Highlights of IDTechExpo: IoT Sessions & Exhibits: November 15-16, 2017

Introduction:

The Internet of Things (IoT) will connect existing systems and then augment those by connecting more things, thanks to wireless sensor networks and other technologies. Things on the ‘edge’ form mesh networks and can make their own automated decisions.  This article reviews key messages from conference technical sessions on IoT connectivity and describes a new Wireless Mesh Sensor network which is an extension of IEEE 802.15.4.

NOTE:  This post will be updated with illustrations and comments once I can get files converted to jpeg or jpg

 

Sessions Attended:

1. Overcoming Adoption Barriers To Achieve Mass IIoT Deployment, Iotium

Early adopters are realizing the complexities involved in scalable mass deployment of Industrial IoT. These includes deployment complexities, security issues starting from hardware root of trust to OS, network, cloud security and application vulnerabilities, and extensibility. This session will focus on these 3 areas in-depth to help you successfully deploy your own IIoT strategy.

2.  Overcoming The Connectivity Challenge Limiting IoT Innovation, Helium

The hardware and application layers of IoT systems are supported by robust, mature markets, with devices tailored for any use case and pre-built infrastructure platforms from Microsoft, Google and AWS.   But the connectivity layer, without which the entire system is useless, still has numerous challenges. It takes too much knowledge and time to get data from sensors to apps that most staffs don’t have.   The speaker discussed a streamlined, secure approach to connectivity that will make building a wireless IoT network as easy as designing a mobile app, thereby removing the greatest barrier to mass IoT adoption.

3.  Whitelabel The Future: How Platforms Will Streamline The IoT Revolution, Pod Group

As expectations tend towards personalized, data-driven services, responding immediately to market changes is becoming a key differentiator, creating the need for mutual insight on both sides of the market. Whitelabelled platforms are an effective intermediary, allowing unprecedented levels of customer interaction and paving the way for truly end-to-end IoT systems.

4.  From Disappointing To Delightful: How To build With IoT, Orange IoT Studio

Many engineers, designers and business folks want to work with IoT devices, but don’t know where to begin. Come learn which mistakes to avoid and which best practices to copy as you integrate with IoT or build your own IoT products. This presentation examines the consistent, systematic ways that IoT tends to fail and delight. The talk explained what makes IoT unique, and examined why it’s not at all easy to classify IoT platforms and devices.

5. Many Faces Of LPWAN (emphasizing LoRaWAN), Multi-Tech Systems 

Until recently, most M2M and Internet of Things (IoT) applications have relied on high-speed cellular and wired networks for their wide area connectivity. Today, there are a number of IoT applications that will continue to require higher-bandwidth, however others may be better suited for low-power wide-area  network options that not only compliment traditional cellular networks, but also unlock new market potential by reducing costs and increasing the flexibility of solution deployments.

Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN)s are  designed to allow long range communications at low bit rates. Ideally suited to connected objects such as sensors and things operating on battery power and communicating at low bit rates, the foregoing two characteristics distinguish LPWAN from the wireless WAN used for IT functions.  Many LPWAN alternatives have emerged – some use licensed spectrum such as ITU-R LTE Cat-M1 and 3GPP NB-IoT, while other alternatives such as LoRaWAN™ are based on as specification from the LoRA Alliance and uses unlicensed  industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) radio band/spectrum.

IoT has many challenges – from choosing the right device, to adding connectivity and then managing those devices and the data they generate. Here are just a few IoT connectivity challenges:

  • Long battery life (5+ yrs) requires low power WAN interface
  • Low cost communications (much lower than cellular data plans)
  • Range and in-building penetration
  • Operation in outdoor and harsh environments
  • Low cost infrastructure
  • Robust communications
  • Permits mobility
  • Scalable to thousands of nodes/devices
  • Low touch management and provisioning – Easy to attach assets
  • Highly fragmented connectivity due to a proliferation of choices

Vinnie:  Insert slides 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 here. Then delete this place holder

6. What Makes a City Smart? Totem Power

The framework necessary to build holistic infrastructure that leverages capabilities essential to realizing the full potential of smart cities – concepts including curbside computing power, advanced energy resiliency and ubiquitous connectivity.

An interesting observation was that fiber trenches being dug to facilitate 5G backhaul for small cells and macro cells could accommodate electrical wiring for power distribution and charging of electronic vehicles within the city limits.

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At it’s booth, Analog Devices/ Linear Technology displayed an exhibit of SmartMesh® – a Wireless Mesh Sensor Network that was based on a now proprietary extension of IEEE 802.15.4 [1]. SmartMesh® wireless sensor networking products are chips and pre-certified PCB modules complete with mesh networking software; enabling sensors to communicate in tough Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) environments.

Note 1. IEEE 802.15.4 is a standard which defines the operation of low-rate wireless personal area networks (LR-WPANs) via PHY and MAC layers.  It focuses on low-cost, low-speed ubiquitous communication between devices.

