Hyro converges on wireless broadband, multimedia

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ASX-listed IT and professional services provider Hyro has set up a wireless broadband and broadcast division harnessing resellers and developers to tackle the emerging market for converged digital communications.

Anthony Bertini, a spokesman for Hyro, said the group considered wireless broadband and broadcasting was crucial to its future relevance in the communications space.
'Wireless is no longer just music downloads and SMS. It's part of the whole scene in using technology products and we can't do it without wireless,' he said.

Bertini said that seasoned IT industry executive Chris Flintoft would head the new, as-yet-unnamed division. The move built on Hyro's recent business services provision to Channel 7 on the TV program Popstars.

'We've run a lot of individual wireless programs [such as deployments or installations] for clients and we're a very strong believer in enterprise wireless. So, it's a matter of Chris bringing all the stuff we've got together,' Bertini said.

Hyro had recently concluded its acquisition of digital media production house Brainwaave Interactive, a company with intellectual property and expertise – including system integration, hosting, and distribution of interactive products and services -- synergistic with wireless market needs, Bertini added.

Brainwaave has an online and broadcast division, Streamworks, which focuses on broadband, live webcasts, video-on-demand, TV and interactive TV.

Flintoft said that the new division was timed to take advantage of increasing IT convergence by working with partners, such as developers and service providers, to integrate offerings and tailor-make products and services for clients.

'We are an application developer and solution provider, so we don't have the network or content provision ourselves. We partner with all those companies to help them get to market,' Flintoft said. 'A lot of our work is about integration between platforms for the clients and development of individual platforms.'

Clients for the new division would be sought in the financial services, media and entertainment and among large consumer brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola and Kelloggs, he said.

He pointed out that mobile phone penetration in Australia had pipped 80 percent and was close to 100 percent in many Asian countries. Meanwhile, multi-use devices were proliferating and broadband take-up was accelerating as media services became more digitised. Hyro could bring all those things together, Flintoft said.

'Some of the advertising agencies have worked to develop internet and wireless capability, coming at it above the line. But we have a traditional background in online and broadcast and integrating that into interactive services,' he said. 'It's quite a different approach to focusing just on the web.'

With the advent of services such as Foxtel Digital, opportunities were increasing to knit such technologies as interactive TV, messaging and interactive mobile device applications together, he said. 'Each of these is being developed by individual companies with various levels of capability. And we'll work with those companies,' Flintoft said.

Brainwaave and the other divisions within the Hyro Group worked together to serve customers. Hyro has five divisions – Hyro: Thailand, Hyro: Singapore, Brainwaave, Hyro Technologies and Hyro Communications – which together claim skills in mobility, multi-media, internet technologies, e-commerce and digital marketing.

'You have online, you have digital identification, we are developing now much more capable wireless networks,' Flintoft said. 'In a way, we're starting to move between people, devices and networks. It's not going to be long before all these things start to work together more constructively.'

The professional services part of Hyro's business was expected to be already profitable as the company had been delivering that aspect successfully for some time, he added. 'This is a plan to go to market now to meet the needs of business, rather than blue sky three years down the track,' Flintoft said.


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