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New Problems Require New Thinking

By Mike Collado
July 7th, 2016

Mike Rosato – GIANT Solutions

At the recent InBuilding Wireless Technology Seminar and Networking event hosted on the campus of Texas Christian University (TCU) and presented by DASpedia, Mike Rosato (GIANT Solutions) – who emceed the proceedings – shared two memorable points…

First was a story that somehow linked McSorley’s Old Ale House in New York to the movie Elf to – um – me. I think it was a compliment. Maybe?

The second was the observation that the wireless densification industry is changing in both evolutionary and revolutionary ways which usher in new problems that will require new thinking in order to solve.

Case in point, Mike identified the Middleprise which SOLiD presented on during the 2015 DAS & Small Cells Congress (and around which SOLiD has continued to publish thought leadership). Not only is new technology required but also new business models.

That’s because the Middleprise represents what we believe is the demarcation line between the venues where carriers will help fund the in-building wireless network and where they will not.

For those venues that miss the cut, it is incumbent upon the venue owner to fund the network. And that means the industry must conceive solutions – as our friend Joe Madden (Mobile Expertsdescribes here – that resonate with the venue owner.

Mike Collado and the TCU Horned Frog

The importance of solving for the Middleprise was illustrated by TCU’s Steve Ambrose who identified in his presentation the multiple student dormitories and student buildings that get built each year. All are LEED-certified which means there is an in-building wireless problem. All fall within the Middleprise size range (between 100k and 500k square feet) which means that carriers likely won’t fund indoor solutions. And, oh yeah, TCU students don’t subscribe to just a single carrier so the in-building network needs to support Red, Blue, Yellow and Magenta.

As a result, Ambrose told the audience of OEMs, Neutral Hosts, Integrators and VARs that he needed Middleprise solutions now – underscoring this plea through a confessional story about a parent whose frustrations over the inability to reach her TCU-enrolled student reached the desk of the university chancellor!

Yet the final panel of the day (on which I had the chance to participate) revealed that there currently exists no such Middleprise silver bullet or 100% solution that panel moderator Earl Lum (EJL Wireless Research) had hoped to find among the representative DAS, Small Cell and WiFi OEMs. Which is perhaps why as a launching point for the panel discussion, Lum cheekily depicted a unicorn.

Let’s be clear, the Middleprise represents a once-in-a-decade opportunity for new market leadership. Or as SOLiD Americas president Ken Sandfeld says, it’s about unlocking and solving for the “other 80% of buildings.” It’s going to require not a single solution but multiple solutions.

More importantly, solving for the Middleprise is not just about technology. It’s about business models. It’s about infrastructure. And it’s about compliance with public-safety requirements.

New problems require new thinking. Over the coming months, we’ll wrestle with not only unlocking the Middleprise but also the evolving Tier 1 market. Check back often for new posts.

Speaking of which… In our next post, we’ll share insights from the panel we’re hosting at the NEDAS Boston Workshops & Networking event: “The 7 Things that Must Happen to Unlock the Middleprise.”


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