Superb Article on What’s Wrong with Communications Industry by Steve Saunders, co-founder of Light Reading

Here’s the url for Steve Saunder’s spot on the money article:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-communications-steve-saunders/

The only add on I have to Steve’s  exquisite post is that the lack of standards is pervasive throughout the WAN space:

  1. SD WANs are a single vendor solution  – no UNI or NNI specified or being worked on by an accredited standards body.
  2. NFV: No standards for exposed interfaces, APIs (NFV orchestrator (NFVO) to/from virtual appliances), no backward compatibility between virtual appliances and physical appliances, no standard for network management or fault isolation/repair, etc.
  3. Every major Cloud Service Provider (CSP) has their own defacto standards/specs and APIs, e.g. Amazon, Google, MSFT, etc
  4. Every major CSP has their own connectivity solution(s) from customer premises network to their point of presence (PoP);  and their own method for realizing a virtual private cloud (VPC)
  5. Every CSP and network service provider has their own definition and implementation of SDN, including one or more southbound API (s) to/from Control Plane to data plane.  That southbound API was supposed to be ONLY OpenFlow according to the ONF.  The Northbound API was never standardized and there are many  options.  Many SDNs use an overlay network and virtualization of network functions while others do not.  Equipment and software built for one provider’s SDN won’t operate on another’s as the specs are different and usually proprietary.
  6. Far too many LPWANs for IoT:  Sigfox (by company with same name), LoRa WAN,  Weightless SIG (unidirectional Weightless-N, bidirectional Weightless-P and Weightless-W), NB-IoT, LTE Cat M1, many other proprietary versions like RPMA (from Ingenu).
  7. The message sets between “things”/IoT devices  and the cloud controller have not been standardized.  Neither is the functions of an “IoT Platform” which has become a wild west menagerie of incompatible platforms from hundreds of vendors.
  8. Every so called “5G” deployment planned before IMT 2020 has been completed (end of 2020) is proprietary.  The only thing in common seems to be use of 3GPP release 15 “5G New Radio” which is not a standard.   That implies mobile 5G will have severe roaming problems when moving from one 5G carrier to another.

 

And the list goes on and on and on……………………………………….

Without agreed upon standards, the upshot is that the big cloud players (Google, Amazon, FB, Microsoft, Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, etc) will dominate communications in the future (I think they already dominate all of IT!!)

Also, the rise of open source hardware organizations (OCP, TIP, ONF, etc) along with Taiwan/China ODMs have profoundly changed the communications industry.  With so many open source white boxes and bare metal switches available, there is little or no value add for vendor specific network equipment other than possibly higher performance (e.g. throughput).

Global Data: 5G Enterprise Market Business Case May NOT Be Compelling

Is it possible for anyone to throw cold water on the 5G market potential  and diminish ultra hyped expectations?  YES!

5G use cases may not be compelling enough for massive uptake by businesses, according to Kathryn Weldon, technology research director at GlobalData.  Weldon offered her view on upcoming challenges for mobile operators:

“While 5G services are not yet ‘live’ this next generation of wireless technology is already top of mind for service providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other telecom market ecosystem players. Aside from gearing up to build out the technology, they will be working together to make sure that 5G use cases are compelling – that is, different enough from 4G to matter to customers. As with any new generation of wireless, the stakes are high, and operators are hoping that they’ll make back their substantial investments in 5G. For most operators, this should come via a ‘massive’ uptake of connectivity, plus revenues from advanced services spanning both consumers and business customers.”

Operators need to move beyond their current barrage of technology build-out narratives and discussions of fixed vs. mobile services, she emphasized. “Rather, it’s the use cases and business outcomes that will make the difference. Operators need to deliver novel and compelling capabilities that change how business customers see and use cellular services.”

Enterprises have different requirements than consumers:

“As 5G communications traffic is expected from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in industrial robots, roads, and vehicles and can leverage the technology’s reliability and low latency to control critical services and infrastructure for public safety, healthcare, government organizations, and utilities. But the ROI for these applications must be compelling.”

Weldon further acknowledged that questions remain:“Will the enterprise appetite to spend more to use these futuristic use cases exist when 5G networks become a reality? Will devices to support these applications be in place once those networks are ready? Will businesses finally see wireless as a valid replacement for wireline broadband? And lastly, will operators be able to offer all these futuristic services profitably? Only time will tell.

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Last year, Global Data said 5G networks will become mainstream by 2020, but Europe will lag behind Asia and the US, as operators seek to make the most of 4G, according to GlobalData, a recognized leader in providing business information and analytics. The company’s 5G report forecasts that while over half of all mobile subscriptions will be 5G-capable in South Korea by 2022, compared only around 7% in Europe.

5G will, for the first time, go beyond increased bandwidth and capacity, as was the focus in previous wireless generations, adding low latency, high density and high reliability. These capabilities will enable a variety of use cases, opening the door to new, predominantly business-focused services such as self-driving cars and smart cities. 5G also supports the focus that many operators have in looking for new, adjacent revenue streams, including fixed-mobile integration, digital content and the Internet of Things.