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The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) wireless sensor networks (WSNs) must support a large number of nodes while meeting stringent communications requirements in rugged industrial environments. Such networks must operate reliably more than ten years without intervention and be scalable to enable business growth and increasing data traffic over the lifetime of the network.

More information on SmartMesh® is here.

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References:

https://www.idtechex.com/internet-of-things-usa/show/en/

https://www.idtechex.com/internet-of-things-usa/show/en/agenda

http://www.linear.com/dust_networks/

 

Fog Computing Definition, Architecture, Market and Use Cases

Introduction to Fog Computing, Architecture and Networks:

Fog computing is an extension of cloud computing which deploys data storage, computing and communications resources, control and management data analytics closer to the endpoints.  It is especially important for the Internet of Things (IoT) continuum, where low latency and low cost are needed.

Fog computing architecture is the arrangement of physical and logical network elements, hardware, and software to implement a useful IoT network. Key architectural decisions involve the physical and geographical positioning of fog nodes, their arrangement in a hierarchy, the numbers, types, topology, protocols, and data bandwidth capacities of the links between fog nodes, things, and the cloud, the hartware and software design of individual fog nodes, and how a complete IoT network is orchestrated and managed. In order to optimize the architecture of a fog network, one must first understand the critical requirements of the general use cases that will take advantage of fog and specific software application(s) that will run on them. Then these requirements must be mapped onto a partitioned network of appropriately designed fog nodes. Certain clusters of requirements are difficult to implement on networks built with heavy reliance on the cloud (intelligence at the top) or intelligent things (intelligence at the bottom), and are particularly influential in the decision to move to fog-based architectures.

From a systematic perspective, fog networks provide a distributed computing system with a hierarchical topology. Fog networks aim at meeting stringent latency requirements, reducing power consumption of end devices, providing real-time data processing and control with localized computing resources, and decreasing the burden of backhaul traffic to centralized data centers.  And of course, excellent network security, reliability and availability must be inherent in fog networks.

Figure 1

Fog computing network architecture

Illustration courtesy of August 2017 IEEE Communications Magazine article: “Architectural Imperatives for Fog Computing: Use Cases, Requirements, and Architectural Techniques for Fog-Enabled IoT Networks”  (IEEE Xplore or IEEE Communications magazine subscription required to view on line)

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Fog Computing Market:

The fog computing market opportunity will exceed $18 billion worldwide by the year 2022, according to a new report by 451 Research. Commissioned by the OpenFog Consortium, the Size and Impact of Fog Computing Market projects that the largest markets for fog computing will be, in order, energy/utilities, transportation, healthcare and the industrial sectors.

“Through our extensive research, it’s clear that fog computing is on a growth trajectory to play a crucial role in IoT, 5G and other advanced distributed and connected systems,” said Christian Renaud, research director, Internet of Things, 451 Research, and lead author of the report. “It’s not only a technology path to ensure the optimal performance of the cloud-to-things continuum, but it’s also the fuel that will drive new business value.”

Key findings from the report were presented during an opening keynote on October 30th at the Fog World Congress conference. In addition to projecting an $18 billion fog market and identifying the top industry-specific market opportunities, the report also identified:

  • Key market transitions fueling the growth include investments in energy infrastructure modernization, demographic shifts and regulatory mandates in transportation and healthcare.
  • Hardware will have the largest percentage of overall fog revenue (51.6%), followed by fog applications (19.9%) and then services (15.7%).  By 2022, spend will shift to apps and services, as fog functionality is incorporated into existing hardware.
  • Cloud spend is expected to increase 147% to $6.4 billion by 2022.

“This is a seminal moment that not only validates the magnitude of fog, but also provides us with a first-row seat to the opportunities ahead,” said Helder Antunes, chairman of the OpenFog Consortium and Senior Director, Cisco. “Within the OpenFog community, we’ve understood the significance of fog—but with its growth rate of nearly 500 percent over the next five years—consider it a secret no more.”

The fog market report includes the sizing and impact of fog in the following verticals: agriculture, datacenters, energy and utilities, health, industrial, military, retail, smart buildings, smart cities, smart homes, transportation, and wearables.

Fog computing is the system-level architecture that brings computing, storage, control, and networking functions closer to the data-producing sources along the cloud-to-thing continuum. Applicable across industry sectors, fog computing effectively addresses issues related to security, cognition, agility, latency and efficiency.

Download the full report at www.openfogconsortium.org/growth.

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Fog Use Cases:

According to the Open Fog Consortium, fog architectures offer several unique advantages over other approaches, which include, but are not limited to:

 Security: Additional security to ensure safe, trusted transactions
 Cognition: awareness of client-centric objectives to enable autonomy
 Agility: rapid innovation and affordable scaling under a common infrastructure
 Latency: real-time processing and cyber-physical system control
 Efficiency: dynamic pooling of local unused resources from participating end-user devices

New use cases created by the OpenFog Consortium were also released that showcase how fog works in industry.  These use cases provide fog technologists with detailed views of how fog is deployed in autonomous driving, energy, healthcare and smart buildings.

