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 (Sigfox MVNO) and Pedro Gabay Villafaña – Founder of Levelgas 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 Levelgas to provide a complete end to end solution for gas companies throughout Mexico.

IoTnet provides CONNECTIVITY FOR THE INTERNET OF THINGS IN ALL 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.

JEDEC Forum: AI/Deep Learning, New IT Requirements for Edge Computing & MIPI Alliance for Mobile and IoT- Part II.

Introduction:

In this second of two articles on the JEDEC Mobile & IOT Forum we summarize three tutorials on I. AI/Deep Learning; II. Edge Computing requirements for the IoT and other latency sensitive or high bandwidth applications; and III. the MIPI Alliance for Mobile and IoT applications.  The first article can be read here.

I.  Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence – A Practical Guide:

This keynote presentation by Young Paik of Samsung was the clearest one I’ve ever heard on Artificial Intelligence (AI) – one of the most hyped and fudged technologies today.  Although it has existed in many forms for decades (this author took a grad course in AI in 1969), recent advances in Deep Learning (DL) and neural net processors have finally made it marketable. According to Young, there is real promise for AI and DL, but there are also real limitations. His talk provided an introductory overview of how AI and DL works today and some insights into different deployment scenarios.

DL has enabled AI to approach human level accuracy, as per this illustration:

 

A high level AI functional flow (but not implementation) and the Circle of Deep Learning (DL) Life are shown in the two graphics below.

In the second slide below, note that DL models need to be constantly fed data.  A home thermostat is used as an example:

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Mr. Paik’s said there are three takeaways from his talk:

1.  Data is King: The more data => greater the accuracy.

2.  Deep Learning is hard. Best to leave it to the professionals.

3.  You don’t have to use one AI: Many, smaller AIs are better than one big one.

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The following illustration proposes functional blocks for implementing mobile speech recognition:

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Two ways to improve DL are: Transfer Learning (take a pre-trained DL model and retrain it with new data) and Model Compressions (selectively remove weights and nodes which may not be important). Those “tricks” would permit you to remove several functional blocks in the previous illustration (above).

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Finding new ways of using old tech and making use of multiple types of AI are shown in the following two figures:

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Four different use cases or applications of AI are shown in this slide:

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In conclusion Young suggested the following:

AI is still early in its development.

Design of AI systems is evolving.

You may find new uses for old ideas.

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II. A Distributed World – the New IT Requirements of Edge Computing:

The number of distributed, connected data sources throughout the world has been multiplying rapidly and are creating tremendous amounts of data. IoT has now given rise to a new trend of aggregating, computing, and leveraging data closer to where it is generated – at the IT “Edge” – between the Cloud and the IoT endpoint device. This presentation by Jonathan Hinkle of Lenovo provided insights into the new IT requirements for edge computing systems and models for how they are and will be used.

Jonathan asked: How do we leverage our IT resources to unlock the value of all the data now being generated?

Ideally, we should be able to gain many things from analyzing “big data” which includes: Business Insights, Optimize Services, Recognize Behaviors, and Identify Problems (when they occur).

IoT Architecture Components include:

  • Software: Analytics, Applications, Platforms
  • Security, Networking, Management
  • IoT Endpoint devices (“things”)
  • Edge IT (especially for low latency applications)
  • Core network and cloud IT

The functions required from the IoT endpoints to the cloud are: Generate Data /Automate / Control / Pre-process / Aggregate / Analyze / Store / Share the data. Observations:

  • It costs time, money, and power to move data.
  • Best practice: move data when useful or necessary
  • Reduce data set required to be forwarded to each stage

Keeping data local (instead of backhauling it to the cloud for processing/analysis) requires:

  • Store data nearer to sources (IoT endpoints) whenever possible. This is accomplished by filtering data at the edge such that less data (to be analyzed by powerful compute servers) are sent upstream to the cloud.
  • Maintain fast action on time-sensitive data by doing computation immediately instead of moving the data first.

In conclusion, Mr. Hinkle said that data growth will continue as the sources multiply – both from computing sources (e.g. smart phones, tablets, other handheld gadgets) and IoT endpoints which produce digital data to represent our analog world. “Edge IT infrastructure will enable us to scale with that data growth and unlock its inherent value.”

Author’s Note: Mr. Hinkle did not touch on how much, if any, AI/DL would be implemented in the “Edge IT infrastructure.” Unfortunately, the moderator didn’t permit time for questions like that one to be addressed.

