Israeli high-tech prowess may not be the first thing on anyone’s mind as the Eagles meet the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX on Sunday.
But those headsets the coaches wear to communicate with their staff will be using technology developed by one of a growing number of Israeli firms that are making their mark on telecommunications here.
The wireless communication system at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., where the game will be played, was set up by MobileAccess Networks, based in Virginia, with its research and development arm in Lod, Israel. The company is a pioneer in developing in-building wireless voice and data services.
The system, also used for last year’s Super Bowl at Reliant Stadium in Houston, overcomes interference from the heavy steel and concrete construction. In addition to aiding the coaches, it will also make it possible for the press to report every touchdown, fumble or possible half-time wardrobe malfunction via wireless Internet and for thousands of fans to phone home or use their Blackberry devices.
The privately held MobileAccess, which reported earnings of $13 million in 2003, has also set up wireless systems at the U.S. House of Representatives and Ft. Lauderdale Airport.Last September, the company entered into a contract to set up systems in some 20 buildings in Indonesia, which has limited economic cooperation with Israel. MobileAccess is funded by venture capitalists, including Israel Seed Partners and Poalim Capital Markets.
Israeli companies are playing an increasing role in emerging telecommunications technology here, says Tom Glaser, president of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Southeast Region.
“Israel has more high-tech startups than anywhere else in the world other than the U.S.,” said Glaser, who is based in Atlanta, where the nation’s top telecommunications corporations have their headquarters. “We’ve been matching them up with American companies for about 10 years.”
Next week, some 23 Israeli companies will meet in Atlanta with industry giants such as Motorola, Texas Instruments, Disney and HBO to foster investment, marketing alliances, joint venture research and development and other forms of cooperation in cable broadband.
Glaser attributes Israel’s leading role in the industry to graduates of the cutting-edge Technion institute of technology in Haifa and to expertise from the military.