I was recently invited to a Verizon Wireless LTE event. The primary focus of the event is to introduce business partners to the advantages and features of Verizon’s forthcoming 4G network. I’ll be pseudo live tweeting from the event (a.k.a. updating this post). Keep refreshing this post for more info. Unfortunately, there will be no live demo devices to test.
I’m currently sitting in a demo session, showing how LTE fits into healthcare, government & education, construction, and professional services. They’re showing off a “suite of apps”, running over the LTE network. The suite includes live maps, location based services, ‘buddy list’ (for other employees), HD video.
Right now they are taking about healthcare. As a house call comes in, EMTs that are nearby will get the alert and have the patient records pushed to their tablet. The ‘EMT’ is video conferencing with the ‘doctor’. They just snapped a photo of the injury and are now using the whiteboard service to collaborate.
It is unknown how developers will be able to utilize these ‘services’.
Next use case is security and surveillance. They have a few cameras on LTE and a few on WiFi to compare. The demo is focusing on remote security monitoring. There’s an intrusion. Video is captured and sent to one of the tablets, where the operator can alert authorities.
“It’s all a series of APIs”. Good news for developers. Sounds like Verizon LTE isn’t just a dumbpipe. VZW is creating value for the network, by adding services and solutions.
This session is done. Keep refreshing.
A few quick bits from my morning conversation:
“Voice on 4G will be an app”
“LTE will be the death of tethering”
“It is now a connected world; Not just connected buildings”
Sorry for going radio silent there. I was trying to get some face time with the network team. I did get some clarification around the ‘development’ portion. While LTE can be just a straight dumbpipe, Verizon is offering value by giving developers access to APIs for their network. Initially these will be limited to location-based services, SMS and MMS. As we saw today, there will more than likely be APIs for video, peer-to-peer whiteboard type applications and others.
With regards to the statement “Voice on 4G will be an app”, it is expected that at some point, voice will transition to the LTE network. When it does, it will be a VoIP based app.
With regards to roll-out, Verizon will be focusing on the 38 cities they’ve announced. However, every Verizon tower will eventually receive the LTE hardware. Verizon has been acquiring towers and companies for years. One rep mentioned they have “more towers than they need” for LTE. The efficiencies don’t stop at the towers. I saw a picture of a typical 3G backbone. It consisted of three full size network racks. The LTE backbone was about the size of a mini fridge.
Again, I didn’t get my hands on any devices or even see any consumer devices. This was a demo for their business customers.