Nestled in the grassy landscape along Bright Road is a technology business that has ambitious plans to get central Ohio wired.

Nestled in the grassy landscape along Bright Road is a technology business that has ambitious plans to get central Ohio wired.

DHB Networks already has recruited high-profile clients such as the cities of Dublin and Gahanna, as well as the Columbus Blue Jackets and PromoWest Productions, with its approach to wireless technology.

To put it simply in a labyrinth of technical jargon, the company offers a multipurpose network that allows for various tasks, such as connecting a video monitor to a police vehicle so an officer can view those images from a remote location.

In addition, employees of a city or company can receive wireless broadband Internet access. One device suited to such technology is the dual-mode phone that runs on cellular and Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), the latter of which keeps the user from racking up minutes over the Internet.

The long-range goal for DHB, said 30-year-old president Chris Harris, is to connect central Ohio municipalities, making it easier for safety forces, meter readers, building inspectors and the like to access important data at the touch of a finger.

DHB, with annual sales of $3.1-million three years after its founding, has 13 employees who work out of a 12,000-square-foot house that was converted into an office complex several years ago. Harris wants to add 15 employees and grow the bottom line to $4.5-million by the end of next year.

Dublin was the first city to climb aboard DHB's plan, paying the company $400,000 to wire a four-square-mile area centered in the Blazer Parkway commercial district. The second phase, launched last May in the Avery-Muirfield Road corridor, allowed city employees working the Memorial Tournament to stay plugged in to safety and security applications from remote locations. It also allowed workers at the Dublin Irish Festival to wirelessly scan tickets and process credit card transactions.

Dublin intends to spend another $1.13-million over the next five years to expand the network to 24 square miles. As part of the agreement, Dublin owns 25 percent of the available bandwidth, or capacity of the system.

"Mobile computing is something next level, the next generation of technology that we can use to effectively and efficiently to deliver service," said Dana McDaniel, Dublin's director of economic development. "It also provides, in our case, better control of our own system and better capacity."

Other suburbs have climbed on board, including Longmont, Colo., and Gahanna, which is spending $1.35-million to have city services online by the end of the year. The new technology will allow applications such as the relaying of water and sewer meter data more quickly by employees, resulting in monthly billing instead of quarterly, as it's done now.

"It certainly provides for us a great opportunity to improve and increase the level of public service for the city," Sadicka White, Gahanna development director, said of the DHB project.

DHB also is focused on the business and residential markets. To make the system viable, the firm must charge individual users roughly $25 per month in the wired areas.

That might seem steep for the service, but Harris said many cities have phased out free wireless. Companies were spending big money in infrastructure costs but were unable to generate enough advertising to keep it viable.

"That's why a lot of companies that are offering these free networks are going out of business or are going away," said Harris, who started working in the telecommunications industry for CompuServe in 1997.

Since then he has moved between Indianapolis and Columbus, working for MCI, Cisco and AT&T.

At Cisco, he was territory manager for public-sector entities -- which included cities, schools and county governments -- when he met DHB founder and majority investor Dave Haimbaugh, whose services Dublin was using. Haimbaugh appointed Harris president of DHB in November 2006.

Harris said his background with telecommunications and fiber optics were a natural fit with Haimbaugh's experience with wireless technology.

"Between the two of us, we made a really good team to run this thing effectively," Harris said.

"The vision and adaptation of our models have made a tremendous impact on the industry," Haimbaugh said.


Business: DHB Networks

Address: 4338 Bright Road

Founded: 2005

President: Chris Harris

Age: 30

Annual sales: $3.1-million

Employees: 13