Redstoneconnect PLC (LON:REDS) Chief Executive Officer Mark Braund caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their two new in-building cellular agreements, what makes them attractive to customers, how it fits in with their smart building strategy, how it will affect year-end results and what investors should expect over the coming months
Q1: Mark, you’ve just announced two new agreements in your in-building cellular and distributed antenna systems, the first of which is for a leading investment bank. Firstly, can you tell me about the agreements?
A1: To explain, DAS which is Distributed Antenna Systems, sounds a bit complicated, is effectively an in-building cellular solution, it allows your phone to work with your mobile phone operators; O2, EE or whatever, in a building where otherwise the signal would be wiped out by the steel and concrete structure.
It’s becoming an increasingly important feature in buildings now because of, bring your own device, everyone tends to take them to work, it is becoming a ubiquitous proposition for organisations to use now. In order for people to be able to use their own device, they got to be able to connect to the network and therefore in-building cellular is becoming a key component for occupiers, certainly of large buildings.
This building is one in a series of buildings that we have worked on with these solutions, we installed a couple of very large in-building cellular solutions last year and this is just the next in the series of customers that are addressing the opportunities, or challenges, of in-building cellular using Redstoneconnect solutions.
Q2: As you’ve just said, the second is for a global financial institution, another big customer, what is it do you think that makes your product so attractive to customers?
A2: Our product is the expertise and the relationships that we create with the mobile network operators. I think the first thing to recognise, as I was saying in the previous answer, is that in-building cellular is becoming a must-have rather than a ‘just a nice to have’. The mobile network operators, who in the past will have created the capability for your phone to work in a building, are no longer motivated to do that, certainly in the way that the customers want it done which is to have all networks available rather than just the one.
So, you’ve got a bit of a watershed moment happening, we recognised it a couple of years ago and that watershed moment is beginning to gather momentum in that building occupiers or landlords recognise the need, the mobile phone operators will not pay for the solutions to service and satisfy all networks and therefore we are a source of that expertise.
I have to say to you that we made this investment a couple of years ago, recognising that this would be happening, it’s certainly happened in the US market about 5 or 6 years ago so we’d imagined that it would be happening here as well. To date, I believe, that we are the only solutions architect and systems integrator that is providing this scale of solution on a commercial basis in a commercial real estate today, certainly the last 3 or 4 deals that have been done that are of any size, have been done by Redstoneconnect.
So, when you ask what is it about our approach that the customers like, first of all, we are hardware agnostic and we’re mobile network agnostic so we’re truly the customer’s trusted advisor in terms of providing a solution that meets their needs. The second thing is that we’ve got access and are certified to mainstream globally-accepted technology providers that provide solutions in this space, one being Sunwave, the other being CommScope. The two deals we’ve done have been one for each of those manufacturers which demonstrates our impartiality in terms of trying to find the right solution for the customer and secondly, the quality of our expertise.
So, in answer to your question, what the customer’s find so compelling, I think it’s the fact we’ve got the experience, we’ve got the expertise and we’ve delivered the solutions now in a number of situations that have proven reliable and deliver what the customer was after. So, right now, I think we’re about the only player that customers can rely on to deliver this kind of solution to his kind of scale which is a good place to be.
Q3: How does this fit in with your smart building strategy?
A3: Well, it’s perfect and that’s really why we embarked on this investment in this area over the last couple of years. Smart buildings are about engaging people with their working environment as well as collecting data so that you can make those buildings more productive and more efficient. One of the networks that people are now beginning to need to use is the cellular network, the cellular network is an important part, or an important feature, of how people communicate.
Having a solution in this space especially, as I’ve just described, being really the only player with a solution in this space, we are still I believe the only player in the market that can provide a true end-to-end solution for providing the infrastructure for enabling the smart building to work. On top of that, we’re the only player that can then service all the components within that environment, a poster installing it. Finally, we’re the only player that has both those attributes and now a unique software product in our OneSpace technology that begins to use those networks and those devices, IoT within the networks, to help drive that smart capability into a building.
So, this is one piece of the jigsaw and it’s a perfect fit for Redstoneconnect’s strategy.
Q4: How do you think these new agreements will affect your year-end results?
A4: Well, these are very similar to the announcement we made just over a week ago, these are part of the pipeline we signalled we had, we’ve got a strong pipeline heading into our second half of the year and into the beginning of the following year. Both of these agreements will deliver revenue and income in our financial year that we’re in right now which ends 31st January 2018 and they’ll also deliver revenue into the first half of the next financial year.
Q5: What should investors be looking out for in terms of news flow for Redstoneconnect PLC over the coming months?
A5: I hope more but I can’t commit to more. Clearly, we’re a public company, we are working on exciting projects all the time, there is strong demand for both building occupiers and landlords to invest in making their buildings smart. We are seen as the number one player in that space, certainly here in the UK, and with our software solutions we’re beginning to start to reach out into Europe, our customers are taking us into Europe. Of course, our software is now operating a number of countries around the world, we’ve got our OneSpace platform working in Singapore, we’ve got it working with a number of customers in North America so I’m hopeful that we’re going to be able to provide more news flow downstream of today but as always, we can’t commit to anything.