Posts Tagged ‘Safer Buildings Coalition’

The Gravitational Pull of FirstNet

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

IMG_0260IWCE 2104 continues to demonstrate the gravitational influence of FirstNet in pulling together the public-safety and cellular industries.

(As evidence, iBwave, a company traditionally focused on the cellular industry, recently joined the Safer Buildings Coalition)

Sure, IWCE still skews heavily toward public-safety based on the the big booths from Kenwood, Motorola and Harris).

However, there is also a growing contingent of OEMs and SIs from the cellular world who are introducing new strategies such as small cells for solving both cellular and public-safety communications needs.

This trend is further reflected in multiple educational sessions that poignantly declared that a lack of indoor public safety communication could be a fatal flaw.

Robert LeGrande, the former CTO of Washington, DC, shared during the “Overcoming Hurdles to Ensure In-building Communications” panel hosted by the Safer Buildings Coalition (SOLiD is a founding member) that with the FirstNet public safety broadband network, the industry is at a revolutionary point of change and that it is vital not to leave buildings behind. (Watch Rob’s video interview from APCO 2013)

For more from IWCE, check out our Twitter feed from IWCE and see coverage in Urgent Communications.

And here’s what we blogged about last year.

What struck you as noteworthy this year at IWCE?

 

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A sneak peek at our soon to be released public safety-only DAS solution

 

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Ken Rehbehn (Yankee Group), Chief Alan Perdue (Safer Buildings Coalition), John Facella (RCC Consultants) and Robert LeGrand (The Digital Decision)

 

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Team SOLiD

 

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Elvis has left the building (as found in LVH)

 

 

 

Lessons from a Winemaker

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

We had the chance to spend a day in Napa last week during our Annual Company Meeting where we met Tom Davies, President of V. Sattui Winery.

Aside from being a great host (check them out – fun wines, amazing Cheese Shop & Italian Deli, and stunning grounds), Tom is an insightful business leader whose stories about the winery were inspirational.

Four things resonated with our team…

Doing Things Differently

Tom likes to camouflage his business acumen by saying he’s a farmer. But it’s clear he and the winery are pioneers.

V. Sattui pioneered not only the wine tour experience – by being the first in Napa to invite the public to come to the winery and hang out on the property by providing picnic tables – but also the wine retail business – by establishing the first direct-to-consumer wine club.

Doing things differently is a key part of what makes SOLiD unique.

Such as tailoring the ALLIANCE distributed antenna system (DAS) around the requirements of building owners. Or warehousing products on-site and pre-configuring gear to fulfill orders within days (not weeks) and to simplify field deployments.

 

Doing Whatever it Takes

Before the winery scaled and deployed modern technology, Tom helped cork bottles by hand.

SOLiD is no stranger to heroics. From getting on a plane to be on-site the next day to troubleshoot or racing to the airport with a part because we missed a freight cutoff, we’re committed to moving mountains for our customers.

 

Always Be Advancing

Tom describes a healthy paranoia of not letting the winery’s success distract from the hunger to advance.

Even though V. Sattui pioneered the direct-to-consumer retail model, the winery has continued to challenge itself to innovate and improve.

Similarly, although V. Sattui Director of Winemaking Brooks Painter was recently recognized as “Winemaker of the Year” at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, the winery continues to push to safeguard from losing its edge.

In spite of our success at SOLiD, we’re energized every day to raise the bar by innovating technology, leading the industry with new initiatives, delivering “wow” to our customers, and working with the best and the brightest in the industry (we’re hiring!).

 

Building a Wonderful Brand

Tom pinpoints Quality, Value and Service as key attributes of the V. Sattui brand and is dogmatic in protecting and preserving it.

At SOLiD, our brand is about Creativity, Honesty and Reliability.

Or, as the mnemonic that Dr. Lee offered our team:

  • S = Solid professionals
  • O = Open minds
  • L = Leadership
  • I = Integrity
  • D = Dream (about the future)

 

We look forward to applying these lessons from a winemaker to our business. Let us know how we’re doing.

