At the recent Telegraph Britain’s Smart Cities conference iWireless Solutions was an Interactive Roundtable Partner. Our Managing Director Ravi Mondair hosted a discussion surrounding the question: “how to develop a sustainable digital connectivity strategy across the council: concession vs partnership”. This was followed by a presentation aimed to identify and summarise the key findings from the roundtable:
“The question that we had today revolved around concessions vs partnerships in the context of utilising council assets, such as street columns, for providing wireless services, be it for cellular, Wi-Fi, LoRa and Sigfox.
Now the first part of the question was about concessions. The reason for wanting to talk about concessions is the history of it over the last 4-5 years. Our viewpoint is they they’re tapering out and don’t appear to provide too much value in terms of proliferation of cellular or wireless services in the street scene. This was actually matched by the people we were talking to at the roundtable. They clearly said to us that partnerships are what they are interested in, not concessions, so we skipped the first question going straight onto partnerships. That was really interesting for me having worked in wireless for the last 20 years or so, seeing a very clear change and decisive viewpoint from councils and those representatives in front of us. It was good to see.
So, in terms of partnerships, the viewpoints were that it needs to be flexible. Councils are getting approached by a variety of parties, so if any of the councils are remotely siloed already they are having siloed parties coming to them to offer X, Y and Z different types of applications, services or solutions. That to them doesn’t make a solution, doesn’t give them what they need. They are looking for a partnership, or ecosystem of partners, to share their expertise to help them design a roadmap for smart cities to bring to the council as a single message in one voice. That achieves the desires for a catalyst for smart cities.
There also isn’t an endless pot of funding. There is some but it’s limited. Investment is required from the partnership approach and that means there is an element of risk; and also, now, an element of revenue sharing as well.
When we put those pieces together and the council also gets revenue back, one of the other items is exclusivity. If you give up your assets, such as columns across the city centre, you have pinned your hope that one party will deliver a smart city. Although there is not too much negativity about that, it’s the times scale that might range from anything from 3 to 5 years and, from an investment point of view, it’s probably closest to 5 years. However, what is important is making sure clear success criteria can be realised in terms of volume of installations and revenue that is returned.
The only other thing that came out is that there is quite a significant change coming to the market place: it isn’t all just about 5G, its IoT and all the other technologies that are coming. So, I think that the resounding point from the roundtable was that a flexible partnership approach with funding and the help of revenue shares are involved to make it a success.”
iWireless Solutions has over 10 years of experience in the UK market deploying hundreds of wireless networks in urban environments. We have a strong track record, including the City of London, where we have recently designed and deployed one of London’s most technically advanced wireless infrastructures.
As a telecom asset manager, iWireless Solutions is in the position to fund part of infrastructure and, with the help of our partners, could guide and support the council to bid for public funds from DCMS and Innovate UK, amongst others. Deploying fibre and high-capacity fibre wireless networks including IoT, Wi-Fi, 4G and 5G. Our services are tailored to support councils from conception through to deployment and maintenance.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about how iWireless Solutions can support you in a partnership strategy don’t hesitate to get in touch by email on email@example.com or phone us on 01342 305038. Keep in touch with the latest iWireless Solutions news and updates by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn, also keep an eye on our News page.