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………………………………

 

Verizon Updates its “5G” Plans; Announces ThingSpace Platform for IoT Developers

Verizon “5G”  (totally proprietary for both fixed and mobile access):

Verizon will launch its mobile “5G” service roughly six months after the introduction of its fixed “5G” offering, which the telecom has set for several cities later this year, CEO Lowell McAdam told the Seattle Times.  Separately, Verizon named Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred public cloud provider and will transfer its production databases and business apps to AWS.

Verizon’s fixed “5G” services are intended to compete with broadband wired internet services by sending high frequency signals from a nearby cell site to receivers either outside or inside users’ homes or offices.  Fiber optics is used for backhaul from the cell site to the ISP’s point of presence.

Verizon has been partnering with Samsung and others to test “5G” in homes, or “fixed 5G,” in several U.S. cities. It plans to launch the service to customers in four cities, including Sacramento and Los Angeles California, before the end of this year.

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NOTE:  Again, this is not really 5G but instead is Verizon’s proprietary spec for broadband fixed wireless which is NOT being considered by ITU-R for IMT2020.  The specification was conducted within Verizon’s 5G Technology Forum (V5GTF), a group that includes Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung. V5GTF will be used for Verizon’s 28GHz and 39GHz fixed wireless access trials and deployments.

From the ITU-T Focus Group report on IMT 2020 Deliverables:

The use cases expected in IMT-2020 are categorized into three representative services: enhanced mobile  broadband service, ultra-reliable and low-latency communications, and massive machine type  communications. The other services are placed in-between those three service characteristics.

  • Enhanced mobile broadband services are to allow users to experience high-speed and high-quality multimedia services, e.g., virtual reality, augmented reality, 4K/8K Ultra-High Definition video, and even hologram services, at any time and any place.
  • Ultra-reliable and low-latency communications are to enable delay sensitive and mission critical services such as tactile Internet which requires less than a millisecond end-to-end delay, remote control of medical and industrial robots, and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications.
  • The massive machine type communications is to support connections and communications among massive amounts of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

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“We bought 36 million miles of fiber so we can have big pipes feeding the cells. We will have hundreds of megahertz of bandwidth to deliver the whole suite of services of 5G,” McAdam said.

“We’ll have 1,000 cell sites up and operating on the global standard,” McAdam said on CNBC cable network.

Separately, Samsung acknowledged that the FCC certified the company’s indoor 5G home router (for fixed broadband access), following a VentureBeat report about the action. Samsung confirmed the router is designed for Verizon’s 28 GHz fixed wireless deployment.

For comparison, AT&T said in February that Atlanta, Dallas and Waco, Tex. would be the first of 12 cities to receive its “5G” mobile service, while Sprint is bringing its 5G services to Kansas City, Phoenix and New York City (the millennium capital of the world).

Mobile 5G is designed for portable devices like smartphones,  tablets, and virtual reality/game players.  That market — giving customers access to ultrafast speeds even on the go — is where T-Mobile has been investing its resources. T-Mobile CEO John Legere has criticized Verizon and other competitors in the past for focusing on the fixed service rather than mobile.

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ThingSpace Platform for IoT Developers:

On the eve of IoT World in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon has launched ThingSpace Ready for IoT developers looking to accelerate the creation, test time and speed to bring innovative IoT ideas and ultimately, products to market.  ThingSpace Ready is a new program that is part of Verizon’s successful ThingSpace platform, which has more than 20 million connected devices on the platform. Designed to simplify the IoT on-ramp for businesses and OEMs, ThingSpace Ready will provide the most cost-effective and time-efficient design and implementation experience possible – all while connected to Verizon’s award-winning network. The program provides developers more affordable cellular modules and new, lower priced IoT SIM and hardware design house partnerships.

ThingSpace Ready builds on Verizon’s leading platform and connectivity services for IoT – in 2017 Verizon was first to market with its nationwide commercial 4G LTE CATM1 network spanning 2.57 million square miles, the first nationwide low-power, wide-area LTE network designed specifically for IoT. As of April 2018, ThingSpace supports connectivity in over 200 countries & territories via global agreements. Now, through carefully curated module, SIM, and design house partnerships, a ThingSpace SDK integrated on modules and incentives when devices are activated on Verizon’s leading network, device development has never been simpler.

