The plans of I On Australia to become a key provider in the emerging internet appliance market are set to get a boost following the acquisition of its technology partner, InfoGear Corporation, by networking powerhouse Cisco.
Cisco announced last week it intends to buy InfoGear in a share deal valued at $US310 million. Cisco already holds an 8 per cent stake in InfoGear.
"We're very excited about the news. (But) not a lot will change," said Giora Friede, CEO of I On Australia. "Most significantly we're hoping to accelerate some of our plans in terms of development and come to market much quicker by having the weight of Cisco."
I On Australia has a 10-year licensing agreement with InfoGear for the use of its technology and InfoGear is I On Australia's sole technology partner.
Friede said Cisco's entry into the internet appliance market through its investment in InfoGear "validates the market space" and its future potential. "It's going to be a huge market . . . and Cisco recognises it as an emerging market. They probably have some technology internally that we will benefit from. But we don't know enough about that yet."
Friede said the company is planning to form content relationships with consumer-based retailers, banks and trading companies for the delivery of content and information to individuals via a range of devices. i on Australia has already released the Ericsson iPhone, based on InfoGear's internet appliance technology. The technology is also likely to be used in other devices such as web phones, web pads, and alarm clocks, Friede added.
"In five to 10 years there will be a huge influx of these ranges of devices. The internet will be dead (because) it will actually be so pervasive."
Friede also suggested Australia has the potential to become the market leader in the internet appliance industry, with adoption rates and sales cycles generally quicker here.