New technology has transformed operations and has made it possible for geoscientists to integrate many types of information to increase efficiency and accuracy when drilling and completing. Welcome to an interview with Scott Crist, Chairman and CEO of Infrastructure Networks (INET). INET participated in AAPG’s U-Pitch at URTeC, which promotes and helps commercialize innovations and new technologies.
What is your name and your background?
Scott Crist, Chairman and CEO of Infrastructure Networks (INET)
I have an extensive background as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist and was the founder and CEO of Telscape International (NASDAQ), a telecommunications company focused on certain emerging markets around the world. Prior to that, I served as President and CEO for Matrix Telecom, which Inc. Magazine once ranked 7th on its list of the 500 fastest growing private companies in the US. I am also a partner at Texas Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm targeting emerging growth and technology companies.
Previously, I worked for Trammell Crow Group, IBM and Booz-Allen Hamilton. I have a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from NC State University. I am also an Entrepreneur of the Year recipient from CNN/ NASDAQ/ Ernst & Young. In addition, I am on the board of the VA-Gov Housing fund, the nation’s largest lender for the Veteran Administration’s Homeless Shelter Program.
What is your product and/or your process?
We work with companies to increase their productivity, safety and efficiency with our managed Wireless Infrastructure-as-a-Service (W-IaaS) Solution. We are the only provider of this private LTE infrastructure and service, which enables SCADA, Mobile Data, Video, Analytics, Workforce Automation, and other machine-to-machine and IoT applications across most oil and gas operation sites in North America. We also provide 24/7 monitoring and boots-on-ground technical support for all our W-IaaS customers.
How is your product or process innovative, even potentially game-changing?
We are the only telecommunication provider to deliver the first end-to-end, standards based, "plug and play” network, eliminating the frustrations associated with scaling and managing proprietary communications technology. INET holds the majority of 4G-LTE licenses across oil and gas operation sites in North America, including the Permian Basin, Eagle Ford Shale, Bakken Shale, Western Kern County, Scoop & Stack, New Mexico and Oklahoma. As a Wireless-as-a-Service provider, INET is an enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT) and a top recognized provider of private LTE networks for Oil & Gas and Electric Utility.
What made you recognize that there was a need for the product or process?
Our founder observed that many energy companies believe the only approach to remote communications is to either build your own communications network or rely on consumer-focused communications companies that don’t understand the needs of the energy industry. INET is the middle ground. Oil & Gas companies’ core competency is to get the oil out of the ground - our core competency is improving their communications, so they can. INET’s Private LTE Network provides reliable remote connectivity, the equipment and support to give customers what we call end-to-end “Wireless-as-a-Service”.
Please describe an early example of implementation or product development.
We create customized communications solutions for our customers at any scale. Once a Company Man, IT professional or whomever meets with us we consider what they need and offer a scalable solution. Once that is decided our technicians meet with our customer on-site to equip them – the whole process can be completed in under a week. From there we provide you with 24/7 boots-on-ground technical support and monitoring.
Please describe a more recent example of implementation or product development.
We’ve introduced a new service to the market that we are calling CellBridge. Right now, it is only available to current INET customers, but it is a device that acts as it’s own cell site to bring customers advanced voice, internet and streaming connectivity to remote locations. In all our tests it outperformed standard crown and cell boosters and has had a huge impact in areas outside network coverage.
What are your next steps and short-term goals? What do you want to do next with the product or process?
We recently achieved our short-term goal to expand our US footprint by increasing INET’s 4G/5G-LTE network coverage into remote areas of New Mexico and Oklahoma. INET has provided services for the bulk of the Permian Basin for years, but this expansion is adding more than 40,000 square miles of high-bandwidth coverage to remote oil and gas operations in New Mexico’s Delaware Basin region as well Oklahoma’s SCOOP/STACK Plays.
What are your long-term goals?
Long-term we are looking to extend our services to renewable energy, electric, public safety and other industries to be the leading Wireless-Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform and solutions provider for the ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ economy.
Please recommend a few books that you found inspiring.
Dear Founder, by former Yahoo Chairman.
What did you find valuable about U-Pitch?
U-Pitch is a great opportunity for companies to bring new technologies and ideas to a large audience at Unconventional Resources.