Disrupt or be disrupted: Embrace change now to prepare for a 5G future

The race to 5G has begun and the hurdles are higher than ever before. Although legislators are working to streamline permitting, effectively reducing the height of that hurdle, permits are only one step of the journey to bringing small cells on air. In fact, in an ideal world, one without complications, on average we see small cell deployments take about 75 distinct steps to go live, according to project management firm Sitetracker. With that in mind, are you ready to tackle the challenges presented by just the forecasted volume of deployments? Furthermore, are you prepared to rely on lobbyists and government, big or small, to be the driver for innovation at your company or are you going to tackle the challenges of 5G head on through innovation and change?

Sitetracker has developed a platform to manage high-volume projects, enabling growth-focused innovators to optimize the entire asset lifecycle. John Leigh, Vice President of Operations for Sitetracker, will address this topic at Connectivity Expo in Orlando. In a preview of his panel, Leigh and Sitetracker provided some insights into managing network deployments, including speeding time to deployment and reducing costs.

What is the unique toolset or platform that your company brings to the wireless infrastructure industry?

Sitetracker is a skills equalizer, a way to implement best practices and a common language for communicating about the multitude of high-volume projects our industry faces. At a time when it’s increasingly difficult to attract and retain quality talent, and project volumes are skyrocketing, Sitetracker fundamentally changes the way the industry manages critical infrastructure projects.

Different companies, such as MNOs and service providers, work on the same projects together using the Sitetracker platform. This creates a common language between the service providers and the carrier on the project and a set of shared best practices. This fully integrated approach creates a multiplier on project efficiency that cannot be fully realized through spreadsheets, in-house tools, or traditional incumbent point solutions.

What experience or insight has your team gleaned from other industries that can be applied to wireless siting to both speed up deployment and reduce the cost of each site development?

The challenges that the telecom industry faces right now are not unique. Other critical infrastructure industries like utilities and oil and gas are facing the same challenges in managing the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of projects. But, they look to telecom to lead the way and be the changemakers they’ve proven to be in the past.

To lead other critical infrastructure industries into the future of modern projects, the wireless industry must adopt standards, best practices, and technology that align with the new operating paradigm that 5G brings with it. With a 92% adoption rate and three times faster time to “on-air” Sitetracker enables wireless and other critical infrastructure companies to scale the high-volume projects that are becoming the norm.

If you could do one thing to reduce by 50% the cost and the time it takes to get one small cell site ‘on net’ what would it be?

Embrace change now to prepare for a 5G future. Practically speaking, that means investing in technology that aligns with and automates your processes so that your people are empowered to get the job done. Lots of incremental improvements compound into significantly shorter cycle times, less re-work, and less friction to “on net.”

For example, Sitetracker customers are saving 40% in annual spending on operations and 80% in time spent on reporting, which means they can invest in 5G in ways that other companies don’t have the bandwidth or capital to do. Many of our customers reduce their time to “on net” much more than 50%. As I mentioned before, we commonly see customers bringing assets online three times faster than before.

It comes down to deciding to embrace change — a better way of working — at this critical inflection point in the telecom industry. There’s a new way to plan and deploy small cells, and it’s the only way we’ll make the promise of a connected future a reality.

Leigh will address the complexity of deployments when cells are smaller, sites are located closer, devices require different topologies, and more networks come online during the panel “Automation: Tools to Reduce Costs and Increase Profits in the Micro and Macro Network,” Tuesday, May 21 at 3:30 p.m. at Connectivity Expo. The panel, which includes speakers from FieldClix, VertSpec, and Modifi and moderated by AGL Media’s Don Bishop, is part of the “Towers and Macro Sites 2.0” education track, which features topics on investment partnerships, the integrated asset chain, disaster response, distributed energy storage, and new spectrum opportunities.

Don’t miss Sitetracker VP Sales Irene Scher moderating the panel “Disrupt or be Disrupted: How to be a Hero of Change” on Tuesday, May 21, at Connectivity Expo. See Sitetracker during Connect (X) at booths A, 207 and 306.

Visit www.connectivityexpo.com for the full list of speakers, keynotes, exhibitors and sessions.



John Leigh is Vice President of Operations at Sitetracker, where he sets and executes the company’s global operations strategy. By working closely with Sitetracker’s customers, partners, and internal teams, he ensures that Sitetracker continually demonstrates operational excellence and delivers maximum value to its growing customer base.

Prior to Sitetracker, John led cross-functional B2B SaaS and telecom network hardware teams in positions including product marketing and strategy, including high growth sales teams. John holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.