SCF Chair Alan Law reports back from a successful week in London at Small Cells World Summit.
Once again, the small cell industry has convened in London at the annual Small Cells World Summit, always a highlight of the calendar. This year, the event was a particularly important one, with a new Release and a glittering ceremony to present this year’s Small Cell Forum awards.
The SCWS, celebrating its tenth anniversary, is a key opportunity for the industry to showcase its latest achievements and discuss the next steps. My keynote address, and many of the presentations which followed, reflected just how far small cells have come, even since last year’s gathering. They are being rolled out at a rapid rate round the world, especially in the enterprise.
But even as small cells achieve scale in 2016, there are new challenges. Many of these are regionally specific and as the keynote highlighted, the Forum is stepping up its work of engaging with operators, regulators and policy makers in key regions to help smooth the path to mass deployment. Enterprise and smart city expansion in the Middle East, densification in North America, the eye-watering pace of roll-out in India – all these are opportunities which will be maximized with timely cooperation with local bodies.
Looking ahead, small cells will increasingly move to the heart of all operators’ plans for the HetNet. The Forum released the first phase of Release 7 at the show, entitled HetNet Foundations, which centered on a comprehensive integrated HetNet architecture framework. This sparked a huge amount of coverage and discussion. It provides a market-defining blueprint for the multi-x world in which multiple radio technologies, spectrum bands and domains will be part of a seamless multivendor network supporting a huge range of business models.
Wednesday night saw another key event in the small cell industry calendar, the Awards Gala Dinner. Every year sees more submissions for these awards, which over eight years have become some of the most coveted and prestigious in the mobile world, thanks to the quality of the entries and the rigorous judging process by a panel of independent analysts.
I would like to congratulate all the winners and shortlisted companies – every award was hotly contested, and the wide variety of winners reflects the growing diversity of the sector. Large organizations and start-ups were up on stage to receive the trophies, and they were being rewarded for commercial success and for the bluesky innovation which will drive the next generation of solutions.
The awards are not just about a glittering dinner and popping corks – they remind us of the hard work that has gone into achieving the current success, and they help set the agenda for the Forum’s work program. Congratulations to everyone who made the Summit such a landmark event this year, and I am sure it has highlighted the benefits of engaging in the vital process of defining the next generation HetNet. If you would like to find out more about becoming a member, please get in touch with one of the team.