“We’ve been a leader in the industry around IoT platform and connectivity services with the successful launch of ThingSpace in 2015, and the first nationwide CATM1 network for IoT in 2017.  Now, we’re building on those tools with key partnerships and services to help make it easier and more affordable than ever to develop and launch cellular-enabled IoT solutions in the marketplace” said Steve Szabo, head of global IoT products and solutions at Verizon.  “We’ve created a one-stop-shop for IoT and are providing access like never before,” he added.

This new program is the latest advancement in Verizon’s growing IoT toolkit.  Verizon’s ThingSpace press release is here.

Smart Cities Week Silicon Valley: Lots of Progress in Many Areas

Introduction:

Smart Cities Week Silicon Valley was held May 7-9, 2018 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.  In addition to highlighting the many new technologies deployed, practicalities such as financing, procurement, stakeholder engagement and program management were also discussed. For example, projects become a much easier sell if an agency can find alternative funding methods.  Panelists  outlined five of those methods: Monetizing infrastructure, Revenue sharing, Monetizing data, Fees and fare collection, Cost savings.

This article presents just a few highlights of this outstanding conference which should be a must attend for city officials everywhere.

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Summary of Selected Sessions:

May 7th Workshop: Industry Exchange: Smart City Technology and Planning Standards; Moderator: Zack Huhn – Founder, Venture Smarter

Standards and guidance documents play a critical role in describing good practice and clearly set out what needs to be done to comply with specified outcomes. They help in the planning, design, manufacturing, procurement and management processes to ensure goods and services supplied are fit for purpose.  This workshop discussed the emerging IEEE standard on developing a technology and process framework for planning a smart city.

IEEE PROJECT 2784 – Guide for the Technology and Process Framework for Planning a Smart City

This guide will provide a framework that outlines technologies and the processes for planning the evolution of a smart city. Smart Cities and related solutions require technology standards and a cohesive process planning framework for the use of the internet of things to ensure interoperable, agile, and scalable solutions that are able to be implemented and maintained in a sustainable manner. This framework provides a methodology for municipalities and technology integrators to use as a tool to plan for innovative and technology solutions for smart cities.

Approval Date: 28-Sep-2017 PAR Expiration Date: 31-Dec-2021 Status: PAR for a New IEEE Standard 1.1 Project Number: P2784 1.2 Type of Document: Guide

“We have been working to create agile, secure, interoperable and financially sustainable technology standards and planning guidelines for municipal leaders to support the vision of building smart cities and connected communities – regardless of socioeconomic or geographical barriers.” — ZACK HUHN

–>Much more in a forthcoming article about this IEEE Smart Cities Standards Project.

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May 8th Panel Session- Transportation Investments: the Building Blocks for Tomorrow’s City

Transportation officials addressed the progress city, regional and state agencies are making towards planning for the future of mobility through investments in transportation infrastructure. With objectives such as increasing transportation options, enhancing the quality of life and improving sustainability, practitioners will address how planning, coordination with other departments to bring a range of services, creative financing and public-private partnerships that modern mobility possible.

Moderator
Jason Goldman – Vice President, ITSA

Speakers
Roger Millar – Secretary, Washington State Department of Transportation
Stefano Landi – Global Sales, Business Development & Partnerships, Verizon
Dan McElhinney – District 4 Chief Deputy District Director, CalTrans

Some characteristics and attributes of smart cities are:  intelligent lighting and energy, smart traffic management, traffic data collection, driver aware parking, public safety, and intersection control through safety analytics. 

Verizon is partnering with cities to provide connectivity solutions including small cells, fiber backhaul, 4G/5G/WiFi, and NB-IoT. 

CALTRANS District 4 (SF Bay Area) is trying to control traffic congestion by ramp metering which is key element of the state’s Transportation Management System (TMS).  They are also working on Smart Corridors like Contra Costa I-80.

