D2E Sales Arrives

June 20, 2017


Direct to Enterprise sales of small cell RAN systems, while not new, differ from legacy approaches such as Distributed Antenna Systems, aka DAS. In past posts, we have explored the advantages of both small cell capacity and the corporate swing back to a primary operator. Those two advantages and Direct to Enterprise “D2E” sales channels drove creation of SpiderCloud’s Frequency Agile LTE SCRN-220 Radio Node for the Enterprise RAN “E-RAN” platform.

In many early D2E conversations with enterprise VARs and enterprises, the complaint of the RAN being “locked-in” (the band cannot be altered) to a particular operator was raised. In enterprises that enjoy stable long-term relationships with their operators, lock-in is not an issue. They manage their primary operator via competitive RFP every four to five years to optimize pricing and business terms, but don’t change to a different primary operator. However, it became apparent that many enterprise IT/Telecom leaders we met with wanted an agile RAN for two main reasons:

  • They believe that they can negotiate a better contract with their primary operator because the small cell RAN can be re-configured for a new primary operator instead of replaced. This reduced switching cost enables the enterprise to bargain from a better position.
  • If IT/Procurement decides to switch primary operators, the small cell RAN supporting enterprise mobility will not become a stranded asset due to its inability to be re-configured. This type of finance issue can damage the business case.

SpiderCloud has addressed the need for frequency agility in the United States D2E market with the introduction of the Frequency Agile LTE SCRN-220 Radio Node. This breakthrough Radio Node is an enterprise-grade LTE small cell that can be software configured for the major USA bands supporting the four Tier-1 mobile operators. LTE Bands supported are 2 (1900 PCS), 25 (1900 Plus), 4 (AWS-1), 66 (AWS-3), 12 (700 A) & 13 (700 C) with channel widths of 5, 10, 15 and 20 Mhz.

In summary, SpiderCloud has created the Frequency Agile LTE small cell that satisfies the requirement for that agility to the E-RAN platform. By collaborating with our mobile operators and cutting edge enterprises, we continue to innovate both the E-RAN and the Go-To-Market model in the D2E space. At the end of the day, enterprise IT customers envision their wireless ecosystem as a balanced diet of enterprise-owned Wi-Fi and LTE that seamlessly satisfies the present and future needs of the broad spectrum (pun intended) of subscribers, from IT to non-technical business leaders.

Pro-tip: ask other small cell vendors who have approached you about software reconfiguring their radios for different bands. If they can’t do it, you should look elsewhere.

SCRN-220 Press Release

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @ArtKingg
Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/Enterprise


“And Then There Were Three”…

March 7, 2014

(Aka, “One got fuddled, and then there were three”). SpiderCloud’s MWC’14 Recap and Commentary

The Genesis album from ’78 is a classic. The title is from an old children’s rhyme (10 little Indians). From our perspective, in the market segments that we play, “and then there were three” summarizes Small Cells at Mobile World Congress.

Before we go on, we have to congratulate GSMA for another banner event in Barcelona. This year there was a record attendance of 85,000 (last year 72,000 attended). The big difference this year was the notable presence of computing companies such as IBM, HP, Oracle, EMC and VMWare. The lines between mobile and enterprise networks are blurring (see blog). The big themes this year focused on wearable technologies, LTE, NFV/SDN, Big Data (analytics) and Small Cells.  GSMA’s Michael O’Hara and his team did a great job, as did Justin Springham and his Mobile World Daily & Live TV teams. See the “Show Wrap Up” and video recaps here.

Small Cells Moving from Hype to Reality

One analyst summarized as follows: “The indoor, enterprise space has notoriously been one where it was hard for operators to add value beyond providing bundles of voice minutes and devices. That is all changing and, as in-building coverage and capacity requirements become urgent, carriers see the chance for new business. That meant there was very heavy emphasis on indoor wireless at MWC, with vendors from all segments – Wi-Fi, small cells, DAS and macrocells – converging on the chief area of growth in usage and revenue.”

The sentiment is very accurate. Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire. The in-building market is heating up and the DAS and Wi-Fi vendors want a seat at the table which is why we saw many DAS and Wi-Fi “We are Small Cell” related press releases before and during MWC. This is all good.

As for deployments of in-building systems that can scale from hundreds to thousands of employees, the sentiment now is “…and then there were three.”

SpiderCloud Wireless, Huawei and Ericsson are now recognized as the three vendors who have (or will have) systems that can scale to address medium to large enterprise in-building mobile coverage and capacity needs for mobile operator customers.

  1. Huawei has a solution they call Lampsite that deploys like a DAS system, for coverage and capacity inside very large buildings. First deployment includes it’s own HQ in the greater London area.
  2. Ericsson is coming to market with its DAS Dot macro cellular system for single-band 3G or 4G coverage (only) using dedicated CIPRI over Cat 5/6 cabling system in 2015. Ericsson’s CTO on Small Cells, Cloud and more (video).
  3. SpiderCloud has been commercial for over 2 years and is proven with large-scale small cell deployments using existing enterprise Ethernet/VLAN.  In addition, the system includes a platform to enable cloud and applications services. Services beyond basic coverage and capacity were showcased by Vodafone, Intel, NEC, IBM, Seguna and Tango Networks during this year’s MWC. See SpiderCloud RCR interview and Mobile World Live TV panel with Alcatel-Lucent and AT&T.

