In just over a week’s time the Intel Developer Forum 2011 will convene in San Francisco. This is Intel’s flagship developer programme, with bi-annual events switching between the US, China and Taiwan.
IDF has become much more than a developer’s event, though. Business leaders, technology managers, academics and people from all corners of the tech industry attend IDF to learn about the latest product innovations and create partnerships that can help them achieve their goals.
Why Small Cells?
Operators face a steep increase in demand for data capacity, driven by smartphones, tablets and the mobile behaviour patterns of increasingly app-savvy consumers. Macro augmentation, more efficient new technologies like LTE and more spectrum assets cannot meet this demand alone. Adding a supporting layer of large numbers of small cell hotspots is increasingly seen as the solution. Femtocell-derived small cells, with powerful self-organising capabilities, eliminate most of the planning and operational costs of traditional small cells, resulting in an attractively low price per GB.
So Where Does Intelligence Come In?
Femtocells register phones automatically as they enter the small cell’s area. This can be used to make application decisions based upon the user’s preferences and the location of the cell. The exciting part of this is that the trigger is invisible and secure – in other words, a great user experience.
We’ve been working with Intel to integrate their powerful computing platforms with small cells, creating a new cloud layer closer to mobile users, and harnessing the benefits so that the developer and operator community can monetise these new EdgeCloud application capabilities.
The benefits fall into two main categories:
Enhancing the User Experience
Small cells already deliver data close to the user, and the signal is typically shared between fewer users than on a macro cell – this provides a great user experience. But the experience would be further transformed if local video content, store vouchers or mapping data were stored and delivered by the cell itself rather than retrieved every time from the internet.
With small cells providing very fast data speeds, more pressure is placed on the backhaul, which will often be variable quality ADSL. By intelligently caching local media on the cell, by using the cell to buffer uploads or to run application processes, the load on the backhaul and its corresponding detrimental impact on user experience is dramatically reduced.
We’ll be demonstrating live EdgeCloud applications on real small cells at the IDF, and sharing it all right here on the Ubiquisys blog. Watch this space, and leave us a comment below if you’d like to know more or are attending IDF 2011.