Verizon's doing it, so why not Vodafone too? That's right, folks, the big red telco from abroad has decided to get into the swing of things in Silicon Valley with its new Vodafone Xone R&D center in Redwood City, California. Unlike VZW's Application Innovation Center just a few miles north in San Francisco, the Xone is focused on identifying startups with potential and putting their ideas on the fast track to proof-of-concept trials. In order to do so, the center provides technical expertise, business advice and access to its lab to ensure that products are compatible with Vodafone's global 2G, HSPA, and LTE networks. This R&D center is also aligned with Verizon's facility in Massachusetts, so budding entrepreneurs have access to stateside LTE infrastructure, too. We got a chance to check out the new business incubator ourselves, so read on for more.
Gallery | 21 Photos

Vodafone Xone


We got to speak with Fay Arjomandi, the center's director, and she emphasized that the Xone's goal is to "accelerate market delivery" of products that can benefit Vodafone's customers. These products may be for consumers, enterprise use, or infrastructure, but the plan is to get the fruits of the center's labor into users' hands for real-world trials in six to nine months. While we were at the launch event, we saw a few familiar faces among the center's initial beneficiaries: Vitality GlowCaps, Zoosh, and Tensorcom (member of the WiGig Alliance). We're excited to see what other tech emerges from this venture, and you can bet we'll be there whenever it does. Those wanting to delve a little deeper into the details can check the gallery above and the PR below.

Dante Cesa contributed to this report.
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VODAFONE LAUNCHES THE VODAFONE XONE™ R&D CENTER IN SILICON VALLEY

New facility designed to take innovative concepts through rapid testing
process to potential high-volume production

Redwood City, CA. September 8, 2011 -- Vodafone, one of the world's largest mobile communications companies by revenue, today announced the launch of its Silicon Valley integrated R&D Center, Vodafone Xone™.

Under the Vodafone Xone™ program Vodafone, with 382 million customers in more than 30 countries, will provide technical expertise, potential financial assistance, logistical support and facilities to help promising US technology companies gain a fast track into proof-of-concept trials across Vodafone's global network.

As Vodafone's first fully integrated mobile R&D center in Silicon Valley, Vodafone Xone™ is intended to:

· identify and qualify innovative technologies from start-ups, R&D labs, universities and venture capital portfolios with the potential to deliver new and innovative products and services to Vodafone's global customer base;

· provide selected companies with commercial feedback. Companies will be offered support from the Vodafone Xone™ team of professionals whose expertise spans business development, network and device architecture, consumer electronics, payment and billing mechanisms, data analytics and content delivery. Up to 24 companies are able to use on-site office and test space within Vodafone Xone™;

· test products and services in the Vodafone Xone™ test and development lab, a fully functional replica of Vodafone's global networks including a protected environment for developers to test solutions. Capabilities include 2G/3G/LTE radio and an Internet Protocol (IP) network together with access to the IP service framework IP Multimedia Subsystem. The lab is interconnected via a dedicated backbone to Vodafone's European networks. Vodafone Xone™ is also closely aligned with Verizon's Innovation Centers in San Francisco and Waltham, Mass., giving select companies access to Verizon Wireless's development 4G LTE network, the high-speed, next-generation platform common to both Vodafone and Verizon Wireless, as well as additional collaboration resources;

· assess options for strategic investments in start ups via Vodafone Group's corporate venture capital arm - Vodafone Ventures.

Siavash Alamouti, director of Vodafone Group Research and Development said: "Vodafone Xone™ offers Silicon Valley start-ups access to more than a third of a billion customers in more than 30 countries around the world. We're excited about this opportunity to share our scale and global expertise with the brightest and best the valley has to offer."

Fay Arjomandi, Vodafone R&D's Head of US/China said, "As an entrepreneur myself, I'm very excited about the opportunity to enable innovations that are directly relevant to Vodafone's global customer base. I'm looking forward to providing other entrepreneurs with the tools and support that will help them bring their ideas to life."

The Vodafone Xone™ team is set to organize and host a range of collaborative events including seminars, and other initiatives aimed at attracting new technologies into the program.

For further details please go to www.vodafone.com/xone