Beyond Coverage and Capacity, it’s all about services

We enjoyed a lot of interest in our platform’s x86 services module. SpiderCloud’s Services Node (SCSN) provides a trusted connection to the Radio Nodes and a logical view into all devices on the E-RAN, to enable secure services to any mobile device on the network. The SCSN enables mobile operator managed cloud and application services, such as MDM, BYOD, caching, analytics, location and context-aware, security and IP-PBX services. The SCSN services module includes a 64-bit Intel Xeon processor that uses Intel Quick Assist Technology and a 120GB solid-state HDD, offering a virtualized environment for a wide range of applications.  Services examples and demonstrations at MWC included:

  • Intel/McAfee Virtualized Network Security Platform (NSP) to identify and prevent network security threats at the edge of the mobile network, before such threats can reach the core network, by blocking malicious packets sent by a mobile device. NSP protects a device from malicious packets sent by a server on the Internet.
  • Saguna Networks’ demonstrated the benefits of backhaul savings and user experience benefits of a centralized content cache on the SCSN as part of a scalable small cell system for large campus, venues and shopping malls.
  • Ineoquest showed Quality of Experience (QoE) demonstration of mobile video performance by using probes on the small cell network using the SCSN.
  • IBM location and detection virtual machine hosted on the SCSN showed handset-to-location video and advertising “push” services for use at venues and shopping malls. The OTA demonstration included SpiderCloud’s UMTS Radio Node.
  • Tango Networks’ demonstration used the SCSN and Radio Node to show how mobile operators can extend enterprise UC, PBX and mobile call recording services to their entire network, inside and outside the enterprise LAN using any mobile phone via Tango’s Virtualized Accelerator on the SCSN, based on policies configured on the virtual machine on the SCSN.

Small Cells, “there’s an APP for that” (article quote)

Making Deployments easier with EASY-30. Just before MWC, we launched a ground-breaking initiative to help mobile operators and enterprise customers identify, verify and deploy a scalable in-building small cell system in 30 days or less.  The EASY-30 smartphone application enables sales teams to swiftly identify customer requirements for in-building small cell systems and fulfill verification and approval between the operator and its enterprise customer.  The system can then be rapidly deployed over Ethernet and automatically configured via Self Organizing Networks (SON), all within 30 days of the first conversation between operator and enterprise.

Finally, “…one got fuddled”

Cisco is focusing its small cell efforts on the “pub market” (coverage/capacity for 50 subscribers or less) with its small business and residential system portfolio. Time and investments will tell if they’ll put technology efforts into going after the medium and large enterprise market.

Growing Interest in the Enterprise Small Cell Market

“For all the noise from these new product introductions, we would note that privately held SpiderCloud offers a sophisticated indoor coverage system, which it has already been deploying commercially for almost two years. SpiderCloud’s system effectively with its own controller and using SON (self-optimizing network) technology for network optimization, appears to have a solution that has lower up-front costs and is faster to deploy than most DAS system and has been being commercially deployed with partner Vodafone for almost two years.” Needham Co.

SpiderCloud is a key player in the small cell space – even hosting them on one of our tech talks last year. The company continues to grow quickly, deploying their solution in the UK (and elsewhere) as part of Vodafone’s densification/in-building coverage effort.  After discussions with management, we believe the year is setting up nicely for the company, and with multiple operators trialing or deploying their solution and work being done on a multi-operator solution, we believe the future remains bright.” Deutsche Bank, “Signals to Noise”, March 2, 2014

If you’d like to read more about MWC, we recommend:

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO
Twitter: haraldsvik

A Mobile Enterprise Without Visible Wi-Fi?

February 5, 2014

Over the past 1 & 1/2 years, we have discussed many different dimensions of Wi-Fi, small cells, and user behaviors — with a primary focus on the Enterprise experience. During the past few months we have had a number of meetings that brought to life some interesting questions and challenges.

Mobile operator questions focused on:

  • Is Wi-Fi going to be a fully supported RAN to the mobile operators?
  • Is Wi-Fi a bridge to LTE for mobile operators?
  • Is Wi-Fi destined to be a self-offload tool for residential and enterprise?
  • When will voice over LTE become real (and when will we have international roaming)?
  • What about 3G (voice fall back), we still need it for many years, so what do we do?

Enterprise IT questions (in response) were:

  • “This is not Wi-Fi, right? We don’t want anything from a mobile operator to interfere with our Wi-Fi.” Global IT Director
  • “Where we have control of a building, we want to own all the Wi-Fi, by policy.” Global Wireless Architect
  • “If spectral re-use, enabled by small cells, alleviates LTE spectrum capacity problems, where does Wi-Fi fit?” CTO from a major mobile operator
  • “Why should we invest in operationalizing yet another RAN [Wi-Fi] when there is no clear revenue model?” RAN Engineering Director from a global mobile operator

From our vantage point, the device owners (aka Enterprise) don’t have a stake in the RAN question, as they are seeking something totally different. Device owners want their Quality of Experience “QoE” to be the best available. There is no concern with how the device manufacturers or mobile operator may implement it. Read more about this in a prior blog where topic #1 is “Is Wi-Fi still as relevant to mobile devices by 2015, as it is today?

In the last few years, consumers and enterprise subscribers have been conditioned to self-offload onto Wi-Fi due to lack of “magic” access and software that does not work. Remember, free Wi-Fi is not as ubiquitous as most people believe or claimed (anyone who moves around, or travels knows that). In the enterprise, Wi-Fi may only be available for guests, if your sponsor has granted guest access. In some cases, Enterprise Wi-Fi may exclude employee mobile devices completely. We touched on this hot set of issues in “Turn off Wi-Fi” – Could this be the answer?