 

Expect Something Grand

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Team SOLiD gathered in San Francisco last week to celebrate another record-breaking year and to focus on achieving our goals for 2014.

Like last year, there is much to be excited about.

We not only doubled our sales but we also doubled the size of our team!

A key milestone in 2013 was the move to our new U.S. headquarters which features a vastly expanded logistical center which enables us to lead the industry by fulfilling orders within days, not weeks. Additionally, the building hosts our SOLiD University training classroom – a state of the art learning center which provides customers and partners with hands-on, instructor-led training that utilizes the latest, proven training and retention techniques.

Throughout the year, we had the privilege to participate in notable projects such as the Phase I Launch of wireless service at the New York City Subway and to help lead industry initiatives such as identifying solutions for achieving public-safety communications inside large buildings.

Hands down, the most inspirational message was presented by Dr. Seung Hee Lee, CEO of our parent company in Seoul, Korea. In a brief history lesson, Dr. Lee explained that the Korean Lunar Year resets every 60 years and suggested a pattern…

In what he described as “the beginning”, Dr. Lee recounted that 1894 was a year for dramatic change that affected the course of history for Korea. 60 years later in 1954, the end of the Korean War ushered in a rebuilding from the ground up which has culminated in today’s modern Korea. Now, as we embark on the next cycle, Dr. Lee believes that we should expect “something grand” in 2014.

You bet we do!

SOLiD President Seth Buechley Kicks Off the 2014 Company Meeting

 

A Look Back at 2013

 

Seth Buechley Welcomes SOLiD CEO Dr. Seung Hee Lee

 

 

Team SOLiD Listens Intently to the Presentation

Team SOLiD Listens Intently to the Presentation

 

Whoa – There’s A Lot More Us Than Last Year!

 

Hanging Out at V. Sattui Winery

 

Sauvignon Blanc or the Cabernet?

 

You Gotta Swirl the Glass…

 

Tom Davies (President of V. Sattui Winery) Addresses Team SOLiD

 

A Hazard for Emergency Communications

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

“If you can’t call us, we can’t help you.”

That’s the unfortunate reality many first responders face when they enter large buildings.

WJLA TV recently explored this topic in Arlington, Virginia where SOLiD and Morcom International have been deploying Distributed Antenna System (DAS) solutions in county buildings to enable public-safety communications indoors:

The same technology making buildings stronger and safer could actually be putting lives in danger in an emergency. That’s because the buildings themselves interfere with emergency responders’ radios. Whether it’s police or fire, fast and clear radio communication can save lives. Arlington’s construction boom of new commercial and residential buildings has created big challenges for emergency responders. Powerful, state-of-the-art building materials often block radio communication, making it hard for police and firefighters to communicate during emergencies. Watch the video here.

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We’ve long advocated for education, code adoption and incentives to advance the vision of achieving ubiquitous indoor public-safety communications. Donny Jackson at Urgent Communications concurs:

Having in-building systems that support first-responder communications throughout the nation would be a boon to public safety, because it would be easier to develop, practice and execute standard operating procedures when there is a similar communication environment in all locations. Given the relatively low cost associated with adding public-safety support to the cellular support that the market demands, now is an opportune time to implement the changes needed to make this happen nationwide. Read the full article here.

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As a founding member of the Safer Buildings Coalition, we are pleased by the naming of Chief Alan Perdue as Executive Director to lead this industry group.

Safer Buildings is a non-profit organization that provides advocacy and education related to indoor communication issues, and brings awareness to solutions that will enhance indoor communications capabilities during emergencies for the general public and public-safety first responders. The shared vision among its members which include leading companies and organizations within the wireless and public-safety industries is to create safer buildings that possess advanced indoor public safety communications systems.

Chief Perdue recently discussed the shared responsibility within the wireless industry to solve the problem with Urgent Communications:

Public-safety is something that needs to be solved and one that is not going away.  We see on the news everyday cases where communications – or the lack of thereof – was a problem in the outcome of the incident.  We can fix that.  Watch the interview here.

