Modern “cityzens” expect mobile coverage and capacity wherever they go. Providing infrastructure for good mobile-data coverage and capacity is as important as public transportation, electricity, water and sewage. The question I want to address in this post is: how do operators leverage the capabilities of small cells to power-up performance in public spaces?
“Cityzens” spend more time travelling to and from work than their rural peers. It’s of great interest to them to turn this time into valuable professional or private time. This is an opportunity to catch up on their mailboxes and is prime time for social media interactions. This is driving demand for an increase in network capacity in the places where we spend time outside of home and work, for example at bus, train and subway stops and along major road and rail routes.
“Cityzens” who spend a significant amount of time in high-rise offices, multi-dwelling homes or hotel buildings are ofter above the normal mobile/cellular coverage levels. These users still expect that their mobile voice, data and video services will work just as well in these locations as on the ground level. To secure coverage in these places, special indoor solutions are needed to bring a vertical coverage dimension into play.
In addition to using time efficiently, “cityzens” are also keen to have coverage and capacity in their favorite relaxation spots. They want to watch a video clip or parts of a drama series or read an e-book in their favorite outdoor plaza; enjoy a relaxing moment under a tree or by a bench in the park together with their device or simply take a stroll through popular part of town. The scenarios are numerous and well known to all of us.
Finally, security and safety of “cityzens” – a priority for city governments – is dependent on high coverage and capacity city wide. Dedicated networks will inevitably fall short on the coverage and capacity expectations or will shoot budgets to exceptionally high levels prompting city administrators to leverage highly-dense mobile data networks.
My predictions of the future of network performance in public city spaces are:
– Mobile “app coverage” and capacity to meet citizen demand is the most import infrastructure development for cities in the near-term.
– “Cityzens” will leverage a mix of 3G/4G/Wi-Fi access to get their needs satisfied, provided there is a common business model across all three technologies.
– Coverage and capacity in public places will distinguish powered-up cities from those that are struggling to meet expectations.
– Access modernization will be done through a combination of macro-grid densification, small-cell introduction and Distributed Antenna System deployments in a variety of deployment scenarios.
Business life in the city has developed around a strong service sector in a variety of enterprise segments. As the global market is reshaping the future of businesses in general, with advanced ecosystems and strong niche players, local city life will also change. So how does and will the cloud, collaboration and connectivity contribute toward creating competitive companies in cities?
The digital or networked economy is thriving on advanced ecosystems, with market makers and contributors all playing key roles. Large global players focus on providing powerful business platforms, to be broadly exploited. Local, niched companies focus on the segment that can be supported over the platform. As we move forward, technology will become essential in a variety of non-tech companies and here cross-company collaborations will be key.
A networked collaboration environment allows the service sector in a city to expand its collaborations beyond companies within or even close to that city. As a city business, you can collaborate with peers in other cities facing the same challenges. You can link up with niche specialists in other cities to address the missing links for your proposition. You can leverage best practices globally from leading niche providers. Last but not least, as a leader in your city, you can expand quickly.
With a complex ecosystem and many niche contributions, you are unlikely to meet many of your business partners in real life. You will instead meet them through networked brainstorming sessions using virtual whiteboards. You will meet them using videoconferencing tools in order to give your partnership a face. With fewer/vaguer borderlines between companies, you will see rapid adoption of video communication/collaboration with integrated project management tools – all enabled and powered by applications in the cloud.
My predictions for the future of cloud collaboration are:
– Cloud-based communication and collaboration will be mission-critical infrastructure for competitive companies in cities.
– Advanced ecosystems and niche players will create the foundation for your company’s expansion of offerings beyond your core skills.
– In addition to niche companies, the collaboration opportunities will open up new opportunities for young “cityzens” to collaborate as individual contributors in early stages of their careers.
– Video and shared whiteboards will move out of conference rooms and become basic tools in any collaboration room/screen.
– The collaboration needs will quickly move beyond rooms to contributors’ personal screens.
The evolution of networks will play a central role in the development of urban society. A network that delivers from A to Z on expectations with regards to coverage, capacity and capabilities is vital for turning urban populations into ‘cityzens’ of the Networked Society. I would argue that the urban network is the single most important piece of infrastructure needed for economic growth in a city. This is the first in a series of posts that will touch upon the following subjects introduced here.
Work & play
Lifestyles are transforming for locals and for tourists. Going forward, how do we thrill those visiting our cities, when location-based services and LTE are all widely available? How do we meet up with acquaintances in a city where fewer and fewer people plan social meetings in advance? The question is perhaps, what is required to power-up performance in public places in the city?
Similarly, urban business life and the service sector are in the beginning of a major innovation cycle. What role will networked collaboration play in re-inventing the service sector? How can the sales process in a city be revamped to support the evolution of small shops and food outlets? What will a modern restaurant look like if you spice up life beyond salt, pepper and free Wi-Fi? Will we work from office or home or will we see work developing around where we are?
Transportation & health
With cities becoming larger and larger, the focus is being placed on efficient transportation. How will air travel evolve and what about the door-to-door experience? How will parking and power infrastructures evolve to support a future centered on electric vehicles?
Finally, a major burden will be to take care of entire populations and secure their health. How can proactive activity-monitoring secure a more physically active population in the city? And how can we leverage the network to improve the situation for urban homeless people?
This subset of opportunities for cities in the Networked Society will be explored over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
Householders’ physical mailboxes still receive large volumes of mass-marketing material. However, as mobile and online marketing rapidly develops, the value of the paper pushed into the mailbox comes in to question.
Online marketing offers a number of valuable new options. The marketing can be targeted to your personal interests, or even your physical whereabouts through the use of location-based applications. New marketing business models, where advertisers pay per actual reader, are also critical in advancing online consumer marketing. Some consumer brands representing premium products and services have already abandoned paper marketing. The last bastion in paper marketing to mailboxes seems to be discount coupons. Coupons have played an important role in offering discounts to consumers, especially in grocery stores. But in many markets, coupons have already vanished, and in the remaining markets it is highly likely that they will become networked through apps like Yowza, Coupon Sherpa, Grocery iQ and CoupSmart. With smartphone penetration in advanced markets widespread, networked-only coupons could soon be a reality. Another step in e-marketing is through an onslaught of e-mails, triggering your interest to re-visit a store you’ve already been to. If you are on the mailing list, new messages seem to come at two-to-four week intervals. Some stores introduce a few new products in each newsletter to attract customers’ attention. Others are repeating general store discounts at their outlet branch, week after week. My predictions for online/mobile marketing: * Innovative companies are embracing online/mobile marketing, eliminating the need for them to deliver marketing material to a physical mailbox. * Mobile coupon marketing is gaining traction and is being applied to new business scenarios, where coupons have been limited to date. * Staying away from networked marketing is not an option. The question today is for how long you run paper marketing in parallel.