2008 CEO Interview with: GigaBeam Corporation (GGBM-OTCPK), President and CEO, S. Jay Lawrence - featuring: their fixed wireless communication equipment as the leader in the upper millimeter wave communication bands from 71GHz to 86GHz, with core products in the 70/80GHz band that are immune to interference or interception, and can be very densely deployed, and have inexpensive licensing to offer users protection.

GigaBeam Corporation (GGBM-OTCPK)

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GigaBeam Is Focused On Becoming A One-Stop-Shop In Both Products And Services In The IP Fixed Wireless Equipment, Service And Financing Space

Fixed Wireless Communication

GigaBeam Corporation

4021 Stirrup Creek Drive, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27703
Phone: 919-206-4426

S. Jay Lawrence
President and CEO

Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published – June 27, 2008


S. Jay Lawrence
, Chief Executive Officer and President. Mr. Lawrence joined Gigabeam in March 2006 as the Vice President of Government Sales. His contributions to GigaBeam’s largest market verticals earned him his subsequent roles as Vice President of National Sales, Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, and President & Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining GigaBeam, Mr. Lawrence served as Executive Director for Loea Corporation, the first entrant into the 70/80GHz fixed wireless communications marketplace. At Loea, Mr. Lawrence was instrumental in profiling the fixed wireless market and the impact of the 70/80GHz technology, along with driving some of the early policy developments for rulemaking and initial customer placements of this technology. Prior to Loea, Mr. Lawrence was a Senior Executive at Mueller Electric, a privately held passive component business. At Mueller, Mr. Lawrence lead a restructuring and resultant turnaround accomplished by migrating production offshore to China, capping costs of operations and bringing new products to market to meet customer needs. Mr. Lawrence has also held senior positions at Clare Semiconductor, where he participated in the reconstruction and sale of a product division of high frequency switching and relay products to Sumida. He held positions in Product Engineering and Business Development for EXOS, a Boston-based start up, which pioneered tactical feedback robotics technology that was later sold to Microsoft. Mr. Lawrence holds an Electrical Engineering degree from Boston University.

Company Profile:

GigaBeam is a provider of fixed wireless communication equipment. The company is the leader in the upper millimeter wave communication bands from 71GHz to 86GHz. GigaBeam's core products in the 70/80GHz band are immune to interference or interception, can be very densely deployed, and have inexpensive licensing to offer users protection. GigaBeam  has offerings in other bands including 4.9GHz, 5.8GHz, and 18 GHz and is considering other product offerings as well. These products are point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight. The combined offering can provide ultra broadband high-speeds for core network applications and lower speed and economical edge/access offerings, GigaBeam’s portfolio currently has products from 10Mbps to 1,000Mbps (Gigabit Ethernet) and the Company intends to introduce an expanded portfolio of products from 10Mbps to 10,000Mbps. GigaBeam products have been deployed in over 20 countries worldwide. Current GigaBeam users include many enterprise customers and cities globally, universities, medical centers, banks, various departments/ministries of defense, and other government agencies globally.

Mr. Lawrence, how has the vision at GigaBeam changed under your leadership?

Mr. Lawrence: “Our vision is rather simple. We intend to become a one-stop-shop for our customer base in both products and services in the IP fixed wireless equipment, service and financing space. If you look at what we have done since I have taken the helm as CEO, we have announced new products both in our marquis spectrum in the 70 to 80 gigahertz point-to-point spectrum as well as additional products in the 4.9, 5.8, and 18-gigahertz spectrum. When I look at the business and listen to our customers the one thing that people want are options and good service. We are striving to achieve those by being very creative and also by keeping our business’s products quite simple and responding to the voice of what our customers are telling us they want.”


CEOCFO: Please tell us about your customers; who is using your products today?
Mr. Lawrence: “As we broaden our product portfolio our customers have really become almost anyone who needs to communicate. When I say communicate I don’t mean cell phones, although many people confuse us with that, and also Wi-Fi space.  However, we enable those sorts of technologies. Therefore, these are people who are business owners that have enterprises and campuses that are using our products. We have a number of colleges and universities building private networks all powered by GigaBeam radio technology. The Department of Defense in the States is also a very large customer. We have multiple governments worldwide building private and secure networks for Homeland Security applications for basic extensions of their fiber backbone. As we move forward with the larger product portfolio we are seeing even a broader base of small retailers, smaller office type facilities getting into our products. Again, with a one-stop-shop goal, what we are getting to is anyone who wants and needs communications capabilities, whether at an infrastructure or network level, we have solutions for them.”


