Betacom CEO Johan Bjorklund recently announced that the company introduced a managed-service offering that will address a common pain point for many enterprises—a lack of 4G and 5G knowledge, IWCE’s Urgent Communications reports. Many companies are interested in having a private wireless network, but not understanding the inner workings has prevented them from moving forward.
Now, enterprises can explore potential automated Industry 4.0 applications that Betacom’s systems power at the Factory Floor Lab of MxD, the nation’s Digital Manufacturing Institute and National Center for Cybersecurity in Manufacturing.
“For an enterprise—even though they may be very large—it’s very hard for them to gain this expertise over a short period of time, so they can deploy their own network, let alone manage their own network, Bjorklund said during a recent webinar about the MxD announcement. “We’re all about private wireless—we deploy, we design and we manage networks.”
Bjorklund also noted that Betacom features a lot of in-house expertise and added a management component to it, “to allow enterprises to basically build and own their own private wireless network without adding a single headcount to their overall IT department.” Instead, Betacom handles that on the back end for enterprises.
How Betacom’s operation works
Once a company has their private wireless network in place, Betacom staff members can remotely monitor its performance. Betacom does not have access to any of the data being sent across the systems however, allowing customers to maintain the independence that comes with owning a private network. Betacom recently spoke about the intersection of the Internet of Things and private networks at Connect (X), which took place last month in Denver.
“We have a network operating center—we call it the SSOC—where we’re basically managing and monitoring all of our networks from a centralized location,” Bjorklund told IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We are using a lot of machine learning and artificial intelligence for statistical reporting and analysis on our networks, so we’re trying to be as proactive as possible. If we start to see trends, we can take action, hopefully before we have an event or outage.”
Betacom sees that as its value add—customers can turn to the company when it needs help with its private network, but it’s still their own. They decide what goes on it, how much they use it, etc. Betacom remains behind the scenes, ready to assist when necessary. Setting up the partnership that way lets enterprises dictate their own cybersecurity policies.
“From a cybersecurity perspective, that means that they are in control of all of their data at all times,” Bjorklund said. “That’s quite appealing to large manufacturers, robotics companies, airports and other companies that we’ve been working with.
“What we’re hearing from a lot of these companies is they just want to be within their own firewalls, because they can control that environment. That way it’s easier for their IT department to know what’s inside and they don’t have to worry about what’s going on outside.”
Private wireless networks made simple
Tony Del Sesto, a technical fellow at MxD, noted that companies like Betacom are playing a key role in making private wireless networks accessible to enterprises of all sizes, especially given that not all can have large IT teams.
“A lot of people don’t realize that 98% of manufacturers in the United States are small and medium-sized businesses, and a lot of them are thinking, ‘I can’t do 5G—that’s only for large companies,’” Del Sesto said during the webinar. “But Betacom has made it easy. They are managing the install from start to finish. They’re managing the configuration, the commissioning, the testing, the verification and the subcontractors.”
Companies like Betacom have shown the private network concept does not have to be difficult, according to Del Sesto. The company simplified the process by meeting with the customer’s cybersecurity and IT teams, ensure it had configurations (WAN and LAN) before gaining remote access—while the enterprise still controlled the network internally.
“It’s really the best of both worlds,” Del Sesto said. “We had the ease of installation and expertise of Betacom, but we still manage access and security within our own system.”
Betacom’s private network technology works with a number of solutions, but the company is currently focused on three sectors, Urgent Communications reports—logistics, manufacturing and airports/airlines The company deployed its solution at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, where the private network has made the facility’s baggage-scanning technology more efficient.
“We basically managed to increase the efficiency of baggage handling by 22 percent,” Bjorklund told IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “The final outcome was faster turnaround at the gates for the planes.”
Betacom won a 2021 Excellence in Enterprise Deployment award from the OnGo Alliance for its CBRS deployment at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. The OnGo Alliance believes that 4G and 5G solutions, utilizing shared spectrum, can enable both in-building and outdoor coverage and capacity expansion at massive scale. In order to maximize the full potential of shared spectrum, the OnGo Alliance aims to enable a robust ecosystem towards making OnGo solutions available.