Peter Jarich, Chief Analyst for GlobalData Technology, adds: “Hopes are running high for the potential of 5G to truly transform mobile business models, and tap new revenue opportunities moving beyond consumers and into diverse digital industries. The implications go beyond any individual operator to impact national and regional competitiveness.

“Despite this, for all the efforts to fast-track early 5G deployments, it’s important to recognize that 5G rollouts will take years to complete; no region or country has won or lost the race to 5G yet.”

 

IoT Market Research: Internet Of Things Eclipses The Internet Of People

by Patrick Seitz, Investors Business Daily

For years, technologists have talked about the coming age of IoT, or the Internet of Things.   For every person on the internet doing work or being entertained, a multitude of machines are automatically reporting device location, temperature, speed and other status data online. About 4 billion people use the internet. But that number is dwarfed by the roughly 12 billion devices sending data over the internet, often with little or no human intervention.

And the movement is just getting started. Research firm IHS Markit expects the number of machines linked to the internet to more than quadruple, reaching 55 billion, by 2025. That leaves a lot more room to run.

“We’re just starting to move out of the pilot phase,” IDC analyst Carrie MacGillivray said.

Tech companies big and small are scrambling to make their mark in the still-emerging IoT field, which promises to be a huge financial opportunity. They range from chip companies selling sensors and processors for IoT devices to software firms that want to store and analyze data collected from those billions of devices.

IDC predicts that spending on IoT hardware, software and services will reach $1.2 trillion by 2022. That compares with $630 billion in 2017. IDC sees the market posting a compound annual growth rate of 13.5% over that period.  “It will reach critical mass by 2020,” IDC’s MacGillivray said.

Internet of Things (IoT) concept

One analyst expects the number of machines linked to the internet to more than quadruple, reaching 55 billion, by 2025. (©Dave Culter)

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Some niches are well into deployment, such as smart meter readers. Instead of sending out workers house to house to record water, gas and electricity usage, devices transmit that data directly to the company.

The basic building blocks of the Internet of Things are connectivity, distributed computing and platforms, IHS Markit’s Short said. Those building blocks are available today, but companies are still sorting out best practices.

“They’re not sexy to talk about, but they are legitimately transformative,” he said.

Whichever companies can establish the leading software platforms and ecosystems will win the market, Short said.

IHS Markit is tracking over 400 different IoT software platforms now covering connectivity, applications and data exchange. Customers are having to mix and match from a dizzying array of offerings to make complete IoT systems.

Short expects to see major players like Microsoft acquiring smaller software firms so they can build out their Internet of Things offerings and reduce the complexity of systems. Security for those systems also is a major concern that’s being addressed.

“Obviously there is going to be a lot of consolidation as those companies get bought up,” he said.

The way Zebra sees it, the business of Internet of Things involves three steps: sense, analyze and act. Sensors report the status of inventory or equipment, systems analyze the data and then businesses take action based on what they interpret from the data.

The next step for the Internet of Things will involve artificial intelligence and automation of responses to the collected data.

The exciting part of the industrial Internet of Things will come when companies start analyzing all the data they are collecting from IoT devices to garner useful insights to improve their operations, Short says.

That means going beyond simple asset tracking into data mining and simulations using artificial intelligence.

“When you start to implement multiple of these technologies is where you start to see the power,” Short said.

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From Business Insider:

 

 

Here are some key takeaways from Business Insider report:

  • We project that there will be more than 55 billion IoT devices by 2025, up from about 9 billion in 2017.
  • We forecast that there will be nearly $15 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2017 and 2025, with survey data showing that companies’ plans to invest in IoT solutions are accelerating.
  • The report highlights the opinions and experiences of IoT decision-makers on topics that include: drivers for adoption; major challenges and pain points; deployment and maturity of IoT implementations; investment in and utilization of devices; the decision-making process; and forward- looking plans.

In full, the report:

  • Provides a primer on the basics of the IoT ecosystem.
  • Offers forecasts for the IoT moving forward, and highlights areas of interest in the coming years.
  • Looks at who is and is not adopting the IoT, and why.
  • Highlights drivers and challenges facing companies that are implementing IoT solutions

AT&T acquires AlienVault; says its customers demanded NB-IoT

1. AT&T buys AlienVault:

AT&T has announced plans to acquire cybersecurity company AlienVault. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2007, AlienVault offers a number of tools for detecting and responding to security threats through its Unified Security Management (USM) platform, while its Open Threat Exchange (OTX) platform serves as an online community where security professionals and researchers can share their latest findings and threat data.

2.  AT&T to offer NB-IoT:

AT& already offers cellular LPWAN services (LTE Category 1 and LTE Category M1) for its IoT customers who want to connect devices, assets and equipment to the cloud.  Now, AT&T says NB-IoT opens up new use cases for IoT.  However, the company did not reveal pricing for its NB-IoT data plan(s).

