Report predicts 'white space economy' for wireless

Analyst says establishing standards for white space frequencies is a must.

Cambridge Consultants recently issued a report that discusses business opportunities in wireless technologies that will be enabled by white space frequencies. In it, Cambridge predicts that the first white space-based consumer devices will be developed within five years, and the first enterprise devices will arrive before the end of this year. "White Space Radio: High Street Hit or Left In the Lab?" is a culmination of a workshop that Cambridge Consultants hosted and includes input from wireless and communications providers including Nokia, Samsung, BBC, BSkyB, Neul and CSR.

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The report coins the term "white space economy," and details the expansive new business opportunities for a range of industries. It suggests the initial market opportunities will appear as a series of small, niche application that would minimize dependency on multiple parties and require relatively low investment levels. It envisions revenue returns for providers in the form of direct data delivery or indirect revenue streams like advertising. The report's consensus is that the use of white space radio is inevitable and that it addresses a critical need for redressing methods of spectrum use and opening new possibilities for wireless devices. While much of the discussion surrounding white space technology has focued on its potential to meet deamdn for mobile data on smartphones, Cambridge Consultants emphasizes that the technology also has the potential to provide a broader range of applications.

Fraser Edwards, head of radio-frequency systems at Cambridge Consultants, stated, "It is important to view white space as a platform that a multitude of technologies can use, presenting incredible potential for application far beyond simply supplementing traditional cellular networks. One of the main difficulties is identifying which vertical market will see significant headway first. Technology is being developed, but this is still largely hidden from public view and further demonstration of both the technology and specific market application is needed before significant investment is forthcoming.

"A priority now should be establishing standards to allow for common platforms, economies of scale and large-scale uptake," he added. "Without standards white space could be a footnote, but effectively marshalled white space has the potential to deliver even great innovation and new services than we have seen in previously unlicensed spectrum such as WiFi and Bluetooth."

You can order a free copy of the study here.

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