This is part two of our in-depth conversation with Cal Shintani, senior vice president and chief growth officer at Oceus Networks. Click here to read part one.
ExecutiveBiz: Where are the opportunities for broadband wireless at the state and local levels?
Cal Shintani: Most of the state and local governments are watching FirstNet and are engaging in a formal consultation process to understand the network approach, share concerns and requirements, and understand the assets that can be brought to bear for the nationwide network.
Officially, states either have to be part of this FirstNet nationwide network or they must “opt out“ and build their own fully interoperable network that meets all of FirstNet's communication requirements — no small feat. FirstNet hasn't fully defined what's required to opt out but it will be an extremely challenging road to do so. Several states, consortiums of states, and municipal entities are anxious to move forward with LTE pilots and solution demonstrations.
They want to understand how broadband can be leveraged to meet their public safety needs and complement existing legacy systems. Many don't want to wait for FirstNet's consultation, acquisition and deployment cycle. FirstNet, however, owns the Band 14 Spectrum that enables these public safety pilots, demonstrations, and build-outs.
This requires that FirstNet supports and approves the temporary use of Spectrum for these pilots and early adopter initiatives before they are built and deployed. This makes it challenging for both the states and FirstNet to push LTE while waiting for a complete network design, acquisition, and rollout. We and other companies dealing in this arena are working with innovative states and customers to understand how to use this capability and how it can transform public safety operations.
Similar to the DoD, there is a lot of learning and experimenting that has to happenin regards to how you use this technology and how you augment your current land mobile radio, push to talk systems with this new broadband capability.
We have worked with some law enforcement folks like the SWAT team in California last summer, who were doing exercises to demonstrate and better understand how they could use this kind of capability to enhance their missions. We are exploring other opportunities with like-minded customers in various markets throughout the US.
ExecutiveBiz: What did Reps. Gerry Connolly and Sam Johnson look to see in their visits to Oceus’ headquarters? Describe how those meetings went.
Cal Shintani: Oceus Networks has a little over a hundred people divided between our headquarters in Reston and our engineering manufacturing facility in Texas. Rep. Connolly is always looking at companies that are doing good things in his district, which is where our Restonheadquarters is located. He came out to see us and we spent about twenty minutes providing a public safety demonstration similar to what we are doing for JerseyNet.
He then spent about twenty minutes in a Town Hall answering questions from company staff. This is something Rep. Connolly likes to do, which is really good because he is very engaging and pretty funny.Rep. Johnson is our representative for the Plano office. Although it is not in his district, he actually came to our operations center which is only three miles away from Plano.
That is where we manufacture Xiphos, our 4G LTE communication solution. At that time we had just received the first trailer that we were integratingfor JerseyNet. He got to see that real-time. Because he was in our engineering center, we showed him some of the things we were working on in R&D. Both of the visits by our congressional representatives were excellent and their staff asked lots of questions.
They like to stay informed about what is going on in their districts. They are very interested in the broadband technology and what we are doing, and how the issues they support in Congress might be able to help some of their constituents.
Rep. Connolly was one of the driving forces behind a new law that gives more power to CIOs. He is very much a proponent of all of us who provide technology to the federal government.