“We already are using LTE-M, and based on a lot of customer feedback we felt that we needed complementary services for other use cases, such as in a fixed asset tracking environment with very low bandwidth uses,” said Shiraz Hasan, VP, IoT solutions at AT&T. “The motivation is cost savings primarily, and the other thing is the ability to utilize the tech a little better because it penetrates even better than LTE-M.”

Shiraz said AT&T has a lot of customers in the security and alarm industries, and that many of these companies are evaluating IoT technology and learning that NB-IoT may serve their needs best. Alarms and locks are often located deep within buildings, so using cellular connectivity to monitor equipment health requires radio transmissions that can penetrate thick walls.

https://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/at-t-says-customer-demand-prompted-nb-iot-launch

 

AT&T – Nokia Partnership for Reliable IoT Connectivity

AT&T is partnering with Nokia to provide reliable connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.  Chris Penrose, the President of the IoT Solutions of AT&T, said the carrier’s enterprise customers will benefit from this partnership through the simplified adoption of IoT devices and the improved ability of the network operator to respond to the concerns of its customers. Furthermore, the carrier noted in its announcement that this partnership enables AT&T to address specific business concerns of companies using latest technologies including 5G network slicing.

Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING), a service that is developed and managed by Nokia, will be used by AT&T.  WING assists network operators in managing IoT devices, securing connected appliances, and facilitating the billing of the carrier’s customers. Another advantage of utilizing Nokia’s WING service is that it allows AT&T’s customers to access the global IoT ecosystem and infrastructure of the Finnish tech firm. It is expected that the core network assets of Nokia’s WING service will become available in 20 different countries by 2020.

AT&T will also utilize its own cloud-based service dubbed as the Multi-Network Connect platform. This platform enables businesses to manage their IoT devices remotely using a variety of communication technologies, including 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN), and satellite. Aside from the compatibility with a variety of communications standards, the carrier claims that another benefit of using its Multi-Network Connect platform is the ability to manage and monitor the devices using a single portal.

The partnership will begin developing, testing and launching IoT offerings this year. Offerings will be available in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, South America and the Middle East by the first quarter of 2020. The partners will target a number of industries, including transportation, health, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, utilities, consumer electronics and smart cities. The initiative will “help set the stage for the evolution to global 5G,” according to the companies.

More specifically, the partnership will:

  • Address specific business requirements through capabilities like 5G network slicing that allows a single network to be partitioned into multiple networks.
  • Meet local regulatory requirements for IoT devices.

This is not the only IoT partnership in which AT&T is involved. In February, the mega telco and Ericsson said that they are teaming  up for IoT device certification. The collaboration includes testing, verification and “white glove” assistance with regulatory approval process. The program is available in more than 150 countries.

Early last year, AT&T said that Carrier, one of the world’s largest appliance and equipment manufacturers (made famous by Donald Trump’s visit), will build AT&T’s IoT functionality into its heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) product line.

 

References:

https://www.androidheadlines.com/2018/06/att-nokia-to-provide-reliable-iot-device-connectivity.html

https://www.business.att.com/solutions/Portfolio/internet-of-things/

http://www.telecompetitor.com/att-nokia-iot-partnership-targets-enterprises-worldwide/

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT): Huge Impact on Tech Industry

Overview:

The biggest themes at IoT DevCon today in Santa Clara, CA are the following: AI will be pervasive in every industry during at least the next decade; voice is replacing the keypad/keyboard as the preferred human interface, IoT will fulfill its promise and potential once the cyber security and privacy issues have been solved.

As these innovative and cutting edge technologies fuse together experts in the market are forecasting exponential growth over the next seven years while revolutionizing everyday products with amazing potential.

Grand View Research projects the wireless mesh network alone will be worth north of $11 billion globally by the year 2025. One of the significant factors driving market growth is the variety of applications across multiple industries for these platforms, ranging from traditional business projects to emergency services. The inclusion of IoT and AI are expected to expedite the process, allowing for more efficient and effective operations of MESH applications and networks.  AI not only involves massive parallel computing, but also lots of data movement is needed to come up with results.

Here are a few of the IoT DevCon sessions I attended today (please contact the author if you’d like details on any of them):

09:00-09:30                   General Remarks and Notes on the Internet of Intelligent Things. ME1941»
TIRIAS Research
09:30-10:00 KEYNOTE: Surviving the IoT Device Security Wild West ME1916»
Arm
10:00-10:30 KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Wireless Connectivity (IoT) Testing Challenges and Considerations ME1859»
Rohde & Schwarz
10:30-11:00 Morning Break – Day 1
11:00-11:30 KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Edge Computing Revolution ME1930»
NXP
11:30-12:00 The Future of IoT from a Venture Capital Perspective ME1841»
Bessemer Venture Partners

 

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Gopher Protocol Inc Decentralized MESH System:

Gopher Protocol, a company specializing in the creation of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence enabled mobile technologies, today announced that it has completed the first phase of its Decentralized MESH system architectural functionality simulation. These simulations tested Gopher’s unstructured MESH network, performing node and gateway communication scenarios while observing timing and performance. The team was able to successfully simulate “node to node” and “node to gateway” network communication, within a defined range.

