Category: Blog

Md7 at Wireless West 2019

In Case You Missed the Wireless West Conference

This year’s Wireless West Conference has come and gone. People traveled from all over to the gorgeous desert of Scottsdale, Arizona to participate in three days of education from thought leaders, expert analysts, networking opportunities and much, much more. Md7 was also on hand and if you didn’t have the pleasure of attending yourself, we just wanted to take the opportunity to quickly catch you up on all that you missed.

Md7 made sure that the event got started off on the best foot possible by way of a “Welcome Reception Party” that we hosted. Not only did we get the chance to rub elbows with hundreds of people from the wireless industry, but the food and drinks were great, and there was a Mariachi band to help set the tone for everything that followed.

AI/AR Panel Discussion

Perhaps the most informative attraction of this year’s conference was a fascinating panel discussion on artificial intelligence and augmented reality. While this wasn’t explicitly an Md7 presentation, our representatives were there in full force on the panel to give their thoughts on possibly one of the most important tech trends in the wireless industry to come along in a generation. Others were also present, including those representing everything from drone technology to laser scanners (for mapping) and more.

5G Labor Issues

The overwhelming agreement from people in attendance at the conference – something that was also echoed during the panel discussion – was that the infrastructure industry is simply not ready for the impending 5G revolution we are about to go through. This is due in no small part to a labor shortage – there simply aren’t enough people available to fill the jobs needed to get the work done that 5G will require.

Md7 is just one of the many examples of a company that is trying to use technology to solve this problem. During the AI/AR discussion we talked about our new tool, Contract Analyzer to read and sort lease data and the Scout Mobile App, which allows wireless carriers to work “smarter, not harder” in terms of 5G preparation – all without having to add more people to their teams.

All told, this year’s Wireless West Conference was truly an unforgettable experience – and we’re already looking forward to next year.


Md7 Partners with Overlay to Develop Scout App

MOBILE AUGMENTED REALITY FOR RAPID SMALL CELL DEPLOYMENTS

SAN DIEGO, CA, and MENLO PARK, CA – January 23, 2019 – Md7 and Overlay have partnered to develop Scout, a cutting-edge computer vision and mobile augmented reality app, to accelerate the site acquisition and land surveying process for small cells in the wireless industry.  

Scout accelerates the site acquisition process by enabling virtual site walks as well as automating pole measurements and the creation of candidate packages.  It eliminates the need for back office processing of the data gathered in the field because all field data is uploaded from the app and is immediately accessible through a complementary web portal called Base.  Base manages search rings and auto-populates candidate packages and site sketch templates as soon as the field data is uploaded from Scout.

Scout is also designed to accelerate the land surveying process for small cells through the generation of 1A and topographic surveys.  When paired with survey-grade GPS, Scout uses Visual Inertial Odometry to build an accurate 3D scene of the objects and planes around each candidate pole.  This data is also immediately accessible through Base, which auto-generates 1A and topographic surveys in PDF format for review and approval by a licensed surveyor.

Tom Leddo, the Chief Strategy Officer for Md7, noted that “the small cell deployment model requires innovation in every phase, that is why we partnered with Overlay.  We have been working together to develop what we believe will be a disruptively innovative tool to accelerate the deployment of countless small cells over the next three to five years.”  

Overlay CEO Chris Morace said, “For too long deployment of our most critical infrastructure has relied on pushing paper and making phone calls, resulting in more cost and missed deadlines. Overlay uses the latest technology to pull critical data from the corporate office into the field and makes the results of that field work immediately accessible to the extended enterprise.  This technology is transforming the way networks are built.”

ABOUT MD7

Based in San Diego, California, and Dublin, Ireland, Md7 is a network real estate management company serving the telecommunications industry since 2003.  Md7 has provided a variety of site acquisition, lease management, and negotiation services for over thirty operators in twenty different countries and twelve different languages in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Oceania.

To learn more about Md7, please visit https://www.md7.com/

ABOUT OVERLAY

Based in Menlo Park, California, Overlay is the pioneer and leader in the category of Field Intelligence Software.  Overlay brings together GNSS, AR, computer vision, AI, and back office data sets to transform the way our critical infrastructure is deployed, built, and managed.

To learn more about Overlay, please visit: https://www.overlay.com.ar


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Md7

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Md7

Overview of Maslow’s Hierarchy

Psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized that all human behavior is motivated by the drive to satisfy five essential human needs, which are satisfied in the following prescribed order: Basic Physiological Needs, Safety Needs, Love and Belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization.  

