Real Wireless and Tech4i2 to evaluate licence-exempt equipment across Europe

Real Wireless and Tech4i2 are undertaking a study for the European Commission, to assess the extent and range of licence-exempt equipment being sold and used in the EU between now and 2030. The study will be used to help the European Commission in its goal of making available sufficient licence-exempt spectrum, harmonised at EU level, for future wireless innovation.

Concluding in September 2015, the study will enable a clearer understanding of the use of harmonised frequency bands by different categories of radio equipment in Europe, essential information for planning current and future spectrum requirements and managing congestion. It will also examine how the condition of such equipment differs between Europe and other regions.

This report follows previous work by the European Commission in constructing an inventory of equipment operating in licensed spectrum.

The analysis will cover the full range of license-exempt equipment: from Wi-Fi to garage door openers, baby monitors, and even key fobs. It will both consider whether the use of such equipment fits into existing spectrum without excessive congestion, and identify new bands where positive action could be taken to stimulate currently dormant – but potentially valuable – markets.

“The European Commission is keen to promote the shared use of radio spectrum resources, in order to foster innovation in new and existing markets,” said Professor Simon Saunders, Director of Technology at Real Wireless. “Real Wireless brings extensive expertise in both assessing the current landscape, and providing a detailed forecast of future spectrum requirements that can be used by regulators and businesses across Europe.”

“This will be an important study for how the European Commission examines harmonised spectrum, and could impact a significant number of current and future markets,” said Professor Paul Foley, Director at Tech4i2. “At a workshop in Brussels on 10th March 2015 we will be presenting an overview of the project to interested stakeholders. As part of this, we will be seeking responses from attendees to our initial research, which will highlight current capacity, as well as potential radio equipment and spectrum requirements to 2030.  To find out more see the project’s LinkedIn group here.

The results of the Real Wireless and Tech4i2 study will support the implementation of the Article 9 “Inventory” of the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP), developing a reliable approximation approach for assessing the medium and long-term spectrum usage densities in harmonised licence-exempt bands.   It will also compare devices and spectrum policies for licence-exempt spectrum in Europe and the US as input to discussions on achieving greater trans-Atlantic scale economies for radio equipment in the context of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Real Wireless warns existing networks need upgrade to cope with demand for wireless on transport

Industry experts warn of reliance on public networks and lack of holistic business case in transport wireless services

Current approaches to the provision of mobile connectivity to travellers on public and private transport risk failing to meet demand or justify themselves financially. This is according to independent wireless technology advisory firm Real Wireless.

Instead, a service that meets demand will only be possible through the rollout of additional custom mobile infrastructure, in order to complement the existing provision of public wireless networks.

The expense involved in this approach means that a comprehensive business case is vital before any rollout. In many cases, a positive return on investment will only be possible if transport operators take a holistic approach to planning wireless service rollouts, combining revenue from passengers with operational efficiency savings in other areas of their business.

To explore the additional services and business models that can be enabled by wireless, Real Wireless has published a new guide ‘The business opportunities for wireless in transport’. Bringing together the experience and insight of its experts from across the wireless industry, both working in and outside of the transport sector, it provides an overview of the potential services that must be taken into account by transport companies looking at rolling out wireless services.

Transportation has seen a series of high profile announcements in 2014 regarding the integration of wireless services. The highest profile of these have centered on the introduction of in-vehicle data connectivity for passengers on railways and airlines, delivering benefits for both customer experience and productivity and creating new revenue streams for operators.

However ‘wireless services’ extend far beyond data connectivity, covering other technologies such as Wi-Fi, cellular reception, machine-to-machine communications and ‘big data’ analytics. Similarly, it can also bring benefits to the companies operating the transport services, delivering operational efficiencies and new opportunities to streamline the business.

“For passengers, the benefits of having access to data services on the move are obvious,” said Mark Keenan, Commercial Director at Real Wireless. “But our analysis shows that operators must carefully consider all their options before proceeding with a rollout.

“Transport operators should build a comprehensive business case for the introduction of wireless, taking in to account both direct and indirect cost savings and revenue streams and fully factoring in recent and expected advances in technology. A well considered approach can prove highly lucrative for operators and regulators, as well as streamlining their everyday operations and enhancing their customers’ experience.”

In the report, Real Wireless identifies the added benefits wireless can offer the following sectors:

  • Railways – including enhanced customer services, better insights in to customer behaviour and reduced carriage weight
  • Aerospace – including reduced turnaround time, more effective airport security and crisis management and revenue from on demand content
  • Roads – including accident prevention, shorter accident response times, and enhanced traffic flow systems to reduce congestion
  • Maritime - including onboard cellular networks, better tracking of cargo and new revenue streams for port operators

The Real Wireless guide to the business opportunity wireless presents the transport sector, ‘The business opportunities for wireless in transport’, is available to download free of charge here.

Connecting vehicles and the growing M2M market: The Transport SIG

Real Wireless expert John Okas is one of four people who recently founded a Cambridge Wireless Special Interest Group (SIG), dedicated to looking at the growing ‘Connected vehicle’ sector.

The connected car is a concept that gets a lot of people excited and rightly so. The potential applications are enormous and it’s one of the more tangible areas of the nascent Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications market.

The new SIG will look at the part played by wireless in the automotive and transport sector, covering private and public vehicles, as well as road, rail and air transport systems.

Its remit covers everything from streaming music to your car, autonomous cars, and Wi-Fi on trains, buses and planes, through to vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle road management systems and pay as you go insurance. It will even examine the connected bus on demand services that inform users where a bus is and its estimated time of arrival.

It’s not just drivers who will benefit from these services; this technology will bring a lot of new companies into the space, including many who will never have previously seen wireless as a potential revenue stream.

For the manufacturer and its brand it provides new opportunities to keep the driver tied in to its ecosystem, via services such as remote diagnostics, vehicle tracking, servicing and preventative maintenance that detects issues that may need attention. These are likely to be connected using a 3G/4G unit in the vehicle, with a fixed SIM that is inaccessible to the driver.

There is also the potential for Wi-Fi connectivity to be supplied to the vehicle, as many cities and mobile operators look to providing carrier grade Wi-Fi services.

The M2M sector offers a lot of potential, but it’s also an incredibly complex and technical ‘system of systems’. Vehicles are set to have significant computational, connectivity and human-to-machine interfacing capabilities, both built-in and stemming from passengers’ phones and tablet devices.

There are plenty of technical and commercial challenges ahead before this sector will mature, and that’s why we’ve helped establish this new Cambridge Wireless SIG. If we’re to hope to make the most of this new technology and market, all of the companies in the space need to get together to share their collective expertise and experience.