AGSM graduate putting an end to the mobile dead spot

Thursday, 30 March 2017  @Business School

(L-R) Michael Matytsine , Dr. Serguei Matitsine and Leo Matytsine with one of MatSing's lenses

Every year, smartphone technology is improving - from offering basic internet connection at inception to today streaming live content in high definition. Keeping coverage capacity aligned with the exponential growth of applications and end users has been an ongoing problem for mobile carriers.

AGSM Graduate, Leo Matytsine and his family are hoping they can consign this problem to history.

An advanced material created by the Matytsine family is being used to improve data access and speed on our mobile devices, and resolve transmission issues at colossal events such as The Superbowl, Coachella Music Festival, and most recently, The Trump Inauguration.

Here, Leo Matytsine talks to us about the technology, the company and why he decided to undertake an AGSM MBA.

In 2005, Leo Matytsine was studying an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and Economics at USC when his father invented a revolutionary material that would ultimately change the face of data transmission, and the course of his career.

“My father has a PhD in Material Sciences and he came up with a material with the potential to change the way we transmit signals using RF lenses - from the traditional optics to bending electromagnetic waves,” Leo says.

In layman’s terms, this means the transmission of high volumes of data at high speed. The technology has numerous applications from satellites to telecommunications.

Leo and his brother returned to the family’s base in Singapore to set up MatSing – a play on the family’s name and their base – to develop and market this new material.

“Even though cell phone technology has improved so much, the antenna infrastructure that provides the coverage had basically remained the same. The reason you can’t send a message much less download a video at a busy event is simply the limited capacity of these antennas” Leo says.

If you think about a traditional dish antenna that takes a wave and focuses it, it uses reflection and can only receive/transmit in one direction at a time. Our lenses are round and work on a similar principle to the human eye – multiple simultaneous signals can be received/transmitted by focusing thru the lens, the same way your eye can focus light from multiple directions. A single lens does the work of multiple antennas providing the coverage needed to use the full range of cell phone applications – even at busy events,” he explains.

In 2012, with the business rapidly developing, Leo’s focus moved away from building the antennas, an engineering aspect, to business management. He recognised that an MBA would give him the knowledge and tools he needed to succeed.

“I chose the AGSM MBA Program because of its great reputation, and its convenient location. Sydney was the perfect base to allow me to continue to work in Singapore and study at a top school” he says.

“Having done my undergraduate degree in California, I definitely developed a taste for the beach-side lifestyle, the weather and the laid-back culture. I heard Sydney was a great place to live and I wasn’t disappointed,” he adds.

Leo says the AGSM MBA program also gave him an invaluable network that he has taken with him into his post-study career. “We had an amazing cohort – the connections I made throughout my program were outstanding and I am still in touch with many of them today.”

Upon his graduation in 2013, Leo returned to Singapore, when he and his brother decided they needed to increase their focus on the telecommunication aspects of their lenses. They realised, as a smaller, family owned company in a market of large players, they needed to debut this technology in the U.S. market and opened an office in Irvine, California.

Establishing itself in the US, MatSing brought on board key new members to the U.S. office who had connections in the telco industry. The brothers successfully leveraged these connections to get a meeting at US Telecommunication giant, AT&T.

In 2014, AT&T gave MatSing a challenge – to provide coverage for Coachella Music Festival. The annual arts and music festival held in the California Desert attracts almost 200,000 music fans but since its commencement in 1999, had never had mobile phone reception.

It was AT&T’s biggest challenge. Each year they had tried and failed to solve the issue of reception at Coachella. In 2014, they took a chance on MatSing and its technology.

“Being a relatively small player in an industry dominated by large incumbents, the only way to prove our value was through results” Leo says.

The outcome? AT&T broke data records for any event - a record that has since been broken – by Coachella in 2016, also using MatSing lenses.

The impact of the lens technology didn’t go unnoticed by other carriers and since 2014, MatSing has provided the technology for all major events in the US, including The Super Bowl and most recently, The Trump Inauguration.

The infrastructure put in place for the Inauguration has been made permanent, meaning for the locals of Washington D.C., mobile coverage will be better than ever. City coverage outside of events is the next phase for MatSing and with the lenses able to be retrofitted to existing infrastructure this isn’t too far away.

Will we see the technology in Australia anytime soon? Leo advises us to watch this space.

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