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Safer Buildings is inviting leading companies and organizations within the wireless and public safety communities to join as charter members. Contact the Coalition to learn more by sending email to info(at)saferbuildings(dot)org.

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In 2014, SOLiD’s president Seth Buechley will join Chief Perdue, John Facella (RCC Consultants) and Robert LeGrande (The Digital Decision) on the “Overcoming Hurdles to Ensure In-Building Communications” panel moderated by Ken Rehbehn (Yankee Group) at IWCE 2014.

Reports from the Trade Show Circuit

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

After thousands of miles, countless handshakes and dozens of informative meetings, we’re back from the end of the year “trade show circuit” as our friend Jim Parker calls it.

Here’s where we’ve been and what we heard…

Pennsylvania Wireless Association DAS Tour & Conference

With Citizens Bank Park as our backdrop in the City of Brotherly Love, two key themes emerged at this one-day event:

  1. Although emerging Small Cell technology will be appropriate for certain deployment applications, Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) will remain the go-to strategy for enabling capacity for tens of thousands of fans at large stadiums and arenas. These large venues is where we expect to see key innovation trends to play out including scalable infrastructure and analytics as mentioned here and hoteling to address head-end space constraints as mentioned here.
  2. The requirement to support public-safety communications as well as commercial cellular is being driven and battle-tested in venues such as hospitals where doctors, nurses, first responders, staff and security as well as patients and visitors all need access to wireless communications.

TETRA Congress Americas

Propelled by our thought leadership within the public-safety space, SOLiD was invited to participate in this inaugural event in New York City which served in part as a platform to promote the use of TETRA in Canada and the US.

TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) is the specification for two-way transceiver radio communication using LMR (Land Mobile Radios) that has been used in Europe for mission critical communications for emergency first responders much like P25 (Project 25) is the standard in North America.

We discovered that TETRA is being deployed within Utilities and Transport industries.

However, we observe that TETRA will likely not be deployed for public-safety in the US because federal grant money is already being directed to support deployment of P25 by municipalities.

Ultimately, the FirstNet initiative suggests that both P25 and TETRA will be replaced by LTE in the future (although it’s important to point out that although P25 was ratified by APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International) in 1989, many US agencies have still not migrated to it due to costs).

For in-building communications, we believe all of these public-safety standards are likely to exist simultaneously. Therefore a successful DAS platform must support the full spectrum of narrowband and wideband frequencies.

LTE North America

Analysts and Operators and Innovators, oh my! Hosted this year in Dallas, this conference tackles Devices, LTE, HetNets, Network Optimization, Public-Safety and more. Here’s the most interesting things we heard:

  • Ken Rehbehn at Yankee Group: Has the small cell hype has outpaced reality? Key challenges facing widescale deployment of small cells include (1) the scarcity of real estate (i.e., street furniture); (2) lack of a process to ubiquitously roll it out and; (3) current inability to host multiple operators and services.
  • Art King at SpiderCloud: Small Cells will be deployed by Wi-Fi installers, not DAS installers. To achieve widescale penetration, the design and deployment of small cells will need to be simplified to resemble an access point.
  • Bill D’Agostino at FirstNet: Out of tragedy comes innovation. The key themes the wireless industry is addressing include (1) technology evolution; (2) regulatory innovation and; (3) spectrum acquisition and management. 2014 will be the year that FirstNet develops the plan to get to the plan to implement a public-safety grade network to achieve 100 percent coverage and connectivity.
  • Gordon Mansfield at AT&T and Small Cell Forum (SOLiD is a member): It’s a toolkit approach for achieving network densification in urban areas. 80% mobile traffic takes place indoors and 39-61% offices have poor in-building coverage. DAS will be the key solution deployed in public venues and large buildings while Small Cells fill in the gaps indoors and outdoors. It is expected that operators will embrace the Small Cell approach because the model promises to be fast and have low costs.
  • Iain Gillott at iGR: Gillott: The industry will need a new name for DAS as next generation solutions that possess a common all-fiber infrastructure emerge that increasingly resemble hybrid solutions that converge radio frequency (RF) and Internet protocol (IP) services and applications.
  • Ken Sandfeld at SOLiD: Future antennas outdoors will be more efficient, do more and be better camouflaged to be more aesthetically pleasing. This trend will be paramount to address the concerns expressed above by Ken Rehbehn.
  • Jeff Cohen at APCO: Pinpointing location is fast-becoming a key need for first responders inside buildings. While being able to communicate indoors the critical requirement today, locating the right floor and position of an e911 call is the in-building Holy Grail. Next generation DAS will be able to triangulate to identify location but solutions are still needed for today’s DAS.

