Featuring Connectivity Wireless‘ SVP of Wi-Fi, IT and Analytics, Alessandro Feitosa
1. What is one thing you really wish property owners knew about the future of Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is not going away anytime soon. Furthermore, it’s one of the most exciting times in Wi-Fi history!
It’s easy to get lost with all the hype about 5G and its incredible speeds and benefits. 5G is great; it will enable excellent new services. So to will Wi-Fi, in particular, the new standards Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, and you will need them all. We are indoors 80 percent of the time, and having all these wonderful technologies available (5G, Wi-Fi, CBRS) enables us to choose the right tool for the job. (Cost per byte, control and visibility over the users, and data needs will drive where to deploy what in your property).
If there is one thing we have learned through the years, it is that we need more capacity every day not less. For the majority of the data we consume in our daily lives, personal or professional, we don’t need to pay a wireless carrier premium for access if we have the right technology and network in place.
2. What advice do you have for CIOs to make the Wi-Fi evolution process as easy as possible?
Wi-Fi has been already accepted as a necessary cost, like water and power, the next step is to start turning it into a profit center.
A lot of people these days say that connectivity is the most important “utility,” and for that reason, it is expected to be available everywhere. Even when we take a few days off and go to the mountains, we want to make sure we have some sort of coverage “just in case.” So, first and foremost, if you are retrofitting your property, or building something new, make sure to account for data everywhere – there is no such a thing as “too much” capacity.
Second, Wi-Fi has been already accepted as a necessary cost, like water and power, so I advise that now is a great time to start turning it into a profit center (and become good friends with CMOs and COOs in the process!) It’s time to take full advantage of Wi-Fi and its neighboring technologies, such as Bluetooth and Zigbee, not only to give people the basics for living, but to empower you as a property owner or manager to understand who your customers are and how they behave inside your venue, as well as improve operations efficiency, reduce costs, and more. Potential use cases for these technologies are proximity-based push notifications, offering coupons for customers, contactless check-in or payments, access control to visitors and employees to restrict areas, inventory management, and countless others.
3. What do you predict in the immediate future for Wi-Fi?
The next two years will be all about speed and data.
With 5G and Wi-Fi 6 devices and equipment becoming more widely available, people will focus a lot on how much faster the networks are. Wi-Fi 6E will also introduce more than 2x additional capacity to Wi-Fi compared to what is available today. With more speed and capacity, more services will be able to run and rely on Wi-Fi as never before.
Video streaming to different parts of the venue to bring people together without having everybody at the office? Check. Security cameras with 4K video to monitor access to your property? Check. Cameras with face detection capabilities working with door sensors and Wi-Fi tracking to enforce social distancing or capacity limitations? Contact tracing? Check. Check.
I believe we have reached a maturity level in the technology space that it’s impossible to look at the network layer all by itself. It has to be part of a larger plan and work in tandem with many other different services to reach its full potential through automation and analytics. With technologies such as Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence, your network can be literally talking to you, and you better listen!
4. How long have you been in wireless?
I have been in wireless for 20 years, starting in the 2000s working for Nokia as we deployed GSM over Latin America, quickly moving into EDGE and later to 3G. As the “Mobile Data Era” started, I moved into the Packet Core, and experienced the 3.5G and 4G evolutions, working for Starent Networks, which later was acquired by Cisco. The transition into IP took me to Juniper Networks and later to Ruckus Wireless, where I learned about Wi-Fi and had the unique opportunity to combine my passion for soccer with technology for the dream opportunity of deploying the high-density stadium Wi-Fi for the 2014 Soccer World Cup in my birth country, Brazil, and my hometown, Rio de Janeiro.
Since then, I helped put together what today is Commscope’s Global Large Public Venue Business, being part of more than 50 Wi-Fi High-Density Projects around the world. In early 2017, I decided to join 5 Bars, one of Connectivity Wireless’ predecessors, where I was introduced to DAS. I learned how important it is to find synergies when deploying multiple technologies in the same venue and how one can benefit from the other. I was out for a few months last year and rejoined Connectivity Wireless as of December 2019, focusing on our Wi-Fi and analytics businesses.
5. Tell us about yourself
I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I learned to love the outdoors, especially the beach lifestyle and soccer. Since I was a little kid, I was fascinated with video games, cars, toys, and loved to break things apart and put them back together, not always re-using all the parts… that path took me into electronics, where I attended Technical highschool in Electronics and later got my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. With most of my first- and second-degree family having immigrated to Brazil after World War 1, I was always fascinated with other languages and cultures and decided to move abroad for a few years after I graduated college. Fourteen years later, after living in Chile, Spain, and then back in Brazil, I have been in the US for seven years, calling Boca Raton, Florida, my home.