Because people often spend more time fulfilling initial needs (such as the need for air, water, food, shelter, etc. –Basic Physiological Needs) before they can address the needs that follow (such as the need for personal security, order, and stability, etc. – Safety Needs), Maslow’s hierarchy is commonly depicted as a pyramid such as the one shown above, with each hierarchy shown as increasing smaller levels of the pyramid.  Someone who has met their physiological and safety needs may ascend up the pyramid towards friendship and a sense of connection (Love and Belonging), then towards respect, self-confidence, status (Esteem), and may eventually achieve their full potential in creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, acceptance of facts, etc. (Self-Actualization).

Every person is capable and has the desire to move up the hierarchy toward a level of self-actualization.  Unfortunately, progress is often disrupted by a failure to meet lower level needs. Life experiences, [such as the] loss of a job, may cause an individual to fluctuate between levels of the hierarchy.

Maslow theorized that with respect to the first four levels, often referred to as deficiency needs (D-Needs), the motivation to meet these needs become stronger the greater the period they are denied.  For example, the longer a person goes without food, the hungrier they become.

With respect to the final level of the hierarchy, self-actualization, often referred to as growth or being needs (B-Needs), fulfillment is not driven by a lack of something, but rather from a desire for personal growth.  “When a deficit need has been ‘more or less’ satisfied it will go away, and our activities become habitually directed towards meeting the next set of needs that we have yet to satisfy. These then become our salient needs. However, growth needs continue to be felt and may even become stronger once they have been engaged.”

What does this have to do with Md7?

Md7 strives to create a culture where each team member has the support and resources to reach the top of Maslow’s pyramid: self-actualization.  This is where motivation increases as individuals desire to reach their full personal potential. However, achieving this is easier said than done.  

Whether we work at Md7 or the proverbial salt mines, the first two needs at the bottom of the pyramid—Physiological and Safety—can be met by simply having a job and using your paycheck to acquire these most basic desires.

As we climb up the pyramid, the Md7 Core Value of “Respect for the Individual” is an effort to create a culture that meets Maslow’s third and fourth needs: Love and Belonging and Esteem.  Through our effort to treat each person with respect—a form of love—we build friendships, family, social groups, and intimacy that all eventually lead to confidence and self-esteem in our team members.

Finally, as one transitions from Esteem to Self-Actualization, our D-Needs decrease and our B-Needs increase.  We become motivated to discover our individual and collective potential. Md7 hopes each team member will reach the top of Maslow’s pyramid, not just to help Md7 grow but also because it is fun and motivating to see people deeply fulfilled.

Source: McLeod, S. A. (2018, May 21). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html – which is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.


Happy Holidays

The Md7 Düsseldorf Team
The Md7 Düsseldorf Team


Md7 Announces ISO 9001:2015 Certification in Europe

Dublin, Ireland – 27 November 2018 – Md7 is pleased to announce that its European operation, Md7 International Telecommunications Ltd (MITL), has achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification. This certification is in addition to the company headquarters, in San Diego, achieving ISO 9001:2015 certification earlier this year.

ISO 9001:2015 is the most recognized and widely used business management system in the world, designed to help organizations meet and exceed the expectations and needs of their customers and other interested parties. As part of the certification process, the entire Md7 team in Europe participated in an audit of its business operations in Dublin, Ireland; Maastricht, the Netherlands; and Dusseldorf, Germany.

John Cahill, Vice President of Business Development, noted that “Achieving ISO 9001:2015 certification in both the USA and Europe is a great accomplishment and provides a foundation for maintaining quality as Md7 continues to grow globally.”

Md7 maintains a focus on quality throughout the company by embracing its six Core Values. In particular, two of the core values, Extreme Service and Continuous Improvement, guide Md7 in maintaining quality through well-defined and documented processes, proactive client communication, and the ongoing development of LiveTrack®, which automates workflow to eliminate errors.

This certification process formalized the Md7 Quality Policy, which states:

Md7 delivers innovative solutions through its Business Process Manual (BPM), which uses:

  • ISO 9001:2015;
  • our Core Values; and
  • any applicable legal requirements
    to provide a framework to guide the organization in documenting, measuring, and continuously improving our practices.

ABOUT MD7

Based in San Diego, California, and Dublin, Ireland, Md7 is a turnkey site development and real estate management company serving the telecommunications industry since 2003. Md7 has provided a variety of site acquisition, lease management, and negotiation services for over thirty operators in twenty different countries and twelve different languages in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Oceania.

To learn more about Md7, please visit https://www.md7.com/.


