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Don’t Have a Cow, Man

By Mike Collado
July 14th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 3.41.10 PMWe’ve all experienced or heard about road rage. Is subway rage next?

Nearly five million people have seen the Facebook video of a young woman in the Hong Kong subway, wailing about her dead mobile phone and stomping her feet, while her fellow riders look on, unperturbed.

She has become a meme because we recognize ourselves in her.

(Related, an iPhone user on the London Overground – not Underground where there is no cellular service – was arrested for charging his phone.)

The average user picks up his or her phone more than 1,500 times a week, starting at 7:31 in the morning and ending at bedtime. Our dependence on mobile phones can spiral quickly into frustration when glitches strike, or we forget to recharge our phone’s battery.

Ironically, if her phone were charged, the young lady in the Hong Kong subway could enjoy fast wireless service while waiting on the platform and sitting in the car as it travels through tunnels thanks to a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) deployed by RFE, a BAI Group company in Hong Kong and a sister company to New York based Transit Wireless (Transit Wireless deploys SOLiD in the New York City Subway).

Here in the U.S., we are not so lucky. Only a handful of subways have extended their wireless equipment into their tunnels in order to provide wireless service throughout the system.

One of those subway systems is also the oldest: the Boston MBTA where InSite Wireless has deployed SOLiD to enable Sprint and other wireless operators.

Subways are one of the few public spaces in urban America where many users have to end their calls when they go underground. Sure, there may be WiFi, but most non-millenials primarily still use their phones to talk.

To achieve the vision of our connected world, it’s really a question about business models and manners. IOW, does it makes sense for the wireless stakeholders to invest to enable cellular throughout the platforms and tunnels? And are we ready for the chatter and heads glued to screens?

Either way, to avoid having a cow on a busy subway car and wind up in social media infamy, it’s probably best to make sure your smartphone is charged before setting out!

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The Middleprise: I’m Kind of a Big Deal

By Mike Collado
July 9th, 2015
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Source: Skyline Marketing Group

Our industry has been all a-twitter of late over the big and complicated “middleprise” opportunity within the in-building market.

In a summary of the recent DAS and Small Cells Congress, Joey Jackson and Sean Kinney (RCR Wireless) pronounced that “middleprise” is the new industry term for the enterprise market that is defined as venues having 100k to 500k square feet and where neither conventional DAS nor Small Cells are optimal solutions.

From across the pond, David Chambers (ThinkSmallCell) observed that “the most exciting segment is the “Middleprise” large enterprise and venues.”

Jim O’Gorman (Communications Engineering LLC) declared that “the DAS market is in migration: Tier one venues those greater than 1 Million square feet like stadiums, arenas and large college campuses are nearing the saturation point – integrator and carrier are now considering DAS for smaller footprint environments. We’re currently in Tier 1.5 about 500 K to 1 M square feet; but moving to Tier 2 roughly 100 K to 450 K.”

John Celentano (Skyline Marketing Group) crunched the TAM to find that “Tier 2 represents the next wave of IBW deployments. Buildings in the 100,000-500,000 square foot range represent the sweet spot for IBW systems… This segment is estimated at a lofty $19 billion.”

We at SOLiD agree that the middleprise is a big deal.

At DAS Congress, we had the privilege to spend time with industry experts including Earl Lum (EJL Wireless Research); Bob Johnson (Duke University); Nazim Choudhury (iBwave); and Chief Alan Perdue (Safer Buildings Coalition) to wrestle with the challenges that uniquely manifest in the middleprise such as the technology toolkit; business models; design and infrastructure; and public-safety.

Here’s a video of what we found out:

 

 

In our next posts, we’ll take a deeper dive into the middleprise challenges and opportunities.

For more coverage, check out these articles from AGL and RCR Wireless.

Hear what others are saying and join in the discussion at the Middleprise In-Building Wireless Forum group on LinkedIn.

What are the biggest challenges for enabling the middleprise?

 

 

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The Wonderful World of Wireless

By Mike Collado
June 17th, 2015

Whew, what a wonderfully crazy week on the trade show circuit!

