Location and in-building coverage is going to be critical as operators roll out hetnets. As the management and control and optimisation of those networks will also be critical, it looks as if the latest “must-have” at MWC will be the ability to view and optimise the user experience per location.
One company, Tektronix, has partnered with Groundhog to provide a geo-location element to its network optimisation Optimon product. Robert Froehlich, Director of Product Optimisation at Tektronix, said that Groundhog’s techniques give Tektronix the ability to move beyond just the performance aspects of network coverage, into coverage and capacity optimisation.
Meanwhile, a company that has been banging the Geo-Location drum for a while now, Arieso, was announcing that it is worried (delighted) that operators could be wasting 10% of their network investment this year by not putting their cells in the right place – in relation to the environment, each other and traffic flows. Arieso is another company that provides information about the location of users up to the mobile operator, so they can see exactly where coverage is coming from, and what issues are arising. If you’re wondering how much 10% of a year’s network investment is, ABI Research reckons it to sit at the half a billion dollars mark.
So we can seen that with these optimisation plays, the issue of in-building coverage is becoming increasingly important. There seems to have been a new statistic gain universal acceptance here in Barcelona, which is that 80% of smartphone traffic originates indoors. So, you can add capacity to a building by picocells and the likes, but Axell wireless was showing a new digital quad-band repeater, that enables operators to bring outdoor multi-service coverage indoors. “Why add capacity when the capacity’s already there,” CEO Ian Brown said, “Bring what is outdoors indoors.”
As we know, what is driving all this usage is apps (especially if you count video as an app, which we will do, otherwise this link won’t work). And apps were foregrounded on Monday by the commercial launch of WAC. WAC’s Peters Suh, taking time out from a busy schedule of exclusively briefing your writer on video, said that eight operators were now connected. With WAC2.0 specs only just released, the initial launch is not going to look too different to the Vodafone360, JIL-based apps that are already launched. So although this was a commercial launch, it is a “safe” launch in that is really based on a spec WAC1.0 that has basically been available since WAC was announced (give or take the input of the former OMTP’s specs in combination with JIL)
But when WAC has released WAC3.0 to developers, then we could really see some movement in people’s perceptions of WAC. WAC3.0 is going to have html5 support, but more crucially for the operator-centric view of the world, it is going to have network APIs enabled. If WAC really can open up operator network and billing assets to developers, then it will have its differentiator. It needs to move quickly though, something it knows, and something it knows it needs to communicate. Telefonica’s executive couldn’t resist a slight tilt at his audience, castigating those “doubters” that said the organisation would move too slowly, have to satisfy to many competing interests.
I’ve just seen someone write this story up as, “WAC still dragging feet on APIs.” That seems, at best, a somewhat uncharitable interpretation of WAC’s progress to date, but it does illustrate the desire for speed that many feel in the market.
PS: Access denied
ZTE was demo-ing LTE-A, but only to a select few. We could have told you more about this demo, but were told it was confidential. But we won’t give up. So let’s make tomorrow an LTE day instead!
Quirky service of the day Gemalto’s Facebook for SIM. Great marketing, getting the critical F word out there, but also showing off the capability of SIM-based apps to bring access to internet services to even the most lowly of phones