Small Cells Americas

We returned to a chilly Dallas after a quick pit-stop for Thanksgiving to join a vastly different group of participants than we encountered just two weeks prior at LTE North America.

As we observed earlier this year at the Small Cells World Summit in London, the industry has moved past wild claims that Small Cells are going to be the demise of DAS. However, the notion of 2013 as the “year of the small cell” is overzealous.

Most in the industry are still searching for small cell deployments in North America. Our friend Bryan Brooks at Pavlov Media has repeatedly shared he’d buy and deploy small cells at the college campus MDUs where his company provides triple-play services. And we’ve heard from wireless operators that their transport teams are not just under water but under sand when it comes to deploying small cells.

Translation: it’s gonna be a while.

Perhaps one the most informative panels was “How Coverage with Small Cells Can be a Game Changer for LTE and Beyond” because of the inclusion of both Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson. The presenters – which included SOLiD’s Ken Sandfeld – agreed that small cells can deliver on the promise of delivering capacity and quality of service at a low cost, but that the accelerated rollout needs to be automated and deployment simplified like Wi-Fi access points. More importantly, the widescale deployment of small cells means that it will be incumbent upon ALU and Ericsson to work with DAS OEMs and other stakeholders in the ecosystem ( As we blogged, ALU’s Mike Schabel shared this same opinion earlier this year in London).

Another insightful presentation was delivered by Teresa McEneny from Cisco who highlighted location based services and analytics as big opportunities within the evolving in-building space and identified the barriers to widespread deployment of small cells to include power, support, backhaul, real estate, cost and need for multi-vendor HetNet. She also painted an interesting scenario: leveraging Cisco’s Wi-Fi sales channel to scale the deployment of indoor small cell solutions given these teams already possess the enterprise relationships.

For a great summary, check out David Chambers’ 2013 Small Cells Americas Event Report at ThinkSmallCell.com.

IWCE Virtual Show

Okay, so it didn’t involve travel but some the industry’s public-safety wireless thought leaders (including SOLiD) participated on “virtual” panels moderated by Urgent CommunicationsGlenn Bischoff and Donny Jackson.

From an indoor perspective, Bischoff shared that it will be a great day should ubiquitous indoor public-safety communication become reality. Afterall, what good is a nationwide public-safety network (vision of FirstNet) if you can’t bring the signal indoors?

There are two key impediments to achieving this vision:

  1. Although municipal codes increasingly require that new construction venues of a certain size and having certain physical characteristics (such as underground parking) provide in-building public-safety communications – typically through DAS, many codes allow older structures to be grandfathered.
  2. There remains plenty of FUD that espouses the need to keep cellular & public-safety on separate infrastructure. Fact is convergence is both technologically and financially feasible – if not an ideal approach.

As a founding member of the Safer Buildings Coalition, SOLiD is optimistic in seeing a very large uptick trends in DAS systems that bring public-safety service into buildings.

Your Turn

Of the events you attended in the fourth quarter, which stood out as having the greatest impact from a thought leadership and networking standpoint?