Seemingly, the industry conspired to schedule Small Cells World, DAS and Small Cells Congress and Light Reading’s Big Telecom Event all during the same week. Plus, throw in Realcomm for good measure.

Team SOLiD pulled off the trifecta with solid participation in London, New Orleans and Chicago which are certainly not hardship cities for travel.

And we launched our new 20W DAS Remote which delivers significantly reduced total cost-of-ownership (TCO) through industry-leading power consumption efficiency, flexibility and intelligence.

The State of the Union

Based on our many conversations, we observe that it’s a pretty great time to be in the wireless industry. Sure, there’s been the “market correction” ripple effect from reduced spending by AT&T and Verizon including the former’s decisions to dismantle its Antenna Solutions Group (ASG) and pull back from its initiative to deploy 40,000 small cells by the end of 2015.

But significant trends such as the Connected Car, the Internet of Things (or Internet of Everything), Big Data, Network Virtualization and, of course, 5G are culminating to create a once in a decade opportunity for new market leadership. (See our thoughts on the “Decade of Densification” here.)

The common denominator for these milestones is the much talked about “data tsunami” that AT&T’s John Donovan quantifies as meeting the 100,000 percent increase in wireless traffic.

For those focused on the densification market, our friend Joe Madden at Mobile Experts explains the data tsunami dilemma in this manner: “Data demand is increasingly ‘peaky’ and ‘spotty’, so capacity is generally not where you need it or when you need it.”

Acceptance of the Toolkit Approach?

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 11.02.10 AMThe challenge manifests across multiple market segments including: Large Venues (stadia; airports; convention centers; subways); Middling Venues (hotels; hospitals; colleges; malls; multi-level Class A office towers); Small Buildings (office buildings and MDUs); Urban Outdoors (Westminster, Times Square, the “Magnificent Mile”); and Rural Outdoors.

(The Small Cell Forum – SOLiD is a member – has produced reports in its Release Program that explore some of these markets which are worth a read)

To address the market need for coverage and capacity, presentations at these three events helped reinforced that there’s significant innovation across the densification technology and strategy toolkit which includes LTE, WiFi, Small Cells and DAS.

(Our friend Vladan Jevremovic at iBwave summarizes these advances in slides shared in our post here.)

Which brings us to the toolkit… We’ve observed for some time the tendency within our industry to pit technologies against one another. To be sure, everyone likes a good debate. At previous Small Cell Summits, there’s been some significant hype around which market segments Small Cells will gain marketshare. Mercifully, this year’s installment had a more pragmatic tenor which echoes our long-standing position – and that of others – that there is no silver bullet or dominant technology strategy.

And that generally points to a technology and business case in which DAS handles the large venues and the Small Cells for Small and Residential Buildings.

However, Nathan Sutter at Nex-Tech Wireless shared a case study where the operator leverages Small Cells for a stadium deployment. And Peter Jarich at Current Analysis questioned why Small Cells were not deployed instead of DAS at the new JW Marriott in Austin.

For a good synopsis of trends from Small Cells World, be sure to check out this report from ThinkSmallCell.

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Courtesy of EJL Research

The Big and Complicated Middleprise In-Building Opportunity

What’s likely the to be the most compelling and most challenging market segment opportunity is the “Middleprise” which we use to refer to the middle-enterprise market that is defined as venues having 100k to 500k square feet.

Earl Lum at EJL Research observes that the middleprise (or as he refers to it as Tier 1.5 and Tier 2) is a “sweet spot” market segment for the industry.

And John Celentano at Skyline Marketing Group identifies the middleprise as the next wave of in-building wireless deployments.

To be sure, it’s a big and underserved market that is driving evolutionary and revolutionary change among both in-building technology toolkit innovations and business funding models to enable cellular and public-safety communications indoors.

It’s also complicated because there exists no cookie cutter approach… It challenges the current technology toolkit where conventional DAS and Small Cells don’t ideally scale down and up, respectively. And today’s large venue funding and ownership models likely won’t work which signals that the venue owner will need to play a new and critical role.

