Podcast: Is Private Cellular Networking the next great frontier?
About the guest
Stephen Brown is responsible for driving enterprise sales for Inseego. Mr. Brown brings a successful track record of more than 30 years that includes high-profile leadership positions and recognized sales achievements in the high-tech industry. He specializes in forming strategic alliances and programs that add value to the customer relationship. Mr. Brown is often a speaker at various industry events. Earlier in his career, Mr. Brown held senior sales, marketing, and technical positions at HP, Mitel, and served in the U.S. Army, 18th Airborne Corps.
Private networking refers to the ability of businesses and consumers to connect directly with each other instead of relying on third-party providers such as cellular networks or ISPs. 5G is a significant technology shift that will allow for even faster connections between devices. Private networking is an important part of the transition to 5G, as it will allow for more efficient use of bandwidth and increased reliability.
- Private networking allows devices to connect directly without going through the internet. This is useful for cases where you want to connect two devices that are near.
- Private networking is also useful for cases where you want to connect multiple devices to a single network.
- The impact of private networks in the business landscape is allowing customers to deploy networks more cost-effectively, faster, and without having to wait on third parties to help them manage the network.
- There are a few sectors that are starting to emerge early on that will benefit most from private networks, such as retail businesses, construction, and health care.
“The difference between 4g and 5g to put it into perspective for folks is a 4g is like driving down a four-lane highway. 5g is like driving down 100 Lane.” - Stephen Brown
Highlights from the episode
Talk us through the experience you have in helping organizations move toward the 5g connectivity, both for business and consumers.
We're on that next trajectory of the next technology wave moving from 4g to 5g. These are typically 10-year lifecycle journeys. COVID-19 probably slowed that down a little bit. But the service providers and other network providers are working hard to get 5g proliferated out into the various networks. I would still call it early innings in 5g, but already customers are starting to look at different ways to leverage 5g networking. This 5g is a real paradigm shift from the ability to deploy high-speed, low-latency networks, where that was used to be only possible with terrestrial connections, such as fiber, or some other copper connection. But we're looking forward to the next five to ten years to see how it transforms how we do business and how we live, work, and play.
Can you walk us through where the company has been, history within the space, and towards the next five or ten years where you see Inseego playing a part?
Inseego has been in the market for probably about 25 years. They were founded in 1996, under the name of Novatel Wireless which a lot of folks might recognize, they invented the MiFi, which you might be familiar with the hotspot that is in the product. So that was the first product that allowed us to connect our laptops to the cellular network. Since then there have been numerous firsts, bringing the latest 4g technologies to market, and then most recently, we're in our fourth generation of 5g network technology in the market today. There are customers like Verizon, AT&T, T Mobile, and others worldwide that use our products to deliver the high-speed networks of 5g today.
Can you explain to our listeners today the concept of 5g and private cellular networking as a business-based concept?
There are different types of private networks. The service providers have their version of private networks, but predominantly, it's run over what's called CBRS, which is Citizens Broadband Radio Service. So the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) several years ago started opening up some frequencies on the cellular network that could be used unlicensed so customers could leverage that spectrum to deploy applications and technology. Then there's a licensed spectrum for other businesses like service providers or enterprises to purchase and run on their own. So if you think about a place with a large density of people and you need to connect to a network, one of the best ways you can do that is with wireless, as people are moving all around Wi-Fi. Cellular connectivity provides a much more robust, secure way to roll those applications out and keep devices connected. Just to give you an example, the difference between 4g and 5g to put it into perspective, 4g is like driving down a four-lane highway. 5g is like driving down 100 lane highway, it's a paradigm shift. Businesses can deploy applications on that network a lot faster. And they don't have to wait on other entities to help them manage that.
What are the areas of disruption that you see are most ripe and are there specific sectors in which you think are going to benefit most?
There are a few that are starting to emerge early on. Today, we see retail businesses taking advantage of it because they've got locations all over the country and cellular connectivity gives them a really quick, cost-effective way to deploy that technology. A lot of times they'll use it to power things like their point of sale and mobile point of sale devices. We're seeing a lot of niche areas that are pretty exciting to be exposed to in healthcare and in the manufacturing space where they're starting to leverage high speed 5g networks to do things like Digital twins and Augmented Reality, leveraging something like Microsoft HoloLens, allowing them to connect to that private network with ultra high bandwidth, and being able to bring someone in remote to help them troubleshoot or broadcast different information over that network to them at any given time.