From the company’s website:

Gopher Protocol (GOPH) Core Technology is a revolutionary new platform with products that will change the way people interact with technology and each other, because we believe that improving communications will benefit the modern world.

GOPH Microchips communicate via a private, secured protocol and can interact with internal states –  microchips communicate with other microchips –  and external environments – microchips interact with cell phones, mobile apps, computers, tablets, tracking devices and many other digital devices with access to conventional networks (WiFi and Cellular).

Our goal for GopherInsight Microchips is that they will potentially be installed in billions of mobile devices by the year 2020. This will allow GOPH to create its own private communication network, which will enormously benefit the user from behind the scenes. We utilize this private network to improve the computing power, database management, internal memory, and security of mobile devices equipped with GopherInsight Microchips! The potential is enormous and we are constantly developing more advanced features.

A wireless mesh network is a communications network made up of radio nodes (telephones or other connected devices) organized in a mesh topology (random dispersion across a given area). MESH refers to rich interconnection among devices or nodes. Wireless mesh networks typically consist of mesh clients(users) and gateways (internet access points). Other companies that have wireless mesh networks for IoT include Microchip’s MiWi™  (based on IEEE 802.15.4 – low-rate wireless personal area networks or LR-WPANs) and the Wirepas mesh network (based on Low Power Bluetooth).

 

MIWI Dev Env Block thumb

Above illustration courtesy of Microchip

MiWi supports operation the IEEE 802.15.4 radio PHY in the sub-GHz and 2.4 GHz ISM bands.  Developed to enable low-cost, commercial and smart home networks, MiWi is used in applications such HVAC systems and alarm sensors where reliable self-healing mesh networking is needed.

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The Gopher Decentralized MESH network will be a mobile network, which adds additional complexity as the nodes move frequently. The main challenge of developing Gopher’s MESH network is updating routes of data considering that nodes are moving within the MESH. Managing these nodes is achieved by our time division based electronic hardware combined with Gopher’s Avant! Artificial Intelligence engine that is cognitively learning about the dynamic GEO locations of nodes and gateways in order to control the unstructured mesh network.

“This is a very significant stage for us” stated Danny Rittman, Gopher’s CTO. “We successfully conducted a node hopping simulation which we believe is one of the key technological hurdles in creating a MESH network. In addition, we also performed “node to gateway” communications and multiple “node hopping” all the way to a gateway. The results were successful for a defined range and beyond. We are now constructing testing boards to further analyze the technology in order to identify methods of improvements and advancements.”

“We are also working on our Avant! AI engine, providing it with the mathematical knowledge with the goal of developing it to a point to control the entire system. Unstructured networks are particularly difficult to control without the involvement of highly mathematical models and algorithms” continued Dr. Rittman. Gopher believes the development of a mesh network and technology is crucial to the creation of a communications network that disrupts the incumbent Internet and data providers that are the gatekeepers of communication access for the developed world. Gopher intends to bring connectivity to the hundreds of millions that cannot easily afford the current global cost of connectivity and to make the rapidly growing internet of things more affordable for all.

Read more about GOPH at http://www.marketnewsupdates.com/news/goph.html 

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Other related developments in IoT and AI include:

1.  Microsoft Corporation recently announced a strategic partnership to deliver new technology developments and go-to-market initiatives that accelerate enterprise AI and IoT application development. As part of this partnership, the companies will create a “better together” solution, comprising the C3 IoT Platform™, a low-code, high-productivity PaaS for scaling AI and IoT across enterprises, fully integrated to operate on Microsoft Azure. C3 IoT will leverage Microsoft Azure as a preferred cloud platform and tap into the power of its intelligent capabilities. The companies will conduct co-marketing and co-selling strategies that rapidly scale distribution globally, as well as intensive training for dedicated teams to speed customers’ time to value. Close collaboration between Microsoft and C3 IoT will help enable customers to more rapidly develop and deploy AI-based applications for transformative use cases, such as AI predictive maintenance, dynamic inventory optimization, precision healthcare and CRM.

2. Naveen Rao, vice president and general manager of the Artificial Intelligence Products Group at Intel Corporation said in advance of the company’s upcoming AI DevCon:

This is an exciting week as we gather the brightest minds working with artificial intelligence (AI) at Intel AI DevCon, our inaugural AI developer conference. We recognize that achieving the full promise of AI isn’t something we at Intel can do alone. Rather, we need to address it together as an industry, inclusive of the developer community, academia, the software ecosystem and more. So as I take the stage today, I am excited to do it with so many others throughout the industry.