The August 2017 IEEE Communications magazine article lists various IoT vertical markets and example fog use cases for each one:

Table 1.

It also delineates several application examples and allowable latency for each one:

Table 2.
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LoRaWAN and Sigfox lead LPWANs; Interoperability via Compression

Backgrounder:

The Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) market is focused on IoT WAN connectivity for devices (endpoints) that consume low power, send/receive short messages at low speeds, and have low duty cycles.   There are two categories of LPWANs:

1] cellular (e.g. NB-IoT and LTE Category M1) WANs

2] wireless WANs operating in unlicensed frequency bands.

While cellular may be the ultimate winner, Sigfox and LoRAWAN currently have a lot more market traction and are growing very fast.  Other non-cellular LPWANs (Ingenu, Weightless SIG, etc.) are also getting some attention, but if there are too many commercially available LPWANs the market will be segmented and fractured.

Overview of LoRaWAN and Sigfox network:

Let’s look at the two most popular unlicensed band LPWANs:

1.  LoRaWAN:

  • LoRaWAN is specified by the LoRa Alliance which includes 47 network operators.

  • The LoRa Alliance states on its website: “LoRaWAN™ is the open global standard for secure, carrier-grade IoT LPWA connectivity. With a certification program to guarantee interoperability and the technical flexibility to address the multiple IoT applications be they static or mobile we believe that LoRaWAN can give all THINGS a global voice.”
  • LoRaWAN uses a proprietary modulation system developed and sold by Semtech Corporation. They are currently the only chipset manufacturer or license holder for LoRa. NB-IOT is based on standard modulation types, but as is typical of 3GPP, there will be other IP license holders asking for money eventually.
  • LoRaWAN will most likely be best used for “discrete” applications like smart buildings or campuses, where mobile network connectivity is not needed.

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2.  Sigfox:

  •  Sigfox has designed its technology and network to meet the requirements of mass IoT applications; long device battery life-cycle, low device cost, low connectivity fee, high network capacity, and long range.
  • Sigfox has the lowest cost radio modules(<$3, compared to ~$10 for LoRa, and $12 for NB-IoT).
  • recent announcement from Sigfox noted the addition of a new service called “Admiral Ivory,” that makes possible to connect devices with hardware components costing as little as $0.20.
  • An overview of Sigfox’s network technology is described here.  It consists of: Ultra Narrow Band radio modulation, a light weight protocol, small frame size/payload, and a star network architecture.
  • The Sigfox network is currently deployed in 36 countries, 17 of which already have national coverage.
  • In February, Sigfox reached an agreement with mobile network operator Telefonica to integrate Sigfox’s low-powered connectivity into the Telefonica’s managed connectivity platform.  By complementing Telefónica’s cellular connectivity offerings, with Sigfox’s LPWAN connectivity solution, customers can choose the most appropriate type of connectivity or combine them, implementing use cases and creating new service opportunities that otherwise may not have been possible.
  • Additionally, Telefónica´s managed connectivity platform will integrate Sigfox’s cloud, which gives the company the ability to develop its own end-to-end IoT solutions, based on Sigfox’s connectivity solution and including device integration, as well as data collection and management.
  • While Sigfox is a proprietary IoT network architecture, the company has provided their intellectual property library free of charge and royalty-free to semiconductor companies which have implemented chipsets with dedicated Sigfox interfaces or multi-mode capabilities. The list of chipsets/modules supporting Sigfox (+ multimode) includes:  Pycom (+ WiFi, BLE=BlueTooth Low Energy), Texas Instruments (+ BLE),  STMicroelectronics (+ BLE), Microchip/Atmel, Analog Devices (+ BLE), NXP,  OnSemiconductor (SiP), SiLabs, M2Com, GCT Semiconductor (+ BLE, CatM1, NB-IoT, EC-GSM, GPS), Innocom, and Wisol.
  • The current Sigfox ecosystem is composed of several chipset vendors, device makers, platform providers and solution providers.
  • Here’s a graphic from the Sigfox website on their expanding network footprint:

Sigfox boosts its IoT global footprint, achieving national coverage in 17 countries, and expands into four new countries

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Sigfox’s LPWAN Interoperability using Internet Compression Technology:

In a phone conversation with Sigfox standardization expert Juan Carlos Zuniga last week, I learned that Sigfox plans to achieve LPWAN interoperability at the Application layer, rather than building multi-mode base stations with different radio access networks.  Here’s a glimpse on how that might happen:

At the IETF 98 Bits-n-Bites event, March 30th in Chicago, Sigfox demonstrated IoT interoperability with internet compression technology. which enables LPWAN applications to run transparently over different IoT radio access network (RAN) technologies.