CEOCFO: What sets your products apart? What is special about GigaBeam?

Mr. Lawrence: “If you look at what we are originally known for, our core strength from a technology standpoint is the leadership and spectrum between 70/80 gigahertz. The founders of our company were very much pioneers of obtaining spectrum licensing. The licensing in this spectrum is unique in that it is something that is available for everybody; it is inexpensive and it is quick to license, which is not true for many others in the US and other markets in the world. Another thing that is unique in the 70/80 gigahertz space is we have been successful at having a single standard for how the spectrum works in all the countries to date that have regulated it. As a result we have shipped one product in that band around the world, which is rather novel. Many other suppliers have to tune and have to do a myriad of derivation to their product to make it functional by regulatory principles in countries outside the United States. That is a nice economic benefit from our standpoint because we basically build one product in our core spectrum. I think as you look at the rest of the line as we are rounding it out in terms of why GigaBeam, I would say because we put our ear to our customers’ voice and respond to what they are asking for.

As we sit today we can provide solutions to our customers in an IP environment from ten megabits to 1000 megabits per second and ultimately to 10,000 megabits per second in point-to-point and point-to-multipoint configurations. In addition to that, we just announced an equipment financing program so that if people want to buy on an operational budget or an expense budget what would otherwise be capital equipment, they can. This is done through a partnership with Presidio Technology Capital, which is a subsidiary of Presidio, Inc, one of the largest telecom infrastructure resellers and finance organizations in the states. Beyond that, we have expanded our service offerings to include in addition to basic product warranty, product training/education, 24/7 helpdesk, and upgrade support programs to improve the extended experience with our product. Again everything that we do as a business is focused on taking care of our customers. Why GigaBeam? We have some unique technology; we are certainly the market leaders in that technology and that is the technology that operates in 70/80 gigahertz space. To add to that, we broadened our portfolio with all the complementary technologies you would want today and are further extending that for tomorrow and then coupled with  service and financial options, I think we have a good package.”


CEOCFO: How do you reach potential customers?

Mr. Lawrence: “One way that we reach potential customers is through our website and web-based communications. Being a publicly traded company, we do make announcements of material significance as well as other important company accomplishments. People tend to pay a good amount of attention to what we are doing; our results are out there for people to see.  More importantly, we have a direct and indirect sales force consisting of a combination of resellers, systems integrators and now distributors. This footprint is domestically in the states, throughout Europe, the Middle East/North Africa, and South Africa. Plus, we are starting to branch out to other parts of the world, like Australia and the Pacific Rim, anywhere there are rules available to sell our technology in the 70/80 gigahertz space. It is a multi-tiered go-to-market approach. One of the things that I am very much focused on is getting the business profitable, which I believe is in our sight. Therefore, we are conservative in spending and focused on selling.


CEOCFO: How much of a focus for the future is the international arena?

Mr. Lawrence: “It is going to be rather significant. I believe the international market is key to our success. People outside the states, which have been  very important customers to us, tend to be more excited about  the use of wireless for infrastructure, particularly the Eastern block of Europe where they have big needs for new communication technology. The Middle East and North Africa are also very important and other places like South Africa and Australia are opening up with great expectations. It doesn’t matter which report you read, most will tell you that between 70 and 80% of the fixed wireless consumption happens outside the United States. Being positioned to service international clients is very much on our radar and a key component of our near and long-term strategy.”


CEOCFO: What is the competitive landscape for you?