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III.   MIPI Alliance – How Mobile Specifications are Driving IOT:

Peter Lefkin, Managing Director of MIPI Alliance, provided an overview of the MIPI Alliance and Specifications. Additional context, background and a a look ahead at the implementation of MIPI Specifications in mobile influenced industries such as IoT and automotive was also described.

MIPI Alliance specifications are developed for mobile devices as the primary target though MIPI Alliance members have leveraged and evolved their investments in mobile to other platforms including automotive and IoT.

For in IoT devices, MIPI specifications are implemented for various applications such as: augmented and virtual reality, wearables, and other low power and sensor connected devices.

Within automotive, automobiles have become a new platform for innovation and manufacturers are implementing MIPI specifications to develop applications for infotainment, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and safety. Interconnected components for these applications include high-performance cameras and imaging sensors, infotainment and dashboard displays, telematics hubs among others.

Automotive and IoT platforms are heavily reliant on sensors and MIPI specifications will play a key role enabling sensor-based applications and connected devices.

 

Backgrounder:

MIPI is a global, collaborative organization founded in 2003 that comprises 312 member companies spanning the mobile and mobile ecosystems, including the Internet of Things IoT).

MIPI’s mission: To provide the hardware and software interface specifications device vendors need to create state-of-the-art, innovative mobile-connected devices while accelerating time-to-market and reducing costs.

In particular, the MIPI Alliance:

  • Defines and promotes specifications focusing on the mobile interface but applicable to IoT, Auto, etc.
  • Complements official standards bodies through collaboration.
  • Provides members with access to licenses as needed to implement and market specified technologies.

The MIPI membership list is at: https://mipi.org/membership/member-directory

MIPI Alliance for Mobile and IoT:

The MIPI Alliance serves the mobile industry and the ecosystem of mobile-influenced industries that are developing connected devices for vertical markets and the IoT..

MIPI specifications are crafted such that compliant devices have: high-bandwidth performance, low power consumption, and low electromagnetic interference (EMI). Here’s a MIPI Alliance mobile systems diagram:

https://www.mipi.org/sites/default/files/MIPI_SystemDiagram_Oct17..jpg

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Other Presentations:

Here are a few abstracts of presentations that may be of interest to IEEE techblog readers:

Comprehensive ARM Solutions for Innovative ML & AI Applications:

With the advent of AI and the explosion of ML/CV applications, there is greater demand for system solutions to enable vendors to get to market quickly. ARM is working on holistic system enablement, while allowing the flexibility and scope to incorporate additional hardware and software optimizations into customer platforms. This talk will discuss the work ARM has been doing in these areas to provide options for a stable and efficient software and hardware architecture.

Presenter: Ray Hwang, ARM

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Watts the Difference?

The challenge of designing to mobile and internet of things (IoT) markets is always the same question: How do you deliver a solution with the right combination of operating power, standby power, and environmental tolerance and yet provide memory capacity and performance? Hybrid combinations of DRAM, NAND, and NOR technologies have traditionally been used to balance these factors with varying degrees of success. Carbon nanotube memory (NRAM) allows designers to simplify the formula with a high capacity non-volatile memory device boasting DRAM-class performance and a high tolerance for heat.

Presenter: Bill Gervasi, Nantero

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Flash Storage and Sensor Interfaces for Mobile and IoT SoCs:

Storage devices are a vital component of an electronic system for a variety of applications, and with today’s demand for faster boot-up and data transfer, choosing an optimized storage device has become a challenge for designers. For example, for mainstream smartphones, embedded technologies like eMMC has become the de facto storage device of choice due to its high-speed connectivity up to 400MB/s and cost-effectiveness. On the other hand, for high-end smartphones, UFS has become a robust option due to its unique high-performance, low-power and scalability advantages. Today, the use of such mobile storage devices extends into new applications like automotive and IoT. This presentation will describe each mobile storage specification and illustrate their unique use-cases and features such as command queuing, inline encryption and high bandwidth for mobile applications and beyond.

Presenter: Licinio Sousa, Synopsys

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JEDEC Forum: AI/ML for IoT; LP-WANs & Mediatek’s SoC Solutions – Part I.