 

Fueling up on Matzo Ball Soup at Carnegie Deli

 

Chief Alan Perdue (Executive Director of Safer Buildings Coalition) Stops by to Visit at LTE North America

 

Bill D’Agostino, Jr. (FirstNet General Manager) Keynote at LTE North America

 

Gordon Mansfield (Chairman of Small Cell Forum) Keynote at LTE North America

 

Finishing Strong

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

SOLiD's Dan Le (Staff Accountant) Finishing Strong at Spartan Race

Anyone who’s ever participated in sports knows the expression, “Finish strong”.

It’s the runner’s finishing kick.

It’s when the cyclist “throws” his bike at the line.

Or when a team closes out a game for the win.

It’s how we’re approaching the end of the year at SOLiD.

Here’s our busy event schedule for the remainder of the year as we finish strong.

Please bookmark our Event Calendar for updates and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with us at events where we’re attending.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on the road!

 November 14 – 15
New York

This inaugural event examines the benefits that TETRA could bring to Mission Critical Radio Users. SOLiD’s resident RF expert Greg Glenn presents user case examples for ensuring public-safety communications inside buildings during the “Strategies for Supporting Public-Safety Communications Indoors” session on Friday, November 15 at 4:15 PM EST.

November 20 – 22
Dallas

With a focus on the most pertinent issues facing the North American LTE market including HetNets, LTE Advanced, Public Safety LTE (a/k/a FirstNet), VoLTE and Mobile Backhaul, this conference brings together over 1,250 high-level attendees. SOLiD’s Vice President of North America, Ken Sandfeld, teams up with our friend, analyst Iain Gillott from iGR, to explore emerging indoor and outdoor DAS, Small Cell and Wi-Fi strategies and technologies in “The Future of LTE” at 1 PM CST on Friday, November 22.

December 3 – 4
Dallas

Whether you are focused on public access, enterprise, residential – indoor or outdoor – femtocells, picocells, metro deployments… this is the place to make connections and learn the very latest information from the market. Ken Sandfeld makes an encore appearance and joins presenters from AT&T and other organizations on the first day of the conference at 11:10 AM CST to explore “How Coverage with Small Cells Can be a Game Changer for LTE and Beyond”. We’ll wrestle with the pros and cons of Small Cells, and examine synergies with DAS and Wi-Fi.

December 5
Online

This event provides a free-to-attend, in-depth day of learning, discussion, networking and exhibitions for communications technology professionals and key vendors. SOLiD President and Safer Buildings Coalition founder Seth Buechley joins Urgent Communications’ Donny Jackson and other public-safety industry thought leaders to discuss the most important trends and most pressing issues in the roundtable discussion “State of the Industry: What’s on Your Mind?” at 4 PM EST.

December 5
Pleasanton

The AGL Regional Conference in Pleasanton features an inside look at LTE installation issues including what installation pitfalls to avoid, protecting your vertical assets from unnecessary liabilities. Included on the agenda are discussions about in-building, small cells and DAS from public-safety to city networks and more. SOLiD Team Members Shane Hague and Eli Fischer will be in attendance to meet with your teams.

The Experts Weigh-In on Public-Safety – Part IV

Friday, October 4th, 2013

What is a Safer Building?

We believe it means having an in-building wireless communications network to enable the general public to be notified when there is an emergency and to be able to communicate with the outside world including emergency, police and fire. It also means that first responder radio systems work when they arrive at the emergency site.

So what’s holding back this vision?

Funding and liability issues appear to be the key impediments.

We find that adding public-safety to a cellular Distributed Antenna System (DAS) is – all things considered – a nominal incremental cost in the 10% ballpark.

Liability is trickier because it potentially touches multiple stakeholders including the building owner, the DAS owner, the carrier and the Integrator who installed the system and likely maintains it as well.

In our final installment of video interviews from the APCO International 79th Annual Conference & Expo (APCO 2013) with TIA NOW anchor Abe Nejad, SOLiD’s President and Founder of the Safer Buildings CoalitionSeth Buechley – wrestles with the how to overcome these impediments.

Namely, the need for industry standards or best-practices for those who design, install, manage and maintain these mission-critical unified in-building networks.