FCC Building

FCC Takes Steps to Accelerate Wireline and Wireless Broadband Deployment

FCC recently issued its Third Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling, which takes several steps to facilitate deployment of wireline and wireless networks. The biggest step is the adoption of “one-touch make-ready” (OTMR). OTMR will speed deployment time and reduce costs for certain utility pole attachments by letting a new attacher perform work required to make the pole ready for the new attachment. This improves the current process, in which owners of existing attachments perform make-ready work on their attachments. OTMR applies in 30 states; some governmental bodies in the remaining 20 states have already enacted their own OTMR rules, with other jurisdictions likely to follow.    

The FCC clarified issues related to pole attachments. First, new attachers are responsible for damage they cause to existing attachments, but not for consequential damages such as those resulting from a service outage. Second, new attachers are not responsible for the cost of work required to bring a pole with pre-existing violations into compliance with safety and construction standards.

The FCC made official its longstanding policy that attachers may overlash – attach new cables to existing ones – without prior approval from a pole-owning utility. Utilities may require notification up to 15 days prior to overlashing, but the utility can only object if the overlash will “compromise the safety or integrity of existing electric distribution and communications infrastructure.”  

The FCC addressed outdated rate disparities for local exchange carriers (LEC), who are often charged higher rates for pole attachments than “similarly situated” telecommunications providers. Previously, a LEC had to prove it was “similarly situated” to telecommunications providers. With this Ruling, the burden shifts to the utility to show the LEC is NOT similarly situated in order to justify charging the LEC higher attachment rates.

The FCC ruled that moratoria on the deployment of telecommunications services or facilities violate federal law. The FCC noted that temporary moratoria for planning purposes or government study are generally not allowed, nor are moratoria that delay review of applications “until pending local, state, or federal legislation is adopted.” The FCC stated that emergency moratoria may be allowed, but only if competitively neutral; necessary to address emergency, disaster, or public safety needs; and targeted to geographic areas affected by disaster or emergency.

It will be interesting to see how these provisions play out, and it is encouraging to see the FCC take steps to accelerate wireline and wireless broadband deployment.


People working in the office

MD7 Initiates Landlord Management for Vodafone Germany

San Diego, CA – August 21, 2018. Md7 announces that it has initiated landlord management services for Vodafone Germany.  

Md7 has established a landlord hotline and call center in Düsseldorf to manage the relationships with over thirty-thousand cell site and radio base station landlords across Germany for Vodafone. In addition, Md7 provides additional support from its European HQ in Dublin. Md7 uses its industry-specific system, LiveTrack, to create cases and manage a variety of landlord-related issues.

A centralized operation, combined with visibility and transparency into sites and projects, advances the management efficiency and strategic oversight of the mobile network real estate assets, as well as providing improved interaction for the different functional groups and outside vendors.

This is the second landlord management operation established by Md7. In 2016 Md7 began providing landlord management services for Vodafone in the Netherlands from its office in Maastricht.  

“While often overshadowed by advancements in wireless networks and handsets, the underlying cell site lease between each Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and its thousands of landlords is a critical component of every wireless network” said Michael Gianni, Md7 Chairman and CEO.  “Md7 is pleased to assist the MNOs in transforming a traditional cost-center into a proactively managed and optimized real estate portfolio.”

 

ABOUT MD7

Based in San Diego, California, and Dublin, Ireland; Md7 is a turnkey site development and real estate management company serving the telecommunications industry since 2003.  Md7 has provided a variety of site acquisition, lease management, and negotiation services for over thirty operators in eighteen different countries and twelve different languages in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Oceana.

To learn more about Md7, please visit https://www.md7.com/.


integrity

Integrity – Personal and System

We recently asked several of the Md7 team members which of our six Core Values is their favorite.  We got a variety of answers, but the most common was:

“Integrity, because without it none of the other five core values matter.”  

We are proud many of our employees think that way.  

Jeff Krauel, Vice President of Information Technology and the chief architect of LiveTrack™, the workflow system for site development and landlord management at Md7, said Integrity was his favorite Core Value, but for a different reason.  Jeff stated:

“Just as personal integrity is a reflection of an individual, so the integrity of a system (and the data it manages) is reflective of the company.”  

Jeff leads the team that designed, developed and maintains LiveTrack™.  He prefers not to refer to LiveTrack™ as software, because that implies a tool that is rolled-out and updated in versions – 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, etc.  Jeff and the Md7 LiveTrack™ team have built a living system that quickly adapts to the continuously evolving needs of both internal and external users.  

In life, you can rely on people with integrity because you know they are consistent and can be trusted. Similarly, at Md7, our internal and external customers depend on the system integrity of LiveTrack™ to provide them with consistent information to make quick and accurate decisions.  

In other words, integrity provides consistency; which makes things predictable, reliable and trustworthy.  