CALTRANS/CHP goal is to clear major highway accidents withing <=90 minutes of occurrence.  That objective was achieved in 75% of such incidents in Fiscal Year 2015/2016 (the latest year for which figures were available).

Somewhat surprisingly, CALTRANS is putting in a lot more fiber optic communications near roads and highways- mainly because of its reliability and future proof bandwidth capacity.   

A vision of the CALTRANS Intelligent Transportation System is depicted in the following figure:

Image result for pic of CALTRANS Smart Transportation systems

Image courtesy of CALTRANS

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Future Ready — Growing an Innovation Ecosystem in your Community — Learn from Experienced Practitioners:

Through governance, regulation and investment, the public sector can create an environment in which innovation occurs. Cities, counties, states and other units offer access to technology and data, set policies that support startups through simplified regulations and licensing, and host incubators and accelerators. In this session, you will hear from practitioners from the San Diego region, the state of California and an Australian NGO about their efforts to create a climate of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Moderator
Emma Hendry – CEO, Hendry

Speakers
Marty Turock – Strategic Projects Consultant, Clean Tech San Diego
Erik Stokes – Manager, Energy Deployment and Market Facilitation Office California Energy Commission
Johanna Pittman – Program Director, CityConnect

It seems like the city of San Diego has made tremendous progress in intelligent clean tech and micro-grids, which may have replaced the “smart grid” so many experts were talking about several years ago.

Meanwhile, the California Energy Commission established BlueTechValley as part of a major $60 million initiative Commission launched about 18 months ago to really try to create a state-wide ecosystem to support clean energy entrepreneurship across the state.

“As part of this initiative, we created four regional innovation clusters to manage a network of incubator-type services that can encourage clean tech entrepreneurs in the region and really try to help make what can be a very tough road towards commercialization a little bit easier,” Erik Stokes said.

“BlueTechValley and their partners were selected to be the Central Valley cluster. A big reason for that was their strength and expertise in the food and agricultural sector,” he explained. One of the focus areas of the incubator is to find areas in farming to save costs and minimize greenhouse gases. “We really want to focus on those technologies that can help both reduce water use, as well as energy use,” Stokes added.   

In a private chat, Erike opined that a lot of the “smart grid” platform vendors had migrated their offerings to data analytics for energy consumption and prediction of future usage trends.

Future Ready Cities — The Robust Mobile Network and Why You Need it Now:    

Cities depend on mobile networks for day-to-day operations and delivery of citizen services, and this dependence is growing rapidly. In this session, mobile operators and local government officials will address the critical role of IoT applications for not only transportation, public safety and sustainability, but also for stimulating entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth.

Speakers
David Witkowski – Executive Director of Civic Technologies, Joint Venture Silicon Valley
Peter Murray – Executive Director, Dense Networks
Rebecca Hunter – External Affairs, Corporate Development & Strategy, Crown Castle
Geoff Arnold – CTO, Verizon Smart Communities
Dolan Beckel – Smart City Lead, City of San Jose

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Closing Quotes:

“We need to be talking about smart regions, not smart cities” -Joy Bonaguro, Chief Data Officer, City of San Francisco.

“Most cities measure performance and miss the boat on measuring effectiveness. You can quantify subjective well-being and should” – Shanna Draheim, Michigan Municipal League Policy Director.

“The idea that we have to disrupt to move forward has poisoned our thinking. We should not discount incremental steps toward a solution. We should ask ourselves – what are the small changes we can make that over time lead to significant outcomes?” – Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities – a public interest initiative helping cities that want fast, affordable, reliable broadband.

“The first-ever Smart Cities Readiness Hub at Smart Cities Week Silicon Valley paired cities that are starting their efforts with those who have already blazed a trail — and all gained useful insights.” – Smart Cities Council.  Watch the video here.

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About Smart Cities Council:

The Smart Cities Council, envisions a world where digital technology and intelligent design are harnessed to create smart, sustainable cities with high-quality living and high-quality jobs. A leader in smart cities education, the Council is comprised of more than 120 partners and advisors who have generated US$2.7 trillion in annual revenue and contributed to more than 11,000 smart cities projects. 