We’ll be sharing more in our next posts about the middleprise including observations from our in-building tour at the host hotel for DAS Congress which explored key insights including Business Models, The Densification Toolkit, Design and Infrastructure Considerations, and Public-Safety Compliance strategies.

Your Turn

What were the most important things you learned on the trade show circuit?

 

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SOLiD Showcase at DAS & Small Cells Congress

 

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New SOLiD 20W ALLIANCE DAS Remote

 

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Kevin Vierling (Director of Product Management) at Small Cells World

 

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NEDAS Stand at the Big Telecom Event

 

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Mike Collado at Big Telecom Event panel (courtesy of NEDAS)

 

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Chief Alan Perdue (Safer Buildings Coalition) at the In-Building Tour at DAS Congress

 

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You can’t go to New Orleans without a stop at CDM!

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A Disturbance in the Force

By Mike Collado
May 28th, 2015
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“The Paris Exhibition Clock” by clockmaker E. Farcot and sculptor Albert Ernerst Carrier de Belleuse is a focal point in the Roosevelt Hotel lobby

The eighth installment of DAS & Small Cells Congress promises to once again provide a valuable proving ground for testing opinions and ideas as well as for challenging the status quo.

One of the most compelling trends that wireless industry Jedi knights are flagging as a significant “disturbance in the Force” is an emerging market for in-building DAS, Small Cell and Wi-Fi networks. You’ll hear descriptions such as the “enterprise battle ground” or “enterprise middle-ground” or “enterprise sweet spot.”

But let’s make it simple and call it the Middleprise Market.

The Middleprise is a huge, underserved in-building market with millions of square feet requiring coverage. Loosely defined it includes commercial venues between 100k and 500k sq. ft. filled with a wireless workforce whose smartphones keep them connected and safe.

As attractive as this market opportunity is, the in-building Middleprise Market is complicated. Today’s business and technology models don’t necessarily translate.

Here are some of the critical success factors:

  • Funding and Ownership is going to play a key role. While wireless operators will seek to participate, it is unlikely that they will want to do it all. Similarly, third-party owners will need to assess the ROI before pulling the trigger. So it’s incumbent upon the venue to be a catalyst that either shoulders all or shares in the costs of the network as Joe Madden (Mobile Experts) suggested in his post in FierceWirelessTech. Which informs that getting the business model right is paramount and possibly more complicated than ever.

 

  • DAS vs. Small Cells. Think about it… There is a Middleprise tipping point for both solutions. The bigger the venue, a Small Cell deployment tilts in favor of a DAS; the smaller the venue, a DAS deployment becomes less viable as a Small Cell strategy becomes more attractive. And let’s not forget about Wi-Fi! Like the business model, there is no cookie cutter approach for choosing among the Middleprise densification toolkit.

 

  • Design and Network Infrastructure will challenge even the best in our industry to balance quality of service (QOS) with total cost of ownership (TCO) in the Middleprise as Monica Paolini (Senza Fili) observed at the 2013 Small Cells World Summit. If you’ve been to one stadium, you’ve been to pretty much all of them… In contrast, the Middleprise is not so clean. The buildings that make up this market represent 100 years of architecture standards, and incorporates just about every building material known to man.

 

  • Public-Safety Requirements and Responsibilities. The Middleprise market is subject to fire code mandates as well as ethical considerations to enable in-building communications for emergency first responders, security personnel and the general public. Merging the efforts to enable public-safety and cellular communications – which is a focus of organizations such as the Safer Buildings Coalition – is sure to drive Middleprise opportunities.

 

Here’s a suggestion: When you pack your bags for DAS Congress, leave a little room for the return trip so you can bring home the plethora of opinions, observations and opportunities you’ll hear about in New Orleans, including those surrounding the Middleprise Market.

And make sure your plans also include the Tour of the Roosevelt Hotel on Wednesday, June 10 at 11:20 AM. The hotel is not only the host site of the conference but also a classic example of the Middleprise. Through narratives from our team as well as and industry subject matter experts, we’ll tackle key topics such as funding and ownership models, choosing among the densification toolkit, design and infrastructure considerations, and developing public safety requirements. Learn more and secure your spot here.

 

middleprise

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