Small Cell Forum held the last event of a packed 2017 schedule in December in San Jose, California. Chair David Orloff reflects on discussions held on the convergence of mobile communications with IT and software.
The December Small Cell Forum North America Plenary in San Jose was the first time the Americas plenary had been held in Silicon Valley, and it proved a very appropriate location to take stock of the achievements of 2017 and plan another intense program of work and events for the year ahead. With the first 5G deployments on the horizon, and densification becoming a reality in many markets, SCF’s work is more significant than ever, and will make a hefty contribution to wider industry initiatives in the run-up to 5G.
That means our efforts to build close ties to other industry forums and standards bodies will intensify in 2018, and the fruits of this cooperation will be clear to see. In San Jose, one of those partnerships – with the TIA – took center stage, in a highly successful session focused on our joint work on common specifications and certification for smart buildings and cities.
The increasingly urgent issues of improving in-building coverage in many enterprise environments and laying the groundwork for truly smart cities, were major topics in the plenary sessions and working group sessions. They were also strongly emphasized in the SCWS Americas conference, which took place alongside our event. My keynote address for the SCWS conference (available here) built on the theme of partnerships, and their importance in complex enterprise and city environments. It also outlined the operator requirements which SCF had gathered during a series of summits round the world in 2017.
Events like the Densification Summit in Mumbai and the Partners’ Day in Atlanta have proved invaluable in giving us detailed insights into the real-world needs of operators as they start to densify their networks in earnest, and to prepare for 5G. Their inputs will form the basis of the work program for this year, along with an operator survey commissioned by SCF in the last quarter of 2017, which provided valuable indications of how service providers will approach 5G, edge computing, virtualization and other key trends.
Now we look ahead to 2018. The next milestone will be the launch of the second phase of Release 10, which will provide a full roadmap for densification well into the 5G era. This will be a centerpiece of our MWC activities. After Barcelona, there will be a rich program of SCF plenaries and other events throughout the year, including a summit hosted by ETSI in the South of France, and plenary meetings, alongside SCWS conferences, in London, Taiwan and San Jose. Find the full details of all events here.
We have high ambitions for all these events, initiatives and work items, and I am confident they will help SCF to play a vital role in creating a unified and workable framework for 5G and dense HetNets. But that will only be possible with your input and contribution. The program is ambitious and the timelines are urgent, with 5G looming. I hope you will all take an active role in shaping and implementing this roadmap, to ensure that the outcomes fully reflect the needs of the industry and the views of your organization.
I look forward to working with you all during 2018.