R&D facility. We have a lot of engineers around the world working on our product. We do anything from basic algorithm concept development all the way to digital implementation, RF implementation, board design, the whole package. The Facility at Tempe will cover those as we grow it. right now it's a core team working on design. We are going to add in all the different dimensions to that group.
Ted Simons: you chose Tempe. You'll be there loop 101 in Elliott there. Why here?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Why there? We found out we have a lot of different sites around the world right now. This work needs to be, this fire needs to be fed with innovation. You have to go after the best people. We have three, four, five facilities around the world. We found out through our executives there was a good group of people here interested to join Quantenna. They heard about us. We decided to go after that. We just go after the best people.
Ted Simons: impact of having Intel and other high-tech firms has to be a plus.
Dr. Sam Heidari: It is a plus because the environment is very oriented toward high-tech. I think we can add a great set of jobs in that environment.
Ted Simons: the "Wall Street Journal," 36 out of 50 start-ups that could become the next big thing, that's you.
Dr. Sam Heidari: That's right.
Ted Simons: Usually when you see a start-up doing this well, a big boy comes along and gobbles you up. Have you had to deal with that dynamic?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Well, we are focused on our business. Obviously we have a lot of big boys that are competition. We are focused on our business. I think if you look at it in this part of the market probably have one of the biggest teams and biggest focus going after a segment of the wi-fi market. It's pretty large. We're going after the high end, high quality type of wi-fi. We run into those guys in many different ways.
Ted Simons: As far as the challenges, we're watching a video here of -- what is he doing?
Dr. Sam Heidari: He's watching with a video that is 40 Mega bits per second, HD, 3-D, being broadcast through wi-fi over 200 feet with zero rate, taking it all the way out there.
Ted Simons: that's basically he could have been going down the hallway of a pretty big home. Are there challenges of trying to get that coordinated inside of a home?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Yes. Big challenge has been it hasn't existed before. Right now we're solving that problem. You can get multiple HD streams going to multiple set of boxes or TVs inside the home, high definition, high throughput. Covering the entire home.
Ted Simons: when we talk about wireless set top boxes and these things, video bridges, residential Gateways, that's basically what we're talking about.
Dr. Sam Heidari: Sure. That's right. TV. Having the wi-fi inside them. That's pretty much all for the video distribution. Also there's a lot of mobile video. Tablets are becoming your portable TV. People watch a lot of content over their mobile phone, so the enterprise will have a lot of video conferencing. More I think way north of 70% of the traffic over the internet today is video. Video requires a lot of throughput and does require good quality connectivity.
Ted Simons: We got about 30 seconds left. You see Arizona perhaps becoming a high-tech hub in the future?
Dr. Sam Heidari: I think it's on its way there.
Ted Simons: You think so?
Dr. Sam Heidari: Absolutely.
Ted Simons: you're helping it get there.
Dr. Sam Heidari: We'll try. [laughter]
Ted Simons: Good to have you. Thanks for joining us.
Dr. Sam Heidari: Thanks.

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