Podcast EP 113 - 5G cellular wireless for campus networks - Ozer Dondurmacioglu, VP of Marketing, Celona

EP 113 - 5G cellular wireless for campus networks - Ozer Dondurmacioglu, VP of Marketing, Celona

Jan 14, 2022

In this episode, we discuss the use of private spectrum for LTE and 5G wireless to provide high quality connections, to connect IoT devices in large facilities and campuses. We also explore the practice of micro slicing to translate enterprise IT and industrial IoT requirements for specific use cases to a 5G LAN. 

Our guest today is Ozer Dondurmacioglu, VP of Marketing at Celona. Celona provides the ingredients required for enterprise IT and industrial IoT teams to set up their own 5G cellular wireless networks in a single SaaS subscription.

IoT ONE is an IoT focused research and advisory firm. We provide research to enable you to grow in the digital age. Our services include market research, competitor information, customer research, market entry, partner scouting, and innovation programs. For more information, please visit iotone.com

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Erik: Welcome to the Industrial IoT Spotlight, your number one spot for insight from industrial IoT thought leaders who are transforming businesses today with your host, Erik Walenza.

Welcome back to the Industrial IoT Spotlight podcast. I'm your host, Erik Walenza, CEO of IoT ONE, the consultancy that helps companies create value from data to achieve growth. Our guest today is Ozer Dondurmacioglu, Vice President of Marketing at Celona. Celona provides the ingredients required for enterprise, IoT and industrial IoT teams to set up their own 5G Cellular wireless networks in a single SaaS subscription. In this talk, we discussed use of private spectrum for LTE and 5G wireless provide high quality connections to connect IoT devices in large facilities and campuses. We also explored the practice of micro slicing to translate enterprise IoT and industrial IoT requirements for specific use cases to a 5G LAN.

If you find these conversations valuable, please leave us a comment and a five-star review. And if you'd like to share your company's story or recommend a speaker, please email us at team@IoTone.com. Finally, if you have an IoT research, strategy, or training initiative that you'd like to discuss, you can email me directly at erik.walenza@IoTone.com. Thank you. Ozer, thank you so much for joining us today.

Ozer: Hey, Erik, thanks for having me. Great to be at the IoT spotlight podcast.

Erik: This is a topic that is, on the one hand obviously very important for pretty much every business over the coming decade. But it's also a topic 5G adoption that I think many companies have heard a lot about, or many individuals have heard a lot about, but perhaps don't understand very deeply. Before we get into that topic, though, I'd love to understand how you ended up at Celona. And where did you first start engaging with telcos and with this topic? Because I think you have quite an interesting background, you're also advising a number of other, maybe we could call them startups, but let's say tech companies in this space. Can you just give us a quick walk through when you begin to engage with the topic?

Ozer: So my background goes to electrical engineering, by education. But soon after I joined the previous two startups that I was at prior to Celona, I realized that I'm decent at building communities of growth within companies that are trying to start up within sales organizations that are trying to bring the products that those individuals build to and customers and communities around people who actually buying and using the product.

So that pretty much quickly took me to the marketing side of the house, go to market side of the house. And previously at Aruba which went through its IPO phase and acquisition by HPE, during that period, I was part of the team there and we grew our company in multiple dimensions. And through that journey, I realized that the wireless connectivity in the enterprise initially was thought to be a stepchild for connectivity, now it's the primary network. And I saw that transition happen as we cut more cables.

And my journey to Celona actually came through my friends that I met through a robot and as they were starting up Celona as founders, I said, okay, let's cut more cables. This time, we're using 5G as a technology to do that. I always believe that mobility and wireless connectivity is kind of addictive. It kind of brings up that habitual nature and people. If you can do something while your mobile, while you're wirelessly connected, you will never go back to wires. And I think that's now applicable to machines, that's now applicable to how we design real estate, how we design outdoor spaces. And I find that to be very attractive, addictive/habitual around people who are trying to get something done.

