ESCO Announces Introduction of Wireless, Mesh-Based Wide Area Network

ESCO Technologies Inc. today announced that it has acquired a minority interest in Firetide Inc., a leading provider of wireless infrastructure mesh networks, and through its Aclara RF Systems Inc. subsidiary, has entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Firetide.

September 25, 2009

4 Min Read
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ST. LOUIS, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE) today announced that it has acquired a minority interest in Firetide Inc., a leading provider of wireless infrastructure mesh networks, and through its Aclara RF Systems Inc. subsidiary, has entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Firetide.

Aclara and Firetide have developed a revolutionary wide-area network (WAN) for utility customers based in part on Firetide's proven wireless networking technology.

Aclara, a leader in Intelligent Infrastructure(TM) solutions for electric, gas and water utilities introduced the Aclara Smart Communications Network solution at the recent Autovation 2009 Trade Show in Denver.

Aclara's Smart Communications Network solution is a high-bandwidth, high-speed, standards-based flexible communication system that will employ TCP / IP communication protocols as well as IEEE 802.11 technology for wireless communications. Designed for gas, water or electric utilities, this network solution will bring together existing utility assets and applications into a single, two-tiered network architecture that will replace multiple low-to-medium bandwidth systems currently used to communicate data.

The Aclara Smart Communications Network provides an ideal interface between utility and IT resources and back-office applications for SCADA control and monitoring systems, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems, home-area networks and mobile workforce applications.Firetide is providing the MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) radio technology and the network management software required for the Aclara solution to communicate in mesh, point-to-point, or point-to-multipoint modes. Firetide solutions are currently being used by many municipalities and businesses to stream video from security cameras, as well as voice and data for enterprise-wide applications. The technology supports data throughput rates of 1Mb/s to 300 Mb/s in outdoor environments, making it perfectly suited to handle utility distribution applications. This Smart Communications Network solution matches the speed and performance of a fiber network at a fraction of the cost.

Vic Richey, ESCO's Chairman and CEO, commented, "Through our partnership with Firetide, we are pleased to introduce a top-tier communication network that will satisfy our utility customers' needs for a high-speed, standards-based networking system. By employing accepted IT standards, Aclara's Smart Communications Network provides a seamless connection between the utility local area networks (LAN), and the smart applications, devices and subsystems that comprise the utility infrastructure. The use of Ethernet standards combined with wireless mesh technology provides simple, secure and reliable interoperability to a wide range of utility operating systems. In addition, this complementary network solution further improves upon the economics of our AMI technologies."

"This strategic alliance combines Firetide's industry-leading technology and Aclara's market expertise to deliver a high-value solution for utilities especially as it relates to emerging smart grid initiatives," said Bo Larsson, CEO of Firetide Inc. "To fully enable smart grid and other utility applications, public and private utilities need a cost effective way to communicate easily and seamlessly and to share data, provide security and enable communications. Firetide wireless infrastructure mesh has emerged as a viable solution for the utilities' communications needs and as a superior alternative to cellular and other types of communications, given its high bandwidth and reliable topology."

ESCO, headquartered in St. Louis, is a proven supplier of special purpose utility solutions for electric, gas and water utilities, including hardware and software to support advanced metering applications and fully automated intelligent instrumentation. In addition, the Company provides engineered filtration products to the aviation, space and process markets worldwide and is the industry leader in RF shielding and EMC test products. Further information regarding ESCO and its subsidiaries is available on the Company's web site at
About Aclara
The Aclara brand represents one of the industry's leading Intelligent Infrastructure(TM) technologies for providing device networking, data-value management and customer communications to water, gas and electric utilities globally. Over 500 utilities in nine countries rely on proven Aclara solutions to connect with their customers. Aclara is part of the Utility Solutions Group of ESCO. Further information is available on Aclara's web site at .
About Firetide Inc.
Firetide is the leading provider of wireless infrastructure mesh networks that enable concurrent video, voice and data for municipal, public safety and industrial applications. Firetide provides reliable high performance wireless infrastructure mesh and access solutions for video surveillance, Internet access, public safety networks and temporary networks wherever rapid deployment, mobility and ease of installation are required. Headquartered in Los Gatos, Calif., Firetide is a privately held company with worldwide product distribution. Further information is available on Firetide's web site at

Source: ESCO Technologies Inc. 

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