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The notion of wireless network connectivity has evolved quickly to be more than just your smartphone and the mobile network. Wireless network connectivity is evolving to now include connecting people to people, people to things, and things to things. Wireless network connectivity now impacts all facets of connectivity, impacting all network operators, wireless and wireline alike

Connect (X) is an infrastructure-centric technology event, focusing on the changing nature ‘the network’ and the new opportunities in the business of connectivity. A select group of industry thought leaders are convening in Orlando at Connect (X) to discuss this evolving network connectivity future.

New Keynote Voices in Wireless and Connectivity Infrastructure
Connect (X) is no longer focused solely on the towers and macro infrastructure community, although this is the supply chain responsible for the 3G & 4G network buildouts in North America (indoor and outdoor). Today, the wireless and 5G community is broader in scope and encompasses/impacts more industry sectors and enterprise communities.

The event in 2019 showcases new voices in the keynote speaker lineup, including Facebook’s Dan Rabinovitsj. Facebook consolidated all of its connectivity efforts together under one umbrella, which it calls Facebook Connectivity, and hired Mr. Rabinovitsj from Ruckus Networks to lead the program.

Also, keynoting Connect (X) is Shelley McKinley, Head of Technology and Corporate Responsibility at Microsoft. Ms. McKinley spearheads Microsoft’s rural Airband Initiative, which set an ambitious target of bringing better broadband to two million Americans within the next five years.

The software giant plans to start its efforts in 12 states, offering seed money to local telecom providers that are trying to improve internet access through means like TV white spaces spectrum. This approach — aimed at delivering speedy wireless internet — is the best way to improve connectivity in parts of the country that broadband providers long have ignored, given the prohibitive costs of building and sustaining networks there.

Additional keynotes include Neville Ray, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile; Adam Koeppe, Senior Vice President – Technology Strategy and Planning at Verizon; and Jay Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer at Crown Castle.

New Methods to support 5G Site Buildouts; Reduce the bottleneck with public and private property owners
Legislation at the State and Federal level has tried to create a consistent framework to expedite small cell deployment on municipal infrastructure and reduce the costs associated with site development and permitting.

Managing the complexity of the site is challenging when cells are smaller, sites are located closer, devices require different topologies, and more networks come on line. Information from location management, location intelligence, interconnection, asset management, process management and workflow management all require more automation and new tools. This allows all stakeholders in the site to manage large portfolios of complex and dynamic projects and assets.

Site development and outside plant professionals will want to learn more about digital platforms from Sitetracker, OneVizion, Vetruvi and others. They’ll also want to see new products from Aero Solutions, Big Belly, Valmont and others.

Additional Unique Speakers & Sessions
Ray Ansari, CEO, HCI Energy
HCI Energy has created a disruptive product for powering cell sites. HCI specializes in Hybrid power solutions and more specifically the Hybrid Cube. Using, solar, wind, lithium batteries and a small, high efficiency generator with a patented and proprietary combination of field-proven innovations, the Hybrid Cube is highly reliable and will reduce theoverall cost up to 90% due to the renewable resources. They currently are working with major carriers for primary off grid power, back-up on grid power and also replacing transfer switches/UPS with their proprietary electronics. The company CEO is speaking at Connect X on the subject of new opportunities in distributed energy and energy storage.

Joe Ryan, Altaeros
Altaeros, launched what it says is the world’s first commercially available aerial cell tower, the SuperTower ST200
The SuperTower uses an aerostat platform, combined with automation and control software, to keep the aerial cell tower in place in changing weather and environmental conditions and ensure a stable platform for the telecommunication equipment. Multiple tethers connect the aerostat to the ground and transmit power and data to the airborne equipment. The tower can deploy radios and antennas 800 feet above ground level – higher than traditional cell towers, the company claims. This, according to Altaeros, allows carriers to efficiently cover substantially more area than traditional towers.

Session: How Blockchain Impacts the Future of Network Infrastructure
Christopher Anderson, Chief Technologist, BRIDGE
Blockchain is already creating new opportunities for infrastructure operators. It is opening valuable new functions and roles, from real-time asset ownership and management to the very definition of next-generation networks and who will be operating them. To call blockchain a revolution is an understatement. We currently live in a digital world dominated by a few centralized organizations that collect and control our data. The blockchain innovators are right now changing that equation by delivering individual data autonomy and democracy in all applications, transforming everything we do over networks. This session is a discussion of what blockchain is and its significance in simple terms – without the hype or jargon – and why it really is a revolution for networks and applications.

Session: The Integrated Asset Chain: A New Model of Towers, Fiber & Data Centers
Corey E. Johnson, Managing Director and Head of Mobile, Internet & Cloud at Cordiant Capital
Zouheir Mansourati, VP, Customer Network Implementation, TELUS
There’s no doubt that 5G will affect all parts of the network – from end users, to both man and machine (things) to data centers, and everything in between. With 5G able to support up to 1,000 higher data volumes, it is likely that consumers will download content more often and at greater quantities. That means time-sensitive content will continue to get processed in the data center and the data center must be close enough to the radio tower to meet service-level agreements. The tower owner and aggregator community is well-positioned to evolve to a new integrated asset (and value) chain that combines towers, fiber and data centers. This session discusses what it takes to make this move and the investment and risk involved.

Neutral Host: Infrastructure, Ownership and Service Models
Nicholas Stello, SVP Information Technology, Vornado
Bo White, VP Global Business Development, Macquarie
One of the more interesting trends in 5G is the impact on indoor network coverage and capacity. Following the model of the independent tower owner, the in-building network operator has more opportunities to generate value now that IoT, sensor networks, and high-bandwidth applications are driving network data usage. In this session, attendees will hear from leading commercial property owners such as Vornado, vendors, and investors (such as Macquarie Group) to understand the opportunities in the new, neutral host model.

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