And Celona story really started with, hey, can we extend the reach of wireless connectivity? We call it taking enterprise wireless where it has not yet been on our website for a reason because we just said there's more boundaries to be pushed here. WiFi maybe it's just the tip of the iceberg for wireless connectivity in the enterprise. And it's been two plus years now. We have over 25-30 customers here in the US, and 50 plus more trialing the technology. We have variety of different strategic investors like NTT, Qualcomm, and tier-one VCs here in the Bay area that's supporting us. Hopefully, that gives you a bit of background on me and the company, Celona.

Erik: Well, let's get into maybe the foundation here of whatever the problem is that need to be solved around. If I'm viewing this correctly, it's the problem basically how do enterprises effectively adopt 5G, and then find ways to build new businesses or new experiences on top of this? And then who are you working with in this value chain, because it's a very complex value chain? My instinct here is that you're not working with the network providers but maybe with the end users. But can you just give us the high level overview problem solved and customer group?

Ozer: Yeah, absolutely. So the consumers of our technology are the enterprise networking teams. So the same crowd who would work with Cisco on a networking project or Palo Alto for network security or Aruba for WiFi solutions, that same team in an enterprise IT organization, or a managed service provider team who has enterprise networking professionals in their stuff helping enterprises manage their networks. That is our core audience.

Now, since we're in the very early stages of private 5G industry, what ends up happening is for a new technology entry and enterprise networking, there's usually somebody other than the networking team causing the problem, initiating the problem statement. And that's usually what industry has coined as digital transformation teams. And more softer title for those individuals are application delivery teams. So these teams usually have the budget to invest in new application rollout. So somebody says, hey, we're investing in real wear headworn computers, Microsoft HoloLens headsets, and zebra ruggedized tablets, and Apple iPads.

You can take those device types and translate them to different vertical environments. But those are the application teams that are deciding, they're going to spend millions of dollars rolling those apps across thousands of their field workers or their employees in their facilities trying to get something done, and automate an existing manual process. The problem is these individuals don't necessarily let the networking team know that these projects are being taken on. There's usually a disconnect between device investments and application investments, which are quite high in dollar value, and then asking the networking teams to connect them after the fact.

Enterprise networking teams don't necessarily have a budget line item that says I'm going to buy 5G next week. We're not at that stage of the market yet. The stage of the market we're in right now is my application delivery teams are causing me so many problems. They're throwing new type of devices, headworn computers, your tablets, push-to-talk devices, voice over IP handhelds, whatever it might be, robotics. And I have to react to it.

Can I find another way to react to these technologies beyond my traditional hey, connect to this Ethernet ports using a wire or jump onto this WiFi access point that I installed five years ago? They want an additional wireless connectivity option. And that's what's driving a good chunk of our deployments. And if I were to kind of highlight maybe as a summary before your next question, it's usually folks who are in search for the next connectivity option because their current Ethernet wired connectivity, and their current WiFi network it's just not cutting it for that private enterprise network access.

Erik: This topic of private 5G, what does it actually mean to buy private 5G? Does that mean that the enterprise is deploying base stations that service their facility? Or does it mean that the telco is providing the base station but that there's some intermediary solution that allows them to some extent customize the application of the network?

Ozer: Because it all again starts with the final user of the solution. Let's say the networking team said, okay, fine, I'm going to support your robotics infrastructure, Mr. Application Delivery leader, but in order to do that, I need to build my own 5G network. Their enterprise networking, security, privacy, management, operations, support: requirements don't change. Just like they consume wired networking from Cisco, WiFi from Aruba, and the way they learn about that technology, the way they deploy it, the way they design it, the way they get support from these vendors should not change just because you're using a new connectivity option.

