June 25, 2015 — Enterprises that are neither marquee event venues nor small businesses have special needs when it comes to technology and business cases. SOLiD’s Mike Collado refers to these venues, which range from 100,000 to 500,000 square feet, as the “middleprise” segment.
“It’s a large and underserved in-building market that represents millions of square feet requiring coverage and capacity and includes hotels, hospitals, class A office space, high rises and retail space,” Collado told AGL Small Cell Link in a phone interview. “Increasingly, coverage and capacity in the middleprise are being viewed as a competitive differentiator, and the stakeholders are exploring their options.”
During the DAS & Small Cell Congress in June, Collado and SOLiD led a tour of the 122-year-old Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, citing it as an example of a middleprise. A discussion ensued about the market challenges and trends of the middleprise market segment. Among the speakers were Bob Johnson, Duke University; Earl Lum EJL Research; and Nazim Choudhury, iBwave; as well as Collado.
“It’s generally accepted that in a large enterprise the solution is DAS, and in a small buildings the solution is small cells. But the middleprise opportunity is complicated by multiple variables such as funding and ownership, design and compliance with public-safety mandates. Solving for the middleprise requires a toolkit approach,” Collado said.
In-building technology and business case models must change to meet this vast market opportunity, according to Collado.
“The current densification toolkit – DAS and small cells – doesn’t do a really good job of scaling down or scaling up to bring a cost-effective, multi-operator coverage solution for the middleprise,” Collado said.
Conventional technologies – both small cells and DAS — and business models are changing to address this market opportunity, according to Collado.
“A successful product for the middleprise market will need to offer lower total cost of ownership starting with price per square foot,” Collado said. “Additionally, it will need flexibility to support multiple operators and bands and have intelligence that makes it easy to deploy, commission, optimize, manage and monitor.”
When carriers and third-party owners look at the middleprise market they see a big opportunity. In fact, ABI Research states that less than 2 percent of this market has been penetrated, globally. However, the business case for funding this market segment is another complicating variable and will require the venue owner or stakeholder play a new and expanded role, Collado said.
“There is a catalyst opportunity where the venue owner is going to play a more significant role in funding and owning the in-building network,” he said. “They will do it if the price is right, it’s easy to deploy, and will scale. The carriers will also welcome a solution that is easy and less expensive for the carriers to connect to the core.”
Also at the DAS & Small Cell Congress, SOLiD launched a DAS product that possesses some of the qualities Collado mentioned as success keys for a DAS in a middleprise facility.
Designed to provide coverage and capacity at large venues including stadia and campuses as well as within the dense urban outdoor market, the Alliance 20-watt DAS solution reduces power consumption through new amplifier technology. It also possesses “green mode” intelligence which, based on the capacity used, enables the system to further reduce power consumption. Additionally, the DAS features a one-click, auto-commissioning software that reduces installation costs and simplifies system commissioning and optimization.