To achieve this milestone and enable IP applications to communicate over its network, Sigfox and Acklio implemented Static Context Header Compression (SCHC) -a compression scheme being standardized by the IETF IPv6 over LPWAN working group*, which Juan Carlos participates in.  SCHC allows reducing IPv6/UDP/CoAP headers to just a few bytes, which can then be transported over LPWAN network small frame size for low-power, low-cost IoT applications.

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*  The focus of the IPv6 over LPWAN working group is on enabling IPv6 connectivity over four different Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) technologies: Sigfox, LoRa WAN, WI-SUN and NB-IOT (from 3GPP).

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The demonstration platform was based on an Acklio compression protocol stack running on Sigfox-enabled devices and cloud-based applications over the live Sigfox network in Chicago. Two scenarios were demonstrated: 1] CoAP requests to legacy IP LPWAN devices, and 2] CoAP interoperability over the live Sigfox and cellular networks in Chicago with IP enabled endpoint devices.

“We are thrilled with this latest milestone in our quest to support and promote interoperability in the IoT,” said Juan-Carlos Zúñiga, senior standardization expert at Sigfox and co-chair of the IETF IntArea working group. “It is critical that the industry rallies together to adopt open internet standards to unlock the true potential of the IoT.”

Compression based technology for LPWAN application interoperability builds on Sigfox’s commitment to supporting the development of IoT interoperability as an active member of standards development organizations including the IETF, ETSI and IEEE 802.  And the number of chip companies providing Sigfox network interfaces (see above list) is equally impressive.

References:

https://www.sigfox.com/en/news/sigfox-pioneers-internet-things-interoperability-further-accelerate-mass-market-adoption

http://techblog.comsoc.org/2017/10/03/sigfox-boosts-its-iot-global-footprint-achieving-national-coverage-in-17-countries/

http://techblog.comsoc.org/2016/05/23/iot-world-summary-part-iii-too-many-wireless-wan-lpwan-standards-specs/

 

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Juan Carlos will be following up with a blog post on LPWAN application layer interoperability as well as a more detailed description of the IETF work on LPWANs.

 

Preview of Fog World Congress: October 30th to November 1st, Santa Clara, CA

The Fog World Congress (FWC), to be held October 30th to November 1st in Santa Clara, CA, provides an innovative forum for industry and academia in the field of fog computing and networking to define terms, discuss critical issues, formulate strategies and organize collaborative efforts to address the challenges.  Also, to share and showcase research results and industry developments.

FWC is co-sponsored by IEEE ComSoc and the OpenFog Consortium. It is  is the first conference that brings industry and research together to explore the technologies, challenges, industry deployments and opportunities in fog computing and networking.

Image result for illustration of fog computing

Don’t miss the fog tutorial sessions which aim to clarify misconceptions and bring the communities up to speed on the latest research, technical developments and industry implementations of fog. FWC Research sessions will cover a comprehensive range of topics. There will also be sessions designed to debate controversial issues such as why and where fog will be necessary, what will happen in a future world without fog, how could fog disrupt the industry.

Here are a few features sessions:

  • Fog Computing & Networking: The Multi-Billion Dollar opportunity before us
  • Driving through the Fog: Transforming Transportation through Autonomous vehicles
  • From vision to practice: Implementing Fog in Real World environments
  • Fog & Edge: A panel discussion
  • Fog over Denver: Building fog-centricity in a Smart City from the ground up
  • Fog Tank: Venture Capitalists take on the Fog startups
  • 50 Fog Design & Implementation Tips in 50 Minutes
  • Fog at Sea: Marine Use Cases For Fog Technology
  • NFV and 5G in a Fog computing environment
  • Security Issues, Approaches and Practices in the IoT-Fog Computing Era: A panel discussion

View the 5 track conference program here.

Finally, register here.

For general information about the conference, including registration, please email: info@fogworldcongress.com

About the Open Fog Consortium:

The OpenFog Consortium bridges the continuum between Cloud and Things in order to solve the bandwidth, latency and communications challenges associated with IoT, 5G and artificial intelligence.  Its work is centered around creating an open fog computing architecture for efficient and reliable networks and intelligent endpoints combined with identifiable, secure, and privacy-friendly information flows between clouds, endpoints, and services based on open standard technologies.  While not a standards organization, OpenFog drives requirements for fog computing and networking to IEEE.  The global nonprofit was founded in November 2015 and today represents the leading researchers and innovators in fog computing.

For more information, visit www.openfogconsortium.org; Twitter @openfog; and LinkedIn /company/openfog-consortium.

Reference:

http://techblog.comsoc.org/2017/07/20/att-latency-sensitive-next-gen-apps-need-edge-computing/

Ericsson Survey: Network Operators Focus on New Markets for 5G Revenue

Survey Highlights:

Most network operators say they’re ready for “5G” even if they don’t know what it will actually deliver (the RAN and other key functions haven’t even been discussed by ITU-R WP5D for IMT 2020, let alone agreed upon), Ericsson found in a survey of wireless network operators around the world (see References and hyper-links below). Many expect the enterprise market and Internet of Things (IoT) applications to drive revenue growth from 5G technology.