So the frame of reference is still enterprise networking. That's where the legacy infrastructure providers for private 5G have been struggling. Telcos come in and say, well, I have the base stations, why don't you just pay me a bunch of money to get a slice of my spectrum? There are SIs that come in, hey, I'm going to give you three different products, and three different technologies from three different vendors, but I have to provide this as a managed service to you because otherwise you're not going to be able to put it together yourself.

And the enterprise teams go, no, I want to have the option to fully privatize this. I want to build it myself, run it myself, be able to try it in an afternoon and deploy large scale in days instead of in months or years. So what we have come to play is we said, why don't we build a 5G land solution similar to a WiFi LAN solution, or a wired LAN solution, that an enterprise networking professional, who is somewhat educated on networking products can bring it up, receive the radios from us, receive the electronic embedded SIM cards or physical SIM cards from us, receive the mobile core software that usually supports the access points to integrate with their existing network receive a network management portal that manages all of these components, just in one simple SKU.

When you open it up, it looks like you're just deploying another enterprise networking solution, instead of working with a service provider, and they're trying to figure out their support model, working with an SI trying to consume their managed service in a way they designed it instead of you designing your own network. So we kind of took a different path. And we said, what the end user, the final audience for this solution need is a 5G LAN solution, it's an enterprise networking solution, rather than taking existing options for cellular wireless, and trying to force fit it into an enterprise network. So hopefully, that gives you additional color on our solution details.

Erik: But before we get into how the solution is structured in more detail, let's just touch on the applications here. I've had a lot of conversations in the past 12-18 months around the topic of what can 5G do for us? And one of the bottlenecks that I see here, it's kind of a short term bottleneck, it's just the typical chicken egg issue which is that companies look at their existing portfolio solutions and say, okay, where can 5G help us, and then they look and say, oh, but 4G are existing technologies can already kind of solve the problem. And then you need a new generation of products that are being built to higher spec that then require 5G.

And I guess you're starting to see these maybe AR one example where the quality can be improved. I mean, I've also had conversations with companies that are imagining, we deploy a million dollar piece of equipment, we build it in our factory, we provision it, and then we deliver it to our customer’s factory. And if there's 5G in both environments, hypothetically, you could basically do all the testing and so forth wirelessly on yours. You don't need to worry about building wiring into all the machines you're building on your factory floor and then you can deploy it into a customer facility. And again, you just deploy it and it works, you don't again, have to worry about wiring.

What are you seeing as the initial use cases among these 30 or so customers that you're working with, where they're saying we really need this today to play applications that our businesses are demanding?

Ozer: So we see a good spectrum of small less of skidded to very large more sophisticated deployments. And I think the industry is doing itself a bit of a disservice, the private 5G industry and all the buzz and all the articles by promising way too much. How many times you heard a 5G vendor promise remote surgery? If it ever happens, it's going to be a couple of years down the road, not 5-10 years.

So let's not boil the ocean in what 5G is going to do and solve the world hunger and bring world peace. So we just have to be very realistic. And our customers actually have the answer. You just need to listen to what they're trying to get done. We have a manufacturing company here in the Bay Area and other locations in Texas. They have a very simple need. They have a large outdoor space where their workers work with iPads for data entry, barcode scanning, audio-video communication. And these outdoor facies are very large facilities and a millions of square feet of space. They try to do that with a WiFi solution that they love for their indoor spaces. It just took a lot of fiber cabling and a lot of outdoor APs to cover that large of an area.

Compared to a WiFi radio, 5G happens to provide 10x the amount of coverage. So that's 10x the less number of fiber pools for those radios, which means with each fiber pool costing them anywhere between $5,000-15,000. So, hey, I have iPads in a very large outdoor area, can I deploy a 10 outdoor radios per site? And the answer is yes, we're just simply connecting iPads. It's not very sophisticated.

