Verizon Announces WiFi Calling Coming in 2015!!! MDU/ MTUs Rejoice!

BREAKING NEWS!!!!

Verizon Wireless announces plans to launch WiFi calling in mid-2015!  With 4 out of 4 major wireless carriers now announcing support for WiFi calling, the MDU/ MTU industry FINALLY has a cost effective indoor calling solution that solves the coverage problem, provides data capacity and more!  The announcement came today at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference.  VZ Communications CFO Fran Shammo said Verizon would be doing some technical work to make it happen, but WiFi calling will be supported by middle of next year.  Shammo made sure to state that WiFi calling was never “a top priority” for Verizon, similar to how AT&T made sure to state in their announcement last week that WiFi was a compliment, not needed because of poor coverage.

We called it months ago – the wireless industry has been abuzz with WiFi calling and with Apple supporting this amazing feature and the market demanding that they get WiFi calling support, Verizon and AT&T have both jumped aboard.

For MDU/ MTUs, DAS just became a technology of the past…

MDU/ MTU properties need to get a managed WiFi network right away to support property-wide WiFi calling.  At only $0.40/ square foot WiFi Calling is the most cost effective solution on the market. Contact us and we will get your property WiFi Calling – ready: 877-768-6687 or sales@spotonnetworks.com

T-Mobile ramps up WiFi calling marketing – big time

Image rights: t-mobile.com

Image rights: t-mobile.com

Just proceeding and in the wake of Friday’s announcement that AT&T would begin offering WiFi calling 2015, T-Mobile seems to be ramping up it’s marketing of WiFi calling with new commercials and announcements staking their O.G. claim on WiFi calling.  “You heard it from us first”.  The race is on… with the AT&T announcement, T-Mobile is going to attempt to get as many subscribers to switch as they can before AT&T launches their WiFi calling solution.  Pulling up the rear is Verizon – who has yet to announce support for WiFi calling.  The question with Verizon no longer being “if?”, but “when?”.  Let’s face it – with three of the four major carriers (T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T) now supporting WiFi calling, Verizon simply has to follow suit or risk being perceived as simply not-with-it.

T-Mobile’s latest WiFi calling commercial:

What does this mean for MDU/ MTUs?

It means some advance planning needs to take place.  WiFi calling can be the answer to the indoor voice coverage problem, but it has to be done right.  We know an MDU property with consumer routers in every apartment is a recipe for signal disaster and this stands to be even more true when it comes to voice calling.  To truly offer WiFi calling as a solution to the indoor voice coverage problem, it has to be well managed and include QOS that prioritizes voice packets.  This will ensure that the caller can, first and foremost, make reliable calls from anywhere in the building… a necessity when providing building-wide coverage.

Speak with us today regarding WiFi calling for your building.

AT&T to Offer WiFi Calling!

We have been speculating that WiFi calling, which is currently supported by T-Mobile and Sprint, would receive support from the 2 largest carriers, Verizon and AT&T.  We had no idea that the announcement would come so soon.  Only three days after Apple launched it’s iOS 8 and iPhone 6 (both of which support WiFi calling), AT&T’s CEO of Mobility and Enterprise Business, Ralph de la Vega, announced that AT&T would be supporting WiFi calling!

AT&T’s WiFi calling offering will be the same as T-Mobile with seamless hand-off between WiFi and AT&T’s LTE network and will come sometime in 2015.  The announcement was made today at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia Conference.  While it was announced that they would be supporting WiFi calling, de la Vega made it clear that WiFi calling would be a complement to their cellular service.

As reported from cnet.com: “We don’t have a burning desire or need for coverage”, de la Vega said.  “Other operators with less coverage may pursue it more aggressively.”

This seems to be a bit of a dig at T-Mobile who has been getting massive press this week due to their partnership with Apple to provide seamless WiFi calling.

WiFi calling is here and in a big way.  For those of us in the WiFi industry this is huge news.  For building owners who face indoor cellular coverage problems – this is MASSIVE news.  With 3 of the 4 major carriers supporting WiFi calling, WiFi will be the most cost effective solution for providing in-building voice coverage.