More than three-quarters of the respondents said they were in the midst of 5G trials.  That corresponds with research from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association research which found 81 5G trials underway in 42 countries.

23% of survey respondents plan to migrate 4G subscribers to 5G with enhanced services and revenues (but when?).  Yet nearly two thirds (64%) of operators said they can’t pay for 5G by simply raising rates on consumers, because consumers are “tapped out.”  Eighteen percent of respondents said they expect to monetize 5G by “expanding to new markets—enterprise/ industry segments.”

“In 2016, 90% pointed to consumers as the central segment in their planning and only 34% focused on specialized industries,” the Ericsson researchers wrote in this year’s report.  An increased emphasis on the enterprise market is a key shift since a previous Ericsson 5G operator survey was conducted in 2016.

“This year, operators are seeing that the consumer market is saturated, so planning for 5G is more evenly split across specialized industry segments (58%), business users (56%) and consumers (52%),” the Ericsson researchers added.

Specific industry segments on which operators expect to focus 5G monetization efforts include media/entertainment (cited by 69% of respondents), automotive (59%), public transport (31%), healthcare (29%) and energy/ utilities (29%).

Providing industry-specific services to these industry segments will be important in 5G monetization, according to 68% of respondents. The single most important use case in the media/entertainment segment is high-quality streaming, respondents said. Other top use cases by segment included:

  • Automotive: autonomous vehicle control
  • Public transport: Smart GPS
  • Healthcare: Remote robotic surgery
  • Energy & utilities: Control of edge-of-grid generation

More than three quarters (77%) of respondents said third-party collaboration is an essential element in 5G monetization and 68% said they need to find new revenue-sharing models.

Chart courtesy of Ericsson’s 5G Readiness Survey

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Survey Questions and Methodology:

Some of the questions asked in the survey:

-Exactly how have preparations for 5G evolved over the past year?
-Where do telcos stand now in their 5G activities and developments?
-What actions are service providers taking now in anticipation of 5G?
-What priorities drive their initiative?
-How ready are they to take leadership positions in the 5G future?

The survey’s objective was to obtain a snapshot of the state of the industry in relation to next-generation mobile technology. Last year, we struggled to find 50 executives globally who were far enough along in 5G to answer the survey questions.

This year, Ericsson says they “easily identified 50 executives, both business and technical leaders, from 37 operators around the world. As leaders of their organizations’ 5G efforts, they are at the center of the 5G evolution. That increase clearly signifies the growing recognition among industry leaders of 5G’s importance.”s

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/assets/local/narratives/networks/documents/5g-readiness-survey-2017.pdf

5G Monetization Survey: Operators Look to IoT for Revenue Growth

 

 

Comparison of Telit, GCT Semiconductor & Sequans IoT Multi-Mode Network Chips

Telit, an Israeli based semiconductor company specializing in Internet of Things (IoT) silicon, today announced that its LE910B1-NA, LE910B1-SA, LTE Category 1 (Cat 1) and LE910B4-NA, LTE Category 4 (Cat 4) received certification for operation on AT&T’s LTE nationwide network.  The aforementioned modules also support Voice over LTE (VoLTE).

Telit also received certification for its 600 Mbps, LTE Category 11 (Cat 11) LM940 global (single SKU) PCI Express Mini (mPCIe) data card targeted at segments including network routers and gateways, and the mobile computing industry.

Certification enables IoT integrators and providers to immediately integrate and test their devices with the certified modules and data card and start leveraging the reliability and coverage of AT&T’s LTE Cat 1, Cat 4-VoLTE and Cat 11 services for the IoT.

For more information on the LE910B1/4-xA:

https://www.telit.com/products/cellular-modules/standard-industrial-grade/xe910-family/#LE910-Cat1-Series.

For more information on the LM940 Cat 11 data card:

http://info.telit.com/modules-lm940-mini-card.

“Voice over LTE is an absolute necessity for the IoT particularly for the American market where operators need to turn off spectrum-inefficient circuit switch voice technology. Our existing customers using 2G, 3G, and non-VoLTE LTE modules from the xE910 family can now simply drop in the VoLTE variants, go through required testing with our help and start deploying voice capable products endowed with a very long life,” said Yosi Fait, Interim CEO, Telit.

“The LM940, now certified for immediate activation, remains the only global product for the router and gateway segment to allow OEMs to leverage 3x carrier aggregation capabilities currently available from AT&T,” he added.

The LE910B1/4-xA module is a member of Telit’s best-selling xE910 family and can easily be applied as a pin-to-pin replacement for existing devices based on the family’s modules for 2G, 3G, LTE Categories 1, 3 and 4. With the company’s design-once-use-anywhere philosophy, developers can cut costs and development time by simply designing to the xE910 LGA common form factor, giving them the freedom to deploy technologies best suited for the application’s environment.