Enterprises are starting to position their architectures for outside the firewall access for mobile devices. As this strategy extends to conversion of legacy Wi-Fi architectures, having Wi-Fi as a service, dormant but available in the mobile operator RAN has the ability to allow the mobile operator to be in the running as a managed services provider of a set of common wireless infrastructure services – when the enterprise is ready to have such a conversation (after you build trust with them). This was part of our two part series on Blurring of the lines of networks (enterprise Wi-Fi).

Enterprise IT is all about trust-building (Show me NO MORE money spent on hardware!). To be successful in the enterprise, mobile operators need to understand the IT mindset around customer trust, security policies, and operational concerns. The sales cycle for enterprise in managed services, or doing anything that touches their infrastructure is very different than the arms-length relationship of in selling devices and minutes. The initial 10-point discussion of the business and security concerns were laid out in Warning to enterprise IT departments: Use of a Strap-On may have big consequences. Digest these points and it will save you millions.

What’s our take on the questions raised at the front end?

Mobile device client software will continue to move to being “magic” where the decision on the use of Wi-Fi or LTE will be both more intelligent and automatic. In the case of small cells where the performance bottleneck is not spectrum, staying on LTE will be preferred. Apple and Google will be the leaders in providing solutions to RAN selection that moves us forward from today’s situation.

Wi-Fi as a fully supported RAN to the mobile operators? We think that if this third RAN does not have a clear business case to build, providers like an iPass or Devicescape will satisfy the immediate need. For enterprise installations where a single truck roll is desired, our technology may be deployed with the Wi-Fi infrastructure present, but turned off. This investment positions the mobile operator to ask for the enterprise Wi-Fi business in the future.

Wi-Fi may be a bridge to LTE for mobile operators indoors where backhaul and spectrum are not constrained. A mobile operator who has sufficient capacity to satisfy their customers in most use cases may choose LTE and consider Wi-Fi as a future reserve, or something that device owners manage themselves.

Wi-Fi is a great self-managed tool for residential and enterprise. We device owners are well trained to configure for it. To take it beyond self-managed, the connection automation transparency, owner costs, and consumption rules will need to be clearly addressed over time. The challenge to the mobile industry is self-managed terrestrial Wi-Fi is a sunk cost and provides unlimited usage.

VoLTE becomes real this year for CDMA mobile operators with 3G having a prominent role as the lingua franca for International roaming. The LTE band plans and commonality are being sorted out by the industry and regulators, but the exact solution is not yet clear to us.

3G (voice fall back) will continue to be prominent in thinking and must be supported. For CDMA operators who make a move to exclusively VoLTE, simple bulk switching of traffic from LTE to Wi-Fi is out, and will require VoLTE traffic to be left on LTE.

2014 is a tipping point for how mobile operators think and invest in Wi-Fi as an integrated, not standalone, part of the RAN ecosystem. In no small part, adding Wi-Fi to licensed spectrum small cells (3G/LTE) will be situational and shaped by the overall business strategy, and focus of each mobile operator. Indeed, a Mobile Enterprise must include Wi-Fi to create a best user experience where the 3G/4G Radio Access Network works with Wi-Fi, without user or IT intervention.

No matter what occurs, initiatives such as SpiderCloud’s EASY-30 that help mobile operators create or re-shape indoor coverage and capacity deployment processes will accelerate enterprise small cells to “escape velocity” in 2014. You can read here to learn more about EASY-30 and/or setup your appointment at Mobile World Congress 2014 to meet us in person.

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @EMobilityInside
Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/EInsider

A Breakthrough Year!

December 23, 2013

2013 was the year industry momentum for small cells in the enterprise really kicked off. The year was clearly marked by operator deployments, Small Cell Forum’s significant focus on enterprise needs, and industry award recognition for SpiderCloud’s work on scalable small cell systems and LTE.

As we look back, 2013 is the year the industry agreed to solve Enterprise requirements for reliable coverage and capacity. After all, research conducted in the US, UK, Germany and Spain by YouGov, a market research firm, revealed that over 61% of IT decision makers from businesses in the US, with over 250 employees, said their business has had major issues with indoor coverage. In Germany this stood at 50%, in Spain it was 43% and in the UK it was 39%.

The industry’s focus on enterprise small cells led to 10 notable ‘events’

  1. Exact Ventures releases its report outlining the revenue opportunity for mobile operators – and cost savings potential for enterprises. Enterprise managed mobility services to exceed $100B by 2020.
  2. Cisco bought Ubiquisys and targets the “Pub market” (under 50 subs) with its most expensive and high-end large enterprise Wi-Fi Access points ($1500-1800) with a “strap-on” 3G or 4G module.
  3. Small Cell Forum awards Vodafone and SpiderCloud for innovation in scalable small cell system for medium to large enterprises. KPI data release unveiled performance reliability of the E-RAN system of 99.5 percent, making it suitable for most communications needs inside an enterprise.
  4. Qualcomm invests over $100m in Alcatel Lucent’s small cell business and ALU will use Qualcomm’s small cell SoC for all next generation small cells.
  5. Vodafone Netherlands announced it is using SpiderCloud’s system to address reliable coverage and capacity for medium to large enterprise customers.
  6. Ericsson enters the small cell market and announces a new and more sexy DAS system (that will come to market by Q4, 2014). Pac-Man (video) becomes cool again.
  7. SpiderCloud announces the industry’s first Dual-band 3G and LTE small cell (using Broadcom) as part of the Enterprise radio Access Network (E-RAN), a year after the first generation LTE small cell was announced (6 LTE trials).
  8. Small Cell Forum announced that 56 mobile operators have deployed small cells, of which 26 are using small cells targeted at the enterprise market. And, that by 2018, over 10 million small cells will be deployed.
  9. Intel buys Mindspeed’s small cell business.
  10. SpiderCloud’s Behrooz Parsay, SVP Engineering and Operations, was recognized as one of six small cell industry “movers and shakers” by Lightreading.com.