Get a managed property-wide WiFi network in your property today to be ready.  Don’t waste money on a DAS that will soon be obsolete, CellBoost® can provide your property with indoor cellular coverage.  Contact us today!

Now we wait for Verizon…

Apples iOS 8, the iPhone 6, the Apple Watch and of course, WiFi Calling

 

 

 

wifi-calling-iphoneYesterday Apple’s “September 9 Event” (as the blog-o-sphere heralded the secret but widely-speculated iPhone 6 launch) took place amid a flurry of internet chatter, live blogging, round-table live discussions and oh yeah, U2.  What made this event stand out – in fact is widely being referred to as being as impressive as the original iPhone launch – was that is had a much different feel from the last few (dare I say) static Apple events.  The venue was a custom built three story mega-structure, the usually tight invite list was broadened, but most importantly no one was 100% sure as to what was going to happen.  Sure there were rumors, maybe a bigger iPhone, perhaps an iWatch – but mostly there was just a lot of speculation.

The event delivered.  The announcement of new, larger iPhones, Apple Watch, Apple Pay and more made this event less about a product launch and more about a full scale integration place between us and all of our Apple devices.  In fact with the ubiquitous Apple computer which is now composed of all of device working in sync together, all the time, there is no portion of our life left untouched by an Apple computer.  Wired said it best, “A computer in your pocket. A computer on your body. A computer paying for all your purchases. A computer opening your hotel room door. A computer monitoring your movements as you walk though the mall. A computer watching you sleep. A computer controlling the devices in your home. A computer that tells you where you parked. A computer taking your pulse, telling you how many steps you took, how high you climbed and how many calories you burned—and sharing it all with your friends. A computer in your car. All of it the same computer: The computer in the sky that connects to the computer in your pocket and on your wrist and in your car, your office, and your home.” 

One step closer to a WiFi calling world…

Of most interest to us, of course, was Apple’s Phil Schiller discussing Apple’s support for WiFi calling and it’s partnering with T-Mobile for advanced WiFi calling.  So exciting!!! For the first time, iPhone users over T-Mobile’s network will be able to seamlessly roam from WiFi to cellular and back.  We have been waiting for this release for months now and with Apple now officially onboard with WiFi calling – the market is going to demand that Verizon and AT&T support this new iPhone feature.  What we did not expect, however, was the emphasis on the T-Mobile/ Apple partnership to make WiFi calling the best it can be… better than cellular!  A simple Google search for “Apple WiFi Calling” shows how exciting this news is.

Then there was Apple’s small announcement about wireless charging.  While the tech world was less than impressed with what Apple is calling “wireless charging” the general feeling was “we like where this is heading”.  The wireless charging industry has never quite gotten off the ground, but with Apple onboard there are sure to be good things to come.  If you missed the announcement, the new Apple watch will use a method called “inductive charging”.  According to the Forbes write up,  “An electric current in a transmitter creates a magnetic field that induces and electric current in a receiver, thereby charging the device.  But in the case of the Apple Watch, the transmitter, which is snugged into place with a magnet, is connected to a cord.”  That being said – you still don’t have to plug it into the wall which is a huge bonus.

 

 

RCR Wireless Discusses WiFi Offload And Where The Carriers Stand

Martha Degrasse, editor of RCR Wireless News, recently hosted an RCR Insights discussion of WiFi offload for service providers.  This interesting conversation addressed how the carriers are using WiFi offload currently, what the future holds and why they are keeping mum on their WiFi strategy.  One of the reasons for keeping quiet (see the 17:51 mark), according to Claus Heading, CEO of Heading Consultants in Europe, is that by publicly mentioning a WiFi strategy the carriers would put themselves in an “extremely poor position in terms of lobbying for additional licensed spectrum“.  Heading goes on to say that despite the carriers reluctance to share on the topic of WiFi offload, most are adopting some form of offload strategy and while they may not be quick to say “we are going to go WiFi all the way”, according to Heading eventually that will happen simply due to the fact that there are copious amounts (500 mghz) of unlicensed spectrum to be used compared to the limited amount.  It was also mentioned later in the interview that Apple’s announcement to support WiFi calling will pressure the carriers to support WiFi for voice purposes and that already solutions combining WiFi calling and small cell technology are being used.  A site survey/ frequency study done on a MDU/ MTU building can explore the various voice solutions and guide the building owner to the best solution.  Request a site study of your property.

