Mist has created an AI-driven wireless platform that puts the user and his or her mobile device at the heart of the wireless network. Combining machine learning with a real-time cloud backend enables privately owned Mist to make Wi-Fi measurable, predictable, and reliable. And it provides visibility into the end user experience. In addition to Wi-Fi, Mist uses Bluetooth Low Energy and IoT for scalable indoor location services.
To date, Mist has raised approximately $45 million in two rounds of funding from such investors as Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, GV (formerly Google (News - Alert) Ventures), DOCOMO Ventures, and Cisco Investments. In October 2016, Mist closed an over-subscribed $28 million in series B financing.
To learn more, we recently interviewed Sujai Hajela, co-founder and CEO of Mist.
How and when did Mist get started?
In 2014, Bob Friday and I were both working as top executives at Cisco (News - Alert). I was the senior vice president of Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Group, and Bob spent time as CTO for the Enterprise Mobility Strategy team. We quickly realized that the Wi-Fi networks of today, which were architected a decade ago, were unable to keep up with the expectations. We envisioned a better wireless network powered by AI, microservices, and cloud capabilities – and Mist was born.
What’s better about the Mist approach?
Mist is the new wireless network. We are picking up where traditional wireless LAN solutions left off, which means we compete with all the old Wi-Fi products that have been around for over a decade. Our differentiation lies in four core areas:
• our AI-driven operations, such as event correlation and predictive recommendations;
• our unprecedented insight into the user experience, including customizable Wi-Fi service levels;
• our high-accuracy location using virtual BLE (no battery beacons required); and
• our 100 percent open and programmable solution.
Gartner (News - Alert) recently named Mist a Magic Quadrant Visionary. Why?
Our position in the MQ is a testimony to the uniqueness of the Mist platform and the value that AI brings to the networking space. Over the past year, Mist has experienced record growth and momentum, with activity including major product releases and innovation, widespread adoption, new customer acquisition, significant partnerships, and more. AI is in the air, and Mist is ushering [in] the new wireless network that simplifies operations and provides high-accuracy location based on virtual BLE and a 100 percent API-based, fully programmable network.
In just over a year since inception, we have signed over 200 customers and 100 partners in the US alone, with 400 percent quarter-over-quarter growth in 2017. Mist is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing vendors in the history of networking, with marquee customers in every industry segment.
Who uses Mist solutions and why?
Companies of all sizes, from SMBs to large enterprises, leverage Mist to simplify wireless operations. Mist currently has over 250 customers (including eight of the Fortune 20) in a range of industries including retail, health care, hospitality, technology, education, and many more.
What is the one thing readers need to know about AI?
AI requires a lot of data and processing power. If you don’t have the right backend to collect this data, classify it, and then create meaningful insight, you cannot take full advantage of this technology. This is why older WLAN solutions, for example, cannot leverage this technology effectively without a major architectural shift to a purpose-built cloud.
What’s next for your company?
Mist is going to keep focusing on making Wi-Fi more predictable, reliable and measurable, with a built-in wireless assistant to simplify operations and lower costs. We won’t rest until we’ve put an end to mediocre Wi-Fi.
In addition, we want to make BLE location services a must have through virtualization. Our goal is to shepherd in an era of mass market adoption of indoor location by converging Wi-Fi, BLE, and IoT together into a scalable enterprise-grade solution.