We have warehousing and logistics customers who are pushing the boundary on automation. So they're investing in a technology called Automated Mobile Robots, also known as AMRs. These AMRs as compared to another popular form AGVs, AMRs tend to be smaller in size, and move really fast within dedicated structures. These dedicated structures are usually built for storage and pickup of products. And these AMRs can reach speeds of 20 miles per hour. And these case structures can scale up to half a million square feet in size. So you can imagine how dynamic of an environment this is where the robots are traveling through this 3D structure going in XYZ axis. They're getting instructions. They're reporting back. They're completed tasks to a background application server. And they're continuing on doing this for 24/7.

And given the fact that you're in a [inaudible 18:02] logistics industry, any amount of downtime is really lost revenue, you don't want to do that. So the network that these things connect to should be reliable. So that customer within that indoor space reserved WiFi connectivity for humans, and cellular connectivity for the robots. And those robots, instead of relying on 100 plus WiFi access points, they relied on 10-20 cellular radios access points to do the same thing. So the upfront investment is less. I can bring up a new site much more quickly and my connection is more reliable, because I'm upgrading in this additional spectrum with no interference.

Now, if you compare all of our deployments, they range between this level of complexity versus simplicity, the commonality across all of them are I need a clean spectrum to run this application. I don't want any external interference. Private 5G actually gives you that. There's variety of regulatory requirements you need to abide by in the United States. And similar versions of this are coming up in countries like UK, Germany, France, and others. And by design a private 5G network runs interference free, which something that you can never say for a WiFi network. So that's number one.

Number two, since its interference free, since it's your private network, you control what devices get onto that network. There's no concept of guest access. There's no concept of open SSID. There's no concept of man in the middle attacks. So you have a little bit just much greater levels of privacy.

The third thing is we just mentioned mobility. It's the same exact technology that you're using within your private facilities that you rely on while you're driving on a highway at 100 kilometers per hour. And that fast handoff, that mobility between different radios, different base stations that we all experience without dropping a voice call is that same technology that shows up in your facility. So, these robots example that I just gave, 20 miles an hour, handoff between radios, no problem. That is done through a highly synchronized radio transmission network that cellular wireless have perfected over the last 20 years.

Initial days are not that great. We all remember our cellular wireless experience in the initial days. But over the course of last 20 years, that has been sold as been perfected. That's the technology that we get to use here. I would say one thing that I will highlight as a common ask among all these use cases is, hey, you know what, I'm investing in solar wireless, I liked this idea of additional express lane of connectivity, interference free and highly private and supports superfast mobile users. But I want one more thing. And that one more thing ends up being Can you give me a service level guarantee?

On the wired network, you are actually assigned a true put guarantee. You can say I'm giving you 100 meg line, go ahead, use that 100 megabits per second. And that's going to give you X amount of latency, X amount of real time response from the network. When we went to WiFi, we kind of let that go. We accepted quality of service. We said video should be treated better than data. But we never said how much better. Can you guarantee three megabits per second for every single video stream on a WiFi network? I don't know. There's no specification for that cell or wireless actually gives you that.

I can tell the robots to experience not more than 60 milliseconds of latency. I can tell my video cameras to experience at least a triplet of three megabits per second. I can guarantee that and that service level guarantee becomes the icing on the cake. And then opens up a lot more different use cases as we expand from these simple deployments or more complex deployments toward new use cases.

Erik: These AMR is that's a great use case. You've given two examples here that are both, I'd say kind of industrial; so, warehouses, external shipping yard, something like this, and then internal warehouse. I suppose in theory, this is a very horizontal technology. So anywhere, that’s a contained campus of some sort could be a good fit for the solution. But we can look at different examples. We could look at something like a factory, which is generally maybe a couple 100,000 square feet maybe. And then we can look at something like a mine which might be an order of magnitude larger.

Do we have the sweet spot here? Are you seeing areas where the first adopters tend to be coming from in terms of either the size of the campus that they're dealing with, or complexity or just particular industries that for whatever reason I guess you've already mentioned AMR, so that's one good use case, but particularly industries that have use cases that are really pressing for adoption right now. What would you define as the early adopters that you're expecting to really grow in this space in the next 12-24 months?

