March 8, 2021
Member Spotlight: Meet Black & Veatch’s Paul Pishal .
5G will be a central component in the development of smart cities, where wirelessly connected machines, devices and operating systems will work together to enable autonomous vehicles and smart, automated utilities and services throughout the city. Paul Pishal, Black & Veatch’s Sales Director in the Telecom Division, gave us a deep dive on smart cities and 5G’s role in making them a reality.
Who is Black & Veatch, and what is your role in the wireless industry?
Paul Pishal: Black & Veatch is an engineering, construction and procurement company. We do a variety of projects within the power, water and telecommunications industries. And in our telecommunications group, we help build the infrastructure for 4G, 5G and all the fiber optic networks that enable wireless connectivity.
Black & Veatch has been an innovative and key player for the rollout of a number of infrastructure and distributed infrastructure projects across the U.S. and internationally. In the telecommunications group, we were instrumental in providing the infrastructure necessary for the early stages of wireless from 2G to 3G and LTE rollouts. Now, we’re quite excited about the promise and the capabilities of 5G.
What are some of the opportunities that you're seeing right now through distributed infrastructure or other areas in terms of smart city deployment?
Paul Pishal: Wireless technology also plays a major role in the enablement of smart cities. All these new smart city applications that will provide enhanced benefits to the city and to its residents will require ways to monitor what’s going on throughout the city. Wireless will enable us to know where a certain bus is, where your garbage truck is, the quality of the water being delivered to your home. We’ll be able to know if and where there are power outages, whether your train is delayed. The opportunity of wireless in smart cities is the ability to provide information in real-time by monitoring equipment and data over a wireless network. And with 5G, that enables a higher degree of fidelity and performance.
When you look at the future of Black & Veatch, how is smart city deployment part of your business? Is that something that you are particularly focused on?
Paul Pishal: Smart cities are exactly what we’re focused on at Black & Veatch. In order to make smart cities work, the deployment of intelligent processing power around the city needs to be done with wireless infrastructure, including sensors in a distributed environment. They need power, they need to be permitted, they need to be constructed and configured and they need to be integrated into an application.
So we take what’s working in a laboratory today, and deploy it throughout a city. Think of scaling that and all the implications of logistics, procurement, permitting and constructability. We are very focused on this because as the world provides more and more functionality for smart cities, the infrastructure necessary to support that will need to start at the street and tower level.
How has industry collaboration through the CTIA Smart City Working Group benefited both you on a professional level and Black & Veatch on a business level?
Paul Pishal: For Black & Veatch, CTIA has been very instrumental in terms of trying to move a lot of the technologies and solutions for smart cities and smart transportation forward. When you’re gathering knowledgeable folks in the industry— specialists and companies that have great capabilities to move the industry forward— and putting them in a collaborative environment, such as the CTIA working groups, that is a way to educate, to share ideas and to ensure that the roadblocks or challenges to making smart cities a reality are more easily addressed.
How important is 5G to Black & Veatch?
Paul Pishal: 5G is an important wireless technology that has a lot of advantages and improvements over previous generations of cellular networks. At Black & Veatch, 5G is necessary for the deployment of smart cities, bringing more bandwidth, low latency and higher performance coverage areas to support the anticipated mobile device ecosystem. Without 5G, some of the new enhanced applications will not be a reality. Though 4G LTE is enabling a variety of wireless use cases, the advanced applications that will accompany smart city infrastructure will really occur with the deployment of 5G.
You’re already starting to see applications for enterprises and manufacturing as well, and all of them need 5G. From connecting machines and devices on the factory floor to football stadiums, that takes infrastructure and all the components necessary to deliver a compelling user experience.
How does CTIA help bring about a smart city future?
Paul Pishal: The CTIA Smart City Working Group enables a unique collaboration of industry leaders. As the market for smart cities is growing and evolving, the ability to have people with different points of view to holistically look at how to solve the challenges and problems is crucial. CTIA brings those thought leaders together and provides a collaborative and educational environment. Together, we’re breaking the barriers down that will allow 5G and smart cities to be deployed successfully.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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