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Reality Check: The enterprise is the edge of the network

The blurring of the lines between the enterprise and service provider networks will extend the “edge” of the mobile network from the operator’s core into the enterprise premise….

The inside-out 2020 mobile network

We have started the transition from a wireless to a mobile enterprise network and the lines are blurring between what’s a carrier’s network and what’s an enterprise network as IT spending moves from 80% capital expenditures to 80% operating expenses.
A mobile enterprise has vast infrastructure and services implications for enterprise IT, hardware vendors and mobile operators. A mobilized enterprise is not a destination but an outcome of the transition from wired and wireless at work to always-mobile connected to the enterprise IT infrastructure, whether at work or on-the-go as part of an emerging Global Area Network (GAN).
The blurring of the lines between the enterprise and service provider networks will extend the “edge” of the mobile network from the operator’s core into the enterprise premise.
A mobile operator managed ecosystem platform with presence inside the enterprise creates capex reduction opportunities for the CIOs, and a transition to a more predictable opex services relationship with mobile operators and partners, bridging the mobility value gap that exists between the mobile operators and its business customers:
• The shift to a mobilized enterprise fundamentally transforms the enterprise IT infrastructure from 80% capex to 80% opex.
• The mobile enterprise increases services revenue opportunities for mobile operators as networks are built inside-out to recoup valuable spectrum otherwise lost.
An important step to enable a stronger services presence inside the enterprise is the deployment of scalable small cell systems that can take on the role of a services platform point-of-presence inside the enterprise Local Area Network (LAN).
Steps to building a trusted mobile services relationship include:
• Deploying a small cell system rapidly, in a matter of days or weeks, that can scale and deliver mobility services beyond basic coverage and capacity. Proving consistently high throughput, consistently low call drop rates, and transparent reporting (building trust).
• Easily adding 3G/LTE capacity as technology needs evolve, without replacing the original system (building credibility).
• Starting to introduce per-employee/per-month applications services based on enterprise needs: PBX integration, broadcast alerts and offer location and context-aware services as you establish credibility with the customer.
Beyond reliable indoor coverage and capacity, a scalable system also gives operators the capability to deliver hosted and managed services over a small cell secure network for mobility, unified communications (UC), secure access to applications, device management and integration of cloud and telephony (PBX), as well as new context-aware and location-based services.
A 2013 research study by Exact Ventures outlined a $100 billion emerging market opportunity for mobile operators in providing mobility services for enterprise customers. The research showed that enterprise customers could save 35% a year by adopting such operator-delivered managed and hosted services.
Research by YouGov showed that 50% of enterprises would churn to an operator that could provide better in-building mobile coverage and capacity. And, a 2013 survey carried out by iGR revealed that 56% of IT managers at U.S. companies with 500 or more employees would be willing to pay an increase of between 15% and 30% per employee for improved indoor cellular coverage and capacity.
But, to be successful in the enterprise, mobile operators need to understand the IT mindset around customer trust, security policies and operational concerns.
Enterprise IT wants an IT-friendly solution with no hidden challenges, racks of equipment, optical cabling, electric, or surprise accounting rules you cannot avoid. If you deliver that, as a mobile operator, you have become a trusted partner and the “blurring of the lines” has created Global VAN for the customer.
The buildout of the inside-out mobilenetwork with scalable small cell systems capable of enabling services for medium and large enterprises can unlock a $100 billion market in the coming 5 —7 years. Time will tell.


Reality Check
Subject to editorial review and copy edit, RCR Wireless News accepts bylined thought leadership articles, up to 1000 words, from industry executives. Submitted articles become property of RCR Wireless News. Submit articles to with "Reality Check" in subject line.

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