Wireless Week spoke with a lot of companies during CTIA 2013 last week. As part of our Let's Talk series from the show, we caught up with Tessco Technologies' Robert Barnhill Jr. who gave us his perspective on the opportunities and challenges inherent in the increasing demand for mobile data.  


Robert B. Barnhill, Jr., Founder, Chairman & CEO Tessco Technologies Incorporated

What’s new?   

That’s the great thing about wireless; there’s never a shortage of new in this business. Tessco, I think it’s fair to say, sits at the hub of this industry, with a 360-degree view of emerging technologies and applications. 

We see the continued explosion of the demand for mobile broadband driven by the convergence of wireless and the Internet. New applications and systems emerge every day offering ways to improve the way we live, work and play.  As a result, new “edge” devices and new network designs with greater capabilities, coverage and capacity are demanded by consumers and enterprises. All of this “new” makes our industry very exciting and challenging, requiring higher levels of innovation and speed to market.

What are you hoping to accomplish at CTIA this week? 

CTIA is the place to expand our relationships with our customers and new customers, introducing them to the “new” products and solutions they require. It’s a key forum for business development – it’s the only event where Tessco’s entire business can be showcased. It’s also where I go on a fact-finding mission to see where the industry is going and where we need to be.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your segment of the industry these days? 

The biggest challenge is matching innovative device capability, and network coverage and reliability, with the demands of the user. We’ve got big challenges ahead in keeping everyone connected. 

What’s the biggest source of opportunity? 

The opportunities are extraordinary. 

The demand for fast, reliable, ubiquitous, everywhere, anytime wireless connectivity by consumers, commercial enterprises, education, sports venues, healthcare, energy, transportation and government is exponential.

This requires new edge devices, and new public and private networks, all creating immense opportunities for manufactures, operators, resellers and suppliers. The tremendous growth in network-attached devices over the next 5 years, the rise of M2M, HetNet (Heterogeneous Network) systems that will enable smart devices to operate seamlessly no matter where the user is, the continued build-out of LTE, and technologies like WiFi, DAS and Small Cell that extend crucial networks – these all are creating a surge of innovation in how people use their devices, what new devices need to be developed and how we deploy new technology to enterprises and organizations of all kinds.

For TESSCO, our opportunity is assisting our customers to solve all of today’s wireless puzzles with the knowledge, products and value chain to make it all work.

That’s the opportunity – and the challenge.