SCWS Americas

SCWS Americas 2017 Post Event Review

By Randall Schwartz, Wireless 20/20 Consulting Group

Randall Schwartz, Principal Consultant, Wireless 20/20

During the recent SCWS Americas conference, Wireless 20/20 held a review session to review the current state of wireless in enterprise venues. The review session included representatives from many different kinds of venues; stadiums, malls, office towers, apartment developers, hospitals, city officials, transportation, universities, manufacturing, and a wine vineyard. Each of the venues had different requirements, and needs. But all of the different venues had one thing in common. The implementation of excellent wireless services in their venue was critical for their operations, customers and clients, and tenants.
Each of the venues needed wireless to fulfill different requirements. Some of the venues, the critical issue was operational. For the manufacturing venues, which included representatives from Rheem manufacturing and from Delicato Family Vineyards, the focus was on operational efficiencies. They are implementing plans to support multiple networks, including WiFi networks and in-building networks for communications. In addition, they are developing extensive IOT networks, implementing data applications to enhance their operations through analytics. In these deployment scenarios, the networks are owned by the venue owner, and the ROI is based on the cost of the system versus cost savings and improvements in operational efficiency.

For other venues, the key issue was development of infrastructure to provide services critical for those venues. The City of Chula Vista, CA is developing their wireless plan to implement their smart cities program. They plan deploy a city-wide WiFi network, and develop a plan for a small cell cellular deployments to enable new city services, and provide infrastructure for residence and businesses in their town. Capitol Corridor transit network in California is implementing wireless services on their train line between San Francisco and Sacramento. This is to benefit passengers with on-train WiFi services while providing an LTE-to-the-train connection to provide a collective bandwidth for the passengers. While they cannot charge for the service, the prime benefit is a value-added service to help sell tickets. Similarly, the University of New Mexico deploys campus-wide WiFi and cellular networks, including inside buildings, to ensure that students and staff always have connectivity. Kaiser Permanente implements wireless network throughout its healthcare facilities for the benefit of both its staff and patients. Each of these venues require excellent wireless services for the benefit of their user populations, even without the opportunity for to monetize the network.

The last 3 participants in our sessions all represented major venues where the major operators have a large enough stake in providing excellent cellular services that it is possible for the venue owner to derive revenue. The San Francisco 49ers have deployed a stadium-wide WiFi network and a DAS network to provide cellular connectivity at Levi's Stadium. In such a high profile venue, including the recent Super Bowl hosted by Levi's, the major MNOs are willing to pay for service provided to their subscribers visiting the stadium with excellent service anywhere in the stadium, despite the heavy concentration of users with 80,000 spectators packed in the stadium on game days. In addition, the team has developed an app that enables services to spectators, and sales market opportunities to derive additional revenue. The Mall of America, the largest mall in the U.S., has also deployed a comprehensive WiFi and cellular DAS networks throughout its venue. Because of the large public visitor population, all MNOs need coverage in the mall, and have a contract with Mall of America to cover their subscribers. The network also supports their tenant stores and their staff operations. Our final participant represented Atlanta Real Estate Development Group. In-building coverage throughout their office building developments is required in order to successfully rent space. In this particular example, the building developer paid for the implementation of a DAS cellular network, working with multiple operators to provide a neutral host network. The building owner has monetized this infrastructure investment through an increase in building fees, and through an anticipated reduction in vacancy rates. For each of these major venues, the building owner and its partners could offer improved services, but also was able to monetize the investment.

For each venue, the development of in-building wireless was critical, although each had a variety of reasons and justifications. All anticipated that the need for wireless in their venues will only become more acute and demanding as all users demand the need for perfect coverage at all times. Considering the range of the venue types in our strategic session, this confirms the critical importance of all venues developing a coordinated wireless plan.

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