By Outi Niemi

April 25, 2017 was an important date in MulteFire Alliance history. Nokia hosted the first ever Annual General Meeting and the fourth MulteFire Open Day at our iconic Bell Labs campus in Murray Hill, New Jersey. While the location was full of history – the discussion during the Open Day was anything but! Marcus Weldon, president of Bell Labs and CTO of Nokia, delivered an exciting keynote address that shared his vision for what the networks of the future will look like 10 years down the road, and MulteFire will play a critical role in that future.

The Future is X.

In his keynote – Future X: Building the Digital Networks, Systems and Platforms for the Automation of Everything and the Creation of Time – Dr. Weldon shared how in the technology revolution we are on the cusp of transitioning from the “Information Age” connected by the Internet and broadband access to the “Automation of Everything” that will require new networks.

This new technology revolution will be driven by industrial applications that will more than double the current market. Rather than focus on consumer mobility, web services or social media as was done in the Information Age, we’re about to do something now that is much more profound. He stressed the need to build networks for extremely low latency and exponentially more capacity that will be able to change our world by connecting it. MulteFire is designed to meet these requirements. You can learn more by downloading Dr. Weldon’s presentation here.

Panelists Talk MulteFire.

The Open Day also featured a panel represented by MulteFire Alliance members from Athonet, Boingo Wireless, Huawei, Nokia and Qualcomm. Given that the MulteFire Release 1.0 specification was made publicly available in early April, the panel discussion focused on business opportunities enabled by MulteFire. A few key themes emerged:

Industrial IoT is prime for MulteFire. Echoing the keynote presentation by Dr. Weldon, the panelists agreed that private MulteFire networks for industrial IoT will most likely see the first MulteFire deployments. While the specification is complete, the next phase should see MulteFire trials and proof-of-concept deployments.

MulteFire fills a gap in the Neutral Host Network space. Neutral host networks to date have most likely either been DAS – which is a great technology, but extremely expensive, or Wi-Fi – which can’t deliver the range that new applications require. MulteFire is right in the middle, filling this gap by delivering LTE-like performance, range and capacity, but with a simpler deployment model than DAS.

Keeping an eye on rural and emerging markets. Some of the most interest that panelists have seen for MulteFire has come from emerging markets. MulteFire is a great option to deliver connectivity to these regions of the world as they don’t have broadband infrastructure in place. Another advantage that because MulteFire operates in unlicensed spectrum, it eliminates the need to navigate spectrum regulations with more than 34 regulatory bodies around the world.

Open Day Heads Next to Beijing

Don’t miss our next MulteFire Open Day in Beijing on June 13. Hosted by Huawei, the event will spotlight MulteFire opportunities for industrial IoT and enterprise. Looking forward to see you there!

Register here for the Beijing Open Day.