This includes developers joining us for demonstrations, research and hands-on training. We’re also joined by supporters including Google*, AWS*, Microsoft*, Novartis* and C3 IoT*. It is this breadth of collaboration that will help us collectively empower the community to deliver the hardware and software needed to innovate faster and stay nimble on the many paths to AI. Indeed, as I think about what will help us accelerate the transition to the AI-driven future of computing, it is ensuring we deliver solutions that are both comprehensive and enterprise-scale. This means solutions that offer the largest breadth of compute, with multiple architectures supporting milliwatts to kilowatts.

Enterprise-scale AI also means embracing and extending the tools, open frameworks and infrastructure the industry has already invested in to better enable researchers to perform tasks across the variety of AI workloads. For example, AI developers are increasingly interested in programming directly to open-source frameworks versus a specific product software platform, again allowing development to occur more quickly and efficiently.

Mr. Rao’s AI Devcon 2018 presentation is at:

https://s21.q4cdn.com/600692695/files/doc_presentations/2018/05/AI_Devcon_RAO_Final.pdf

 

 

Ericsson’s Deliverables and Take-aways from IoT World 2018 & Private Briefing

Ericsson is one of the top three wireless network equipment companies in the world (they were #1 until Huawei took that coveted spot).  Approximately 40% of the world’s mobile traffic is carried over Ericsson networks.  The company has customers in 182 countries and offers comprehensive industry solutions ranging from Cloud services and Mobile Broadband to Network Design and Optimization.  Ericcson also has one of the most compelling IoT platforms in their IoT Accelerator, which we described earlier this year.

IoT platform ecosystem

Image above courtesy of Ericsson

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Ericsson had a huge presence at IoT World 2018 with an impressive exhibit floor booth, a Wednesday private briefing session at their Santa Clara, CA location and three presentations at IoT World 2018 conference sessions.

I attended the private briefing at Ericsson- Santa Clara, got a tour of some of the exhibits there, heard the talk by Shannon Lucas (VP. Head of Emerging Business Unit in North America) on Tuesday and met with Ericsson’s IoT expert Mats Alendal on Thursday for a one on one conversation about Ericsson’s IoT strategy and associated wireless WANs (e.g. NB-IoT, LTE-M, and “5G”).

Most surprising was that Mats claimed that the transition from 4G LTE to whatever the 5G RAN/RIT is will be ONLY A SOFTWARE UPGRADE OF ERICSSON’S BASE STATION.  He also said that if the 5G latency could be reduced to 1 or 2 ms, it would open up many new real time Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications that we haven’t thought of yet.  Such a low latency would require a controlled environment, typically in a manufacturing plant or similar, and mm wave radio.

Currently most IIoT applications rely on wired connectivity on a factory floor, manufacturing plant or test facility.  In a few cases wireless LANs (e.g. WiFi, Zigbee, proprietary) might be used.   Hence, wireless WAN connectivity represents a big shift for many industrial customers. IIoT use cases in manufacturing require a wireless WAN with  low latency, guaranteed delivery of messages/packets/frames, and instant control/feedback.

One of the best IIoT wireless WAN solutions is Private LTE.  It’s probably more robust than cellular LPWANs (NB-IoT and LTE-M) and provides cost benefits as well. In a Thursday afternoon session, Nokia recommended Private LTE for many of those IIoT applications (more information by emailing this author).  Ericsson is delivering Private LTE equipment via its 3GPP compliant, licensed and unlicensed bands for Private LTE.

IIoT use cases powered by Ericsson  include connected factory robots, manufacture of highly precise bladed disks (BLISKs) for turbines, and spherical roller bearings for SKF.  A case study for 5G trial for BLISKs may be viewed here.

Highlights of Shannon Lucas’ talk – Data Infrastructure: Mobile IoT: LPWAN & 5G:

  • 18B connected IoT devices are expected by 2022 (that’s down from earlier forecasts of 20B and more by 2020)
  • Edge computing network is needed for ultimate scalability and a great user experience (user might be a machine/device)
  • Hardware innovation platform can make LTE-M and NB-IoT easier to implement for network operators.  AT&T and Verizon are using Ericsson’s NB-IoT technology for their commercial offerings.
  • Ericsson has driven standards for cellular connectivity, and that effort is now naturally extending into setting standards for IoT, and more specifically, cellular IoT. With standardization, the IoT becomes a platform from which collaboration between organizations, both private and public, will benefit us all.
  • Ericsson’s standardized approach for connecting devices and sensors allows cities to collaborate and share data, regardless of legacy platforms. This helps engineers improve traffic flow, and allows emergency services to optimize response times.
  • A collaboration between Ericsson, Intelight and Teleste is helping to break up traffic and information gridlock. Four cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex have launched a regional system employing the Ericsson Connected Urban Transport ITS platform.

Wednesday Evening Private Briefing:

Ericsson Ventures (VC arm of Ericsson) is focused on driving innovation in areas that will accelerate Ericsson’s core business and generate strong financial performance.  Intent is to combine start-up solution with Ericsson’s technologies. 6 to 7 deals per year with average investment of $1.5M.  Ericsson likes to be part of a syndicate of VCs and corporate investors in the targeted start-up.  They are start-up stage agnostic.