We appreciate the recognition. Six years of hard work from our engineers and field engineering teams led to several deals signed, and winning four industry awards (an additional five further short-listings) for our enterprise small cell innovations. Behrooz Parsay summarizes it nicely:  “For almost six years, we have worked hard to enable mobile operators with flexibility, ease of deployment and scalability, as well as reliability and performance for enterprise customers and in 2013, we showed the entire industry that we deliver on these requirements.”

As we look to next year, we believe 2014 will be the year mobile networks start to converge with Enterprise IT needs. 2014 will be the beginning of a seven-year enterprise transition from 80% Capex to 80% Opex spending on mobility, opening the door to a $100 billion mobile managed services opportunity for mobile operators.

Why? There is very clear demand on equipment vendors to reduce the cost of networks, both for mobile operators and their enterprise customers, using cloud and application services and virtualized network capabilities. This trend is having a dramatic impact on the network spend on hardware-only products and services in medium to large enterprise customers, opening the market for software-based applications and services, which reside on “white label” servers in third-party data center operations. The move towards more opex-oriented services will have a dramatic impact on established routing/switching “box” vendors.

Indeed, in 2014, we may see mobile-enabled devices surpassing laptops and desktop phones as the preferred method for enterprise communication. And, leading enterprise customers’ RFPs will start to demand vendors to offer multi-access Wi-Fi, 3G and LTE connectivity for reliable access and services.

Next year, leading mobile operators in the USA, Europe and Latin America will start to offer in-building coverage and capacity solutions, followed by managed mobile services.

We thank all of you for your support and continued encouragement. Next year will be an even bigger year for enterprise small cells.  Follow us on Twitter @SpiderCloud_Inc and meet us at many industry events. Our next big event is Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 24-28, 2014. Request a meeting with executives by sending an email to: mwc14@spidercloud.com

We wish you all happy and safe Holiday celebrations, and a peaceful and prosperous New Year!

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO
Twitter: haraldsvik

Oops! We Did It Again!

November 4, 2013

Yes, we keep innovating and bringing to market scalability and flexibility for small cell systems deployed inside the enterprise by mobile operators. Today, we’re announcing another industry-first with our very new SCRN-310 small cell addition to our system and portfolio of Radio Nodes. The SCRN-310 uses an integrated 3G/LTE baseband SoC from Broadcom with SpiderCloud’s patented software on top, which enables simultaneous 3G and LTE dual-band access and services. And, it can be software-upgraded to operate in two spectrum bands of LTE when mobile operators are ready to start re-farming existing 3G spectrum for LTE services.  The dual-band, dual-mode Radio Node leverages 2-years of proven commercial experiences (SCRN 200/300), and LTE experiences with the SCRN-210, which was announced a year ago, and is now part of half a dozen trials.

The new SCRN-310 supports 32 3G/HSPA+ channels, 32 active LTE users and 128 LTE Connected Users, and supports Voice over LTE (VoLTE). Band classes supported include: BC2 (1900 MHz), BC4 (AWS), BC1 (2100 MHz) and BC7 (2600 MHz). Support for additional band classes is planned for the second half of 2014.  The new SCRN-310 will be available in Q2, 2014.

So What?

So why is the new radio node important?  Peter Jarich with Current Analysis summarizes in a simple manner.

“Mobile operators need flexibility as they migrate their networks indoors and seek to enable in-building small cell services to medium and large enterprise customers. At the same time, supporting both 3G and LTE access is critical for investment protection while leveraging Ethernet for transport and power helps to address deployment concerns.” 

For someone who is new to SpiderCloud, the commercially available E-RAN system consists of a Services Node (SCSN) that can control over 100 self-organizing and multi-access 3G, Wi-Fi and LTE/4G small cells that can be installed in just days by leveraging a private Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) on the existing enterprise Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN). That’s right, installed in days, (not months and years) and can be deployed floor by floor in multi-tenant office buildings, or as the scalable small cell system solution for large and multi-national enterprises who occupy 10-100 floors as a single tenant.  A SpiderCloud E-RAN is an operator managed services solution, deployed and operated by the mobile operator. Why is this important? 50% of enterprises would churn to an operator that could provide better in-building mobile coverage and capacity. Enterprise customers are becoming very important. Ken Rehbehn with Yankee Group Research summarizes:

”Enterprise small cell service offerings are important for mobile operators. A compelling offer coupled with a strong enterprise-centric portfolio helps boost an operator’s value proposition when pursuing the enterprise sector. Strong enterprise small cell portfolios must deliver mobile broadband performance, right-sized scale, robust trouble-free operation and excellent enterprise network management visibility.” 

A Thousand Points of Interference, or a Magical Experience?

