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Posts Tagged ‘ Safer Buildings Coalition ’

The “Public” in Public-Safety Communications

By Mike Collado
August 25th, 2015

IMG_1676The 2015 APCO Annual Conference was both pivotal and revelatory for the advancement of in-building public-safety communications.

Team SOLiD returned to APCO for the fourth year which, for a Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) manufacturer, makes us a veteran.

I recall feeling like a pioneer in 2012 while discussing in-building wireless solutions with AHJs (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) when the conference was hosted in Minneapolis during which the first board members were announced for the nascent FirstNet initiative. Little did I know then that SOLiD would host the newly-elected FirstNet CEO Michael Poth and newly-titled President TJ Kennedy as well as current and former board members Chief Jeff Johnson and Chief Charles “Chuck” Dowd at a cocktail reception to launch a new eBook called The Imperative which details the obstacles and options facing public-safety communications inside public and private buildings. (Thanks to the Long View Gallery for hosting our reception!)

(Check our APCO recap posts from 2012, 2013 and 2014 to map the public-safety evolution. And watch videos from industry luminaries Jonathan Adelstein (PCIA), Rob LeGrande (The Digital Decision), James Teel (Harris) and SOLiD’s Seth Buechley)

A pivotal shift has occurred within the public-safety industry whereby the topic of in-building is no longer met with a puzzled or skeptical look.

When SOLiD presented back in 2012, we observed in a blog post that “Based upon the number of heads that were both nodding in agreement and disagreement during the panel, the public safety and commercial cellular industries need more forums for debate and education as well as programs designed to solve the common problem of public safety communication.”

In contrast, an industry colleague was surprised that nearly every attendee in his presentation this year was familiar with DAS.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 3.24.02 PMBut while developing The Imperative (download a free copy here), it became clear – as its editor, John Celentano, states in the eBook’s opening pages – that, “…public-safety communications is not relegated to police, fire and emergency medical services (EMS). Its about the general public, too.”

This is revelatory because most people likely envision a fire fighter when they think of the words “public” and “safety.” As Don Brittingham, Vice President for Public Safety Policy at Verizon observed during our launch reception, the general public is the “public” in public safety.

Donny Jackson, Editor at Urgent Communications contributed to the foreward of The Imperative and writes:

“From a public-safety perspective, good indoor coverage for customers and first responders provides multiple benefits during an emergency response.

Initially, strong commercial indoor coverage lets consumers who are indoors dial 911 to report an emergency via their cellular phone—the device they are most comfortable using, and it should provide better location information in the near future. This can save valuable time in circumstances when seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

Once first responders are on the scene, a good indoor public-safety system allows firefighters, law enforcement and EMS to communicate better and more efficiently using LMR voice today, with the potential to leverage Band 14 LTE and transmit sensor data via myriad technologies in the near future. This data capability includes the ability to track the location of first responders, as well as monitor their health via biometric technology.

When first-response efforts have gone awry, communications difficulties almost always are cited as a key contributing factor. This is understandable, because organizing any endeavor—from the construction of a sports arena to planning a family reunion—tends to happen more smoothly when strong lines of communications are open.

In short, a facility with good indoor wireless-communications coverage for consumers and public safety is inherently safer than those that lack this functionality. Without good indoor coverage, there likely will a delay in reporting an emergency situation and the response effort often is delayed, which can lead to increased property loss, injuries and fatalities.”

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Chief Alan Perdue (Safer Buildings Coalition), Mike Collado (SOLiD) and Donny Jackson (Urgent Communications)

This observation was echoed on a panel moderated by Donny Jackson where I joined Chief Alan Perdue, Executive Director of the Safer Buildings Coalition (SOLiD is a member). Chief Perdue shared that the majority of 911 calls are made using a smartphone and that, similarly, the majority of emergency incidents occur indoors.

According to John Celentano, “…it is vital that both public safety and commercial cellular to work together to solve for public-safety communications.” 

The common denominator, however, is the Building Owner – the key stakeholder that can impact in-building wireless communications for both cellular and public-safety – who, unfortunately, remains noticeably absent from these discussions at APCO.

