March 30, 2017 —
Zinwave and Vertical Bridge have partnered to provide in-building wireless systems. Under terms of a Master Services Agreement, Vertical Bridge will offer Zinwave’s UNItivity wideband DAS as a preferred solution for in-building wireless challenges with Zinwave providing equipment, service, and maintenance capabilities. Vertical Bridge will also directly manage all customer relationships.
The partnership represents a new business model for acquiring in-building wireless infrastructure, allowing customers to pay as an operating expense, opposed to budgeting for it as a capital expense.
“[Vertical Bridge] understands how carriers and private companies have struggled to find a solution to easily implement in-building wireless,” said Scott Willis, president and CEO of Zinwave, “and by offering our UNItivity system to their extensive network, together we can provide a new way to give building tenants the wireless services they expect and want.”
Vertical Bridge plans to offer Zinwave’s UNItivity platform and services to its a portfolio communication sites, 3,000 of which represent real estate building assets.
“By bringing together Vertical Bridge’s extensive portfolio of managed locations and Zinwave’s unique technology platform, we’re able to offer a new solution for in-building wireless communication, which traditionally has been significantly underserved,” said Bernard Borghei, co-founder and senior vice president of operations at Vertical Bridge.
March 14, 2017 —
Zinwave, a global provider of wideband distributed network solutions for in-building wireless, has relocated its headquarters from the United Kingdom to Dallas.
Zinwave develops and deploys enterprise-grade in-building commercial cellular and public safety wireless solutions for a wide range of venues, including corporate campuses, office buildings, universities and airports in North America and major global markets.
In the past year, Zinwave has expanded its leadership team, and during the next three years it plans to grow its workforce across several key functional areas. Zinwave is also expanding its customer focus in North America and chose Dallas as its new headquarters because it is centrally located and allows easy and efficient access to managing both North American and global customers’ needs.
Dallas also provides access to a large pool of technical, administrative, and executive talent which Zinwave believes is key to fulfilling its staffing needs, and it is a center of enterprise activity and home to more than 20 Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Dallas hosts many of the nation’s top commercial real estate firms, including CBRE, JLL, and Cushman & Wakefield. These companies recognize the need for in-building wireless service as a necessary “fourth utility” in their buildings.
January 10, 2017
Slavko Djukic joined Zinwave as Chief Technology Officer in December 2016. His background is in DAS and small-cell systems, with 18 years of experience in indoor wireless technology development. He most recently served as Ericsson’s head of strategy and solutions for small cells, DAS and Wi-Fi. Prior to that he was with Corning. He spoke to AGL’s eDigest over the phone about the new challenges facing the DAS industry.
What is your role as a Chief Technology Officer?
Djukic: My role with Zinwave will be defining where we go with our technology platform. What do we need to do with our existing platform to address the current environment, as well as down the road in terms of product research and development?
How has the DAS market evolved?
Djukic: Traditionally, DAS OEMs in the last 20 years have done well when operators were spending a lot of money, especially when AT&T formed the Antenna Systems Group and spent a lot of money on DAS. In both 2014 and 2015, carrier spend went somewhere else as the builds reached a point of saturation, that is why we are looking to tap the great potential of the enterprise market. It is a good opportunity for companies like Zinwave that have not been around as long, to grow and capture the enterprise market, which has been moving toward the practice of BYOD [Bring Your Own Device].
The enterprise market is particularly price sensitive. How do you approach that?
Djukic: At the end of the day, you must meet the enterprise’s needs in a cost-efficient way. It is not just the product cost, but the services as well. It is the total cost of ownership.
We have one box covering cellular and public safety frequencies. If we cover the frequency bands, we will be able to support any technologies. It is about being able to pass that frequency band through our product. There are no additional modules to plug in or added filters. That is the appeal of our solution.
How will DAS proliferate in enterprises that don’t want to buy a system?
Djukic: We need to crack the code, if you will, on the enterprise market. We need to figure out how the traditional model, which started with towers and expanded into public venues like stadiums, airports and convention centers, needs to be adjusted to take advantage of opportunities in the enterprise space.
We are looking at how the platform will evolves as the operators or neutral hosts may or may not move into the in-building space as we move into the unlicensed spectrum. What is interesting is the new Citizens Broadband Radio Service [which has a three-tiered authorization framework for commercial uses] in the 3.5 GHz band. Will it be the wireless operators inside the buildings or a whole new class of operators deploying neutral networks on unlicensed spectrum inside of enterprises?
What are the technical challenges posed by enterprises?
Djukic: The enterprise market is not like a stadium where they have only a few events a year, and you have lots of time to update the system. With an enterprise, you want to go in once and be done with it, so you cause the least disruption to the business.
With frequency-specific products, you will need to do a lot of system upgrades as the FCC makes new bands available in the future. This is why Zinwave looked attractive to me coming in.
With a wideband, all-fiber architecture, we are well positioned to grab market share as the industry figures out the business models that help make it reality. If new frequencies become available, all we need is the RF source to plug into the existing DAS. We don’t have to update the remotes, amplifiers, filters and antennas.