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Addendum:  Smart Cities Market:

Global Smart Cities industry was valued at approximately $343 billion in 2016 and is anticipated to grow at a rate of more than 24.4% from 2017-2025 according to Research for Markets. The  increasing demands for integrated security, safety systems improving public safety and the rising demand for system integrators are the key drivers for this market. Recent technological advancements in smart cities can also be included as a key driver.  

Some of the important manufacturers involved in the Smart Cities market are Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Ericsson, General Electronics, Delphi, IBM Co., CISCO Systems Inc., Schneider Electric SE, and Accenture Plc. Those companies are investing in smart grid technologies. A major part of this is going into upgrading the outdated energy infrastructure with new and advanced infrastructure. Acquisitions and effective mergers are some of the strategies adopted by the key manufacturers.

Smart Cities Market 2018 Research Report Overview by Top Key Players, Opportunities, Key Drivers, Application and Regional Outlook To 2025

 

 

 



 

Dell’Oro: Worldwide Capex Forecast to Rise 2017 – 2020 Despite Flat Carrier Revenues with only 2% from IoT

According to a recently published report from Dell’Oro Group, worldwide newtork operator capex is forecast to rise from 2017 through 2020 despite flat carrier revenues. The most notable increases come from AT&T, Sprint, Megafon, Orange, Etisalat, and Deutsche Telekom.

“We have adjusted our overall three-year CapEx expectations upward to reflect a more optimistic investment view than we had originally envisioned in both the US and Chinese markets,” Stefan Pongratz, a senior analyst at Delloro, said in a blog post online.  The increase in global CapEx is being driven by increased spending in the US, as the country tries to position itself at the front of the queue for 5G deployment.

“After three consecutive years of declining capex, short-term and near-term market expectations have shifted up,” Pongratz said.

“Here in the US, we maintain the view that conditions are stabilizing and both capex and capital intensity will continue to trend upward. There are multiple factors that support our renewed optimism for capex in the US:

  • We are seeing our first signs of US Federal tax reductions translating into increases in capex with a clear boost in AT&T’s 2018 capex projections.
  • We see Sprint investing again
  • FirstNet investments are set to commence in 2018
  • Larger data plans are propelling capacity investments

And lastly, overall carrier revenue trends are stabilizing,” continued Pongratz.

However, total capex spending in China [Figure 1. below] is still expected to decline year-on-year in 2018 and stay flat in 2019 before returning to growth in 2020.

Currency adjusted operator revenues are projected to remain flat between 2017 and 2020, with operators expected to struggle to find new revenue streams to offset slower smartphone revenue growth.

While the IoT has long-term revenue generation possibilities, there is expected to be limited benefit over the next few years. Dell’Oro estimates that carrier IoT revenues will account for just 2% of total mobile revenues by 2020. Preliminary IoT connection pricing trends for 2017 are cause for concern, with downside risks to the IoT carrier revenue forecast, should price trends prevail.  Please see Figure 2. below for Dell ‘Oro forecast of IoT Carrier revenue growth through 2020.

About the Report
The Dell’Oro Group Carrier Economics Report provides in-depth coverage of more than 50 carriers’ revenue, capital expenditure, and capital intensity trends.  The report provides actual and forecast details by carrier, by region, by country (United States, Canada, China, India, Japan, and South Korea), and by technology (wireless/wireline).  The report also discusses further capex accelerating factors such as preparation for 5G and inhibiting factors such as the flat revenue trend. The report assumes operators will struggle to identify new revenue streams.

To purchase this report, please contact Matt Dear at +1.650.622.9400 x223 or email Matt@DellOro.com.

About Dell’Oro Group
Dell’Oro Group is a market research firm that specializes in strategic competitive analysis in the telecommunications, networks, and data center IT markets.  Our firm provides in-depth quantitative data and qualitative analysis to facilitate critical, fact-based business decisions.  For more information, contact Dell’Oro Group at +1.650.622.9400 or visit www.delloro.com.

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