Areas for Ericsson Ventures investment include:  IoT, analytics connected car, security, SDN, AR and VR, mobile advertising, wireless connectivity AI and ML.

Many new IoT applications will be enabled by 5G (so thinks everyone), including the connected car and real time control for IIoT.  This author is not so sure. We think that high bandwidth and/or low latency might be needed for at most 5 to 10% of IoT applications.

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References:

Ericsson IoT accelerator platform: https://www.ericsson.com/en/internet-of-things/solutions/iot-platform

Ericsson Technology Review (our most technical papers): https://www.ericsson.com/en/ericsson-technology-review

Cellular IoT Use Cases:  https://www.ericsson.com/en/networks/cases/cellular-iot

Enabling intelligent transport in 5G networks

Industrial automation enabled by robotics, machine intelligence and 5G

Ericsson white papers: https://www.ericsson.com/en/white-papers

  • 5G radio access – capabilities and technologies
  • Cellular networks for Massive IoT

UPS Exec: Data analytics & tracking crucial to effective IoT deployments

Is UPS a package delivery company or a logistics and data/analytics company?  Known for its ubiquitous brown trucks, the global package delivery giant has embraced IoT in just about every facet of its business, with even more projects in the works. There are IoT sensors on trucks, handheld devices, even labels that monitor everything from truck engine performance to packages flowing through the network.

During his May 15th keynote address at IOT World 2018, Juan Perez, chief information officer and chief engineering officer for UPS, said that his company has “truly transformed” the way it does business by leveraging the power of IoT technology to realize efficiencies and avoid downtime. But achieving these benefits is not a product of simply deploying sensor throughout the organization to gather random information, he said.

“I think we all recognize that IoT is data, but, very importantly, data minus analytics is just simply trivia. I get really, really worried when I hear business units … wanting more and more data in the organization without having a solid strategy as to how that data is going to help us make better business decisions.”

“Of course, trivia can cost UPS lots of money—ultimately, without the type of value that we want to generate from it. However, data plus insight helps with decisions.”

IoT has already helped UPS save millions of dollars every year. One of the best-known examples of this is optimizing driver routes. Before drivers leave the facility, they get a manifest on their handheld devices that lays out their route for the day.  It’s a route that factors in numerous data signals in order to minimize the miles they drive. Sensors also track location, traffic conditions, and monitor a truck’s performance to avoid breakdowns on the roads or highway.

UPS at IoT World 2018

Juan Perez of UPS shows off the company’s E-Trikes on stage at IoT World in Santa Clara, CA 

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Perez has been with UPS for  over 25  years, starting as a truck driver in the Beverly Hills, CA area. Juan became UPS’s CIO in 2016 and added engineering to his title in April 2017.  His career has covered assignments in Operations, Industrial Engineering, Process Management, and Technology in corporate, US, and international business units.

Juan said the key between data being a trivial pursuit and an engine for driving more effective and efficient operations is analytics.

“All of these connected devices that we have at UPS collect a significant amount of data, but raw data is just useless—it doesn’t mean anything to us,” he said. “What we’ve had to do to truly extract value from our IoT strategy and from our data strategy is to get very, very effective at analytics.

“Analytics … is taking raw data and making that raw data be converted into insight, so we can make better decisions. We live by this day in and day out.”

Perez said there are three types of analytics: descriptive, predictive and prescriptive. Descriptive analytics is focused on past performance, and predictive analytics is focused on the present—both can be helpful in identifying areas of improvement within an organization, but they only help personnel make good future decisions if conditions do not change, he said.

In contrast, prescriptive analytics are focused on the future and can be adaptive to changing environments, Perez said.

“Where we want to be is in the world of prescriptive analytics,” Perez said. “The output is now allowing us to make really effective decisions and take action on the way we do work. The focus is not only on the present but also on the future. The question that needs to be asked—which is really important—is, ‘What should I do next?’

“Quite frankly, there hasn’t been a downside to UPS in focusing on prescriptive analytics.”

This approach is manifested in several areas, from package-tracking capabilities to analytics that use sensor data on vehicles to determine maintenance needs, Perez said. In addition, UPS drivers are given routes each day that have been optimized to deliver packages in the most efficient manner, he said.

Analytics crucial to effective IoT deployments, UPS exec said.  Matters like route optimization might seem like a small item on the surface, but in a company with UPS’s scale–more than 454,000 employees, more than 100,000 delivery vehicles and a fleet of more than 500 airplane worldwide delivering up to 34 million packages in the U.S. during its peak period last year—even small efficiency gains can have a very real bottom-line impact, Perez said.

