Small Cells World is always going to be a busy week for all involved in the small cell industry. At Small Cell Forum, we like to capitalize on the fact that so many of our members are gathered in one place and pack the week with meetings, activities and workshops. So here goes, my review of the week.
Monday: Alan Law and I hosted a press conference in central London to announce the launch of Release 5.1, the first phase of our work on Virtualization. This collection of documents, which you can download for free here, identifies the clear opportunity to support an accelerated industry transition to virtualized small cells. And it’s clearly a timely initiative, with over 2500 document downloads in the first week. On Monday evening, we hosted a lively and well-attended operator dinner. What struck me was a sense of how alongside the global commercialization of small cells was often localized innovation, delivering regional solutions to very specific business challenges.
Tuesday: At the opening address of the Small Cells World Summit, Alan talked about expanding the Forum’s role in delivering integrated HetNets. As part of this presentation, we also announced a future road map that includes further work on Virtualization, unlicensed and HetNets. This will formulate the bulk of the work for Release 6, planned for June 2016 that will focus on the HetNet. Download Alan’s presentation here.
Wednesday: Another successful day at Small Cells World at ExCel was followed by the night we had all been waiting for – The Small Cell Forum Industry Awards. Everyone involved in judging agreed that the entries this year showed us that operators and innovators are pushing the boundaries of technology to increase small cell deployment across the globe. You can view all the winners here and we have some great pictures from a fantastic night. It was a brilliant celebration for the industry. Congratulations to all involved.
Thursday: Thursday saw many of our working groups meeting. The teams from the Radio & Physical Layer, Network, Regulatory, Services, Interoperability and Deployment groups came together to further progress our work on Virtualization and to develop our involvement in solving the HetNet puzzle. Despite an incredibly busy week, we managed to agree our work plan moving forward and maintain the momentum of our workflow before the next meeting.
Friday: The Small Cell Forum workshop this year was titled ‘Small Cells and License Exempt Spectrum: Carrier Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Calling and LAA’. In our most successful workshop event to date, the room was packed with journalists, analysts and representatives from all parts of the small cells ecosystem. A short presentation by Alan on the SCF position was followed by expert opinion from Mark Grayson, Monica Paolini and Simon Saunders. In a lively debate, chaired by Caroline Gabriel, the panellists then discussed the merits of LAA, LWA, and general Wi-Fi service associated with small cells. We are expecting this subject to produce significant dialogue within our working groups – starting at our next plenary in September in Rome – along with significant public output later in 2016. If you want to contribute to this discussion, or have any feedback on the work of the forum, please contact me …and get involved!