Ozer: The commonality, I guess you could also tell by the examples that I gave. Communality is, I call them the supply chain verticals as a category, anything between the manufacturing floor to the retail store. There's shipping ports in there. There's transportation. There's manufacturing. There's warehousing, logistics and retail environments. That industry is going through a tremendous change. During the COVID years, they grew 3% year on year. Prior to COVID years, they grew 1% year on year. So their growth accelerated by three times during the COVID years.

And we're all, I think, feeling that across the news cycle, that supply chain vertical is under heavy pressure, more digitization, more reliance on ecommerce, more automation to continue to do what we need to do in these challenging times. I think that contribute to it. So, supply chain verticals covers 50% of our go-to market activity right now.

The second part is what I call education segment. We see a lot of higher education campuses use private 5G as a fiber replacement strategy. Again, a fiber pole, trenching, cabling, everything else costs a higher education institution on average, $10,000-5,000 per fiber pole. And when you pull a fiber, you're only covering one IoT infrastructure. I'm deploying cameras, like deploy two cameras on a pole in the middle of the campus. That's one fiber pole. But if I deploy a private 5G system, I can deploy 50 cameras connected to that radio, and that's much more cost effective.

And I can densify my IoT infrastructure rollout in the higher education campus for connected facility technologies, parking meters, video cameras, other connected technologies outdoors much more easily. And as you can imagine, higher education campuses are relatively large. They're almost small cities, in certain aspects, so it becomes a smart city network. And these folks are looking at private 5G as an alternative also, because they don't want to mess with the student WiFi. A student that is being removed from a fiber network can get frustrated really quickly. If the WiFi network doesn't work, you probably hear on Twitter from student complaints, which many of our customers have reported in the past.

So that higher education campus also expands to these communities. Usually, a university is part of educational community. There's a couple of high school districts, couple other schools around them, that make up the education network, as they're called in the United States, for that city or for that state. And those education network investments go hand in hand between K12 schools, higher education, colleges, and universities. And there has been a lot of effort and focus on remote learning initiatives. Let's support areas in our community where the internet broadband access is not as widely or easily accessible.

Why don't we support students who need additional internet broadband access to stay connected to their classroom content and learning through private 5G? So that our exposure in higher education as quickly expanded into why don't we support the other community needs within that education network. Also, known as bridging the digital divide initiative here in the United States, there's quite a bit of government funding around the activity to make sure that everybody gets access to affordable internet broadband within that community.

And the third piece is kind of a future looking statement, I call them general enterprise, carpeted office spaces, healthcare, financial industry, I think those industries are going to be enabled what we call neutral host use case. Neutral host use case allows you as a public cellular subscriber. For example, I'm an At&T subscriber, ah, as an AT&T subscriber, do I have a right to roam onto a private network and continue to get my AT&T service?

As a business, as this solution expands, as our technology becomes available, enterprise will be able to accept those guests users. They will be able to say, why don't I create it create a slice from my network? And through a partnership with AT&T, why don't I start onboarding AT&T users to my private seller never because I have some extra bandwidth? And for the end user, it's still the AT&T network, they don't have to do anything. But for the MNO, it's a great way to offload density to enterprise private networks. And for private networks, it's a great way to maybe replace or remove those distributed antenna systems, that systems that they have built over the years at very high cost to actually enable proper public seller access within their venue. So that's emerging as a third use case that's enabling many different industries.

Erik: Let's get into the tech a little bit more then. So you've already given us, I think, a good overview of what the solution looks like, maybe we can start taking it a bit more component by component. So if I'm looking at your product page, and we're looking at what's included in this subscription, because this is basically a SaaS subscription that covers many different aspects of the climate, let's say, so maybe we can go through these. We have planning software, we have licensed for private spectrum, we have access points, the 5G mobile core, we have private SIM cards, we have AI ops. Well, first of all, is that the right way to look at the product? Or is there a different way that you would break this down?