Introduction:

Several new ideas, concepts and forecasts were made at JEDEC’s Mobile & IOT Forum on March 26, 2018 in Santa Clara, CA. In particular:

  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Deep Learning will have a huge, positive impact on control of IoT devices (2 presentations summarized);
  • 3GPP specified NB-IoT is a strong contender among the many Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) for IoT;
  • New and different IT requirements at the network edge are needed to provide the low latency needed for real time control of IoT devices;  
  • MIPI Alliance specifications for Mobile and IoT were presented and MIPI’s role explained.

In this first of a two part event summary we provide highlights of the first two keynote speeches at the conference. In part II, we’ll look at more aspects of AI, MIPI, and the new IT requirements for the intelligent network edge as suggested by Lenovo.

Discussion of Selected Keynote Presentations:

  1. Signs of Intelligent Life: AI Simplifies IoT

In his opening keynote presentation, Stephen Lum of Samsung said that some IoT industry vertical device volumes have seen an explosion of demand due to the introduction of Artificial Intelligence into their usage model. The connection and control of those devices is driving tremendous data traffic volumes into the cloud where the AI/ML/DL actually takes place. For example, the Amazon Echo and Google Home connected device control has all voice recognition, language understanding, AI/ML/DL done in cloud resident data center compute servers owned and programmed by Amazon and Google, respectively. Autonomous vehicles will also have AI/ML/DL done in the cloud but likely at the network edge to provide ultra-low latency.

Stephen stated that a simple thesis of deep learning is that the more data used to train neural networks, the smarter the AI becomes. Some of his other cogent data points were the following:

  • New AI chips are being designed to efficiently process deep neural networks.
  • Solid state memory needs to keep pace with processors to prevent bottlenecks. See bullet points below for UFS.
  • Scalability becomes more critical as consumers adopt new services.
  • Universal Flash Storage (UFS) is a high performance, scalable interface for storage at the edge of the network.
  • UFS combines the key features of eMMC (embedded Multi-Media Controller) and SSDs (Solid State Drives).
  • UFS Card brings benefits to a removable storage form factor.

The diverse needs of three IoT industry verticals were said to be as follows:

  • Wearables (e.g. smart watches, fitness trackers, etc): Low power, Low density, Specialized form factors.
  • Smart Home (AKA Connected Home): Low cost, Low to mid density, Low to high bandwidth –depending on the device to be analyzed and/or controlled, 2-5 years longevity.
  • Automotive (more than just autonomous vehicles): High bandwidth, High density, Very high reliability, 7-10 years longevity.

Summary:

  • Artificial Intelligence is enabling more innovative real-time services to be delivered to consumers.
  • AI in the Cloud simplifies edge devices, encourages their adoption with low cost of entry.
  • Autonomous vehicles, cannot be Cloud dependent, will become AI servers on wheels.
  • JEDEC has enabled tremendous advances in memory while expediting quick adoption and provides a firm foundation for memory-related ecosystems

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  1. Opening a New Era of IoT -Opportunities and Solutions

Note: I related best to this presentation at it was the only one dealing exclusively with the network aspects of IoT.

Harrison Hsieh of Mediatek said at the beginning of his excellent presentation that we should look at the network required for IoT based on whether the devices/ end points were indoors or outdoors.

Let’s first look at an IoT indoor application presented by Mr. Hsieh:

Challenges of Smart Home (e.g. kitchen management, living room control, home heating/cooling/climate control, entertainment device control, security/surveillance, etc.):

  • Uncovered Zone: Bad connection, No signal, Dead end
  • Different Protocols (and wiring or wireless): Kitchen, Living room, Lighting, Climate control, Surveillance

Whole home IoT coverage requires Adaptive Networking which includes: Easy Setup/Configuration, Network Healing (after failure detection), Fast Roaming, Beam/Frequency Band Steering, Smart QoS, and Solid Security.

According to MediaTek, the IoT home system should be: Easy to Use, Have a unified protocol, be intuitive to install, have a single ecosystem with a user friendly interface (e.g. plug and play).

Harrison said that MediaTek’s Human to Machine interface solutions will focus on Hands-Free Voice Controlled Applications which are intuitive to configure and control diverse devices.  We strongly agree!

Next, the outdoor IoT applications face many challenges today, including:

a.] Complicated Technologies:

Unlicensed Wireless (e.g. LoRa WAN, Sigfox, etc)

Proprietary Technologies (too many)

Complex Deployment

b.] Limitation of Signal Coverage:

Low Penetration Capability (trees, buildings/walls, etc)

Limited Range with Single Base Station

c.] High Power Consumption:

Legacy Technologies

Not Dedicated or purpose built for outdoor IoT design (except for SIgfox and LoRA WAN, maybe LTE Category M/M1?)

Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) for IoT [1.] need a dedicated solution, which Mediatek believes is 3GPP’s NB-IoT. They think it’s the clear winner when compared to other LTE standards, including LTE Category M/M1 which many carriers are using today for IoT applications.

In particular, LTE NB-IoT R14 [2] was said to offer the following attributes:

  • System Bandwidth of 200kHz
  • Down Link Peak Rate of 127kbps
  • Up Link Peak Rate of 18kbps(ST) / 158kbps(MT)
  • Link Budget (power consumption) of 164 dB
  • Low Memory Requirement (especially compared to other LTE standards)
  • Half Duplex mode
  • Battery life measured in years rather than days or weeks

Other advantages of LTE NB-IoT R14 include:

  • Location Accuracy (UTDOA/OTDOA)
  • Mobility Enhancement (Cell Reselection)
  • High Data Rate (Supports FOTA or firmware updates over the air)

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Note 1. Market for LPWANs:

LPWANs will be the world’s fastest-growing connectivity technology through 2025, supporting 4 billion IoT devices by that date, according to market tracker ABI Research.

We expect to have more than 100 million NB-IoT connections on our network by 2020,” said Xiaotian Chen, general manager of China Unicom’s IoT group, said in a Cisco press statement.

China Mobile reported at MWC 2018 that it has launched NB-IoT networks in 346 cities using chipsets from five companies — Huawei, Mediatek, Qualcomm, RDA, and ZTE. The carrier has approved for use on its network 15 NB-IoT modules using the chips, according to a report from TechInsights analysts at the MWC 2018 event.

China Telecom, gave an update on its aggressive deployments of NB-IoT at a U.S. the MWC Americas event last September.

In the U.S., T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon plan to deploy NB-IoT with T-Mobile’s offering planned for 2018 with the others to follow.

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Note 2.  3GPP’s LTE NB-IoT R14 briefly explained:

In 3GPP LTE Release 13, Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) was specified for providing wide-area connectivity for massive machine-type communications for IoT.

In 3GPP LTE Release 14, NB-IoT was further developed to deliver an enhanced user experience in selected areas through the addition of features such as increased positioning accuracy, increased peak data rates, the introduction of a lower device power class, improved non-anchor carrier operation, multicast, and authorization of coverage enhancements. 

According to MediaTek, 3GPP Release 14 imbues essential features for NB-IoT mobile applications such as:

  • Location accuracy via just modem (UTDOA/OTDOA)
  • Mobility enhancements from seamless cell re-selection
  • Push-to-talk voice messaging services
  • Higher efficiency by lowering power consumption for wearables
  • Supports massive industrial or city-wide deployments with multicast

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Summary of Mediatek’s IoT LPWAN Solution:

Global Oriented NB-IoT Solution:

Support NB1 (Rel.13) & NB2 (Rel.14) Global Bands (450Mhz – 2.1Ghz)

Latest NB2 Modem Technology (Position allocation/Higher Data Rate/Cell Reselection)

Highly Integration with Low Power Design:

Leading SoC integrated design with Small form factor

Rich I/Os for various application

Optimized low power design in One-time battery

Comprehensive Product Portfolio:

Combination with MediaTek Connectivity technologies

Integrated and matured Software offerings

In closing, Harrison predicted that the IT user interface will change from keyboard to voice (it already has for this author on his smart phone and tablet) while NB-IOT market will “take off in 2019-2020” timeframe.

Mediatek’s System on a Chip (SoC) connectivity solutions are targeted at the home, on the move (mobile) and in the cloud.

