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Jan 10 2019

Innovation in the CBRS Band: A use case for robots

In April 2015, the FCC adopted rules for the commercial use of 150MHz of spectrum in the 3550 – 3700 MHz (3.5GHz) band called the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). The FCC called it the “innovation band” as it provides much-needed capacity for wireless innovation.   

Imagine being able to attend a conference half way around the world live from your office. Imagine being able to telepresence your technical expert from the laboratory to your conference booth to address a customer question or have your customer telepresence themselves to your company presentation at the show.

Event Presence is a pioneer in bringing telepresence/smart presence technology to the exhibition, show and event management market. They hold a non-exclusive license in the 3650-3700 MHz spectrum that covers, for example, the Santa Clara Convention Center, where they’ve deployed a Wi-Fi network to manage telepresence Beam® robots. .

Watch the Beam® robots in action here:   

Thus far, the network has served their needs adequately, but Event Presence intends to scale their solution by increasing the number of robots to a growing number of locations and also migrate to FCC Part 96 rules (CBRS). In order to achieve this, they investigated alternate technologies, and determined that a private LTE network (pLTE) would be the best solution given the following advantages:

  • Guaranteed low latency versus standard Wi-Fi network
  • Improved scale of connections as most Wi-Fi access points (APs) limit concurrent connections, whereas LTE access points can support over 800+ concurrent connections
  • Larger coverage range of LTE technology decreases the number of access points needed
  • Excellent mobility/roaming across access points - roaming between the Wi-Fi APs is often unpredictable, while an LTE network is built for mobility
  • Deterministic performance for real-time control of robots
  • LTE technology allows for customization of the network to support different applications

Nokia worked with Event Presence to deploy a private LTE network at the Santa Clara Convention Center to evaluate firsthand the advantages of employing it to manage the Beam® robots.  The Nokia Digital Automation Cloud pLTE solution utilizing the CBRS band was operational in just a matter of hours and the Beam® robots were connected to the network via CBRS USB modems. The upgrade was seamless and completed with no disruption to the existing connectivity. The network has now been operational for two months, providing extended coverage across the entire convention center.

A private LTE network can be tailored for specific applications to meet quality-of-service requirements utilizing available shared spectrum. Likewise, additional revenue generating opportunities arise given the pervasive connectivity offered by private LTE in a convention center venue, such as:

  • Sales of CBRS Mi-Fi devices to provide Wi-Fi hotspots in the exhibition area
  • Connecting advertising and information displays to the network
  • Connecting Point of Sale terminals with enhanced security

Nokia has been one of the driving forces behind the CBRS band innovation. In fact the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud solution, which incorporates the Nokia Flexi Zone Multiband CBRS product line, enables enterprises to fully unleash the innovation potential of the CBRS spectrum. Nokia achieved a significant milestone in October of 2018, when it became one of the first vendors to complete FCC certification of its CBRS product line. Another demonstration that drives home the exceptional use and benefits of a private LTE network occurred last year at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with live video stream of a 360-degree virtual reality zone inside a stock car racing vehicle (Watch the video here).

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokiaindustries using #CBRS #OnGo #privateLTE

About Rajiv Porayath

Rajiv is with the North America Business Development team at Nokia and the co-chair of the Business Working Group at the CBRS Alliance, where he works to develop business use cases with industry participants to commercialize and accelerate the adoption of the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum. He can be reached at rajiv.porayath@nokia.com.

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