Interview with Dr. Hiroshi Ochi, CEO of Radrix Co., Ltd
‘ Industrial Wireless LAN system’
1. Whats your name, and please tell about your background.
My name is Hiroshi Ochi. I received B.S. (1981) and M.S.(1984) from Nagaoka Inst. of Tech as well as Ph.D. (1991) from Tokyo Metropolitan University all in electronics engineering. I was with University of the Ryukyus from 1986 to 1999 as an assistant and associate professor. From 1999, I am with Kyushu Institute of Technology as a professor in computer and electronics engineering department. I received a MBA degree from Kyushu University in 2007. I also have started Radrix co.ltd as a CEO. I organized APCCAS2014 international conference as a general chair. My research interests including signal processing, wireless communication, LSI design and technology management.
2. Please explain your startup and how did you started?
I have always believed that research results done in the university should not remain in the university but should also be adopted in the market. For this specific reason, the Japanese government has allowed national university faculty members to be able to launch their own venture companies since 2002. This is also how I started Radrix in year 2005.
logo of Radrix
3. Who are your customers, and what problem are you solving for them?
Our core competence technology is wireless communication system design. Hence, we provide many system design solutions as well as design IP for chip design.
4. What is unique about your solution? What is your unique insight?
Radrix and Kyushu Inst. of Tech. have been collaborating together in Wireless LAN IEEE802.11 standardization activities since 2007. During this time, two of our technical proposals have been accepted in IEEE802.11ac standard while one proposal has been accepted in IEEE802.11ax. This proves that we are an accomplished engineering company for wireless LAN chip design. For business point of view, we focus on industry Wireless LAN system design for the time being.
5. How does your product actually work?
Conventional industry wireless LAN systems are just based on regular WiFi systems and as such cannot replace wired industrial Ethernet such as Profinet by Siemens, CC-Link by Mistubishi, and Mechatrolink by Yaskawa among others. Our newly developed industry Wireless LAN system is the world’s 1st design which can be compatible with those wired Ethernet.
6. How big is your market?
Industrial Ethernet market is increasing with 20% annual growth. Market size is expected to grow to about 60 Billion USD in 2022. If we can grab 5 % of the industrial Ethernet market, it means a revenue of 3 Billion USD.
6. What is your business model?
At 1st stage, we are willing to sell both IP and FPGA board for robot manufacturing companies. Then for the 2nd stage, we will fabricate our own chips which is the reason we do need additional investments.
7. What is your go-to-market strategy? Why now?
Due to Industrial 4.0, factories have introduced IT in their operations. In particular, there is interest for IoT for big data analysis applications. Today, there is also a strong demand to control robots wirelessly. But, there is still no solution. So, we can acquire first-mover advantage if we go to market now. We would like to collaborate with industrial robot manufacturers and provide the next generation robot that has wireless control compatibility with wired Ethernet.
8. Who are your competitors and how are you different?
Generally, a wireless system has to use a commercial wireless chip. However commercial wireless chips have limited performance. So this way, we cannot satisfy the high specification demanded for industrial robots wireless control systems. That’s why we can build industrial wireless system with higher performance compared to other companies such as Siemens, Phoenix Contact, Mitsubishi.
9. What is your vision, your true North?
Our vision is to make innovations for industrial wireless communication and robot control. Some of the biggest problems for Industrial robot manufacturers are costs such as expensive maintenance fees, necessity of exclusive cables and inflexibility of robots settings. We aim to solve these problem by replacing industrial Ethernet cable to wireless transmission in the same way as Ethernet cable replaced by wireless LAN in past 20 years. This replacing contributes to revitalization of the whole market due to price reduction will be promoted.
10. Congratulations! Your startup is selected in TOP20 startups by Japanese government, to send to Silicon Valley.
Thank you very much! We are very much honored to have been selected. We will visit Silicon Valley from 2/15 to 2/19. We are looking for industrial robot manufacturers who develop industrial wireless system as partners. The United States has great industrial robot companies, and is one of the biggest markets for industrial robots.
Our CTO will be joining your #StartupFire at 42 Silicon Valley on 15th of February. Please join the event.
11. Please write a message to your potential strategic partners, clients, and investors in Silicon Valley.
We are about to unveil the world’s first industrial wireless system and we need you to make this product out into the market. If you do business related with industrial robot manufacturing, let us explore how we may be able to work together in the future.
Radrix Co., Ltd. is a university-originated venture company from Kyushu Institute of Technology. We designs and develops digital wireless communication systems including wireless LAN.
Factories that utilize industrial robots has needs to use wireless communication to connect robots to controller. Some of the biggest problem for Industrial robot manufacturers are costs such as expensive maintenance fees, necessity of exclusive cables and inflexibility of robot settings. These problem can be solve by instating wireless transmission. However, currently, there is still no wireless solution. Therefore, we aim to develop wireless industrial robots.
Generally, a wireless system has to use a commercial wireless chip. However commercial wireless chips have limited performance. So this way cannot satisfy the high specifications for industrial robots. Our unique point is developing wireless system with our own wireless chip. So we can build a high performance industrial wireless system. Manufacturers can eliminate this limitation by using our wireless solution.
For this product, basic research has been done. We are making the prototype now. We would like to work with industrial robot manufacture in Silicon Valley who has spirit of challenge.