The Services Node is a ‘local’ control point for the small cell network deployed inside the enterprise. Without the presence of a local control point on an enterprise customer’s Ethernet network, a mobile operator cannot effectively coordinate small cells or support inter-small cell signaling (such as soft handover signaling in the case of 3G). Without the presence of a local control point, small cells have to connect back to the mobile operator’s core network-based gateways, slowing down handovers and increasing the rate of interference coordination inside buildings across both 3G and LTE small cells. That’s right, interference does not go away with LTE. In fact, cell-edge interference between two or more LTE indoor small cells is shown to be a significant factor. The Services Node’s control over all multi-access Radio Nodes ensures the same coordination/scheduling with 3G nodes and LTE radio nodes to ensure a great voice and data user experience. 3G and LTE/4G will live together for a long time. Simply going LTE indoors does not solve edge interference, neighbor list or management issues. The Services Node increases its importance as LTE become more pervasive over the next 2-5 years.

Small Cells Inside the Enterprise: Easy or Not?

As we pointed out earlier this year, “Mobile operators and vendors alike are awakening to the sober reality of the complexity involved in deploying 10s and 100s of small cells in a very dense indoor and outdoor area.”  Indeed, beyond hype and slide ware, not all small cells are the same. This is no different than the Wi-Fi market 10 years ago. You simply do not deploy a Linksys where you need an Aruba system, or vice versa. The same market segmentation that took place with Wi-Fi over a decade ago, is now taking place in the emerging market of small cells. Making a stand-alone small cell for small business or limited deployment of a “mesh” of small cells is possible today. So, making these large and complex systems work inside is easy?  No, if it was, a scalable small cell system would be available from the established RAN or DAS vendors and their partners.  The entrance of Cisco is validating the market for small cell systems for medium and large enterprises. But, simply “jumping in the water” does not mean you know how to swim. Cisco’s recent entrance is good for the small cell market, but the “strap-on” cellular-to-Wi-Fi go-to-market approach will see its challenges (see “Strap-On” blog). Likewise, we welcome Ericsson into this market with a DAS-Dot Radio approach. Again, a “dot” at the end of forget-about-the-stuff-in-the-basement-and-roof and fiber-pull Distributed Antenna System (DAS) architecture is limited to existing customers who are single tenants in very large buildings. See more in our “Ja, DAS Dot” review).  Indeed, this is a growing market and Joe Madden with Mobile Experts sees the implications.

“The in-building wireless market is the next frontier. That’s where data traffic happens, and the variety of building types and enterprise types will create a very dynamic market. Even better, because the indoor environment does not need the same kind of ‘mobility’, new competitors like SpiderCloud have an opportunity to beat the major OEMs by offering a more tailored enterprise solution.”

Beyond Coverage and Capacity, it’s All About Services (starting in 2014).

Beyond reliable indoor coverage and capacity, a scalable system also gives operators the capability to deliver hosted and managed services over their SCSN for mobility, unified communications (UC), secure access to applications, device management and integration of cloud and telephony (PBX), as well as new context-aware and location-based services.  Mobility drives improved efficiency and productivity.  Having the ability to work anywhere in a building is only as good as the reliability of the network. Poor indoor coverage and capacity is a growing headache.  IT managers are now turning to their mobile operator to fix the problem. In fact, 61% of IT decision makers from businesses with 250+ employees say that their businesses have struggled with indoor coverage and capacity, and of these, 73% of people had taken steps to address the issue by contacting their mobile operator.

“With support for both 3G voice and voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), the SCRN-310 gives mobile operators, and their enterprise customers, an enduring platform for current and future voice, data, and video services. Moreover, the platform will better enable mobile operators to offer enhanced enterprise-class mobility services like hosted unified communications, mobile device management and regulatory or compliance services.” Wise words by Greg Collins, principal with Exact Venture. See his report on the $100B services opportunity for mobile operators and 40% savings for enterprise IT.

We’re excited by the introduction of the new Radio Node, and the continued market advantages we have with a proven and scalable small cell system. This week we’ll touch upon our mobile operator presence on 3 continents, the shortened sales and deployment cycle we now enjoy, half a dozen LTE trials and our experience with IT departments and helping mobile operators to deploy E-RANs in the matter of days.

Look for us at the Small Cells Congress (Nov. 5-6) in Berlin, Nordic Small Cell Integration in Stockholm (Nov. 12), LTE North America in Dallas (Nov. 20-22) and at the Small Cell Forum and Small Cells Americas (Dec. 3-4). Follow us on Twitter @spidercloud_inc 

Opps, we did it again. And, we’ll do it again…and again. :-)

– Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO
Twitter: @haraldsvik

TM Forum’s Digital Disruption, Enterprise Managed Services Concerns

October 22, 2013

The introduction to TM Forum’s Digital Disruption 2013 states that “the digital revolution is disrupting every industry” followed by “creating new possibilities and changing the way business is done”. With those two statements in mind, let’s talk about the critical needs of enterprise customers. Because most customer facing operations are well along in their adaptation to digital, this discussion is focused on enterprise IT.

First, some context. Contracting for external infrastructure and cloud services has a potentially wide range of benefits, scope, and risk. But, the closer the services are to the employees, the more work the candidate service providers have to do to prove themselves to IT leadership. For example, individual developers can autonomously build sandbox and development servers at a cloud provider, but proposing to move critical production workload to the same provider will take longer and involve operations leadership scrutiny, due to internal accountability.