 

 

Be sure to also watch the videos featuring our APCO panel of experts who graciously shared their strategies for applying wireless technology to ensure in-building communications for the public and first responders:

Jonathan Adelstein (PCIA and former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission).

Robert LeGrande (The Digital Decision and former Chief Technology Officer of the District of Columbia).

James Teel (Harris Corporation).

The Experts Weigh-In on Public-Safety – Part III

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

As most of us know, there’s been a shift in emphasis within the cellular world from solving the problem of coverage to solving the problem of capacity driven by users who increasingly consume more bandwidth through data-intensive applications and devices having bigger screens.

It’s predicted the same trend will occur in public-safety: the demand for capacity will increase as public-safety becomes more reliant upon broadband applications such as video.

And – like cellular – the same capabilities delivered outdoors via the macro or terrestrial network will be expected indoors.

The industry experts who participated on our panel sessions at the recent APCO International 79th Annual Conference & Expo (APCO 2013) agreed to share with TIA NOW anchor Abe Nejad strategies for applying wireless technology to ensure in-building communications for the public and first responders.

We heard from Jonathan Adelstein (PCIA and former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission) on the need for model standards for those who install and manage mission-critical public-safety DAS networks.

Robert LeGrande (The Digital Decision and former Chief Technology Officer of the District of Columbia) explored the importance of the business model to not only fund the deployment of public-safety DAS networks but maintain them.

Today, James Teel of Harris Corporation discusses the characteristics the FirstNet broadband public-safety network must address to be considered “public-safety-grade” and how those same standards must be met by the in-building network to support first responders.

 

 

We’ll wrap up our series tomorrow with an interview with Seth Buechley, SOLiD’s President and Founder of the Safer Buildings Coalition to hear how industry stakeholders including building owners, carriers and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and industry groups and associations must come together to wrestle with the issues to make buildings safer by ensuring public-safety communications indoors.

The Experts Weigh-In on Public-Safety – Part II

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

We recently attended a DAS and Small Cells session during the 2013 BICSI Fall Conference & Exhibition where an attendee inquired about the need for joint responsibility among building owners, wireless providers and public-safety stakeholders to ensure that the general public is notified and can communicate when there is an emergency, and that first responder radio systems work when they arrive at the emergency site.

In other words, the long-term implications of a public-private partnership.

In our previous post, Jonathan S. Adelstein, President & CEO of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association and former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission shared his thoughts from the panel we moderated at the recent APCO International 79th Annual Conference & Expo (APCO 2013) on the need for stakeholders to agree to a business case justification to deploy in-building public-safety communication solutions and to establish best-practices among those who install and manage mission-critical public-safety networks.

Today, we hear from Robert LeGrande II, founder of The Digital Decision and former Chief Technology Officer of the District of Columbia who examines the requisite factors for a converged cellular and public-safety network and introduces the difference between carrier-grade and public-safety-grade.

 

 

Next up, James Teel from Harris Corporation on the challenges of funding in-building public-safety communications networks, the evolution of Land Mobile Radios to LTE and public-safety-grade communications.

The Experts Weigh-In on Public-Safety

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

We asked a building owner the other day whether their venue was FirstNet-compliant.

The response – a combination of confusion and concern – demonstrated why indoor public-safety communications is such an important industry topic.

Just what is a FirstNet-compliant building?

What are the model standards for in-building technology deployments and those who install and maintain the networks?

And what are the responsibilities of building owners, carriers and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) who all play a role in ensuring indoor public-safety communications?

Our four industry experts from the recent APCO International 79th Annual Conference & Expo (APCO 2013) agreed to share with TIA NOW anchor Abe Nejad strategies for applying wireless technology to ensure in-building communications for the public and first responders.

Here’s what  Jonathan S. Adelstein, President & CEO of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association and former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission had to say.

 

 

Tomorrow, hear from Robert LeGrande II, Founder, The Digital Decision, LLC and former Chief Technology Officer of the District of Columbia.