We’ll be back with a separate post to explore the challenges and opportunities for the Building Owner to address the public-safety imperative.

Tell us what you observed at APCO that is pivotal and/or revelatory in the comments.

 

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Contributors to The Imperative: John Celentano (Editor), Donny Jackson (Urgent Communications), Clark Lazare (AT&T), Mike Collado (SOLiD), Manuel Ojeda (Morcom), Chief Charles “Chuck” Dowd, Chief Alan Perdue (Safer Buildings Coalition), Lori Blair (Hutton Communications) and Rob LeGrande (The Digital Decision)

 

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Chief Charles “Chuck” Dowd discusses the public-safety imperative

 

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Chief Alan Perdue discusses collaboration among venues, wireless operators and public safety

 

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Mike Collado (SOLiD) and Lori Blair (Hutton Communications) welcome attendees to The Imperative launch reception

 

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SOLiD Quad-Band Public-Safety DAS at the Hutton booth

 

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SOLiD’s Ken Haberer and Matt Atkins at the APCO Block Party hosted at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

 

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Matt Atkins (SOLiD) and Chief Alan Perdue (Safer Buildings Coalition) at the APCO Block Party

 

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Delivering thought leadership at APCO

 

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Bike Art at the Washington Convention Center. There were also kitchen stools, kayaks and guitars!

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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On The Road Again

By Mike Collado
February 17th, 2015

IMG_0430To quote Big & Rich: Well we’re comin’ to your city…

(Or at least likely nearby!)

One of the things that energizes us the most is getting into the marketplace to meet with buyers and partners and to share thought leadership.

5G comes with the promise of fiber-like speeds. It also comes with the opportunity for new market leadership because infrastructure must be overhauled to accommodate capacity.

Needless to say, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Which is why events will remain an important and relevant vehicle to debate densification strategies and technologies.

For the latest listing of SOLiD events, please visit our website.

Here’s our calendar to-date:

 

agl_newAGL Regional Conference
2/18 – 2/18
Long Beach
Panelist: “Case Studies in Small Cells and DAS”

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3/22 – 3/26
Orlando
Exhibitor (Graybar)
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mwc 2015 logoMobile World Congress
3/2 – 3/5
Barcelona
Exhibitor: Hall 6, Stand L41
Presenter: “The Densification Toolkit Evolution & Revolution” & “Getting Clarity on Cloud-RAN”

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Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 8.54.23 AMThe CIBET Initiative

3/9 – 3/13
Denver
Sponsor / Trainer / Exhibitor
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3/16 – 3/20
Las Vegas
Exhibitor (Hutton Communications, Booth #620)
Panelist: “Introduction to HetNets and Small Cells” & “A Study of In-Building Wireless”
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3/31 – 3/31
New York
Annual Sponsor / Exhibitor
Panelist: “DAS & WiFi – A Symbiotic Relationship”
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4/19 – 4/20
Atlanta
Panelist: “The Wireless Technology Roadmap: A Trip Into the Future”
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4/27 – 4/30
Hollywood, FL
Tee Box Sponsor: 11th Annual PCIA Golf Outing
Panelist
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6/8 – 6/10/2015
New Orleans
Panelist
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6/9 – 6/11
London
Presenter

Densification is a Toolbox Approach. So, Now What?

By Mike Collado
November 24th, 2014

20141119_122042We had the pleasure last week to attend one of our favorite events – LTE North America.

(For additional coverage, see our tweets from the show and videos from RCR Wireless.

This event stands out for us because it’s the Goldilocks of both content and stakeholders within the wireless ecosystem – not too broad and not too narrow; not too overwhelming and not too sparsely attended.

With topics such as HetNets, Small Cells, LTE, 5G, Network Optimization and Public-Safety, it’s always right up our alley.

We had the privilege to present before industry peers our observations on the evolutionary and revolutionary approaches that will be deployed to densify the network. As a manufacturer, it’s a topic we’re truly energized by.

(In fact, we’ll advance this topic further next week at Small Cells Americas.)

