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AiThority Interview Series with Jurgen ter Hoeve, CEO at We.Stream

Jurgen ter Hoeve, CEO at We.Stream

We.Stream is the first mobile WiFi hotspot with embedded Cloud SIM technology and a built-in VPN to enable affordable, stable and secure mobile internet worldwide.

Know My Company

Tell us about your interaction with technologies such as Smart Connectivity and Mobility.

We have been providing international mobile data solutions in several markets during the last years with our entities We.Stream and Simfony. Our technology for We.Stream is redundant, and relies on multiple networks per country, with aggressive and flat mobile data rates worldwide. That’s what we call smart connectivity and that’s how we disrupt the international mobile connectivity market with We.Stream.

With Simfony, we fully focus on IoT. Simfony’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Solution offers immediate IoT infrastructure to communication providers such as MNOs, MVNOs, satellite providers and application developers, allowing them to benefit from an ever-growing IoT market. Our end-to-end solution enables quick delivery of own-branded IoT products and services in multi-national, multi-tier and multi-operator environments. This allows end-customers to independently design, build, test and manage IoT solutions.

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How do you see smartphone connectivity evolving around AI and chatbot platforms?

AI and chatbot platform will grow more and more in the coming years. With Simfony, we are using AI to improve IoT projects for our resellers and customers.

The primary focus of our Simfony engineers is AI technology. We call our AI solution, “Patterns of Things.”  For this solution, Simfony was even nominated for the AfricaCom 2018 Award in the category: “Most Innovative Use of AI Technology.”

Within the platform, we use AI, Machine Learning and Predictive Modelling capabilities required to support the next generation of IoT applications. In basics, our platform learns from the traffic by looking at the shape and pattern of the data. The platform can autonomously act based on AI, Pattern Recognition, Machine Learning and Predictive Modeling capabilities.

How did you start in this space? What galvanized you to join We.Stream?

We have been providing global mobile data solutions for several years. With all these mobile data volumes and contacts, we have created a good position to provide mobile data worldwide for attractive tariffs. Since the international use of mobile data is still very expensive all over the world, we found an opportunity to use our position to build a solution for international travelers. So, we implemented all our software, connectivity and security on one device, and that’s how We.Stream was born.

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Tell us more about how you secure WiFi hotspot technology.

We.Stream is the first mobile WiFi hotspot with embedded Cloud SIM technology and a built-in VPN to enable affordable, stable and secure mobile internet worldwide.

The built-in SIM connects proactively to the best available mobile network in 145 countries worldwide. Mobile data can be purchased directly via the touch screen of the device and can be used in 145 countries worldwide, with the same rates everywhere. The customer doesn’t have to fear roaming charges anymore while traveling. The display of the device offers real-time insight in data usage, this avoids a bill shock afterwards.

What were your key takeaways from CES 2019?

Mobile internet is a must-have nowadays. And even at a technology event such as CES, mobile internet availability is either is very limited available or very expensive. CES is an international event and all visitors and exhibitors from outside the US are facing challenges with their mobile internet. So, we have solved a lot of challenges for international visitors that stopped by our booth.

When it comes to sales objectives, thanks to CES, we are talking to potential distribution partners of our products in several countries worldwide.

How do you project the offering from We.Stream in the overtly crowded mobile networking landscape?

Our offering focuses on the need to stay online in a secure way, specifically for international travelers. That is how we differentiate ourselves. Everybody that travels outside the country or continent borders knows what a hassle it is to stay online in an affordable and secure way. Everybody that is struggling with these problems, should know that We.Stream is a solution to these challenges.

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What are the major challenges you solve with your product? How can customers better benefit from We.Stream?

Mobile internet has become a mission-critical asset nowadays. But staying connected when traveling is still a challenge. The costs of roaming abroad are extremely high, and logging on to public WiFi in hotels or restaurants is very risky. We.Stream offers the solution to these problems, offering personal, secure and affordable mobile WiFi worldwide. With We.Stream, you are able to check your email, use Google Maps or order your Uber from everywhere. The mobile WiFi hotspot offers easy to activate worldwide internet connectivity for mobile devices. We.Stream has a built-in VPN for secure browsing and offers affordable mobile data plans with coverage in 145 countries.

No more roaming charges, no more SIM card needed, no more hassle, no more insecure use of public WiFi.

How do you see the raging trend of including AI and Machine Learning in a modern CIO/ CMO’s stack budget? How does We.Stream fit into this mission?

A CIO should choose We.Stream because it will save him a lot of money and because it enables its employees to work from everywhere in a secure way. Besides this, We.Stream makes it much easier to control access to a corporate network via our VPN and this results in a happy CIO and CTO as well.

The Good, Bad and Ugly about AI that you have heard or predict –

AI is making so many projects better, smarter and more efficient. For example, our Patterns of Things Technology offers enhanced security and better planning: It detects unauthorized events from and to the mobile connection, and it predicts costs so customers are always ready for the next roll-out phase.

One of the downsides can be that AI will reshape the landscape of employment opportunities. The smarter technology gets, the less there is a need for people interfering.

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What is your opinion on “Weaponization of WiFi networking”? How do you promote your ideas?

Public WiFi networks, like in a hotel or a restaurant, could be a playground for hackers. We have seen and read lots of examples of hacking attacks via WiFi networks. That is why we always promote the use of a VPN, which we have embedded on the We.Stream device, while surfing the internet.

The Crystal Gaze

What Cloud customer experience and SaaS start-ups and labs are you keenly following?

At CES, we have met a couple of Dutch startups at the Holland Pavilion that use great technology. For example, DDIV, a video marketing agency uses Big Data to create personalized marketing videos. Big corporates, for example, airlines and booking agencies have so much data from their customers and by using it they can improve their business or customer experience. There is lots of room for improvement there and companies such as DDIV are stepping into this specialism. One of the other start-ups that gained a lot of attraction at the Holland Pavilion was PAL-V, which has developed a flying car.

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What technologies within your domain are you interested in?

IoT is one of our main focus areas. We believe that IoT will make an enormous step in the coming years. One of our missions with Simfony is to make IoT connectivity affordable and accessible for everyone.

As a tech leader, what industries do you think would be the fastest in adopting internet tech, analytics and AI/ML with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for these technology markets?

Industries that already have these kinds of technologies in their DNA will adopt these the best. Traditional and larger companies are having troubles in adopting them. However, what we see in, for example, the agriculture business, is that they are really front runners when it comes to adopting IoT, AI and Big Data. This is a good example of a more traditional industry that is really evolving.

These are also the developments that we see at CES. The tech startups and scale-ups from a few years ago are becoming the new multinationals. A couple of great Dutch examples are Booking.com, WeTransfer and Adyen.

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

Always close a conversation with a follow-up. I speak to so many new potential customers, suppliers and other interesting contacts, that it is critical to define the next step together. Whether this is a follow-up call, appointment, a signed contract or something else. You need to end with a call to action. Otherwise, you will lose contact and lose potential business.

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Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

The CEO of our partner Actility, Olivier Hersent.

Thank you, Jurgen! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

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