Beyond the Public Hot Spot & to the Smart City

“How do you make WiFi work on an end-to-end basis,” is the question that the Wireless Broadband Alliance has been addressing, according to WBA CEO, Shirkant Shenwai. As stated in it’s just released report, From 2016 to 5G, this is about moving from “best effort to carrier-grade WiFi networks.”

Speaking at the WBA’s Global Congress in Silicon Valley, Shenwai describes the theme of the 2015 conference as building upon carrier-grade WiFi to create a foundation for “smart cities”, which represents a large subset of the Internet of Things.

In the above interview, Shenwai discusses the diverse membership of his organization, which includes cable operators, traditional telcos/cellcos, suppliers and municipalities. As such, the WBA is taking a broad view and looking at how both licensed and unlicensed frequencies can work together to provide end-to-end solutions, whether for human-to-human, human-to-machine or machine-t0-machine communications.

He talks about the inaugural meeting of their “Connected City Advisory Board”, which encourage public-private partnerships and, as importantly, exchanges of information about what can be done to improve the lives of the citizens, as well as enable more efficient use of government spending. This could be a very interesting forum, as it provides an opportunity for cities to share best practices.

Shenwai suggests the example of using smart data to improve the efficiency of finding open parking (some estimate as much of 20% of a car’s utilization is spent searching for/driving to parking). This is a somewhat ironic example, as just an hour or so prior to this interview, this author spent at least as much time looking for parking as he did driving to the San Jose  Convention Center.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the WBA’s 2015 World Congress

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