One of the key topics that stood out the most for us during the two days in Dallas was that it appears that our industry is mercifully moving away from the DAS versus Small Cells debate and beginning to engage in a pragmatic conversation to identify the right tool for the job rather than promoting an allegiance for a single technology.

Well, sort of…

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 5.46.06 PMThe Decade of Densification

Why are we even having this discussion?

Earlier this summer, we dubbed the current period in the wireless industry as the “decade of densification.”

(The wireless industry transforms itself roughly every 10 years; see a great infographic here)

Pat Diamond from Key2mobile – an early stage company working on improving urban capacity and connectivity in the licensed-spectrum space – observes that densification is about marrying up both coverage and capacity within the wireless network.

Or, as Paula Doublin from AT&T describes it: coverage is ensuring water fills the entire lake; capacity is ensuring how deep the water is in the lake.

Of course, densification is required both indoors and outdoors.

And those spaces are unique in size and physical characteristics as well as usage requirements and durations.

Time after time, presenters and delegates uttered the phrase, “A toolkit approach is needed to densify the network.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 5.47.50 PMThe Beatles vs. The Stones

Leave it to our friend Dr. Derek Peterson (CTO at Boingo) to break it down as he did during his afternoon talk on Day #1.

Everyone loves a good debate. And some within the wireless industry have pitted DAS against Small Cells.

Remember the claims that Small Cells would kill the DAS industry?

(See our thoughts on this topic from Small Cells World Summit 2014)

The problem is these kinds of discussions have made it increasingly difficult to discern the truth from the hype.

For instance, some say DAS is too expensive compared to Small Cells. We heard a presenter claim that Small Cells will be deployed at stadiums at 1/10 to 1/20 cost of DAS.

At the other end of the spectrum, another presenter suggested that small cells won’t have the capacity to support a single floor of users at a meeting facility.

As a rule of thumb, we believe DAS to be ideal for large venues (>500k square feet).

Small Cells are ideal for small buildings (<100k square feet).

But that’s just a starting point. And it leaves a big gap for densifying medium-sized enterprise venues.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 5.54.05 PMThe Right Tool for the Job

You wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to drive a nail for a picture hook, would you?

The industry discussion needs to progress to explore using the right tool for the job.

That’s what AT&T is doing based upon their series of commercials featuring the fictitious characters of Frank and Charlie highlighting a toolkit of strategies that include the macro network, DAS and Small Cells.

Here’s the thing… The toolkit is advancing and old assumptions may longer hold true.

For instance, at this year’s Small Cells World Summit, Stuart Carlaw (Chief Research Officer at ABI Research) observed that DAS is becoming economical for medium installations between 100k and 500k square feet.

However, the toolkit may also inform that multiple tools might be used. In Dallas, Boingo’s Dr. Peterson rhetorically asked, “Why not use all the tools in the toolkit?”

We believe there exist venues in which DAS and Small Cells should be deployed together. In this theoretical scenario, DAS may cover the majority of the public areas and small cells could be used to boost capacity for specific operators or applications where needed.

Advancing the Discussion

In our opinion, one of the most important discussions the wireless industry needs to have centers on the densification toolkit.

It’s no longer sufficient to say it’s a toolkit approach. Rather, we need to explore the “decision tree” which informs which tool or tools to use based upon the unique requirements.

To jumpstart the conversation, SOLiD is sponsoring a forthcoming paper to be published by our friend David Chambers at ThinkSmallCell.

Meanwhile, how do you view the decision tree? And how is it different for operators compared to the enterprise?

 

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SOLiD was short-listed for the Best LTE Backhaul Solution award for INFINITY ACCESS

 

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Jennifer Pigg Clark (VP at 451 Research)

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Andy Germano (VP at Small Cell Forum)

 

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Nicolas Cotanis (CTO at Reverb Networks) & Ken Sandfeld (EVP at SOLiD)

 

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Mike Collado (VP of Marketing at SOLiD)

 

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Paul Gowans (Mobile Strategy Director at JDSU)

 

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Dr. Derek Peterson (CTO at Boingo)

 

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Chief Alan Perdue (Executive Director at Safer Buildings Coalition)

 

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Stuart Carlaw’s Presentation from Small Cells Americas