Or as Jeff likes to say, we strive to “get the right information, to the right people, at the right time to enable them to make the right decision.”  


The (Updated) Perfect Storm for Wireless Operators

In October of 2009, I forecasted on a now-defunct blog that our industry was approaching “The Perfect Storm for Wireless Operators.” I now offer an updated blog based on hindsight and the current state of the wireless industry.  

In 2009 I wrote:

Today in both Europe and North America, the wireless industry shows its own combination of circumstances which could create a future perfect storm:

 

  1. Market saturation – it is estimated that 85-90% of Americans own a cell phone and the number in many European countries are estimated to be at or over 100%,
  2. Cheaper “all-you-can-eat” rate plans – in the USA, all of the four major carriers offer voice/data plans for $99/month and Metro PCS offers voice plans for as low as $50/month, and
  3. Increasing OPEX – the two largest expenses for wireless carriers are payroll and rent roll and both are inflating.  

 

It doesn’t take a meteorologist to forecast enormous pressure on cellular operating margins.  

That prediction was based on fundamental economics.  As an industry approaches market saturation competition increases, prices begin to fall, and companies start to focus on operating expenses to protect their margins.  

When I gazed into my crystal ball in 2009, I failed to scry the fourth, and the arguably most severe storm that impacts our industry today – the insatiable demand for wireless data.  At that time the iPhone was only two years old, and as a loyal Blackberry user, I just failed to foresee the explosive growth in OTT and other high-bandwidth apps.

With the benefit of hindsight and current market trends, the following is an updated assessment of what I call “the Perfect Storm for Wireless Operators.”

  1. Market Saturation (aka – wireless penetration rates) – Estimates vary widely, but Wikipedia has concisely compiled info confirming that both the USA and almost all of Europe have far exceeded 100% penetration.  
  2. Increased Price Competition – This is obvious.  You see many deals advertised on TV, and everywhere you go.  Operators are now trying to prop up their price plans with content – See AT&T/Time Warner merger.  
  3. Increasing Opex – Payroll and rent roll for cell sites remain two of the top Opex line items on operators’ profit and loss statements.  I now add a third line item, backhaul. The cost of fiber in a 4G, soon to be 5G world will be a critical line item to watch.  
  4. Demand for data is driving CapEx – Operators have significantly increased their Capex budgets to upgrade and modify their existing cell sites more frequently and rapidly than ever before.  They are also now underlaying their existing networks with small cells. Millions of new microsites are needed. These are becoming very common throughout Asian and the USA and are now beginning to develop in Europe as well.  

Summary

As often occurs when an industry matures, competition due to market saturation creates downward price pressure and increased focus on operating margins.  This is typical. However, in the wireless industry, this pressure is compounded by the increased need to deploy capital to meet the demand for bandwidth.  Over the next few years, the wireless infrastructure industry needs disruptive innovation.

At Md7, we welcome the challenge.   


state legislature small cell map

Streamlining Small Cells Entitlements at the State Level

At last week’s Connectivity Expo or “Connect (X)” show in Charlotte, North Carolina, panel moderators and audiences alike asked the tower companies and carriers whether they were looking for intervention by the Federal Communications Commission to help streamline the entitlement process for small cells at the federal level.  It might surprise you to hear that the answer was, pretty uniformly, “no.”

Instead, the industry is hoping that reasonable state and local legislation will strike the right balance between the government’s interest in safe and responsible deployments and the industry’s drive to build the wireless network demanded by the consumers located in the very same area.

As shown in the map above, provided by the State Capitals: Building a 5G Future panel at Connect (X), seventeen states have already enacted legislation streamlining small cell siting, with one more state legislature having passed a bill that is awaiting the governor’s signature.

In jurisdictions like California, where the carriers and tower companies have long been looking for outside relief from the difficulties in clearing local entitlement challenges for small cells, attempts to pass state level relief have not been successful.  California’s most recent attempt to tackle the issue, Senate Bill 649, was passed by the state legislature but ultimately vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown at the 11th hour.  Panelist Monica Gambino, Vice President, Legal for Crown Castle, said it was not clear whether the state would see another piece of small cell legislation before Governor Brown is termed out of office this year.

The scope of issues facing California are not unique:

  • What are appropriate fees?
  • How do we achieve the right balance in residential areas?
  • What are the design solutions for communities with underground utilities?

We hope that California and the other states facing small cell siting challenges, like the seventeen states before them, find workable solutions to these issues.  If the industry is to support the vision of  5G, and the promises of self-driving cars, smart cities, the internet-of-everything, and the technical developments in connected devices that we haven’t yet even dreamed of inventing, the industry will need help breaking through the current barriers to deployment.


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