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Part II. of this event summary was published on March 29, 2018 at http://techblog.comsoc.org/2018/03/29/ai-deep-learning-new-it-requirements-for-edge-computing-mipi-alliance-for-mobile-and-iot/

 

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References:

https://labs.mediatek.com/en/blog/IoT-tech-comparison-and-vision

MediaTek targets “huge” NB-IoT opportunity – Mobile World Live

https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1333023

https://www.nickhunn.com/13-companies-announce-nb-iot-chips/

https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332311

https://www.link-labs.com/blog/overview-of-narrowband-iot

AI/Deep Learning, New IT Requirements for Edge Computing & MIPI Alliance for Mobile and IoT

 

Many Technologies Must Deliver For IoT To Deliver

IoT will impact every aspect of our lives, including our homes, offices, cars and even our bodies. It will bring structural changes in global economy and as per McKenzie may generate upto $6.2 trillion in value by 2025. However many technologies need to deliver their expectations for IoT to deliver its promise.
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Internet of Things or IoT aims to connect interrelated computing, mechanical and digital machines to a common platform. The devices will connect to each other as well as to the humans and will collect information about their environments by sensors. The number of such devices could touch 20 billion by 2020 as per Gartner. As per International Telecommunication Union number of humans using internet is 3.2 billion. In the emerging digital world, connected devices or things would overwhelm the humans.

The impact of IoT would be unprecedented. Home appliances could be remote controlled and warnings of faults would be available on time. In industries, control of various devices in the factories will shift from factory floor to the control rooms. Autonomous cars will predictive maintenance needs would become norm and their safety and fuel efficiency will improve. This will apply to other modes of transport too. Smart meters will synchronize demand supply curves and reduce distribution losses. Smart cities would emerge which would have improved services, less traffic congestion, better conservation of  water and energy, and improved quality of life. The chances of predicting onset of certain diseases and successfully managing them after patient catches them will improve. The list is endless.

The key characteristic of IoT is the amount of data. IDC’s Digital Universe study predicts the world’s data will rise from 4.4 Zettabytes (10^21 bytes) in 2013 to 44 by 2020, 10% of this will be from the IoT. By 2025, it would touch 180 Zettabytes. In some cases, the data generated by individual device would be enormous e.g. self driving car from Google generates 2 Petabytes (10^15 bytes) of data in a year. Besides, the proportion of data that can be analyzed will also increase from 22% in 2013 to 35% in 2020, driven by IoT.

Cloud
Cloud is often considered as an innovation to business models as it allows companies to outsource their storage and computing needs, while they focus on their core competencies. However, with IoT it is technology enabler. If all IoT devices need to store and process their own data this will make IT a significant part of such devices, forcing change in assembly line processes as well significantly increasing their maintenance costs. One way to reduce these entry barriers for adoption of IoT is to use cloud for storing and computing needs. The cloud infrastructure will allow for analysis besides efficient storage. However current capacities of cloud providers will be challenged. As per the website www.statista.com, the capacity of data centres offering public cloud was 465 Exabytes(10^18 bytes)  in 2017. The scale up needed to accommodate IoT is massive. Currently, hard disks and magnetic tapes capable of storing data in Terabytes (10^12 bytes) are available. However, as data will increase exponentially, cloud providers will need to work on other storage technologies e.g DNA, HVD etc

5G telecom network
This data will generate network traffic. IoT cannot deliver its promise on existing networks and it needs a a network with much higher speed, low latency and consistent performance. Rollout of 5G network is critical for widespread adoption of IoT. The proposed speed is 20 Gbits/sec as compared to 100 Mbits/sec for 4G networks. This would be accompanied by limits on user experienced speeds i.e per-user download speed of 100Mbps and upload speed of 50Mbps rather than just the theoretical maximum, lower latency at 4 ms, support for higher device densities at 1 million connected devices per square kilometer etc. These parameters are specially targeted for IoT. Conversely, IoT is an important use case of 5G networks to justify the investments. Some applications of IoT e.g. driverless vehicles not only need to transfer huge amount of data but also with minimal latency as delays could be dangerous, for a car needs to make real time decisions to avoid accidents.  The latency of 4G was at least an order of magnitude worse and hence incapable of supporting driverless cars.

Fog computing
This latency issue will also warrant change in cloud paradigm. One way to analyze IoT data is near the devices that produce it and act on that data, referred to as Fog computing. The fog nodes, can be deployed anywhere with a network connection e.g. on a factory floor, on top of a power pole, , in a vehicle, or on an oil rig. This reduces bandwidth pressure on the long distance network and can handle cases where latency is critical. The percentage of devices that need computing power near to themselves will increase in future.