Mr. Lawrence: “It is starting to develop. There are a handful of competitors out there. They all have a little bit different angle on how they go to market. I look at what I think sets GigaBeam apart; I do believe it is the fact that in our upper millimeter wave bands from 70/80 GHz we are what is called a true transport  device, which means, if you are building a network GigaBeam radios can’t be distinguished from fiber. In general, our competition cannot claim this, which creates management and latency issues in the network, which can complicate things. It is not that their technology doesn’t work, it is just different. For the people that are in our customer wheelhouse, we believe that is a differentiator. We also have some other features of performance metrics on our key 70/80 GHz products that I think set us apart and make our product a true carrier grade solution so that all users realize the benefit of the quality built into our design. Beyond that, if you look at the collection of products and services that we offer, including communications technology from just below 5 gigahertz all the way to 80 gigahertz in point-to-point and point to multi-point configuration, and the fact that we are a full IP solution set, with predominantly layer-one technologies, coupled with our equipment financing program and our 24/7 customer support capability, I believe GigaBeam is a business to do business with.”


CEOCFO: Is this support feature a big item for you and is that a good revenue maker?

Mr. Lawrence: “It is. I have always believed that a good service organization is in fact your best sales organization. Customers need to be taken care of and that is something that keeps us all up here 24/7, 365 days a year. As I look at our service organization, the fact that we can take a phone call seven days a week around the clock and get back to customers quickly sets us apart from our competition.. In addition, we have also found that our customers are building or managing very high capacity networks. Anyone who reads this article would resonate with the pain they feel when they can’t get their computer to connect to the network or they pick up their phone and they have no dial tone. The networks that support these applications are being built and managed by our customers and we do not want to be the cause of such problems.. Instead, we aim to be a part of solving those problems through the creation of a solid and robust network using our technology.”


CEOCFO: Would you describe a typical installation?

Mr. Lawrence: “A great example is a group in the Las Vegas market that has built an all-wireless grid over the city of Las Vegas to compete as a local exchange carrier. That business has consumed a good quantity of our technology to create the backbone over the city of Las Vegas. The economics are almost mindboggling. There are a few significant zeros left in cost to create what fiber can create. Additionally, the time to deploy a complete network compared to buried terrestrial solutions is not measured in years but in quarters. The significance of what we can do in that environment through the rapid deploy-ability and low cost of wireless, plus the ultra high capacity of our high-end products, and the low cost of our lower end products, really provides a one-two punch for someone who wants to build a full network. This is the perfect thing about GigaBeam: it is a one-stop shop for everything from accessing and building off a core network to creating a core network in a metropolitan or campus environment.”


CEOCFO: Do your customers know what they want or do you need to work with them to develop the project?

Mr. Lawrence: “The answer is yes to both. We deal with a sophisticated and educated customer base. We are able to help give them the best solution and because we have multiple solutions to pick from, we are not just trying to promote a single technology. We offer  a cost and technology advantage to our customers and therefore we are able to answer most of  our customers’ needs. We receive very sophisticated requests for information and from that we are able to work with our customers to construct what is the best of all in wireless solutions.”


CEOCFO: In closing, why should potential investors be interested and what might they miss about the company that they should know?

Mr. Lawrence: “If I was looking at this company as an investor, what I would look at is the change in the business that we are making and the subsequent trajectory we believe will result from these changes. We just put out a letter to our shareholders a few weeks back. In that letter we stated that year to date compared to last year, we have nearly eclipsed our total sales for all of 2007. In addition, we are operating at less than almost half of our operating cost from a cash basis. As you look at the business in and of itself, we are rationalizing our expenses and focusing on driving revenue. We broadened our product portfolio and we are bringing a more robust and turnkey solution to the marketplace and doing it in a creative way that allows us to have future profitability and sustainable profitability. Ultimately sustainable profitability and ongoing key fundamentals, from my chair, are what will provide value to our customers, our shareholders and our stakeholders. Management is focused on providing good fundamentals. Everyone needs to be part of a successful business, a rationally run business, and we are making every effort to make that the core of GigaBeam I look at the six months the new management team has been in place and what we have been able to accomplish as a leadership team. We have come a long way; we are going in the right direction. We have a simple business plan, a rational business plan.”


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“Beyond that, if you look at the collection of products and services that we offer, including communications technology from just below 5 gigahertz all the way to 80 gigahertz in point-to-point and point to multi-point configuration, and the fact that we are a full IP solution set, with predominantly layer-one technologies, coupled with our equipment financing program and our 24/7 customer support capability, I believe GigaBeam is a business to do business with.” - S. Jay Lawrence

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