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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.

 

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