Ozer: Yeah, I think that in order to build a private 5G network, you need some technology ingredients. Traditionally, it has been, you would go to a provider of private network SIM cards so that you can decide which SIM authentication is used with which device with which user. Imagine you're not connecting to a Verizon network, but you're connecting to your private network. So there needs to be a management of SIM authentication, that used to be provided by someone.

And you will get that done and you will go to a radio company. And that radio company will give you all the options to where to put the radios so that they have wireless coverage for these devices that you just put a SIM card in. And then the radio company will say, well, our technology needs to send the wireless traffic somewhere so that that somewhere needs to translate 5G, speak 5G cellular wireless technology packets and bytes and bits to enterprise networking technology, which is routing layer two, layer three networking that we all come to know over the many years. That is called a mobile core. And there were many vendors that provide you mobile core software.

And they will take that three legged stool and it would go to someone and say, hey, I need someone to paint this and make it manageable, make it look nice, so that it fits with the rest of my infrastructure. And I need to be able to deploy many radios at once. And I need to enable many users with many SIM cards in a couple of minutes instead of manually doing all one by one. And by the way, I need to be able to monitor the status of this network and how good quality the applications are when they're connecting to my network. And then a system integrator will say okay, I will build that dashboard for you. I will build that automation for you. Well, enterprises don't have the patience to go through this process.

So we said SIM cards, spectrum access radios, network management, mobile core software, translation to enterprise networking, all of that we're going to give you and then we're going to package it all up with our “secret sauce”. We wrapped it with our “secret sauce”, technological Celona micro-slicing. It's inspired by 5G network slicing technology standard specification. It's a very widely talked about topic in 5G circles. And network slicing essentially says you can slice up solar wireless airwaves between different devices and between different applications. It's just that specification doesn't tell you how to actually do it in an enterprise network. It's up to vendors like us to do that translation.

So you can throw us any type of device, Apple, Google, zebra, robotics, whatever, and then all those devices running many different applications and we will give you the tools for you to slice up your network to guarantee that service level that we talked about between those use cases. So our value really is cloud networking for 5G. Over the years there were companies like Meraki, they translated WiFi to cloud networking. They made it centralized, easy to manage, scale up, manage across many different sites thousands of access points, you log into our dashboard, you can see everything and configure everything.

And then there were companies who looked at routing market, Wide Area Network Marketing said why don't we come up with this concept of SD WAN, where the wide area networking technologies could be managed from the cloud? And it was cloud networking for WAN services. So when now come up with the idea that similarly, enterprises need cloud networking for 5G. And then within our ecosystem, we essentially are calling it a 5G LAN.

From our perspective, if you're investing in a 5G line solution, you're investing in an end-to-end solution that you can bring up in an afternoon, you can start configuring it in a couple of days in very large quantities, and start managing it as your own 5G network. So that's kind of the details behind the product package.

Erik: And looking here at your Celona orchestrator, which is, I guess, the front end management platform it looks quite intuitive. What is the given the state of the technology around 5G today and the solution? What is the requirements for the team in terms of competence for managing IT networks? I'm just thinking about a lot of the companies that I guess, you're not addressing the Chinese market, but I'm sitting here in Shanghai, and I'm thinking about companies that have big footprints of facilities, but frankly quite unsophisticated IT teams. Obviously, if you're looking at the kind of larger fortune 1,000, 2,000 manufacturers, then they probably don't have this problem, they probably have the competence in-house. But what are we looking at from a usability or an experience perspective in terms of having the competence to set this up and make sure it's working reliably?

Ozer: So the way we designed our solution is actually we assumed three separate audiences. We said, there will be WiFi networking professionals. WiFi has been around for a long time. There are lots of certified engineers, whether they're specialist professionals, experts, different levels. We said any one of those WiFi engineers should be able to pick this up, plan out coverage and capacity, and start deploying the radios and start operating system. And that's what orchestrator does well at first sight.