We’ll touch on three major themes below.

Multiple Partners – The difficulty of introducing external partners into the delivery ecosystem is directly dependent on the service itself. If there is a clear boundary, and the service is somewhat self-contained with IT as the consumer, it is relatively easy to add a partner. If the service crosses multiple partners and/or multiple functional silos, there is great risk of what we call “finger pointing”. This is where two different parties claim the other party is having the issue, and no one takes responsibility for resolving the actual problem for the enterprise employee. Build these situations into your plans.

Service & Support – We have experienced service where the basic service is awesome, but the support infrastructure is poor. If the service is delivered to a more forgiving customer like IT, perhaps poor support is tolerable. But, if you expect to deliver to the employees of a medium-large enterprise, the table stakes to open the conversation with IT are: self service, single sign-on, Service Desk e-bonding, an ITIL/ISO-27001 class operations framework, and possibly more. Support is the key differentiator in the service delivery world, as everyone will eventually deliver the basic commodity service. Woe to those who don’t consider service and support.

Open Standards – They are good and enable a basic lowest common denominator. However, as the standards get more sophisticated, interoperability testing is still required to confirm that Open A, works with Open B. In the Telecom universe, most everything is built to 3GPP standards, but still gets rigorous interoperability testing. In the enterprise IT space, there are less tools, expertise, or time to test vendors such that the practical question is “does it work, and can an SLA be tied to the service?”

Finally, it is important to note that above all else, people make services work. Service Level Agreements “SLA” and Contracts are vehicles to measure and enforce. Contracts are the tools of last resort when the partner-partner relationship has broken down due to personal or business conditions. In our opinion, when you have to reach for the contract, the relationship with your service delivery partner is in trouble. It is healthy to maintain cordial and honest communications regardless of stresses. This pays off in the long term, compared to the alternatives because, in most cases, you are bound together for the life of the contract.

Please attend our panel for an engaging discussion:
Delivering Enterprise Services Forum
2:45pm on October 29th
INSPIRED PANEL: Understanding the critical needs of enterprise customers

Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies
Twitter: @EMobilityInside

Visit our Enterprise IT site http://SpiderCloud.com/EInsider

Challenges Confronting Enterprise CIOs and Mobility Leaders in Moving Enterprises from Wireless to Mobile Productivity

September 19, 2013

The goal of CIO’s and enterprise architects is to unwire their organizations and make them more productive by any means necessary – by focusing on the core business of the enterprise. Rather than making IT bigger, the CIO’s focus is to make the business more agile and flexible, doing more with less. The use of mobility, cloud, applications and managed services help them achieve the enterprise goals.

The communications technology of yesterday (that is embodied in fixed devices, e.g. desk phone and laptop software, e.g. UC clients) must be moved to the employee’s mobile devices. The point of failure within most mobile initiatives, at present, is the lack of respect for the need of mobile device owners to have a “magic” user experience (no App to install, do nothing new, no change in user behavior). The differences between a consumer and enterprise behavior, and requirements are significant.

Normal consumer behavior is to cost optimize as much as possible with a goal of a free service (such as Skype), and defer certain broadband behavior or actions (use of free Wi-Fi hotspots to offset impact on plans). And finally, unpredictable quality is acceptable.

Enterprise behavior, though influenced by consumer demand for ease-of-use, focuses on cost optimization. All actions are urgent, and/or immediate, and quality must be consistent, good, highly predictable and repeatable. IT also likes to keep things simple (devices, applications and services). If not, new cost-reducing or productivity initiatives will not be used or adopted. Most importantly, IT’s focus is to make access as secure as possible, and empower employees with high quality mobile services that work, with no limitations, wherever people are.

Sounds easy, right?

Deploying new tools, and getting their usage ingrained into an organization is one of the hardest tasks in enterprise IT. If the OTT tool replicates a consumer grade communication feature of the mobile device, and is not a mandatory part of daily workflow in the person’s role, chances of success are low.

There may be ‘islands’ of OTT, but moving everyone onto one platform is extremely hard. The right philosophy to enterprise services, in context of Unified Communication, is that the experience should become a “Clientless UC” experience where the consumer experience of “just make it work” is integrated to the enterprise platform. By taking this path, enterprise IT significantly reduces its OTT support burdens, and greatly increases the chance of success vs. the present UC strategies. Many enterprise device owners will continue to be very resistant to adopting multiple tools. Enterprise IT, when presented with service packages that allow the consumer interfaces to accomplish functions that OTT solves for, will approve those packages instead of using Capex funding to build and run the OTT services themselves.

The Pre-Requisite: Dependable Coverage and Capacity

Nothing halts a mobile initiative decision faster than lack of reliable coverage or capacity. Mobile operators who are trying to sell advanced services layered on top of the macro-network know this problem well. Office buildings that have known significant coverage/capacity problems can be excluded from evolving, because of the steep operations expenses associated with systems engineering and provisioning. Why? Enterprise IT has to make simple decisions on technology that must be good for all employees within the enterprise. On average, an IT team moves 40% of employees annually. If a group of employees were unwired, and then moved to a location with poor coverage/capacity, not only would they be unhappy, but they would also have to be re-provisioned with wired services. The operations expense with normal technology moves is far lower than unwiring/wiring. A practical IT person will defer unwiring their organization until dependable coverage and capacity is available. As new energy efficient buildings and remodeling gradually eliminate the ability of the macro-network to penetrate with reliable signals indoors, providing coverage and capacity from the inside-out is becoming a big problem for mobile operators.

