September 2, 2014

Cover Story

Fast 50

Each year, the Utah Business Fast 50 program recognizes companies that are...Read More

Featured Articles

CBIZ Voice: R&D Tax Credits For Manufacturing & Processing Improvements

The Great Wage Debate

Sections

Spotlight
Michael Bartholomeusz: Shifting the Paradigm

Legal Briefs
Learning from Litigators

Focus
Shift Change

Industry Outlook
Higher Education

Around Utah
Around Utah September

Reader's Choice
Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course: Heaven on a Fairway

Players
September Players

EntrepreneurEdge
Travel Like the Pros

Economic Insight
Global Ambassadors

Living Well
Dressing Down

Lessons Learned
A Virtual Success

Money Talk
Financial Fire Drill

Spotlight
Mai Nguyen: Diversifying Utah’s Restaurant Scene

TechKnowledge
A New Point of View

Fast 50 Company Spotlight
Enhancing Active Lifestyles

Fast 50 Company Spotlight
Averting Disaster

Fast 50 Company Spotlight
Forging Connections

Fast 50 Company Spotlight
Building from a Strong Foundation

Business Trends
School of Thought

Regional Report
SUMMIT/WASATCH ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

Article

Forging Connections

OptConnect

By Tom Haraldsen

September 2, 2014


Although the world has become increasingly technology-connected over the past decade, gaps remain within that coverage, leaving areas where connectivity has been missing. The evolution of ATMs, from banks to businesses, brought with it a new challenge for many retailers—the ability to connect to a financial institution in a portable, flexible way.

Enter OptConnect, part of the Grant Victor family of companies, which has grown over the past five years into the nation’s leading provider of wireless connectivity solutions for ATMs. OptConnect was created because of a need of many convenience store owners—a business segment that Grant Victor was involved with at the time.

“As we were operating as a vendor, we realized there was a huge miss in connectivity and a chance to provide that service,” says Chris Baird, executive vice president of the Kaysville-based business. “There are an estimated 500,000 ATMs in the United States, with about 60 percent of those in the retail sector. The traditional communication method for those retailers was to purchase a phone line and have it hardwired into an ATM location. That made it a very rigid connection, without any portability or flexibility.”

OptConnect changed that by providing hardware that allows ATM cellular connectivity through the use of modems. “I explain it this way—we basically make cell phones for ATMs,” Baird says. “OptConnect works with three large cellular providers—Verizon, AT&T and Sprint—to connect customers to their banks. We have customers throughout the country. We’ve also expanded into Canada and parts of the Caribbean.”

So why did it take so long for someone to solve this problem of connectivity, given the history of the internet? “Wireless coverage wasn’t that great until about five years ago,” Baird says. “Everybody was talking on 1X technology, and then as 2G development started moving forward to today (4G), the ability to connect improved, data became cheaper and the opportunity grew. It was a matter of being in the right place with the right product at the right time.”

That growth looks like it will continue indefinitely for OptConnect. Through the so-called Internet of Things (IOT), companies are working to connect almost every electronic thing we own.

“We’re in the business of connecting things,” Baird says. “Analysts are predicting that by 2040, there will be 40 billion connection devices on the planet—from appliances to vehicles to who knows. We’ll all have them, both as individuals and as professionals in business. We are focused on providing a simple, low-cost plan, giving the hardware away for free, and offering customers a dependable, affordable product.”

The company’s growth isn’t all based on the services it provides—Baird says the company’s secret sauce is its people. “They are empowered to make us very unique. Every week, we talk about new things we can do and new technologies we can develop. And our customers are taking us into these other verticals as well, as they define their needs and challenges. They want to be their own bosses. We’re helping them do that.”

Utah Business Social
UB Events View All
Community Events View All

info@utahbusiness.com  |  90 South 400 West, Ste 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101   |  (801) 568-0114

Advertise with Utah Business

Submit an Event

* indicates required information
* Event Name:
Price (general):
Website (if applicable):
Coordinator's Name:
Coordinator's Email:
Coordinator's Phone:
Venue Name:
Venue Address:
Venue City:
Venue Zip:
Event Capacity:
Date(s):
to
* Event Description:
  Cancel