NMHC VP – mentions WiFi calling’s potential to solve indoor voice problem

Rick Haughey, VP of Technology for NMHC, recently penned an article for multifamilyexecutive.com that addresses the negative impact of spotty cell phone coverage on the multifamily industry and touches on some of the solutions to solve the problem.  Mr. Haughey mentions the dramatic increase in residents that are relying on cellular for their primary source of connectivity and how the carrier coverage simply does not support that.

Solutions mentioned include: Cell booster solutions (like CellBoost 1.0), Small Cell, hyrbid-DAS utilizing a donor antenna (like CellBoost 2.0), traditional DAS utilizing a base station, but we were thrilled to finally see the mention of WiFi calling in regards to the indoor voice coverage problem.  Haughey mentions how difficult it can be for building owners to sort through all the different solutions, what they can/ cannot do and what they cost, adding, “The potential for a “disruptive” technology, such as WiFi calling, to make any of these solutions only temporary poses yet another hurdle”!

Basically – Seamless WiFi calling, which is currently adopted by 2 of the 4 major carriers (T-Mobile and Sprint) is the most cost effective solution to the voice coverage problem.  Once Verizon/ AT&T support WiFi calling on their networks building owners will have a solution that costs a fraction of any other calling solution out there, helps generate revenue, allows for add-ons like wireless energy management, staff services, building automation and security and provides Internet access throughout their building.  WiFi calling is the answer building owners have been waiting for.

On a silly note…

 

Mr Haughey mentions the old Verizon “Can You Hear Me Now?” ads… funny, is it just me or did most of those ads take place outdoors?  Well, to be fair I just watched a compilation “Test Launch” video with the “Can You Hear Me Now?” man and he was shown popping out of man hole in the road, in the mountains, in a swamp, on the road and in the dessert.  Only one scene showed him inside…. now that’s foreshadowing!  Check the 2009 ad out here.

The point is, the cellular carriers did not develop their networks for capacity – they are built for geographic coverage.  That is why you can look at a Verizon map that shows red over most of the U.S. yet can still not get signal in a city building.  Add that to green building construction, like Low-E glass blocking cellular signal and it’s a recipe for cellular disaster.

Managed WiFi Increases Building Owner Revenue

leadinglandlord.com, an online news outlet, recently looked at how building owners are using property-wide WiFi to generate revenue…

(You will be surprised by some of the out-of-the-box ideas!)

The multifamily industry is starting to view WiFi as the revenue generating opportunity that it is. Often managed property-wide WiFiis seen as a necessary expense, but the financial benefit to both the building owners and their tenants is real.

mother-and-daughter-wifi-ipad

Number 2 on the list is “Cut tenants’ monthly phone bill” – they should also mention “Provide an avenue to indoor voice coverage where residents can’t get cellular service”.  The “WiFi First” philosophy (which new carriers like Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless are adopting) says that 80% of smartphone use occurs in areas with available WiFi.  This means that only 20% really needs to be used on cellular.  Your residents are paying an arm and a leg for plans with high data, often when they don’t even get adequate voice service in their apartments. By providing residents with managed property-wide WiFi they can drastically lower their monthly phone bill while you provide them with an avenue for WiFi calling, be it through their T-Mobile or Sprint service or via an OTT app like Skype.

 

The WiFi First philosophy adopted by companies like Scratch Wireless. Img: http://www.scratchwireless.com/

 

Number 1 and Number 3: When you provide WiFi to your residents they save big not having to pay monthly to an ISP.  And the TV streaming revolution with Roku, NetFlix, Amazon Prime, etc allows your residents to completely cut the cable cord.

Clearly, property-wide WiFi puts you at a significant competitive advantage.  What does this mean for you?  More residents and more leases.

The majority of building owners choose to build the monthly cost of providing WiFi into a higher rent, but a managed provider, like Spot On, will also bill your residents for you if you chose to charge for the service.