To succeed in the enterprise, we need to mirror the consumer mobile experience with enterprise devices and applications.

Earlier this week, Vodafone did exactly that. Vodafone is the world’s first mobile operator to offer a system that can deliver reliable mobile services indoors, for enterprise customers of any size, using a highly scalable system.

“We can now, more rapidly than ever, address the needs of thousands of enterprise customers who rely on mobile connectivity and services for business productivity” – Marcel van den Biggelaar, Head of Technology Strategy, Vodafone Netherlands.

Vodafone Netherlands is empowering enterprise CIO and IT teams with a mobile experience without the need to change user behavior, or take a crash-course in becoming a mobile operator overnight (placing themselves in harm’s way for IT trouble tickets).

Why is this important? 50% of enterprises would churn to an operator that could provide better in-building mobile coverage.

So, who else will take the bold step to fix the problem with mobility inside? Industry insiders are speculating “SpiderCloud expects to also announce US and South American customers between now and Mobile World Congress.” If you are a CIO or IT team leader for mobility, we know what you are hoping for. By the way, we can be of help, and visit our Enterprise Insider for insights.

So who else can do what we do? Very few, fewer than you’d think. See Maravedis/Rethink Wireless “Small Cells Inside the Enterprise: The Who What  & Where”.

Next, we will cover more problem areas in enterprise as we transition from a wireless to a mobile enterprise, and the mobile operator data center opportunity.

Stay tuned; mobility inside is coming your way.

Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO 
Twitter: @haraldsvik
Art King, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies
 Twitter: @EMobilityInside

Mobility 2020: The Transition from a Wireless to a Mobile Enterprise as IT spending moves from 80% Capex to 80% Opex

August 21, 2013

A mobile enterprise has vast infrastructure and services implications for Enterprise IT, hardware vendors and Mobile Operators.

A mobilized enterprise is not a destination, but an outcome of the transition from wired and wireless at work, to always-mobile connected to the enterprise IT infrastructure, whether at work or on-the-go as part of an emerging Global Area Network (GAN).

The blurring of the lines between the enterprise and service provider networks will extend the “edge” of the mobile network from the operator’s core into the enterprise premise. A mobile operator managed eco system platform with presence inside the enterprise creates Capex reduction opportunities for the CIOs, and a transition to a more predictable Opex services relationship with mobile operators and partners, bridging the mobility value gap that exists between the mobile operators and its business customers:

  • The shift to a mobilized enterprise fundamentally transforms the enterprise IT infrastructure from 80% Capex to 80% Opex
  • The mobile enterprise increases services revenue opportunities for mobile operators
  • Build a valued business partner relationship between operator and Enterprise

An important step to enable a stronger services presence inside the enterprise is the deployment of a scalable small cell system that can take on the role of a services platform point-of-presence inside the enterprise Local Area Network (LAN). Steps to build a trusted mobile services relationship starts with:

  • Deploy a small cell system in the matter of days or weeks that can scale and deliver mobility services beyond basic coverage and capacity. Prove consistently high throughput, consistently low call drop rates, and transparent reporting (build trust)
  • Easily add 3G/LTE/Wi-Fi and multi-mode small cells as capacity and technology needs evolve, without replacing the original system (build credibility)
  • Start to introduce per-employee/per month applications services based on enterprise needs: Wi-Fi, PBX integration, broadcast alerts and offers, location and context-aware services

A 2013 research study by Exact Ventures demonstrates a $100 billion emerging market opportunity for mobile operators in providing mobility services for enterprise customers.  The research showed that enterprise customers could save 35% a year by adopting such operator-delivered managed and hosted services.

In the next few blogs, we will outline the challenges confronting enterprise CIOs and mobility leaders in moving enterprises from wireless to mobile productivity, and the services opportunities for mobile operators as they build coverage, capacity and cloud/services presence to support the mobilized enterprise. Stay tuned. The move from wireless to a mobile
enterprise is underway, and the changes and opportunities are significant.

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO
Twitter: haraldsvik

Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies
Twitter: @EMobilityInside

Visit our Enterprise IT site http://SpiderCloud.com/EInsider

Is Wi-Fi Still as Relevant to Mobile Devices by 2015, as it is Today?

July 31, 2013

Got your attention?

Before you jump off your chair and fire off irate comments, or quietly give it a supporting nod, let’s set the context for this question.

1. LTE outdoor and 3G/LTE/Wi-Fi Small Cells Indoors for coverage and capacity and services will become more pervasive within the next 2 years.
2. Indoor usage becomes unlimited for any radio type (where flat rates or no-rate plans are used inside on an enterprise’s LAN).
3. Rate plans accommodate multiple devices per person.
4. Always best radio access becomes more feasible where the device will look for best radio access when and where needed.

Inside enterprise customers’ buildings, campus or floors where a mobile operator has invested in scalable and multi-access small cells, the user experience and performance of the radio infrastructures between LTE and 802.11, across the standards continuum, is very similar. This is due to RF strength decrease that follows the Inverse Square Law combined with the modulation downshifts that occur with longer distance from the radios. In brief, 10 or 20Mhz of licensed LTE spectrum may give a user/employee inside a LAN-powered mobile network as good, if not a better experience for voice/data, then when connected on a 40Mhz unlicensed Wi-Fi network.

