I had the opportunity and honor to speak at the Pennsylvania Wireless Associations’ (PWA) event at State College, Pa. I was on a panel that discussed the IOT use in smart cities. I’ll get into that in a minute, let’s talk about the event and the other panelists first. If you want to see the agenda for the event, click here.
It was really a lot of fun, the first day we got a tour of the Penn State Football stadium, which was awesome. The tour guide’s name was Spider, that’s right, Spider. He was great. He took us all through the penthouses and through the area where they players parents wait and in the locker room and on the field. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for arranging that.
But wait, there’s more! They also have us a front seat to the AT&T and Verizon site and DAS head end for the stadium. That was cool to see; I have some pictures so you can see it was a full site. They have a lot of radio heads crammed into that shelter. They also have a packed DAS head end there as well. Pretty cool to see. The AT&T tech told us that they have a 1Gbps backhaul for that site. It just doesn’t seem like enough for over 100,000 people on gameday. It was an impressive setup and great to see!
Then, the next day was the actual conference. It was great to see so many people interested in wireless at one event. I thought the turnout was great. This was at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.
Let’s get to business, here is where we had the panels that would set the stage for the Smart City work that I hope we all can participate in very soon. It’s finally happening using all the infrastructure that many of us put in over the past 5 years. Seriously.
The opening speaker was Ram Narayanan from the Penn State School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He runs a lab for the school to do research into wireless systems and offering. He also runs a program where local businesses can come in and work with the school for research to create new things. It looks like a very exciting program and Ram took a lot of pride in what he built. If you are interested in working with Ram at Penn State then you can find his information here, http://www.ee.psu.edu/Directory/FacultyInfo/Narayanan/NarayananProfilePage.aspx to learn more about how it works.
The first panel was AT&T, who really had a nice presentation on how AT&T can do a complete end to end IOT offering. They are already offering the service, and they talked about security for the IOT network and devices. Peter Stephenson presented the offer well. If you would like a turnkey solution, this is the way to go. I am not sure if that’s how everyone would like to go but it’s one possible solution. It sounds like AT&T will have both LTE-M and NBIOT bands up and running. They already have proven solutions, and they are growing the program. They already have a NOC/call center and the coverage in most areas. Amy Mcllvaine explained what a smart city was and gave some examples of the smart city initiatives that were already being worked. Barb Burba was the moderator for this session.
The second panel was mine along with BIG Wireless. We had a unified message to let the people in that room know that they have an opportunity to participate in the IOT and Smart City ecosystems. Several cities are going to want to deploy their own networks, and it would be anything. If you want to see a copy of our presentation, click here. We drove home the point that cities will all have different priorities and want unique solutions. That is where the people in wireless can come in and look for new sources of revenue as well as provide valuable services for cities. They will have needs for everything from garbage tracking to vehicle tracking to parking meter and space solutions. Routing traffic, alerts, digital signage, city-wide Wi-Fi, and more. They will be looking for income from their poles and other assets that they have available. They will look to reduce their expenses by installing LED lights and tracking people. They have so many opportunities that we, the consultants, contractors, and wireless solution providers, can provide. You get the idea. Special thanks to Bob Hagarman and Roger Hayes from BIG Wireless and Mike Starner for being on the panel with me. It was a really great time.
The third panel was a varied group. The moderator was Ryan McBreen of Waterford Consultants. He did a fine job of asking relevant questions for each panelist. Tim from Crown Castle did a great job talking about the opportunities out there for deployment and DAS, he was interesting and made some great points about how DAS upgrades continue to keep him busy. Tony Cellucci gave a good talk about the use cases for IOT. It was good to learn what is already happening in the industry with IOT and the availability of new sensors. Joe Conlon got up and showed a video on how Itelisys connects contractors in the industry. That was one of our points, we all need to work together to become the end to end solution.
Then came the closing ceremonies for the event. This is where we could thank the people who worked hard to make it happen. There are so many people who worked hard to put this together, Barbara Burba (Amerisites Wireless Development) and Marc Geddio (Waterford Consultants LLC) went the extra mile to make sure that the event went off without a hitch. Great job! Both of you went above and beyond to make it a great event.
Special thanks go out to the PA Wireless Ass. Steering Committee! Thanks to each of you for putting this together.
- Phil Burtner, NB&C, PWA Board
- Ryan McBreen, Waterford Consultants
- Lisa Batchelor, Crown Castle
- John Shive, Crown Castle
- Sarb Bassi, American Tower Corp
- Michael Starner, Comcast
One thing I would personally like to thank the PWA for is its continued support for the Hubble Foundation. Hubble Foundation has been trying to raise money this year, but it has been tough. They rely on groups like the PWA to support them as well as people like you and me. I make a point to give something to Hubble Foundation each year, more often if possible.