Mario Proietti is a co-founder and CEO of LocationSmart. In his capacity as CEO, Mario has overseen the establishment of LocationSmart as an industry leader in location based services as a supplier of infrastructure to wireless carriers and cloud-based services to enterprises. Mario has spearheaded the creation of LocationSmart as the operator of the most comprehensive Location-as-a-Service (LaaS) platform in the industry. Prior to LocationSmart, Mario worked as Director of Advanced Development at AirTouch Teletrac, where he led R&D activities for its ground breaking mobile location services. He also oversaw FCC regulatory initiatives for Teletrac's use of spectrum for location monitoring services, presenting before offices of the FCC, NTIA, Congress and the White House. Earlier, Mario held leadership positions at GM Hughes Electronics, in the Communications Systems Division of the Ground Systems Group, working on a number of first of their kind wireless and location systems using spread spectrum technology.
How did you get into the industry?
I became fascinated by wireless communications when I was six years old. One of my uncles, also named Mario, gave me a broken transistor radio and said I could keep it if I could get it working. I did. The next year, I got a pair of walkie talkies for Christmas and that sealed the deal.
I became particularly interested in geolocation technologies during a summer job after my sophomore year of college when I was working at Con Edison in Brooklyn, NY. My boss Greg showed me an article about new technology for finding police officers when they went down and he said it would change the world. Two years later, I was recruited by Hughes Aircraft Company in Los Angeles to work on a battlefield search and rescue system that helped to prevent fratricide and coordinate movement of forces in the field. I couldn’t resist so I took the position.
Any emerging industry trends?
There is a growing demand for location relevance in everyday mobile applications and this includes refinement of indoor positioning technologies. It is driven by commercial needs as well as public safety agencies to give users a better experience and optimize processes and workflows. In the case of public safety, to save lives more effectively.
The applications for data analytics and artificial intelligence are also rapidly evolving. The growing focus on natural language interfaces and the innovations with personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Google Home are fascinating.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Ongoing discussions regarding the balance between protecting consumer privacy and offering greater convenience present opportunities and challenges for my industry and many others. With the growing sharing and use of consumer data and threats from cyberattacks or inadvertent breaches, the balance between personal privacy, safety and security versus convenience, value and enjoyment is becoming more and more consequential.
Consumers are encouraged to be more trusting and organizations (both private and government) are driven to be more conscientious stewards of their users' information. This is critical when determining how best to use consumer information to make products and services increasingly compelling, useful and convenient. At LocationSmart, we continue working to provide more flexibility in our services and we actively monitor best practices set by industry trade groups and regulators.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
The inspiration for the business idea was from an article about futuristic location services that my boss Greg at Con Edison shared with me in the summer of 1980. It detailed how location technology would be integrated into communication networks to address mission-critical and life-saving needs.
My desire for LocationSmart is to build on our standing as an integral part of everyday services that help protect users, their data or physical property in as many different ways as possible. Our goal is to enable our customers to accomplish this as easily as possible on a daily basis without their users having to worry about data privacy, safety or security.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
We pride ourselves on innovations that brought Location-as-a-Service to market and look to solve additional challenges that will make business applications more effective with better context awareness. For the most effective compliance verification, fraud mitigation and risk prevention, we see a growing need for the trifecta of data elements – location awareness, individual and device identity, and automated notifications. We see the convergence of these capabilities as the missing link from many mission-critical applications ranging from more secure financial transactions to instantly confirming the safe arrival of people and goods at their intended destinations.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
We have always been on the forefront of commercializing new location technology, which is actually how we brought cross-carrier location services to market. After working with wireless carriers to solve the problem of locating mobile 911 callers for the first time, we focused on then helping them apply the same technologies to commercial services in the enterprise market. LocationSmart embraced cloud technology and migrated to a highly scalable and extensible architecture to meet enterprise-grade needs very cost-effectively while integrating to dozens of telecommunications and data service providers. This innovation enabled us to be the most competitive and sustainable solution in our industry. We validated this when we acquired our primary competitor two years ago and achieved even greater operating efficiencies while simultaneously broadening our product portfolio and customer base.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
One of our most significant challenges was achieving profitability during a time when telecom industry regulations dramatically changed and this resulted in seismic shifts in how we could deliver our services.
In the face of that upheaval, our team remained laser focused by prioritizing critical aspects of the business and making smart choices at every level of our company. We managed our investments wisely to ensure continued growth while minimizing disruption to customers, ultimately enhancing the capabilities and flexibility of our platform. These changes and our resolve enabled us to strengthen our position in the market and reinforce our competitive advantages.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
LocationSmart customers enjoy the benefits of Location-as-a-Service through our powerfully flexible APIs and the dedication of our Customer Success team that assists with their design, integration and service launch. They benefit by replacing manual, error prone and/or costly steps in their business processes with an automated solution that provides better user experiences and higher quality of service while also improving operating efficiencies and increasing revenue generation.
How do you motivate others?
I emphasize transparency across the organization so the cause and effect of every action or decision is as obvious as possible to everyone. I try to lead by example by being as open as I can be with our team and focusing on the present with intellectual honesty. In my experience, progress occurs when the focus stays on what needs to be done now given current realities and not by dwelling on the past or what one wishes would be the case. It is important to learn from experience but keep the focus on achieving the next goal ahead.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Do what you love, challenge the status quo and never give up and you’ll change the world.