“We are detail-oriented,” Perez said. “Think about these numbers: If we save 1 mile per driver per day—across all of our drivers in the U.S.—in the course of a year, UPS can save $50 million. If we can save one minute in our drivers’ day that is non-value-added for our customer or for us as a company, we can save—across all drivers the course of a year–$14.6 million. If we can reduce one minute of idle time, we can reduce $515,000 in a year.

“Details matter. So, as you develop your data strategy and your IoT strategy, ensure that you remain detail-oriented.”

This mindset has altered the way UPS operates, Perez said.

UPS has changed significantly in the last several years,” Perez said. “In fact, we’re no longer a small-package delivery company alone. Yes, we’re definitely the largest package-delivery company in the world, but we’re also a logistics company. We’re also an insurance company. We provide all kinds of freight transportation across multiple modes. And we continue to gather data on all aspects of our business and keep generating insights that can help UPS run better. So, today, we’re a very different company than we were many years ago.

“The journey to get here has been difficult. We were a paper-based company only a few years back … Today, I would make the argument that UPS is truly a technology company that happens to be in the logistics business. We deliver packages, but we are a technology company.”

“We’re working on a number of projects to bring sensors to everything. We believe data and IoT will continue to improve our business in ways that we haven’t even dreamed of.”

The exponential growth of data made possible by connected devices and the industrial Internet is creating a society that is always on and always learning. These connections are transforming entire industries as companies leverage new technologies for greater efficiency, improved service and positive environmental impact.

 

GSMA: NB-IoT and LTE-M deployments gaining market traction; Sequans combo module & NB-IoT silicon

NB-IoT and LTE-M Deployments:

A total of 48 commercial narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-category M (LTE-M) have been launched worldwide as of the end of April, according to the GSMA.  Statistics from GSMA show that 13 mobile operators have deployed mobile IoT solutions, including all of China’s big three wireless network operators – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

South Korea’s KTLG Uplus, Singapore’s M1, Australia’s Telstra, Sri Lanka’s Dialog Axiata and Mobitel, Taiwan’s Far EasTone and Chunghwa Telecom, Japan’s KDDI, Thailand’s True Corp and Vodafone Group have also adopted the technology.

NB-IoT deployments are currently a lot more common than LTE-M, although some operators including Singtel and Australia’s Telstra have deployed both technologies.  AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have all announced LTE-M.  T-Mobile has only announced support for NB-IoT.

Note that both NB-IoT and LTE-M operate over licensed spectrum, which is much more reliable than unlicensed spectrum used in Sigfox and LoRa.  Those latter two LPWANs are much more widely deployed then NB-IoT and LTE-M combined.

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Sequans Combo Module:

During an IoT World panel session on Tuesday May 15th, France chip design house Sequans Communications announced that both Verizon and AT&T would be selling their combined NB-IoT/LTE-M module for $7.50.  Verizon has certified Sequans” Monarch SiP (system-in-package) LTE-M/NB-IoT connectivity solution.  This module integrates Sequans’ Monarch LTE baseband platform with an RF front-end module in the world’s smallest form factor. Monarch SiP was introduced in late February and is now listed on Verizon’s Open Development website as an approved module.  Complete details are available here.

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NB-IoT Silicon:

In a recent blog post, Nick Hunn claimed there are 13 companies (now 17) that have announced NB-IoT chips.

If you count up real NB-IoT deployments, it’s still early days. There are probably fewer than 10 million chips deployed. That’s the figure from Huawei, who is certainly leading the field. How many of those are actually connected and sending data back is questionable – the last year has largely been an exercise in getting things to work and spinning the PR. Nevertheless, Huawei is predicting that by the end of 2018 the number of chip shipments will reach 150 million, which, given the focus on NB-IoT within China, may well happen. The big question is what will happen in the rest of the world. To understand that, it’s interesting to look at the different companies which will be producing silicon.

The thirteen companies I’m aware of (please let me know if you know of any others) are HiSilicon (part of Huawei), Sanechips (a division of ZTE), RDA, Mediatek, Altair (owned by Sony), Sequans, Nordic Semiconductor, Goodix, Riot Micro, Qualcomm and Nesslab, along with ARM and ASTRI/CEVA. ARM and the ASTRI / CEVA partnership are IP vendors, but appear to be at a state where they are already behind some of the offerings, so are worth including, as if anyone plans to ship in volume, they’re an obvious destination. ARM is further differentiating itself by offering a wider-ranging IoT service including device management and aspects of provisioning. I need to apologise for missing GCT, which brings it up to fourteen. And since writing this I’ve been made aware of a further three – Pinecone Electronics (who have Xiaomi as an investor and appear to be building on ASTRI’s IP), Extra Dimensions Technology – a Beijing startup and Eigencomm – a Shanghai startup. That further highlights the China centric concentration and reflects the amount of Government support being put in to make China the leader in IoT. So we have a sweet seventeen, with probably more to come.

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Mobile IoT for the 5G Future

Image courtesy of GSMA

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GSMA says the technologies will coexist with other 5G components.  Also, that 3GPP is working to allow LTE-M and NB-IoT to be placed directly in a 5G new radio frequency band, and is investigating options for the 5G core network to support LTE-M and NB-IoT radio access networks.

