With all of the iPhones and Android (News - Alert) devices stuffed into stockings this past holiday season, the demand for data has never been higher. The key now is to make sure our buildings are outfitted with enough wireless connectivity to handle the surge in data transmissions.
Consider this: Apple’s (News - Alert) new iPhones broke records when more than 10 million devices were sold in the opening weekend. In the month after both models went on sale, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found that 91 percent of iPhone (News - Alert) buyers chose one of the new models. This is significantly more than the 84 percent of people who chose the new models when the iPhone 5C and 5S came out. Additionally, the average storage capacity is 48 gigabytes, which is about double the average capacity from the previous year’s new device sales. The maximum storage capacity is now at an impressive 128 gigabytes.
This is an unprecedented amount of data that people are carrying around in their pockets, and much of it is being downloaded, streamed or shared through indoor distributed antenna system and small cell networks. In other words, the traditional telecom networks are about be flooded – a demand that will only be compounded by the inundation of new devices that were gifted over the holidays.
For a wide variety of structures – whether it be a shopping mall, sports stadium, or a college campus – older wireless networks won’t stand much of a chance against the coming deluge of data, and those venue operators will be in need of a quick upgrade to their DAS or small cell networks now that everyone is communicating on their new devices.
That's important not just because they cure the headache of not being able to access data and connect quickly on a day-to-day basis, but they address a critical public safety concern as well. Whether it is a natural or man-made catastrophe, medical crisis or any other type of emergency, any delay in reaching emergency personnel or issue understanding the person on the other side of a 911 call can be life-threatening.
More than 70 percent of emergency calls are made from mobile phones, making it critical that calls to police, fire departments, and emergency medical services connect on the first try and do not drop while vital information is being relayed. Being able to easily text pictures to friends and stream videos in an indoor stadium is important, but having the ability to call 911 in the case of an emergency when many others may be using their devices at the same time is an absolute necessity. Maintaining open radio frequency between first responders is just as critical, and can be facilitated through small cell and DAS as well.
Kunal Hinduja is the founder and CEO of ARQ (www.arqwireless.com).
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino