In 2019, venue owners will take LTE into their own hands
Most of us now expect to be able to use our phones wherever we go and, because of this, demand for high-capacity in-building coverage will continue to grow in 2019, writes Ingo Flömer, the vice president of Business Development and Technology, at Cobham Wireless.
Venues like sports stadiums, entertainment arenas, hotels and shopping centres all require suitable mobile coverage, not just to meet the expectations of visitors, but to also, crucially, unlock value-added services.
These could include dedicated apps that offer in-venue sales of food or merchandise, as well as navigations tools that enhance the visitor experience. LTE coverage is also required in office buildings and shared work spaces to fill in for patchy Wi-Fi, as well as support emergency services communications as the UK emergency service network (ESN) moves us from TETRA to an LTE network.
Building owners have asked mobile operators for dedicated indoor cellular coverage for years now, but little progress has been made. As such, the onus to provide coverage and capacity will shift from operators, to venue owners and real estate investors.
Failing to provide adequate coverage could seriously dent real estate lease rates, and as such, we’ll see a growing number of venue owners taking LTE coverage into their own hands. Investing in robust, high-capacity in-building coverage technology now will give venue owners a competitive edge; the global smart building market will be worth an estimated US$31.74bn by 2022, unlocking significant opportunities for stakeholders across a range of vertical sectors, from utilities and infrastructure management to security systems.
The benefits for those working in these smart buildings are obvious, but there are also advantages for the owners; a recent report from Morgan Stanley claims that buildings optimised for occupants can command 3% more rent and gain a 10% increase in equity value, as well as potentially reducing energy usage by 30%. Ultra-connected real estate will be a – very marketable – must-have in the near future and will play a key role in attracting and retaining high-return tenants.
Lacking technical experience and know-how, these parties will require value-added resellers and systems integrators to develop networks for them which are cost-effective and can support multiple operators. This model, called neutral host, enables a venue to own the network, and open it up to a number of different operators to supply connectivity.