The LM940 boasts an exceptionally power efficient platform and is the ideal solution for commercial and enterprise applications in the network appliance and router industry, such as branch office connectivity, LTE failover, digital signage, kiosks, pop-up stores, vehicle routers, construction sites and more. The data card includes Linux and Windows driver support.

Telit also features the broadest portfolio of certified LTE IoT Category modules in the industry.

For more information about the Telit portfolio of LTE modules: https://www.telit.com/products/cellular-modules/

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Last week, GCT Semiconductor [1] announced an LTE device which will also support the (proprietary) Sigfox wireless IoT interface. The GDM7243I chip features low power consumption, which will allow it to be used for tracking devices to connect using the Sigfox wireless IoT network for several years without the need for frequent battery re-charging.

Note 1.  GCT Semiconductor’s engineering development team is in South Korea. Marketing and sales are in San Jose, CA.

“We’re pleased to be working closely with Sigfox to bring this capability to market and support ultra-long battery life and global coverage for our IoT customers,” said John Schlaefer, CEO of GCT Semiconductor, speaking at Sigfox World IoT Expo 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic.

GDM7243I based tracking devices operate on the Sigfox network for location tracking but will switch to the cellular network as required.

Hybrid IoT devices can connect to the Sigfox wireless IoT network and operate in low-power mode to send and receive notifications only.  The Sigfox network can also provide backup connectivity to IoT hybrid devices in case of cellular network coverage limitations, congestion, breakdown, or jamming of security/alarm systems.

Author’s Note:

GCT’s hybrid chip which supports LTE Category M1/Narrowband IoT )NB-IoT/EC-GSM and Sigfox’s pwireless IoT WAN technology is GREAT FOR IoT Endpoints, which could use it to connect to any LTE M1, NB-IoT or or Sigfox’s network.
However, it doesn’t mean Sigfox base stations/network equipment will support anything other than Sigfox’s own wireless IoT WAN spec.  In an interview this Thursday, we will ask Sigfox’s standardization expert about the company’s IoT WAN roadmap and which standards, if any, they’re considering to support.
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French chip company Sequans has their StreamliteLTE™ product line which is optimized for M2M devices and IoT connected devices. Sequans  introduced the world’s first Cat M1/NB1 single chip solution based on 3GPP Release 13 narrowband IoT (NB-IoT standard, published in June of 2016.  The company then became a chosen technology partner of leading telcos and equipment companies, including Verizon, Gemalto, Foxconn, and Skyworks, establishing itself as a leader in LTE for IoT.

The Calliope LTE Platform for IoT is a member of Sequans’                  StreamliteLTE™family of LTE chipset products. Calliope is designed specifically for wearables and other Category 1 M2M and IoT devices. Calliope comprises baseband and RF chips, an integrated IoT applications processor running Sequans’ carrier-proven LTE protocol stack, an IMS client, and a comprehensive software package for over-the-air device management and packet routing. It includes Sequans’ powerful interference rejection technology, Sequans AIR™.

Calliope can add Cat 1 LTE connectivity to M2M and IoT modules and is also suitable for wearables and M2M devices for metering, home automation, and automotive applications.

Highlights

  • Certified by Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, NTT Docomo and T-Mobile
  • Throughput: up to Category 1 – 10 Mbps DL/ 5 Mbps UL
  • Ultra low power consumption
  • 3GPP Release 10; software-upgradable to Release 11
  • FDD and TDD, up to 20 MHz LTE channels
  • Embedded application CPU
  • Wafer-level packaging
  • Supports VoLTE and location based services
  • Host environments: Android, Android Wear, Linux, Windows, Real Time OS
  • Versatile interfaces to host system: UART, USB, HSIC
  • Includes Sequans AIR™ interference cancelation technology
  • Certified for VoLTE by Verizon Wireless

For more info:

Calliope LTE Platform

 

5G Roundup: No standards but it will come faster than expected?

The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN), an industry association of mobile carriers, has defined requirements for 5G including data rates, transmission speeds, spectral efficiency and latency.

Illustration courtesy of NGMN

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So has ITU-R WP 5D- the only real standards body for 5G (AKA IMT 2020). However, the wireless networking industry has yet to agree on the Radio Access Network (RAN) and related 5G standards, despite 3GPP release 15 on “New Radio.”  5G standards won’t be completed until very late in 2020.

As we’ve reported in several IEEE techblog posts, AT&T and Verizon are conducting 5G trials in the US while other trials are proceeding in Europe and Asia.

Bullish Opinions on 5G:

Broad deployment of 5G networks is not expected until the 2020 timeframe, according to Sam Lucero, a senior principal analyst for M2M at IoT at IHS Markit.  Yet despite the lack of standards, a number of speakers at last month’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) Americas in San Francisco were more bullish on 5G and expectations for its rollout.

“We expect 5G to come faster and be broader than originally thought,” said Rajeev Suri, president and CEO of Nokia. Suri said Nokia expects 5G networks to be deployed in 2019, with widespread trials next year.

