Innovative Software and Information Technology Stories: Rick Aguirre

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Sullivan Alexander recently interviewed Rick Aguirre, President of Cirries Technologies, Inc.

About the interviewee:

 Rick Aguirre, president of Cirries Technologies, Inc., is a telecommunications industry veteran with a successful record of startups that bring industry-changing technologies to market.

Prior to founding Cirries, Rick served as vice president, product management and marketing for jNetX, Inc., and as vice president and general manager of Protek Limited’s Americas Group.

He has also served as vice president, sales and marketing of SCS Mobilecom, responsible for strategic planning, sales, and marketing. He led the M&A efforts that resulted in the sale to InterDigital Communications Corp.

Rick subsequently formed a Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) working group, TIA 46.1, to standardize wideband spread spectrum technology called wireless multi-media system, which was supported by AT&T Wireless Labs, Hughes Network Systems, and InterDigital. WIMS later aligned with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute and Japan’s Association of Radio Associations and Business Industries to form the 3GPP Wideband-CDMA standard, used today in 457 networks in 178 countries.

Describe the business model including (products or services offered, number of employees, location, type of customers you work with, etc.).

 Cirries Technologies, Inc., was formed in 2006 to address the need for disparate networks to communicate and allow any network to access any application. The company is based in Richardson, Texas, with offices in Moscow, Mexico City, and Grenoble, France.

Cirries’ product is a real time communications network engine called Maestro written in fast C++ software.

Cirries’ go-to-market-strategy is based on maintaining a strict focus on the company’s core competency and maximizing commercial scalability. Cirries sells directly to select carriers and service providers and to channel partners.

Cirries prices on a transaction-per-second basis for software only solutions and on a per-server basis for hardware/software “appliance” solutions. For software only sales, as an operator’s TPS increase, Cirries receives incremental revenues each quarter. This approach, embraced by channel partners, allows end customers to achieve targeted ROI in a shorter timeframe. A typical initial sale ranges from U.S. $500,000 to U.S. $2 million.

Tell us about one of the innovative solutions or services your company designed for a customer.

A Cirries customer, the operator of a voice-data-multimedia network, wanted more detailed network data for a modeling application that improves planning. The carrier also wanted to give its business customers better information about their network usage.

Just one Cirries Maestro data controller installed in the carrier’s network processes more than 1 million Netflow/Sflow records per second and network topology data. This creates granular traffic information about each network link.

Cirries filters, normalizes, and passes the traffic data to the modeling application for more accurate predictions and refined planning. The same information also goes to the customer portal to provide improved network usage details.

Better network modeling saves capital investments and operating expenses as the carrier continues to grow its network. Customers can manage their network usage better, too. It also enables the carrier to charge different rates for time, bandwidth, and content value instead of receiving only fixed revenue per subscriber or home.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome the challenges?

Cirries’ challenges have been timing and a rapidly evolving market. The company was founded in 2006 after the telecom meltdown, so there was not much financing available. Cirries thus had to do things creatively and live by contract to get started while still maintaining the high standards required for carrier-grade networks.

Cirries’ software initially focused on helping telecom carriers fuse legacy and next-generation networks and services. The advent of the smart phone, the Internet of Things, and the big data explosion profoundly shifted the growth market for Cirries. So the company quickly adapted its software to handle big data mediation, machine to machine (M2M), software defined networks (SDN), and network function virtualization (NVF), too.

Cirries’ current challenge is explaining to its market the benefits of software that solves a wide range of network management and evolution problems in any voice-data-multimedia network, whether it is operated by a telecom or cable carrier or an enterprise like a bank or utility.

What do you see as “hot button” issues in your industry, and what are the implications?

On the telecom side, there simply is not enough investment in technologies to help carriers manage an orderly network transition. Apart from Cirries, few companies see a market in bridge technologies that enable carriers to exploit existing network assets and integrate them into the 4G/LTE networks that they are building for the future. Carriers want and deserve tools to help them evolve their networks at a cost-effective pace.

The same issue exists in IT. Software developers are eager to offer all kinds of big data analytics programs and applications to enterprises, but ignore the heavy lifting that must be done before any analysis takes place. A lot of big data projects are failing because there is not enough investment up front, meaning not enough focus on tools for filtering, collating, and normalizing big data. It’s not possible to analyze such data in any useful way without this initial investment.

What makes your business different from the competition?

Cirries has ferreted out and focused on high-value telecom/IT niches that few other companies think are big enough markets to warrant the investment of their time and resources. Yet without protocol and signaling mediation on the telecom side and data mediation on the IT side, the evolution of voice-data-multimedia networks will be far more costly and cumbersome, and big data will remain primarily an unrealized resource.

Cirries also has had to practice as a business the kind of rapid, nimble response to changing market conditions that its product makes possible for its customers. Had Cirries not expanded the capabilities of its software beyond protocol and signaling mediation to include data mediation, M2M, SDN, and NFV, the company’s growth prospects would be far less bright. Cirries’ customers use its software to do precisely the same thing: stay on top of their rapidly evolving markets and tap new ones.

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