By Outi Niemi, MulteFire Alliance Secretary
I recently returned from our MulteFire Open Day in Tokyo which included an exciting mix of presentations from Alliance leadership, Q&A with attendees and live MulteFire technology demonstrations. While this was our second Open Day in Tokyo (following our successful event in February 2017), this was my first time moderating the panel. This was also our second time in Tokyo in 2019 as we announced the commercial availability of MulteFire solutions in Japan during our MulteFire Works event in February.
During our 2017 event, the XGP Forum presented to the Alliance members and attendees on its vision for MulteFire technology in the 1.9 GHz band in Japan. Originally, the 3GPP Band 39 was designated for PHS and DECT systems, but with the ecosystem growth of TD-LTE devices in Band 39, it opened up a new opportunity for MulteFire. Since this initial introduction by XGP Forum and in collaboration with the organization, we have published the Release 1.1 specification which added support for 1.9 GHz and the technology is now ready for commercial deployment in Japan.
I was pleased to moderate the Open Day panel this time around and to learn more about what the next steps to take MulteFire to commercialization. Noriaki Hibi with Baicells, Miguel Delorme with DEKRA Japan, and Yoshiyuki Kubo with Qucell served as panelists and in a combination of both English and Japanese answered audience questions. During the discussion a few themes came out that resonated with me.
- Initial Deployments will Focus on Industrial IoT. The initial interest for MulteFire technology is for data communications for industrial IoT applications and private LTE networks. These initial deployments will be important benchmarks to prove the MulteFire value proposition for LTE-like performance and security with Wi-Fi-like deployment simplicity. Once the value proposition is proven in Japan, we expect global deployments to follow.
- Interoperability is Critical. In order for MulteFire technology to be successful in Japan, devices will need to not only meet mandatory regulatory requirements, but also be proven to interoperate with each other. If you look at any successful wireless technology, they all have a few things in common: 1) multiple players, both large and small; and 2) solid certification programs that test for interoperability.
- MulteFire is for Everyone. One of the main benefits of MulteFire is that anyone can use it. Deployed as a private LTE network, Enterprises and IoT can tailor it and manage it to meet their specific requirements for high security, high performance, mobility and low latency. Deployed via small cells in unlicensed spectrum bands with Wi-Fi-like plug & play implementation, MulteFire can be deployed anywhere, from shopping malls and factories, to shipping ports and large campuses. There is no limit on how or where the technology can be deployed.
Following the presentations and panel discussions, attendees had the chance to meet with the six member companies that showcased MulteFire technology solutions and live technology demonstrations. This was our second public demonstration in Japan this year following our successful “MulteFire Works” event in February.
I’m excited about the potential for MulteFire in 2019 and beyond. I encourage you to contact us to learn more about how to get involved and be a part of the MulteFire story.