I'm going to make sure that if you're capable of designing, deploying and operating a WiFi network, I'm going to let you do that same with 5G. I'm not going to bore you with lots of 5G terminology and lots of abbreviations as many of you listeners might have been exposed to. Cellular wireless ecosystem uses a lot of 3GPP specification language that could be quite confusing, as opposed to enterprise language, enterprise WiFi engineers like to use terms like access points, and radios, and IP domains and VLANs. So that's the language that we translated a lot of the user interface within our system.

The second degree of audience is maybe that enterprise do actually have some networking team, but they usually rely on third parties to manage their infrastructure. Maybe they have a managed services first approach. So we have built within the orchestrator another layer of configuration options, monitoring management options for managed service providers. Those who are serving, let's say, 10 hospitals, 5 retailers, 10, logistics warehouses within that same city and they will like a team of two engineers managing and monitoring those networks in one shot. They want to roll out devices. They want to monitor their status. They want to open support cases whenever they want. But they're responsible for the wellbeing of that network. And this be facing infrastructure.

The third layer, again, not visible at first sight is the developer libraries. So since we're doing cloud networking, everything that we build an orchestrator is built on developer APIs. Some of them are streaming APIs for monitoring, stats keeping, but some of them are configuration. Using those APIs, you can actually build your own dashboard if you want. Sometimes, even application delivery teams might interact with our network to get information.

If you're building a robotics infrastructure, you spent all the time building, monitoring tools to see how your robots are doing. It's probably not too farfetched to assume that same application delivery team will talk to our APIs and say, hey, by the way, how is the network doing? How is the application quality over the network as I'm trying to roll out more robotics infrastructure? Some of our customers have already started doing that.

So if you want to build your own dashboard because you are an enterprise team across many sites, and you have variety of different it workflows that you want us to be part of, you can go ahead and use that. If you're an MSP, you're not satisfied with the tooling that we provided you with an orchestrator, you want additional tool sets for your customers, you can use the APIs. And if you're an application delivery team, that are trying to get more stats from the network, as you're rolling out these new devices, you can use the API. So there's the network engineer, faceplate, there's the MSP workflows, and then there's the developer workflows within the platform.

Erik: And then I guess, if we're looking at from a customer perspective, looks like two main customer groups. So one could be the enterprise itself, and the second could be potentially service provider that wants to use this because it makes their services more efficient and the customer might not even know what tool is being used in the backend, they're just being supported. What does the business model look like here? So it's a SaaS solution, what is the point of scale? Is the point around the number of data volume? Is the number of hubs being connected? Or what is the point of scale that enterprise would have to manage?

Ozer: Again, we learn from the way the enterprises like to consume that wireless networking solution today. Today, if they go to Cisco, or Aruba, Juniper for a wireless network using Wi Fi technologies, they're subscribing to that service on a per access point basis. And they're used to that model. So, it's not person card, it's not per data usage, it's not per capacity you have on your mobile core. Those are traditional ways of pricing out a seller wireless solution. That doesn't work in the enterprise because the model that enterprises think is I have X amount of square footage, I need X amount of radios to cover that square footage. What is my cost per access point per month? And that's the model that we fit in. We have three year and five year subscriptions, which is again, very common in the WiFi ecosystem.

And another way that we have to worry about business model is there's always a channel partner between us and the end customer. That channel partner could be a managed service provider, as we talked about, or could be in Cisco Networking, IT networking partner. Next, their Cisco switches, they're going to sell a Celona 5G LAN. So I have to give them as much partner discount as Cisco is giving them most likely more because I'm an up and coming startup. And accordingly, I need to price my solution that way.

So, we actually price our solution in a way that is coolant, or more advantageous, on a square footage basis when compared to WiFi so that our pricing is acceptable make sense because that's kind of the value that we provide. And we will continue to provide more value for that customer, hopefully. So we want to meet and beat the Celona WiFi value. And then we have to make the channel partner between us and the customer enabled a variety of different services options, professional services, design services, management, troubleshooting, etc.