April 5, 2016 — With the pace of wireless technology from 2G to 5G and rapid fire spectrum auctions by the FCC, the only thing DAS users can count on is change. For instance, new hardware was required when carriers rolled out LTE and, with AWS-3 is currently coming on the market followed by 600 MHz, DAS systems will need more updates.
And change may be the worst thing for enterprise users of DAS, because they are cost sensitive and averse to spending time on what they see as overhead, according to John Spindler, VP of marketing, Zinwave. If a lot of upgrades need to be made to a DAS, the enterprise may opt for a voice over Wi-Fi solution or settle for macro penetration.
“When additional frequencies are deployed by the carriers, you may need an additional remote in the ceiling and extra cabling infrastructure. If your cabinets are full, you may require a second system,” he said. “The enterprise is going to say, ‘What just happened here? How much is this going to cost to support those new frequencies?’ It can be extremely painful from a budget standpoint.”
As major venues have been built out and carriers have moderated their DAS penetration, an effective enterprise-funded business model is seen as the crucial to future increases in DAS buildouts. Equipment providers are working on providing the value proposition that will break open the enterprise market.
Using distinct amplifiers to power each frequency band can end up requiring additional equipment when new spectrum is added by the carrier. The answer to future proofing, according to Spindler, is using a system that has one broadband amplifier to cover all the bands.
The City of Bellevue, Washington, recently deployed a Zinwave DAS to support both public safety and commercial cellular frequencies in its City Hall complex, which can handle additional new frequencies without hardware upgrades as carriers license new spectrum and as FirstNet comes online in the coming years.
As Public Safety Becomes Imperative, Enterprise DAS Will Follow
Offering DAS that supports both carrier and public safety channels was essential when marketing DAS to the City of Bellevue, according to Spindler, because government entities always have a budget for the public safety element. Zinwave has deployed DAS in a number of county municipal buildings with public safety coverage and cellular mixed in, as well.
Spindler sees that market trend broadening out beyond municipalities to include enterprises. Zinwave has been quite active in public safety space, universities and museums, as well as municipalities. A number of other DAS OEMs, including DALI Wireless, Cobham Wireless and SOLiD, are also marketing to the public safety side.
“We are seeing a broader trend in the market where enterprises are looking at the need for public safety capability in their in-building wireless systems. [Public safety DAS] is becoming more of a concern, moving from a nice-to-have to a must-have,” Spindler said. “The enterprises are telling us that they can’t fund in-building cellular but with public safety in-building there is no question that they will fund it. If you can bring cellular with the public safety coverage, it’s even better. Killing two birds with one stone.”
Continuing this trend, the dynamics of the DAS are going to shift further toward public safety DAS when FirstNet is rolled out across the country, he added.
January 22, 2016 — In a bid to increase its North American presence, Zinwave, a global in-building wireless OEM, has hired former Goodman Networks exec Scott Willis as CEO. Willis, based in Dallas, who has more than 30 years of executive experience with both carriers and OEMs, replaced Ian Sugarbroad, who resides in the United Kingdom and remains vice chairman of the board.
Willis is just one of several recent hires at Zinwave as it strengthens its commercial and technical teams globally and opens larger facilities in San Jose, California. The ramp up is meant to exploit new opportunities in the U.S. enterprise in-building wireless market, according to Willis.
“It is an investment and recognition of the need to strengthen the organization and of where the growth is going to come from in the DAS market,” Willis said. “With the significant growth being led by North America, you are going to see a greater investment and focus within this market segment to grow Zinwave and take advantage of the market opportunity.”
Zinwave’s wideband DAS supports wireless and IP services between 150 MHz-2700 MHz on a one-layer infrastructure, regardless of protocol or modulation scheme. Additionally, it supports multiple FDD and TDD LTE services simultaneously.
The dilemma that Zinwave faces is leveraging what it perceives to be a technical advantage from a sales and marketing perspective. The traditional go-to market strategy into carriers is simple and inexpensive, requiring only a small direct sales team. Today, with the shift of DAS to the enterprise market, the complexity of sales and marketing is far greater.
“From a vendor perspective, it is figuring out how to reach that enterprise in a very different way than you have organized yourself before,” Willis said. “If you look at my background, those are strengths that I will bring to the role as we look at creating multiple channels into the enterprise market.”
Zinwave targets enterprise verticals, such as education, healthcare, hospitality and industrial, which are “high value, high reward and high opportunity for success,” Willis said. While the OEM still depends on a direct sales force to market to carriers and enterprises, it is developing a value-added reseller (VAR) channel to increase its reach into enterprises.
“If you look at who has the relationships with that enterprise segment, it is a lot of the VARs that are smaller and well positioned in the community,” Willis said. “We will find the best resellers that are positioned to deploy our equipment. We will put long-term procedures in place where we can penetrate and drive our solution through those VARs.”