“4G is like a really good rock band,” said Andre Feutsch, CTO at AT&T. “5G is like a finely tuned orchestra.” He added that he sees n 5G a tremendous opportunity for advancing and “frankly making the network more relevant.”

“From a network perspective, [5G] is an evolution,” said Gordon Mansfield, vice president of RAN and device design at AT&T. “However, from a capability perspective it will be a revolution as it unfolds.”

“The 4G network is foundational to 5G,” said Nicki Palmer, chief network officer at Verizon. She added, “It’s hard to really peel 4G and 5G apart in some ways. The good news is that the investments we make today [in 4G] lead us down the 5G path.”

Nikki Palmer, Verizon CTO (left), speaks with moderator Brenda Boehm, chief strategy officer at the Telecommunications Industry Association. Credit: GSMA

Nikki Palmer, Verizon CTO (left), speaks with moderator Brenda Boehm, chief strategy officer at the Telecommunications Industry Association.
Photo courtesy of GSMA

“We’ve been trying to define what 5G is for the past five years,” said Ron Marquardt, vice president of technology at Sprint. “We are getting close to being able to define that. We need to educate industries on how 5G can and will disrupt them.”

Feutsch said 5G technology will enable carriers to provide solutions to a greater number of use cases. He said a lot of the work that has been done to date with pre-standards trials of 5G “were really to gain a lot of insights that helped us feed right back into the standards work.”

He added that standardization and openness would be critical to creating the healthy ecosystem that is required to enable 5G to flourish.

“We’ve got to standardize on this and avoid proprietariness as much as possible” to build a healthy 5G ecosystem Feutsch said. He said a lot of innovation for 5G would come from smaller companies — “disruptors” that need to rely on standards to make the technology they are developing fit into the 5G landscape.

Derek Peterson, chief technology officer at Boingo Wireless, a provider of mobile Internet access, also emphasized the importance of standards and urged audience members to participate in standards efforts. “Participating in standards is very important because it is going to take a collaborative effort to make all of these things work together,” he said.

The densification required for 5G transmission speeds will rely on a far greater number of smaller cell sites than previous generations of wireless technology. The process of getting the cell sites approved can vary widely from place to place, and often be one of the biggest roadblocks to 5G.

“It can take a year to get a permit for something that it takes an hour to hang on a pole,” Mansfield said.

“The biggest barrier is going to be the density that you need for 5G is something that we have never seen before,” said John Saw, Sprint’s CTO. “It’s going to be more than putting 5G on the towers that we know and love today. We need to change how we get permits for this.” Saw added.

With the wireless industry prepared to spend an estimated $275 billion to deploy 5G, governments need to streamline permitting processes.

“I think public policy makers get to have a say in how fast we spend it and where we spend it. They need to get used to the fact that there may be hundreds and perhaps thousands of permits being requested to get this density that is required,”  Saw concluded.

Panelists in an IoT session said that the primary barriers to enterprise IoT adoption include limited battery capacities and insufficient interoperability between connected devices, including VPN support, cloud service compatibility and other technologies.  No mention was made of 5G for low latency IoT applications.

References:

https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332410

https://www.ngmn.org/5g-white-paper.html

IHS Markit: Huawei, Vodafone Top New IoT CMP Platforms Scorecard

Huawei and Vodafone have topped the 2017 IoT (Internet of Things) Platforms Scorecard, excerpts of which were released today by business information provider IHS Markit, a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.

The scorecard focuses primarily on IoT connectivity management platform (CMP) vendors, identifies vendors leading in that market and those best positioned to succeed long-term. Criteria include factors such as cumulative cellular IoT connections under management, support for multiple connectivity technologies, diversity of deployment models, and perceptions of vendors by a multi-country panel of enterprise end users.

The CMP segment of the IoT platforms market long has been a near duopoly formed by Cisco Jasper and Ericsson, the IHS Markit analysis notes. However, the vendor landscape has shifted over the past 18 months, spurred by massive cellular IoT growth in China, a perception that additional costs remain to be driven out of CMP deployment, and increasing integration of CMPs with application-enablement platforms (AEPs) – a related IoT platform segment.

The 2017 scorecard ranks the top five vendors as Huawei, Vodafone, Cisco Jasper, Ericsson and HPE. Rounding out the top 10 were Aeris, Comarch, KORE, Stream Technologies and ZTE.

“Huawei and Vodafone ranked as this year’s scorecard leaders based on a number of factors,” said Sam Lucero, senior principal analyst for M2M and IoT at IHS Markit. “Huawei’s cumulative cellular IoT connection count exploded in 2016 on the back of its work with Chinese operators. Vodafone has quietly established a global footprint of operator partners that not only use its platform, but often its global network and global IoT SIM, as well.”

Both HPE and ZTE also performed particularly well in  the scorecard.

“HPE introduced an innovative AEP in its Universal IoT Platform and, late in 2016, extended this with a CMP component,” Lucero said. “Likewise, ZTE benefitted from exceptional underlying Chinese market growth in addition to opening up new emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa.”