Now, that business model essentially reflects on how we invest in our engineering. We follow a model where we maintain a healthy margin that is accustomed to lots of our audience in the enterprise networking space so that we can bring that value back to our engineering so that we can innovate faster for the next set of features, next set of hardware products, next set of capabilities.

Traditionally, cellular wireless ecosystem have been following a model where it is not very dynamic: devices don't change too much. And the behavior of the network doesn't change too much. We have been doing voice services for a long time and then we added data. There's not a whole lot of innovation that happens in how we as consumers consuming technology, the devices get upgraded. But the network itself is usually stays constant for 10-20 years. In enterprises, networks are just much more dynamic. So we get to follow a model where we take on product innovation, technology innovation, and our channel partners take on services, innovation, deployment innovation, and then our customers can quickly adapt to new applications and new devices coming and entering to their facilities every other year.

Erik: And then the on the hardware side, it looks like you provide the indoor or outdoor access points and also the SIM cards based on the subscription. So I suppose you define with the customer what subscription they need in order to accomplish their goals and then you deploy the access points for that. Does it occur where they for whatever reason already have access points from some other provider and you'd deploy your software on that? Or is it always a marriage between the Celona access point and your SaaS solution?

Ozer: That's kind of the advantage, I think, in terms of our timing because we do see some early adopters of multi-product solutions out there. The numbers are not too many. And those folks actually tell us that, okay, we have taken the multi-vendor route. We have bought SIM cards radios offer from three different people. We don't want to do that anymore. Operationally, it means that we have to upgrade three systems when we need to change something. It means that we need to keep track of relationship between three different vendors. And when things break, we don't know where it breaks because we have make call three different vendors.

So operationally speaking, the folks who have tried the multi-vendor, multi-piece approach, actually say, okay, this is great and now I have integrated option. And the ones who haven't tried that, they go yeah, of course, I want an integrated option. So we're in a good place right now in terms of customer expectations.

Erik: I feel like we've done a pretty good coverage here. Anything, Ozer, that we haven't touched on yet that's important, either about maybe the status of the business today, or where you're going in the future?

Ozer: My call to action to our audiences across different forums is really the same. This technology is available here today. You can, in fact, go beyond the hype and see it for yourself. On our website celona.io, you will see a variety of call to actions for you to meet your technology, try out the technology, experience with technology. It is growing really fast device ecosystem is already here. You do have anything from laptops, to smartphones, to ruggedized devices, to routers to IoT gateways that support private cellular technology today.

And my advice to IT professionals out there, business leaders out there, application delivery teams out there is, kick the tires, try out different solutions. Certainly try ours, we will love to connect. But the time is now to see the technology in action. There have been a lot of talk in the industry. You might have read tons of articles about the topic. But if you want to really go beyond the hype, I advise that you give this technology try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the level of technology benefits it can provide for your new facilities or maybe some your existing application. So that's my call to action for everybody and my important statement.

Erik: And I agree, I think, even if a company doesn't have necessarily the application that they need running next month, now is the time to educate their teams, get the infrastructure figured out because this is coming down the pipeline very quickly around. There's a lot of innovation that's pushing the technology forward. So if you wait, you will be behind. Well, Ozer, we are really appreciate you coming on and filling us in and helping us get up to speed on where we are today with enterprise 5G adoption.

Ozer: Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Erik. Great conversation.

Erik: Thanks for tuning in to another edition of the industrial IoT spotlight podcast. If you find these conversations valuable, please leave us a comment and a five-star review. And if you'd like to share your company's story or recommend a speaker, please email us at team@IoTone.com. Finally, if you have an IoT research, strategy, or training initiative that you'd like to discuss, you can email me directly at erik.walenza@IoTone.com. Thank you.

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