Additional revenue stream ideas mentioned in the article:

Leadinglandlord.com almost mentions “out-of-the-box” revenue generators such as renting Roku boxes to residents or renting out “WiFi First” phones from companies like Republic or Scratch Wireless.  These offerings allow your residents to save big on monthly expenses.

FCC wags finger at Verizon’s Throttling Defense

Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the FCC wasn’t at all impressed with the response from Verizon regarding their company policy to reduce the bandwidth of it’s heaviest data users.

“‘All the kids do it’ is something that never worked with me when I was growing up, and it didn’t work my kids,” said Wheeler in a stinging response letter sent to Verizon this month. 

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler
Marguerite Reardon/CNET

Verizon’s response stipulated that controlling bandwidth wasn’t a way to control how much data a 4G LTE customer uses, but simply network optimization practice to help alleviate network congestion. Verizon also stated that this was a common practice of all the wireless carriers, not just their own. Verizon also stated that FCC’s letter from the Chairman leads them to believe that the Mr. Wheeler wasn’t understanding Verizon’s intentions and claimed that the difference between throttling and network optimization is Network Intelligence.

Verizon’s policies lead some to believe that the communication giant is attempting to get “grandfathered” data plan user to switch to the tiered plan system.

 

References:

 
Cheng, Roger . “FCC chairman rejects Verizon’s throttling defense – CNET.”CNET. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2014. CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE

Webinar answers building owners managers questions about WiFi Calling

 

Spot On Networks held a webinar Wednesday, August 13 @ 1:00 PM EST. on WiFi Calling and how it can improve cellular use in multi-dwelling units. With a full audience of participants, the speakers Dick Sherwin, Chief Executive Office at Spot On Networks (SON), Tom Doyle , President and Chief Operations Officer at Spot On Networks (SON) and Galen Dove, Network Development Engineer discussed the following topics:

  • Problems Facing the MDU Building Owner/Developer
  • The Evolution of WiFi Calling
  • How WiFi Calling Works
  • The Impact on MDUs and MTUs
  • The Carriers & The Operating Systems
  • Preparing for WiFi Calling

Issues such as Geographic-based Coverage VS. Capacity/User-based Coverage highlighted the need for micro-cell vs macro-cells infrastructure inside of building to address the green building material problems that drastically affect how much signal makes it inside the building. Cost and maintenance topics were addressed to illustrated how easy and inexpensive the WiFi solution is compared to any of the other solutions available today on the market.

This webinar lays out a host solutions that can improve the bottom line for building owners and managers, but also improve the customer satisfaction and increase and cement brand loyalty that residents may otherwise lose due to poor cellular signal inside of their residences.

 

WiFi Backscatter can connect everything

Sci-fi movies, long ago, promised us a future where all of our high and low-powered electronics would connect with one another through a “magical” system of communication transmitted through the air. Fast forward to 2014 – The Future is here! WiFi backscatter is a way to connect devices without batteries to the internet. Imagine your smart watch monitoring your heart rate and updating your doctor. Or your home or office thermostat working with sensors placed around your office to help you conserve energy!

Internet_of_ThingsThe foundation of this technology is based on harnessing the radio waves flying through the air to harvest energy to power these sensors. The application is limitless. Bridges can now be outfitted with sensors to help maintenance crews keep tabs on the structural integrity. Healthcare professionals can get real time readings on their patients. The possibilities a limitless.

With billions of devices that can benefit from this technology, the Internet Of Things, as it’s referred to can allow us to live a more connected and informed lives that can not only improve our quality of living, it can lead to amazing scientific breakthroughs that were previously considered out of reach.

With a range of 2 meters at 1kB per second. Researchers plan to expand the reach to 20 meters.  The University of Washington Commercialization Gap Fund, the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship, Washington Research Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the University of Washington supported the work.

References:

Ma-Washington, Michelle. “Wi-Fi backscatter could make ‘Internet of Things’ real – Futurity.” Futurity. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2014. 

http://www.futurity.org/power-wi-fi-backscatter-gets-devices-online-742912

“Internet of Things” by Wilgengebroed on Flickr – Cropped and sign removed from Internet of things signed by the author.jpg. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_of_Things.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Internet_of_Things.jpg

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