US network access solutions firm Aruba Networks is setting foot in Brazil, opening its domestic and Latin American headquarters and two offices in the country this week, the company's newly appointed general manager for Brazil, Alex Freitas, announced at a press conference.
Rio de Janeiro was chosen as headquarters for both the country and Latin America overall, while sales offices will be opened in São Paulo and capital Brasília.
Despite only now opening offices, Aruba is not a newcomer to Brazil's market. The company has been present in the country since 2008 through a broad channel of partners and distributors, including Westcon, Network1, Afina and ClaDirect. In Latin America, Aruba has a total network of 80 partners.
And investing in strengthening and expanding these channels is one of Aruba's main strategies for Brazil, Freitas said. Some 50-60% of Aruba's investment goes toward expanding the channel.
Another strategy for Brazil is creating the means to expand the firm's operations, currently concentrated in the southeast and south, toward the country's north. A third approach is enhancing partnerships with local universities and R&D centers to develop high-skilled professionals.
"Wireless is the point of no return. Cable is at a near-death status. I believe that in the future, use of the cable will be limited to providers and big corporations with a huge amount of data, while wireless will set the tone for end users and the rest of the companies," he said.
GOVERNMENT AS CLIENT
Aruba's business in Brazil is derived mostly from the public sphere. According to Freitas, 60% of company revenues come from the federal government, 20% from universities, 10% from the health segment and the rest from the retail, where Aruba has as clients major companies such as car rental service Localiza and retail chain Lojas Marisa.
Aruba was also responsible for the WiFi deployment in a federal hospital set to be inaugurated soon by President Dilma Rousseff. According to Freitas, the hospital is the first in Latin America fully covered with a WiFi structure, and will also have several high-tech and up-to-date services, though not necessarily provided by Aruba.
The firm was selected to deploy the service after winning a public tender.
WORLD CUP, OLYMPIC GAMES
The executive also confirmed that Aruba, with the government, is looking into - and already negotiating with four construction companies building stadiums and other installations - the provision of wireless structure at these sites during the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
Expertise would not be a problem, as Aruba was responsible for wireless coverage at the Olympic city during Beijing's 2008 Olympics, Freitas said, and "we're working with London authorities concerning the 2012 games as well."
Besides setting up offices in Brazil, Aruba is also considering opening a plant in the country, Freitas confirmed, although he would not give a timeline since the project is still in early stages.
California-based Aruba Networks has among its US clients the armed forces, the Pentagon and Nasa, as well as a range of universities and medical institutions.
The firm is considered the second largest LAN and WAN wireless solutions company in the world, after Cisco, and has an estimated market value of more than U$3bn, according to Freitas.
The company posted US$397mn in global revenues in its last fiscal year, ended in July.