Top 50 Trends In Municipal Wireless: 50-41

Dozens of key themes and trends are emerging here at our MuniWireless 2007: Silicon Valley conference. Over the next 48 hours, we will post our top 50 observations from the conference here in Santa Clara. Let’s get started with items 50-41. Dozens of key themes and trends are emerging here at our MuniWireless 2007: Silicon Valley conference. Over the next 48 hours, our editorial team will post our top 50 observations from the Santa Clara-based conference. Let’s get started with items 50-41.

50. Healthy Growth: For a “dead” market, municipal wireless is showing some remarkable signs of life. Spending on municipal wireless broadband networks in the U.S. will grow about 35 percent year, according to Mike Perkowski, my peer at Microcast and MuniWireless. Mike unveiled our latest State of the Market research report at the event. Side note: We knew the market wasn’t dead. In fact, we knew it was growing. But the mainstream press didn’t get our memo.

49. Safety First: Roughly 75 percent of municipal broadband projects involve public safety applications, according to the research report. Video surveillance was a particularly hot topic during Monday’s sessions. Dan Brannon, IT director from the City of Ripon, Calif., described how his municipality has more than 70 active and managed video surveillance cameras across the municipality.

48. Fab Four: Municipal broadband networks are NOT single-purpose platforms. Instead, the typical municipality plans to use at least four different broadband applications, up from three in 2006, according to Perkowski’s findings.

47. One Billion Dollars: By 2010, spending on US municipal broadband systems should top $1 billion, up from about $329 million in 2007, Perkowski predicts.

46. Pole Position: What’s the biggest mistake successful municipalities made when rolling out their networks? Brannon from the City of Ripon said his biggest initial challenge involved pole mounting rights. Although the city owns the poles, Ripon ran into challenges when the city tried to have power run to a non-functional pole. The lesson? Plan early and over-communicate with local utilities.

45. Wearable Computers: One attendee asked several vendors if they planned to introduce wearable video cameras for police officers. Heads turned. Attendees started taking notes. Mike Fabbri, director of data solutions at Motorola, said his company is already working with partners in that area. Stay tuned. Sounds like a hot trend going forward.

44. Handheld Video: Motorola’s Fabbri also predicted that handheld video devices would become the norm for public safety officials within 10 years. But how do we get there from here? Keep a close eye on Symbol Technologies, the rugged handheld and wireless company that Motorola acquired earlier this year.

43. Triple Play: Nortel earlier today announced three municipal broadband deployments. You’ll notice that the three projects are quite different from each other. Translation: One size does not fit all when it comes to municipal broadband deployment priorities.

42. More Than Meter Reading: Yes, you know about automated meter reading. But the City of Burbank, Calif. (pop 100,000) is diving deeper. Through a series of partnerships, the city is using automated meter reading to help customers save money and conserve energy.

41. Apple: iPhone users seem to be everywhere here at the conference. Hmmm. A few days ago, I blogged about a software developer kit that could allow iPhones to run municipal applications. The potential user base for such applications seems to be growing fast.

Here are items 40-31 on our list.


  1. It would be interesting to see some statistics of WiFi development in developing countries, ex Eastern Europe, Russia, and Ex Soviet Union