The differences between LTE and Wi-Fi are centered on access and mobility overheads due to the origins of each technology from either mobile (LTE) or static (802.11). You’ll see that not only are LTE and Wi-Fi speeds similar, but OFDM and QAM types are shared by both technologies. For overall data throughput, the primary limiting factors are:

  • Latency between mobile devices and the hosts
  • Backhaul speed and congestion
  • 1Gb Ethernet Ports (we have not yet seen a radio with a 10Gbps port)

To learn more, see Wireless Data Standards, LTE-Advanced, and 802.11ac. You’ll see that not only are their speeds similar, but OFDM and QAM types are shared by both technologies.

Let’s compare and contrast using apples and… well, apples:

  • If you assume 1Gb Ethernet connected radios with equivalent uncongested backhaul (full path), the user experience from the same App or web property should be similar.
  • This similarity enables the “question”: If LTE and Wi-Fi (even LTE-Advanced and 802.11ac) are comparable from a big picture perspective, how does good ol’ Wi-Fi fit in 2015?

In 2015, Wi-Fi still delivers a great value to the mobile operator, subscriber and enterprise, but in a different way starting now.

For device connectivity delivered by the mobile operator’s small cell system:

  • New devices will prefer LTE and, if it’s congested, will dynamically shift traffic over to the Carrier or Enterprise Wi-Fi.
  • Legacy devices will take their direction from the infrastructure if they are not dynamically aware of the best LTE/Wi-Fi decision.
  • “Wi-Fi only” or virtual SIM-capable “buy-as-you-go” and “where you go” devices will leverage a Virtual SIM and Carrier-enabled Wi-Fi as part of available services packages in the metro region or country.

By 2015, Wi-Fi takes on a different role as an additional revenue source:

  • Invisible to the enterprise, Carrier Wi-Fi offloads other mobile operators’ data traffic onto the managed mobile/Wi-Fi network — Hotspot 2.0 powered via the mobile operators’ home/visitor backend so it’s invisible to roaming subscribers.
  • Guest Wi-Fi in venues and enterprises will relieve those operations of the compliance and operations burdens that Guest Wi-Fi presents. The mobile operators can offer this service in a number of creative ways that could include a revenue sharing arrangement with the venue owner as they exit the service delivery business.
  • Secure Wi-Fi with 802.1X integration into enterprise backend directory services. The great majority of new devices and network access inside the enterprise will indeed never be connected to an Ethernet cable — in their lifetime. When this is combined with continued BYOD trending, the enterprise perimeter shifts closer to the data center and not at the old boundary of the wired Enterprise-Internet (see Blurring Lines Enterprise Perimeter Changes and Wi-Fi Trust Boundary Change for details). The result is smaller data centers and fewer racks at headquarters and branch offices. Why?  IT will simply source all the mobile/wireless enabled network services from the mobile operator because operating mobile or wireless networks is not the core IT competency, nor core to the business operations.

Wi-Fi is still relevant in 2015 for mobile operators as a residential offload technology, and for vertically integrated businesses that insist on managing their own Wi-Fi networks or insist on taking on the role of a mobile operator for their enterprise employees. But, where LTE and scalable small cell systems become more pervasive as a services offering by a mobile operator, Wi-Fi’s role will be very different from today. Small Cell systems by mobile operators help enterprises exit the operational role for commoditized communications technology.

A new and more important role is emerging for mobile operators where enterprise mobility and value-added IP services is part of the ‘package.’ Mobile is the heartbeat of any organization, and wireless is the digital oxygen that our devices breathe at home and on the road.

Small Cells are evolving with enterprises’ needs, and transition from going wireless to becoming a true mobile enterprise.

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @EMobilityInside

Visit our Enterprise IT site http://SpiderCloud.com/EInsider

Riding the Growth Wave…

July 12, 2013

SpiderCloud Wireless is riding a wave of momentum as we see a growing and industry-wide interest in scalable small cell systems for indoor enterprise segments. CIOs and Enterprise IT are making their voices heard, and the small cell industry is responding.

ABI reported recently that… “growth will come thanks to operators like AT&T, Vodafone, Telefonica, Softbank, and Sprint all being at the forefront of driving shipments in both enterprise and residential settings” and that “overall Enterprise and Consumer Femtocell shipments will reach 5.7 million units in 2014 compared to 3.8 million units in 2013.” In ABI Research’s latest forecast, SpiderCloud and Vodafone were recently recognized by the Small Cell Forum at the June World Summit in London with the 2013 Design & Innovation Award for “enterprise and public access small cells.” In mid May, SpiderCloud also received CTIA’s award for “Network Infrastructure, In-Building Network.”

It’s clear that the small cell market is starting to segment itself just like Wi-Fi did 10 years ago. Not all small cells are the same, and this is something that Rethink Wireless has captured in their most recent report. Stand-alone small cells are made for residential and small business, whereas a system like our Enterprise RAN (E-RAN) is made to scale. Scale and performance matters. We have been collecting 18-months of system performance data from the network deployments, and the data shows a 99.5% reliability. Performance metrics are collected by our SpiderNet system. See the results here.

In the coming weeks and months we’ll make more announcements about continued innovation and growing momentum. We’re thus thankful for the continued go-to-market support we have from our partners: Vodafone Group R & D and XONE Labs, NEC, Galtronics, Druid Software, Tango Networks among many more.

Stay in touch with SpiderCloud on Twitter, and sign up for our newsletter for quarterly updates.

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO
Twitter: haraldsvik