Just over two years ago, Small Cell Forum published its first Enterprise Release, a set of case studies, deployment blueprints, business cases and best practice guides for this market. Over 130,000 downloads later, the dedicated contributors who produced all that material could hardly have hoped for better rewards for their labours.
Demand for small cells from this market is ramping up, partly because many of the barriers to deployment have now been removed, some of that thanks to the impact of that previous release. About 60 per cent of businesses expect to have deployed small cell technology by the end of next year, and enterprise small cell shipments will quadruple in 2016, according to various analyst studies.
Such surveys indicate a sector which will adopt small cells heavily in 2016, for a variety of reasons from essential coverage in a mobile-first, BYOD world, to supporting value added services that rely on presence or context awareness.
The widening range of use cases for small cells has, of course, raised a new set of challenges as well as growing opportunities. So, at Mobile World Congress this month, the Forum will announce Release 6: Smart Enterprise, which builds on the foundations laid by Release 2 and looks ahead to new business models and architectures.
This second Enterprise release is a testament to how quickly the market, and the requirements of its operators, are evolving – and how Small Cell Forum has succeeded in keeping ahead of that curve. Release 6: Smart Enterprise, like its predecessor, offers a technical and business toolkit to increase knowledge and confidence, and simplify deployment. Also, reflecting the increasingly real world nature of small cell networks, it includes a library of case studies which will offer valuable guidance to new deployers.
The Release documents address many of the issues which operators and enterprises say will be critical enablers. For instance, in a survey of over 500 enterprises conducted for the Forum by research firm Nemertes, the need for multi-operator support; streamlined deployment and cost sharing processes; and strong voice solutions all emerged as important to spur roll-out.
All those, and many other issues, are addressed by Release 6 documents such as ‘Multi-Operator Market Drivers’, ‘IT Considerations for Enterprise Small Cells’, ‘Capacity Planning for HetNets’, and ‘The Future of Voice’.
And the Release also looks ahead to yet another set of challenges, which will accompany emerging architectures such as virtualisation. As Forum Chair Alan Law puts it, the Release “majors on the needs of the fast-growing Enterprise sector, but also looks to the future by taking us forward on the development of multi-operator small cells, the use of license-exempt spectrum, on network virtualization, and capacity planning in a HetNet environment.”
You will be able to download Small Cell Forum Release 6: Smart Enterprise from Tuesday 23 February at www.scf.io