Just when you thought it was safe to wade out into the small cell type landscape, confident you knew the all, along comes the trip wire.
ip.Access has rolled out what it calls a “Presence Cell.” This small cell is a radically different approach that promises to liberate a huge amount of value from the mobile operators’ radio networks. According to company CTO Nick Johnson, this small cell is a fully functional 3G small cell, which can be installed standalone. It doesn’t require a small cell gateway or connection to the mobile operator’s network. The cell is autonomous and uses a built-in self-organizing network (SON) feature to verify its location and synchronize with nearby macro and small cells.
Typically they are positioned at critical locations throughout a retail area or central business district. These briefly interact with 3G phones passing by, smartphones and feature phones alike, capturing anonymized identity information and RF measurement data. This data is uploaded, aggregated, and enhanced to provide a range of analytics for a variety of business uses such as retail analytics, m-commerce, and mobile promotions. This approach has some advantages to other methodologies, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which are basically, competing concepts. But this system doesn’t require Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to be enabled. It is stand-alone. It looks like a very attractive technology for businesses in many locations.
This is a pretty interesting application for a small cell. It will be interesting to see how well it gets accepted.