In advance of the NEDAS NYC Summit taking place on September 6, 2018, ExteNet’s Vice President of Indoor Solutions (Wireless), Bill ‘SHoes’ DelGrego, shares his insights on how the ‘Fourth Utility’ is impacting how building / owner / operators are becoming wiser as tenants and end-users require more reliable connectivity to support their growing reliability on cloud and other data communications. As the industry evolves from licensed spectrum to use of unlicensed spectrum, SHoes’ insights provide a glimpse into the coming evolution in the wireless infrastructure space and how it will transform private wireless networking. TelecomNewsroom’s editors share the conversation with you.
Telecom Newsroom (TNR) Q1: How has the in-building wireless industry changed in the past 12 months?
Bill DelGrego (BD) A1: A growing number of building owners are understanding that most everything needs to be or will be connected. Converged communications infrastructure is no longer a capability reserved for major properties in Manhattan or new professional sports venues. Owners of buildings of all sizes, types, and even in less dense locations are coming to understand that they need to be connected or have a viable connectivity solution. The availability of this “Fourth Utility” impacts spend behavior; if you don’t have it, tenants, guests, and prospects will go elsewhere – no question. As part of this realization, building owners continue to get wiser and also understand that in order to keep their real estate valuable, they must budget for and be prepared to grant access to providers like ExteNet. In such a dynamic landscape, constant education is important, as confusion across solution options can overwhelm.
TNR Q2: What is the most exciting technology or solution that you are seeing in the market?
BD A2: In short, a big opportunity for all of us in the industry is to use unlicensed spectrum as a new solution in the wireless toolbox. As a result, building owners and/or communities can work with partners like ExteNet to essentially become their own private LTE operators inside a building, sports venue, conference center, community, or other. Topics like CBRS are making headlines, announcements and trials have started, and we should expect to see a strong uptick in device support come in 2019. For the in-building space, this solution has tremendous potential to help address the ongoing bandwidth demands for tenants and for the many intelligent building applications coming on-line.
TNR Q3: NEDAS NYC will address interesting solutions at the edge where wireline and wireless meet – how does the push to the edge impact your business?
BD A3: Getting capability/connectivity closer to the user is what we are all about. We see a continued need to extend fiber all the way to the enterprise edge and ultimately
to the virtual desktop. Gigabit speeds in the access domain are becoming commonplace. Now, people increasingly rely on the cloud for work and play, and as a result, need to always be connected. This is having an impact on the traditional network architecture where components that were once highly complex, expensive, and centralized are now being simplified, distributed, and moving to the edge. Ultimately, the availability and flexibility of the network can be the differentiator for the enterprise and communities it serves.
TNR Q4: What are your company’s key differentiators?
BD A4: For ExteNet, while our heritage is delivering turnkey wireless solutions, we continue to expand the in-building solution portfolio into natural adjacencies like in-building fiber, micro data centers, enterprise services, unlicensed spectrum, LTE Packet Core, and more. The goal is to become more of an end to end connectivity solution partner for the real estate owner and all communication service providers.
Infrastructure solutions can be complex and having to manage multiple providers for a single solution is complex, but if you have to deal with only a single company, then we see this as a huge advantage for our customers. In addition, these solutions need to be fully supported by a carrier-grade 24 x 7 customer support services and infrastructure network operations center (NOC), which ExteNet has today.
We understand that as reliable broadband connectivity, whether fixed or wireless, is utility-like and there needs to be the support staff equipped with the skill set and tooling to ultimately maximize the availability of such a critical investment. We have this and many of our deployments and customers rely on it for maintaining quality service levels. For many enterprises today or even for first responders, if the connectivity goes down, users immediately know it, publicize it, and can no longer operate or do business. There are roughly 5.6M commercial properties across the US and they all need to be connected 24 by 7.
TNR Q5: What excites you about the future of the telecom industry in regards to wireless and wireline technologies and trends?
BD A5: There is a lot of talk about 5G lately, but perhaps the bigger picture is that we are only just warming up when it comes to the concepts of 5G, smart cities, intelligent buildings and IoT..These initiatives are coming, in fact, many are emerging now. However, these movements will have major impacts on the underlying network infrastructure that needs to support and ultimately enable them. As an example, we travel to major trade shows or talk with technology vendors and so many new technologies and apps require connectivity, but often there is minimal discussion around the underlying connectivity solution itself, there is just an assumption that the network will always be in place and operate as it needs to. This is a major and highly risky assumption…smart and longer term planning and investment is needed to realize this vision.
You really need to partner with somebody who knows this space…quickly throwing a bunch of antennas and cabling out there is just asking for problems, disappointment and unnecessary costs. You can’t get to “smart anything” without ubiquitous connectivity.
TNR Q6: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
BD A6: As I mentioned, for ExteNet, we can’t emphasize the education challenge in the real estate space enough. Owners do not just lease space any longer, they provide a customer experience. Without a thoughtful approach to the converged communication needs of the enterprise and the densification and connectivity challenges of today and tomorrow, you will be behind the power curve and the potential revenue that could come your way.
TNR: Thank you ‘SHoes.’ Next time I will have to ask you about that. Our readers can learn more about SHoes and ExteNet’s solutions by attending the NEDAS NYC Summit in Times Square on September 6, 2018. To learn more about ExteNet visit: www.extenetsystems.com.
About Bill DelGrego:
Bill DelGrego is the VP of Sales and Business Development for the Enterprise Network Solutions portfolio of ExteNet Systems. Bill works with property owners, enterprises, and the service providers, helping them understand the value they can add with indoor Distributed Network infrastructure.
Prior to ExteNet, Bill served as Executive Vice President for Accenture’s Federal practice – helping key clients navigate the complexities of Washington. His many roles included Business Development, Client Relationship, Capture Management and Sales across all DoD and Intelligence Accounts. Retiring as a colonel and leaving the USAF after 26 years of service, Bill “SHoes” DelGrego flew T-37s, T-38s, F-4s and F-15Es and was a Squadron and Group Commander. His final job in the Air Force was as Chief of the Skunkworks at the Pentagon. He is a Harvard Fellow, MIT Seminar XXI grad, and helps a non-profit organization based in Colorado with a focus on Veteran’s transition, something near and dear after serving for 26 years in the USAF.