For information about purchasing this report, contact the sales department at IHS Markit in the Americas at (844) 301-7334 or AmericasLeads@ihs.com; in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at +44 1344 328 300 or technology_emea@ihs.com; or Asia-Pacific (APAC) at +604 291 3600 or technology_APAC@ihs.com

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Image below courtesy of Information Matters:

Image result for image of IHS IoT platform

Sigfox boosts its IoT global footprint, achieving national coverage in 17 countries

At Sigfox World IoT Expo last week in Prague-Czech Republic, Sigfox announced that its network now spans 36 countries, as part of its mission to offer a consistent level of connectivity quality and service anywhere in the world.

Here are the highlights of the Sigfox conference:

“We’re excited to work with all of our new partners, this move marks yet another key milestone towards Sigfox’s vision of a global IoT network. We are looking forward to collaborating with our new Sigfox operators to help their local ecosystems to seamlessly scale IoT solutions wherever the Sigfox network is present in the world. Together, we’re building a future that will be better to live in,”  said Rodolphe Baronnet-Frugès, Executive Vice President of Operators at Sigfox.

Sigfox operators are not only contributing to accelerate IoT development in their local markets, they are also committing to deploy and operate the network infrastructure and offer national coverage in their country. Up to now, almost 100 million euros have been invested by Sigfox operators to offer a unique access to the Sigfox IoT services, with the exact same quality of service.

This unique global offer is enriched with Sigfox new service Monarch, now allowing IoT devices to recognize and automatically adapt to every local communications standard in the world without roaming. By enabling ‘globe trotter’ assets that can seamlessly adapt as they move across borders, Monarch could be a game-changer for logistics, freight, and consumer goods industries.

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In Ireland, Sigfox Operator VT signed a €1-mill IoT subscription with Dunraven Systems, a market leader in the design and development of ultrasonic fuel tank monitors.

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In addition to its core IoT connectivity service, Sigfox offers a range of services to make even more simple to use Sigfox’s technology, to deploy and to adopt mass IoT solutions. These services allow to connect billions of wireless devices that are not yet connected to the internet.

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Above illustration courtesy of Sigfox

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This potential game-changing development has been made possible by the cognitive capabilities of the Sigfox network and its Software Defined Radio technology, where all the network and computing complexity is managed in the Cloud rather than on the device. This enables Sigfox to constantly improve its network features and make them available by simple software upgrade.

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A key question for Sigfox is whether they’ll also support the new LPWAN standards and specs (LTE category M1, NB-IoT, LoRA WAN, etc).  We’ve asked the company and are eagerly awaiting their reply.  Stay tuned.

 

 

NSR: Satellite IoT market forecast at $2.9B by 2026

The global satellite M2M and IoT market is expected to grow to $2.9 billion in revenue by 2026, according to satellite based market research company NSR.

This growth will be driven by over 6.8 million in-service terminals, NSR said in their new report. Potential applications include (see chart below): land transport and especially cargo tracking, which is expected to be the most profitable and sought after segment of the emerging industry.

“Revenues are growing year-over-year across each of the 22 applications NSR identified, and will accelerate as new M2M capacity supply, in the form of new constellations, come online in the medium term,” NSR senior analyst and lead report author Alan Crisp said.

“Most increases in new demand for M2M service today stem from basic product offerings, as for many use cases bandwidth requirements remain in the kilobyte range,” Crisp added.

While most M2M and IoT services require only low bandwidth, NSR also predicts that over the next decade some verticals will demand additional bandwidth to support applications such as big data analytics, engine telematics and live data streaming.

The report states that a number of small satellite constellations will target low bandwidth and latency insensitive applications in  agriculture and tracking market segments.

Despite the huge revenues predicted, the report notes that despite growing demand for IoT satellite services, the business case for IoT exclusive satellite constellations has yet to be proven – especially considering the exponential growth of LPWANs, LTE-M and NB-IoT terrestrial networks for IoT.

For example, last week China Mobile-Hong Kong demonstrated a smart parking service carried over its commercial NB-IoT network.  Meanwhile, rival wireless network operators 3 Hong Kong (part of Hutchinson-HK) and SmarTone have also made recent announcements of NB-IoT deployments.  3 HK and Huawei have built the NB-IoT infrastructure with NB-IoT modules designed in accordance with the 3GPP standard to facilitate tests and development of NB-IoT applications.

This report answers key questions on the satellite M2M/IoT market:

  • Which applications, frequencies and regions exhibit the greatest growth potential?
  • How important are latency, security and high bandwidth requirements for upcoming M2M/IoT applications?
  • What role will small satellites have with IoT connected devices, and how will this impact the existing satellite M2M/IoT operators?
  • How can satellite benefit from the growth of Low Power Wide Area networks?

References:

http://www.nsr.com/research-reports/satellite-space-applications/m2m-and-iot-via-satellite-8th-edition/

https://www.telecomasia.net/content/satellite-iot-market-tipped-hit-29b-2026?src=related

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