Traveling has been a large part of my career at Cisco. Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to travel to customer meetings around the world, discussing their innovation and use cases for Cisco Small Cell Solutions. What’s interesting is when I spoke with operators in Europe, the prime drivers for WIFI has been connecting cities and stadiums for special events….the summer Olympics was a great example., While in the US, I have met with operators about connected stadiums, retail malls, museums and more. The most interesting story was a visit to the Middle East. We were in Dubai, and seeing some of the examples of where they wanted to take Cisco SP Wi-Fi Solution was fascinating. There was one location in particular that I dubbed “Candy Land”, because it had a retail venue, it had an amusement park, it had a stadium, it had a race track — all in one location on an island. This operator was going to talk to the owner of the island about how they could provide SP Wi-Fi for all of those venues. I was talking to another operator in the Middle East, and one of the things they were looking to provide SP Wi-Fi for was The Hajj. There are millions of people that go to Mecca yearly, and they just need connectivity, for a lot of different reasons; I found that absolutely fascinating. Each part of the globe has unique use cases to each of their country’s cultures and people, but they all want to be part of the wireless world.
The biggest market trend that I believe is driving mobility right now, might be an obvious one, but it is the growth of data traffic. If you really dig into what that means, you can see examples everywhere. My favorite example was the Gangnam Style video. That video went viral, with hundreds of millions of views on YouTube , and most of those views were from some type of mobile device. People were not just sitting at their desks watching that video, people heard about it, they immediately went to YouTube on their tablet or mobile phone, and watched the video. It is those types of events that are really going to drive that traffic up. Mobile Operators have a very important role in the future, they own the spectrum and data for end users, and you could say they are the gatekeepers for this mobile world. They are challenged as to how they can support this data demand and high user adoption, and this is where small cells really come into play.
There are a couple things that are going to make mobile operators successful from small cells. Certainly I look at the unlicensed technologies, SP Wi-Fi, as a source of offload for users, but how do operators monetize? The ability to have location based services and analytics as a value add that operators can use as monetization opportunities to help creates a sustainable, scalable ecosystem for the operator. When looking at the licensed small cells, operators have leveraged the spectrum they own to help enterprises create better coverage and capacity for their end user. The world of small cells has a large potential to revolutionize the way consumers access data and cellular networks. To learn more about different Market Perspectives and Small Cell Experiences from other fellow Big Thinkers in Small Cell, please visit http://www.cisco.com/go/bigthinkersinsmallcells .