Analytics and Machine Learning
Data needs analysis. Big data algorithms hosted in cloud are needed for this analysis as data would come in various formats, huge volume and needs to be processed at fast speeds so that it could to be useful. But one of the proclaimed benefits of IoT is in predictions. Here Machine Learning (ML) could play a critical role. ML is defined as the ability of a machine to vary the outcome of a situation or behavior based on knowledge or observation which is essential for IoT solutions. ML could allow useful patterns, correlations and anomalies to be searched. It can also predict unknown outcomes. Different ML algorithms will need to be “trained’ for different use case of IoT

Security and Privacy
Security and privacy issues are significant hurdles to IoT penetration. The IoT devices will be always on and connected bringing new challenges to security. They will be additional challenges due to number of devices involved for which security measures will need constant upgrades.

In 2013, a hacker got access to credit card information of customers of Target by using network credentials taken from a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning vendor. 2015, 2 researchers demonstrated a wireless hack into Jeep Cherokee, first taking control of the entertainment system and windshield wipers, and then disabling the accelerator.

There is additional issue of privacy as huge amount of personal data would be captured by IoT devices which could be hacked or intentionally used for business purposes.

Batteries
IoT devices will need battery power to remain always connected. New wireless standards such as Bluetooth® Smart (also known as “BLE”) or zigbee reduce battery consumption and allow coin cell batteries to be used. But the sheer numbers have led to exploration of an alternative approach called Energy Harvesting (EH). Also called power harvesting it is a technology that aims at collecting energy from ambient external sources such as heat, light, vibrations, radio waves etc. It produces very low power levels on the order of several microwatts (10-6W) to milliwatts (10-3W) but that is enough for sensors that are battery optimized.

Summary
IoT will impact every aspect of our lives, including our homes, offices, cars and even our bodies. It will bring structural changes in global economy and as per McKenzie may generate upto $6.2 trillion in value by 2025. However many technologies need to deliver their expectations for IoT to deliver its promise

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:

internet of things smart cities computing technology



Sandeep K Chhabra

Sandeep K Chhabra is a software professional working as General Manager at Ericsson India Global Services Pvt Ltd (EGIL). He has more than 23 years of experience of working in IT industry. He is a B Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Delhi and has cleared CFA Level (III) exam. He is active on social media and mostly writes about current trends in Science and Technology.

Original post is at:

http://businessworld.in/article/Many-Technologies-Must-Deliver-For-IoT-To-Deliver/25-03-2018-144322/

New Partnerships Aim to Simplify Global IoT Connectivity & Deployment

Two new partnerships promise to increase global IoT connectivity.

1.  Chunghwa Telecom and Tata Communications:

India’s global network operator Tata Communications is partnering with Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom to bring global connectivity to consumer electronics and Industrial Internet of Things devices. In a joint press release, the companies  said the partnership will enable Chunghwa Telecom to tap into additional revenues by connecting IoT devices through Tata Communications’ MOVE-IoT Connect platform which enables IoT devices to be deployed quickly -both locally and internationally- by leveraging Tata Communications’ ecosystem of mobile network operators worldwide.

The Taiwanese electronics industry output is expected to be worth $228 billion (NT$6.65 trillion) in 2018, and the wearables market grew at double digits in both volume and value terms in 2017. Chunghwa Telecom looks to capitalize on this growth through the existing IoT roaming services the operator provides.

Our aim is to serve three million IoT devices in the next three years, and Tata Communications will be one of our key partners to fulfill this ambition,” Ming-Shih Chen, president of mobile business group at Chunghwa Telecom.

Tata Communications MOVE will give our customers’ IoT services borderless network coverage across 200 countries, ensuring a consistently high-quality and reliable user experience.”

One of Chunghwa Telecom’s first Tata Communications’ MOVE – IoT Connect customers is TaiDoc Technology, which manufactures premium medical devices to improve people’s health and quality of life. TaiDoc will use Tata Communications MOVE – IoT Connect to extend the reach of its devices to countries such as China, Thailand and the U.S.

Our aim is to serve three million IoT devices in the next three years, and Tata Communications will be one of our key partners to fulfil this ambition,” said Ming-Shih Chen, President of Mobile Business Group, Chunghwa Telecom. “Tata Communications MOVE™ will give our customers’ IoT services borderless network coverage across 200 countries, ensuring a consistently high-quality and reliable user experience. At the same time, we’re able to extend our business easily by being part of the Tata Communications’ MOVE™ ecosystem of mobile network operators. It’s a win-win for us.”