Sigfox launches Sens’It Discovery; Network used for Gas Tank Monitoring in Mexico via IoTnet & Levelgas

At the IoT World conference, May 15th, global IoT network operator Sigfox unveiled its Sens’It Discovery solution. It combines a sensor-packed device (thermometer, hygrometer, light meter, accelerometer, magnetometer and a reed switch), the sensit.io application (for Web browsers and mobile) to remotely control the device, and 1 year of network connectivity to Sigfox’s IoT Cloud.  Sigfox hopes that Sens’it becomes one more way for users to experiment with IoT projects and/or produce insightful data to be analyzed.

The new Sens’It device and Sigfox connectivity service will be available in the 45 countries where Sigfox currently operates.  Priced at around $75, Sens’it also comes with a software development kit (SDK) for developers to start building a wide range of IoT applications from home appliances, vending machines, smart metering, asset tracking, supply chain management, logistics and even waste management.

Developers can turn the device into a development kit, create their own firmware, and fully re-configure the device thanks to a dedicated Software Development Kit (SDK) available on www.sensit.io.  They will be able to:

  • Get direct access to the device data on the Sigfox Cloud and create new application integrations.
  • Build custom embedded applications to completely change the device behaviour and adapt sensors’ logic to create new uses and solutions.
  • For hardware engineers, Sens’it Device Sources are available for download, to be re-used in other device projects.

“With Sens’it, our goal is to demystify IoT and accelerate its adoption by showing how easy anyone, from consumers to developers, can connect anything to the Internet,” says Cédric Giorgi, the director of experience design at Sigfox. “Just attach the device to your door, a bicycle or anything really, and you will start receiving feeds of real-time data coming from the device, via the Sigfox Cloud, on your phone, through email, SMS or push notifications. It’s that easy.”

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Backgrounder:

Sigfox, which has raised almost $300 million in venture capital, operates a low-power, low data rate communications network to send tiny packets of information using 2G – like radio technologies. The idea is to allow large volumes of connected devices to send small amounts of data without needing much battery power and at a very low cost.  That enables massive numbers of devices to be deployed over long periods of time without having to replace the batteries.

Today, large scale IoT applications are mostly deployed over 2 competitive low-power, wide-area (LPWA) IoT network: The one built by Sigfox and its telecom operators partners, and the other, LoraWAN, pushed by chip supplier Semtech through the LoRa Alliance.  We compared and contrasted those two LPWANs in this article.

Sigfox devices have better power efficiency (longer battery life) and resistance to jamming and interferences. And unlike Semtech, which is the only one making the radio for LoRa, Sigfox offers its technology license-free, making their money on network services and not on the device itself.

The SigFox network covers 45 countries, which means that a Sigfox device will work seamlessly anywhere wherever it operates in the world.

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For additional information about Sens’it please visit: https://www.sensit.io/

References:

https://www.sigfox.com/en/news/sigfox-launches-sensit-discovery

http://techblog.comsoc.org/2017/10/25/lora-wan-and-sigfox-lead-lpwans-interoperability-via-compression/

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In a superb tag team presentation late Thursday afternoon, a Mexican MVNO and device maker provided a real life case study: How LPWAN is Helping Levelgas Uberize Gas Tank Monitoring.  Daniel Guevara – CEO, IoTnet Mexico – aka WND Group (the Sigfox MVNO) and Pedro Gabay Villafaña – Founder of Edison Effect were the presenters.

IotNet is the exclusive network operator for Sigfox in Mexico and will initially focus on utility applications, such as remote metering for water, gas and residential electricity. The company is owned by the shareholders of NXTVIEW, a company that is deploying the first metering-as-a-service that exists in the Mexican energy market.  They worked closely with Edison Effect which makes the Levelgas product for measuring the level of gas in tanks.  Collectively, the two companies provide a complete end to end solution for gas companies throughout Mexico.

IoTnet provides CONNECTIVITY for the INTERNET OF THINGS in all of MEXICO:

LOW CONSUMPTION

Optimized communication for low power consumption devices.

LOW COST

Low cost subscription, with easy integration technology and open protocol.

LONG-RANGE

The IoT global network with a coverage of 1.7 million km.

TRUSTWORTHY

The SigFox network is built on strong security mechanisms.

Levelgas is revolutionizing the management of stationary gas tanks in homes.  Its solution integrates a device that is quickly placed directly in the tank and sends information (via Sigfox) to a mobile application where the user can check the gas level, calculate refills, verify the supply of the tank in real time , buy gas remotely and transparently, and know their consumption habits.

For the gas companies, Levelgas becomes a commercial partner with a unique advantage: generating data. This data becomes essential when it is translated into a deep knowledge of the market for better marketing strategies, the optimization of routes based on real demand, and a logistical efficiency that results in important savings.

More in a future IEEE Techblog article………………………………

 

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