LTE gets most of its press from the many flashy consumer devices that it powers, but Praveen Atreya, director of LTE product design and integration for Verizon Wireless, says the real growth for the technology is yet to be realized.
During a Monday keynote, Atreya outlined how the LTE landscape has changed in just a couple of years. Back in 2010, he says, the technology was seen as limited in how it could be applied, as well as costly in terms of components.
Fast-forward to today, and “the perception has changed,” Atreya says, as has the way wireless operators view its potential.
“First and foremost, the overwhelming number of products that we’re working on … are not mobile. They’re stationary products,” Atreya says. “They’re ATMs, they’re kiosks, they’re all sorts of devices that use broadband, but they don’t move.”
Atreya makes the case that broadband growth from here on out will be driven not by smartphone adoption, but by providing connectivity to a variety of products in a range of verticals. He admits that there are opportunities in consumer products but stresses that it’s the other categories that are truly going to boost adoption rates.
“Analysts will say, ‘Hey, you’re at 90 percent [smartphone] penetration, don’t you guys see that as a sign of saturation?’ Not really. We see it as a sign of underachievement,” Atreya says. “The goal is not 100 percent; the goal is 500 percent or more.”
While 2G networks are still around and it probably is immediately cheaper for developers to deploy low-bandwidth applications on those networks, Atreya argues that LTE is the way to go for almost any solution going forward.
“I know that that technology is going to be around years from now,” Atreya says, adding that there’s also the potential to upsell customers on additional features if the solution is deployed on LTE.
“It’s easy to add features because you don’t have a pipe constraining it. You’re future-proof,” Atreya says.
That said, Atreya argues that developers need more from carriers to bring additional products to market. “The moral of the story is that connected device developers need more than connectivity,” he says.
From help with hosting their solution, bringing the product to market, and then offering continued support, Atreya says carriers are increasingly needed to provide end-to-end services for developers.
“It’s bringing all of these things together to the developer ecosystem in one location that’s the need,” Atreya says. “Who better to build a product that will interact with the network than the folks that build the network?”