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Opinion by Iain

The Importance of Application Stacking for Private Wireless Networks

June 7, 2022 | As you may have (hopefully) noticed, we have been publishing a series of vertical industry reports on the private CBRS network opportunity.  We hope you have noticed, since we have blasted these promotions far and wide!

As part of the research for these new reports, we have been looking at the spending on applications supported by private CBRS networks; in short, each report includes the spending to purchase or license applications supported by the networks.  These application types vary with the vertical industry from simple connectivity to point-of-sale and IOT and then up to more sophisticated augmented and virtual reality applications.  The list of potential use cases, and therefore applications, is long.

As we researched this spending and modeled the revenue opportunity in each vertical, it was apparent that the spending increases over time, even if the network spending does not.  For example, once a private CBRS network is deployed (comprising initial capital spending) with an initial application (such as point-of-sale in a big box retail environment), then additional applications can be added using the same network (assuming the network has sufficient capacity for the necessary devices and/or bandwidth).

We call this ‘application layering’ or ‘application stacking’ - putting more and more applications on the same network.  This is not new of course; enterprises and households have been doing this for years with Wi-Fi.  You may have initially installed Wi-Fi in your home in order to connect a laptop for work or school, for example.  But you then added a smart TV or streaming device such as an Apple TV.  Then you got a tablet and maybe a Wi-Fi-enabled camera.  Then the Nest thermostat was added, followed perhaps by a home security system.  These devices and applications were added to the household, leveraging the initial Wi-Fi network investment.

Application stacking is important for the enterprise deploying a private CBRS network, since it allows the initial network investment (and ongoing operational expenses) to be leveraged in the future across multiple applications, services and devices.  Using the same network for more applications and services increases the utility but also helps justify the initial network investment. This improves the ROI and potentially lowers the TCO for the network, depending on how many applications and use cases are included.

What is also interesting about our application spending model is how the spending varies between vertical industries: some verticals will deploy more higher-value applications than others.  There is no ‘universal’ model that says every dollar spent on the network will result in X dollars in application spending. Instead, this calculation varies between vertical industries.  But of course, before application stacking can happen, the baseline CBRS network needs to be deployed, justified by an initial use case.

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