Businesses look to small cells for services and more
Technology can drive efficiencies and new business services. Research shows 60 per cent of companies will deploy small cells.
London and Barcelona, 23 February 2016: Independent research commissioned by Small Cell Forum has revealed that some 60 per cent of companies will be deploying small cells by the end of next year.
Enterprise specialists Nemertes Research conducted the global survey of more than 500 senior business and IT executives, along with detailed interviews of a dozen IT leaders. The research found 14 per cent already had deployed small cells, 46 per cent plan to do so this year or next, and 23 per cent are evaluating the technology. As business becomes increasingly dependent on high quality mobile connections, organisations of all sizes are looking at small cells to deliver improved coverage, capacity and service innovation.
“Although many organizations across all sectors are interested in small cells, many remain unclear on the benefits they offer,” says Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research. “Our research shows there is a significant opportunity for vendors and service providers to educate the market and provide solutions that improve the quality of mobile services.”
The research covered businesses across 17 vertical sectors across the globe. Some 30 per cent of responses were from North America, with the rest drawn from Asia (28pc), Europe (25pc) and Central/South America (17pc). The largest business sector represented was Financial Services which also accounted for the highest number of existing deployments.
In percentage terms however, the logistics and distribution industry, together with the retail sector, are the most enthusiastic current adopters with more than 20 per cent of businesses in those sectors already using small cells.
At the same time the research showed that businesses are also looking for some advances from within the small cell industry. In particular, businesses would prefer multi-operator small cells and closer integration with WiFi services.
Nemertes said the research also indicated that increased awareness and education regarding the services that could be enabled by small cells, and the security of the mobile connection, could see the uptake within businesses rise even more; some 35 per cent of respondents felt they currently lacked the information to make an informed buying decision.
Commenting on the results, Small Cell Forum Chair Alan Law said: “The businesses that understand what small cells can deliver are planning to implement them. However, the research also shows that we need to work harder to get our message across to the others and we have a full programme underway to help with that challenge. Our next major Small Cell Forum Release, number six, has a focus on the Smart Enterprise and addresses many of the topics raised in the research.
“For example,” he added, “it highlights the good progress we are making on WiFi integration, and on the development of multi-operator small cells. It also contains a simple guide to deployment, case studies highlighting the business benefits of the technology, and information to make it easier for App developers to build solutions for businesses based on small cell technology.”
Despite all the attention on data capacity, poor quality voice connection was seen as the biggest challenge facing many businesses – cited by some 45 per cent of the respondents compared to the 36 per cent who listed slow data or email as the prime concern.
The growing business dependence on mobile connectivity was emphasised when 94 per cent of respondents said that the quality of in-building cellular coverage had an impact on their business performance – on a scale of 1-10, some 42 per cent gave it a rating of between 8-10 in terms of seriousness, with the healthcare sector notably prominent in these scores.
Many of those surveyed were also looking beyond the important improvement in coverage and capacity and towards new services and ways of working that could be driven by mobile. Some 48 per cent said they were interested in small cells as they would provide better connectivity for app-based services, a figure particularly notable for being ahead of voice connectivity which scored 43 per cent. The potential for new services driven by small cells was also shown by the high scores for improvements in security and productivity which both scored 30 per cent.
For those businesses with public locations – such as retail outlets and transport hubs – small cells delivering improved cellular coverage for visitors and customers scored highly at 42 per cent. Support for mobile commerce applications (38pc) and for improved social media engagement with visitors (36pc) also emphasised the opportunity for app-based services using small cells for location-aware solutions.
“This research shows clearly that small cells have a role to play in business performance, innovation, and success,” said Law. “Businesses are moving to a mobile-first environment, and need the coverage, capacity and security that only a carrier-grade small cell deployment can provide.”
An executive summary of the research is available free of charge from Small Cell Forum at www.scf.io. In addition, Caroline Gabriel, from Rethink Research will be presenting the results on behalf of Nemertes Research on Small Cell Forum’s booth (Hall 7 Stand F61) at the Mobile World Congress on Wednesday February 24 at 2.30pm.
About Small Cell Forum
Small Cell Forum works to drive the wide-scale adoption of small cells and accelerate the delivery of integrated HetNets. We are not a standards organization but partner with organizations that inform and determine standards development. We are a carrier-led organization. This means our operator members establish requirements that drive the activities and outputs of our technical groups.
Today our members are driving solutions that include small cell/Wi-Fi integration, SON evolution, virtualization of the small cell layer, driving mass adoption via multi-operator neutral host, ensuring a common approach to service APIs to drive commercialisation and the integration of small cells into 5G standards evolution.
The SCF board includes Airspan, AT&T, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, ip.access, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Reliance Jio, Softbank, Spidercloud, Sprint and Vodafone.
Small Cell Forum: Kevin Taylor
M: +447 850 858 291