IoT devices require borderless, secure and scalable connectivity to enable the capture, movement and management of information worldwide. Cellular connectivity is an effective foundation for IoT services, but the problem is that today’s mobile networks are inherently local – there is no such concept as a global mobile network,” said Anthony Bartolo, chief product officer at Tata Communications.

We want to change that. We’re excited to work with Chunghwa Telecom and other leading mobile network operators around the world to build a truly global ecosystem of connectivity, and spur IoT adoption by businesses worldwide.”

References:

https://www.tatacommunications.com/press-release/taiwans-largest-mobile-network-operator-chunghwa-telecom-makes-play-internet-things-tata-communications/

https://www.telecomasia.net/content/chunghwa-telecom-tata-com-ink-deal-global-iot-connectivity

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2. China Unicom and Telefonica:

China Unicom has signed an agreement with Spain’s Telefonica designed to simplify and accelerate IoT deployments for their respective enterprise customers globally.  The partnership will give the two operators access to each others’ network and allow them to provide IoT products and services across several key markets through a single global SIM card.  

The agreement will also consolidate their respective positions in IoT in Europe, Latin America and China, three of the most important IoT markets in the world, the companies said in a joint statement.  Enterprise customers of Telefonica and China Unicom will be able to easily and seamlessly deploy IoT products and services in these three regions with a single global IoT SIM card.  By using a unified IoT connectivity management platform, they will be able to control connections globally and to localize IoT SIMs once they reach a certain geography (subscription swap), the pair said.

We are leveraging IoT technologies to accompany our customers on their digital transformation journey, where IoT has a very important role to play. Telefónica IoT is named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Managed M2M Services worldwide, maintaining that position we have held since inception four years ago…..Simplifying massive IoT deployments is key and therefore we are strengthening our ecosystem of partners. Our partnership with China Unicom will strengthen Telefónica’s capability to meet our global customer needs,” Telefonica chief IoT officer Vicente Muñoz said.

Enterprise customers will be able to enjoy these new IoT capabilities later this year,  Muñoz added.

In related news, China Mobile has signed a deal with UK’s Vodafone, under which the pair have agreed to resell each other’s IoT services for the first time.  The agreement, announced at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will see each company share new IoT project opportunities with their partners.

Vodafone customers will be given access to China Mobile IoT SIMs for deployments in China, while China Mobile customers wanting to offer IoT-enabled products outside of China will do so via Vodafone’s Global IoT SIM and management platform.

Vodafone will manage all elements of the operational model for its customers including on-boarding, SIM and logistics as well as billing and support. The company will act as a single point of contact for its enterprise IoT customers wanting to move into China.

China Mobile will discuss the possibility for IoT sales opportunities with Vodafone for companies wanting to expand outside of China.

Dorothy Lin, China Mobile International’s head of mobile business partnership, said the collaboration with Vodafone will allow the Chinese mobile giant to offer customers the greatest possible reach of IoT services.

Having reached over 200 million IoT connections last year, China Mobile aims to increase the connections by 60% in 2018,” Lin noted.

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References:

https://www.telefonica.com/en/web/press-office/-/telefonica-and-china-unicom-partner-in-iot

https://www.telecomasia.net/content/china-unicom-telefonica-simplify-iot-deployment-enterprises

 

Ericsson to demonstrate IoT Accelerator Marketplace at MWC 2018

Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator is a cloud-based horizontal offering composed of platform services and professional services, for service providers. It provides continuous incremental functionality offered as a Service to enable agile creation and deployment of solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The telecom equipment and managed services provider is launching the IoT Accelerator Marketplace to help address the need for collaboration within the digital ecosystem community and benefit developers and service providers alike. It will be demonstrated this week at MWC 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.

Key attributes of the IoT Accelerator are:

  • Enabling massive adoption of Massive IoT is a stepping stone to making 5G a reality
  • IoT Accelerator Marketplace boosts the potential for players in the Cellular IoT ecosystem to deliver value
  • Easy on boarding of partners and customer applications for service providers advancing to enterprise IoT. Application developers and application partners can easily and efficiently join the ecosystem and scale their business in a cost-efficient way

For service providers, it is a catalog to find IoT apps from the global ecosystem to offer enterprise customers and provides shorter time to market for new offerings to their enterprise customers.

For application developers and application partners it is a window to an IoT ecosystem to connect with service providers through one single platform, exposing global cellular connectivity APIs. It also includes monetization and settlement capabilities to facilitate monetization and billing across the ecosystem.

