By Meghan Hall
In tech-centric markets such as San Francisco and Seattle, connectivity is key, and it is often one of the first things a client will test when they walk into a property. Much of that connectivity is now found through wireless, as the advent of laptops and flexible work experiences have taken hold of the professional world. According to Rod Nelson, CEO of Geoverse, a private LTE and host provider, 5G and LTE are more accessible than ever, which is hugely appealing to both landlords looking to increase the value of their property, and tenants alike.
Rod, please tell The Registry a little bit about Geoverse, a private LTE and neutral host service provider. What specifically about today’s wireless infrastructure and market dynamics prompted you to found Geoverse?
The special licensing rules for CBRS spectrum makes it possible for enterprise to build cellular wireless networks for the very first time. Cellular wireless protocols like LTE and 5G have performance, reliability, mobility, and security benefits as compared to WiFi. These benefits are now available to enterprise for the first time without the requirement for expensive licenses. We view this as very disruptive opportunity as most enterprises will need a trusted partner to develop and operate private cellular networks. Therefore, we saw the opportunity to create a new breed of mobile operator focused on the enterprise – which is Geoverse.
In your opinion, why is reliable and secure wireless connectivity becoming an increasingly pivotal requirement for tenants?
First, business tenants in all forms of real estate are interested in a great smartphone experience for their occupants, employees, visitors or guests. This is addressed through what is called neutral host in-building network services. Secondly, Private LTE and 5G is a new platform for the business operations these tenants have – as a compliment to their enterprise WiFi network with greater performance, reliability, mobility and security.
What are tenants looking for in a communications partner such as Geoverse?
We believe that tenants are looking for a managed service provider that makes things simple for them. That allows the enterprise to capture the benefits of cellular wireless without having their own IT departments distracted dealing with this new technology. And a provider that will deliver high quality. Geoverse aims to be the easiest and best provider of Private LTE and 5G.
From an owner’s perspective, how important is connectivity when it comes to improve NOI?
Advanced wireless connectivity will increase NOI from at least two directions. First, the neutral host service, providing a great smartphone experience for tenant’s occupants or visitors, will improve the tenant experience leading to greater longevity and lower vacancy. Second, the building owner can take advantage themselves of a whole building wireless connectivity platform to connect 1,000s of sensors and actuators for compelling building management capabilities. This greater building intelligence will lower operating costs and deliver a better tenant experience.
How did your experience as AT&T Wireless’ Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer influence your decision to start your own firm in the realm of wireless communication and in-building systems?
Over the course of my career we were always searching for a truly scalable way to build in-building cellular networks. We were not able to fully solve that puzzle. I believe that now with the CBRS spectrum allocation, along with low cost LTE small cells, plus Geoverse proprietary technology, we’ll finally solve that problem.
Over your time in the industry, how have you seen internet and wireless infrastructure evolve? What are the biggest or most important changes that you have seen?
I’ve had the opportunity to have a front row seat in the wireless industry from the 1G era onwards. There has never been an industry that delivers so much tech in such scale. Especially since the smartphone era began a decade ago.
Where do you believe wireless infrastructure and smart building technology are headed? Why?
Everyone accepts now that connectedness is essential to modern life and that demand and consumption is only going up. Wireless networks with massive capacity, especially 5G, just have to be built from inside out. Outside in will not work in the future as it will be impossible to get wideband, high capacity 5G signals in from traditional cellular sites. Following from that, connectivity is the foundation for all other technology advances including all that’s to come to smart buildings.
Can you talk a little bit about Geoverse’s business model? How does Geoverse’s Service Level Agreements, design, deployment and operations work?
In our effort to create simple solutions, we go to market in two ways. First, we have our Private LTE offer which bundles all the costs of design, deployment, radio equipment along with core network operations and support into one simple monthly subscription for the owner or enterprise. Second, we offer what we call Network as a Service which bundles the core network and operations into a simple package that a broad array of partner organizations then takes to their enterprise customers.
Looking ahead, what are Geoverse’s plans for growth? How does Geoverse plan to differentiate its product from other providers looking to enter the market?
Geoverse has created two technology platforms, GeoCore and GeoTrade, which complete the requirements for massive scaling of in-building cellular networks. GeoCore is a trusted network interface between an enterprise private cellular network and the ecosystem of major mobile operators. Simply plug your enterprise network into GeoCore and your building is connected. On the other side of the same coin, GeoTrade manages that relationship of a private network with the cellular community. It is a dashboard for all ecosystem participants to see the quality being delivered by the network. In addition, it is a marketplace for providing advanced services and to exchange traffic between operators.
Is there anything you would like to add that The Registry did not ask or mention?
Just to summarize and underscore the uniqueness of the Geoverse solution approach. Since we are part of the ATN International family of telecom service providers, we can leverage their existing service agreements with the major wireless carriers, resulting in these GeoCore enabled Private LTE deployments, serving properties and enterprises of many types and sizes, the ability for its members to seamlessly roam across carrier networks on day one. This is a major benefit for our customers, and we can then augment that solution with the GeoTrade platform, to now offer our customers new monetization opportunities with these Private LTE networks. A solution that does more while presenting the opportunity to earn more. It’s the early innings of this transition, but the powerful combination of a high performance CBRS-based solution backed by the enhanced capabilities and existing service agreements of Geoverse, makes a very compelling approach for how the enterprise can better serve their users and their business.