The Business Challenge
Neil Keon has a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Before founding his own company, Mr. Keon was an Assistant Professor of Information Technology and Operations Management at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, where he taught data networking and decision modeling courses.
Mr. Keon's background in modeling broadcast scenarios led him to develop an efficient method to model broadcast strengths and spectrum availability by geographical location. This met an FCC request for a prioritization system and private database that will keep track of broadcast spectrum use by priority devices, as well as availability for non-priority devices based on geographical location.
Neil Keon approached Amadeus Consulting as an entrepreneur. He had an idea that had the potential to drastically change a major aspect of the telecommunications industry, but he needed third party validation of his idea and assistance creating a proof of concept product before he could heavily invest large amounts of time and money into the idea.
This required a technology solutions provider that could work with him on a long term project and that could understand the up-and-down challenges of budgets, financing, and complexities of launching a new business venture. This project also included many external challenges relating to the FCC and deregulation (or opening up) of certain broadcast bandwidths.
This project illustrated Amadeus Consulting's willingness and ability to work with motivated entrepreneurs and to help build a working business from the ground up. Due to the complexity of the project, as well as many outside factors including uncertain and changing government regulations involving the industry, this project was carried out in multiple phases. Each phase had a defined goal that would help the business reach an important milestone and gain further momentum before moving forward.
The overall goal was to create and build a database service that would keep track of broadcast spectrum use based on a device's location. This project would also meet the FCC's request for a prioritization system and privately managed database to keep track of broadcast spectrum use by priority devices, as well as availability for non-priority devices based on geographical location. This system would allow new devices to take advantage of newly available bandwidth without interrupting other priority-devices, such as television broadcasts.
This would help technology companies effectively plan and use available bandwidth so as to provide better services to consumers.
As a startup company, Neil had a great idea, advanced technical knowledge, and a limited budget. Not wanting to risk everything in one big push, Neil and Amadeus Consulting worked together to create a measured process that would provide clear results at each milestone and give him the ability to evaluate the project and potential before proceeding to the next step.
This was particularly important as various regulatory restrictions and upcoming FCC decisions could have a huge impact on the viability of the business. During this time, Neil also formalized his idea into his own company and used the backing of Amadeus Consulting to help recruit investors.
This process allowed Neil to make limited up-front investments that provided evidence of the project's viability to investors and outside influencers, which gave the company greater freedom and power to seek investments and to build the business on a more secure footing.
Phase 1: Technology Validation
Neil knew that he had an superior method for determining bandwidth availability and broadcast strengths at any geographical point, but the method involved very complex mathematics and algorithms which computed many factors, including geography, broadcast telemetry, and other interfering factors.
Before he invested heavily in development, Neil wanted to ensure that the approach was correct through third-party technology validation, and that it was possible to build a system that could gather and compute all the required data very quickly and efficiently. Amadeus Consulting helped build a rudimentary proof of concept showing that the project could theoretically be accomplished and which validated Neil's approach.
This gave Neil the assurance and confidence to move to the next phase and begin building a company around the idea.
Phase 2: Proof of Concept
Although Amadeus Consulting had built a basic proof of concept already, this phase required the creation of broad-scale product that could perform the required tasks, and interface quickly with online databases to provide results to the user.
This phase would complete the core elements of the application and prove that they could function quickly enough to provide useful feedback to future customers, and function efficiently in a consumer setting.
Phase 3: Prototype
Once a working concept was created and built, Amadeus Consulting worked with Neil to create a fully functional packaged demo that could be shown to FCC regulators and other interested companies, including many software and telecommunication giants.
The software prototyping phase involved bringing all the different elements into a single working application, and finalizing the visual elements, which made the information easily readable and understandable.
Phase 4: FCC Approval
Through his company, Neil worked with industry giants like Microsoft® and GoogleTM to lobby the FCC to open up existing "whitespaces" for consumer and industry use. Whitespaces are unused frequencies that previously provided large buffer zones between broadcasting channels, but are no longer necessary due to much improved broadcasting technology.
Opening up the whitespaces would allow for more of the spectrum to be used, which translates to better cell phone reception, more broadcast TV channels, wireless Internet, and many other benefits.
Amadeus Consulting was not directly involved in this phase.
Although the initial effort to free up whitespaces was successful, extra consideration was required to determine which companies would be allowed to administer the "whitespaces database." After much waiting, the FCC finally selected only a handful of companies to administer the database, which included Neil Keon's newly created business. The decision has implications that will be measured in billions of dollars for those that were selected.