Ericsson’s latest IoT solution covers all the 3GPP cellular technologies, including 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE-M, NB-IOT and emerging 5G, an Ericsson representative confirmed to Fierce Wireless.

Carrie MacGillivray, Group Vice President, Internet of Things & Mobility at Market Intelligence firm IDC:

“Communications service providers are racing to scale and differentiate in the fast moving IoT market. It’s necessary for these service providers to have a robust developer ecosystem that helps them compete. For developers working across multiple service provider networks and platforms, the challenges of fragmentation are addressed by utilizing APIs that apply globally and are consistent across all mobile networks.”

Jeff Travers, Head of IoT, Ericsson:

“The launch of IoT Accelerator Marketplace will unlock the potential for different players in the value chain to deliver value. It is another stepping stone to make 5G a reality by enabling massive adoption of massive IoT. This supports service providers as they seek to expose network connectivity IoT APIs and monetize these assets.”

Application developers can benefit from a new go-to-market exposing their offering globally through Ericsson. This will enable app developers to scale their business and at the same time develop applications based on cellular connectivity APIs with added value for enterprises, such as fast and automated device and subscription onboarding, higher security, ubiquitous cellular coverage around the world improved for indoor utilization, and superior handling of battery life.

Service providers and application developers can request access to the IoT Accelerator Marketplace here: IoT Accelerator Marketplace.

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Osvaldo Aldao, head of IoT solutions for Ericsson, talked to TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox about the new accelerator from his home base of Stockholm, Sweden.

The IOT Accelerator is our platform for acceleration of creation of applications and connection of devices to our service providers. And Ericsson have decided that 3GPP is an extremely competitive technology for IOT. If you think about how in the new tech standards of technology is evolving from narrow band IoT to all the way to 5G, I think what we want is to work with service providers to bring value to enterprises in removing some of the hurdles that we have seen in the market for IoT. And that’s why we have created this IoT Accelerator which is our IoT platform.

And as part of that platform we have now launched the IoT Marketplace and that is the place for being able to connect the application developers with device vendors, with service providers as well, and to enable the collaboration across these different players in the ecosystem.

How Ericsson is using the IoT Accelerator Marketplace to unlock the IOT ecosystem?

 What we work on in this marketplace is to connect application developers and one of the things that we will demonstrate in Barcelona [at Mobile World Congress] is we have two levels of applications developers. We will help the application developers that will have access to certain capabilities connected to this mobile technology, and also we will work with them to develop applications, that those applications can become something that can be taken at some point and offered to enterprise. We have a partnership program in place as well for bringing those applications into the marketplace where in a global scale we will enable that service providers to have access to this kind of global pool of application developers. And the role that Ericsson is doing here is more in the kind of matchmaking between opportunities in local market with service providers and enterprise and how to support or how to deliver value into those opportunities with the ecosystem of application developers.

One of the things that it’s we think very passionate for doing this is the opportunity for being able to remove some of this fragmentation in the market and friction that we see. I think there is a lot of fragmentations around different type of access and service providers and I think what we are doing with this is to have a global ecosystems scale where we could work with those, build applications and build concrete solutions for IoT and then we bring those into somebody else or clients or service providers, but also with a purpose of bringing that kind of innovation closer from service provider to enterprises.

Is massive adoption of IoT a stepping stone toward making 5G a reality?

Correct. What we see is that there is a lot of concurrent opportunities here now with IoT and those are based on narrow band IoT as we could have a much better penetration coverage in indoor areas and also we could have a use case where we could have ten years of battery lifetime. That kind of technology will evolve. We are looking at that evolution as we speak now and so we have steps like Cat-M where we could have mobility and more data functionality. And also there’s a lot of work ongoing for bringing that technology to the next step, is what we see with the 5G.

And I think this activity we are doing here now with narrow band IoT and Cat-M is a extremely important starting point for service providers to build solutions and business in the IoT space, which is really closely connected to what we are doing in the 5G.

During the MWC  we will open up the platform and then we will start to register application developers to be part of our developer community. This is something that we will support them for a number of months to build applications and then we will have a process for how we will move from this incubation into production.

 

References:

 

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2018/2/ericsson-unlocks-iot-ecosystem-with-iot-accelerator-marketplace

https://www.ericsson.com/en/networks/cases/cellular-iot

https://www.ericsson.com/en/events/mwc/live

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