This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
In Miami on Feb. 2 through 4 will be the event that brings the discussion to a new stage in the 4G wireless evolution process. 4GWE, M2M and SuperWiFi are sister events all aimed at looking at the future of communication. They are programs designed for anyone involved in rolling out services and solutions that is looking for the right partners and products for the future.
Key discussions will be focused not on the theoretical but on the practical. The nationwide rollouts will be led by a series of new devices that are data savvy and designed to integrate with the consumer in all of us.
But the networks are in a rollout mode. Will the evolved packet core need to be augmented? Do the licensees of the spectrum before the 4G rollout find themselves needing new partnerships? Will the carriers find that new applications are exploding the demand, and they will need to change the offerings? In other words: Will customer adoption impact carrier deployment?
We will have the benefit of Sprint’s (News - Alert) Matt Carter, 4G president, sharing with us his perspective and the aggressive strategy, having been the first to roll out 4G with their WiMAX initiative.
However, in the evolution process, the ecosystem is always adapting and adopting. Every carrier will be talking about Wi-Fi as part of their strategy, leading to the discussion as to whether Wi-Fi represents a new opportunity. This part of the discussion will be augmented by the SuperWiFi Summit, where we will look at the FCC’s (News - Alert) white space announcement and consider what is ahead for that market – including an active discussion from the WISPA community about how white space will hasten quicker deployments and new models of services.
The wireless architecture we will see forming as a result of these opportunities will be one of commoditization and aggregation as the tension between data services and devices impacts the roll out plans by businesses. All of this is about the core and the service offerings, but the reality is that often it’s the device that wins our hearts.
Device design is a complicated compromise between what exists and what will be, and the process of delivering all the services available within the form factors of the device will. A key question we will ask is: Is there a strategy in deployment that delivers better form factors?
Embedded in the conversations about devices will be the discussion about the relationship between network APIs and app stores. Should the carriers seek to link their networks to solutions that enhance applications, entice customers to use them for applications selection, or accept over- the-top options as the answer for all the applications?
The answer to this question may come from the deployments of location-based services. Can the carrier provide better positioning and are their applications that need that accuracy?
In the area of devices, machine-to-machine evolution is showing us signs of what we should expect for the rest of 4G.
Telemedicine solutions are becoming more commonplace and rapidly rolling out around the world, as we will hear from various service providers.
Integrators continue to deliver a new era of delivery, and the legacy systems using 3G technologies may find they are a better fit for most of today’s rollouts.
All of these events focus on the business of how technology solves our day-to-day needs.
However, the day to day should not be confused with what came before. The last day of events will have a Regulatory 2.0 discussion.
This is not just about the sister events, but all of the ITEXPO (News - Alert) family of content. We are facing economic and advocacy pressures that if, not addressed, will hamper development and opportunity.
Voice over IP suffered a setback when old rules were applied to new solutions. The wireless world has the benefit of the new era of data services. At Regulatory 2.0 we will be looking for the models that support Apple, AT&T (News - Alert), Google, Skype and Verizon Wireless to enable the wireless Internet.
It requires new mindsets – an evolution of thinking.
4GWE, M2M and SuperWiFi are sister events all aimed at looking at the future of communication. They are programs designed for anyone involved in rolling out services and solutions that is looking for the right partners and products for the future.
Carl Ford is a partner at Crossfire Media.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi