IDC Directions 2017: IoT Forecast, 5G & Related Sessions


As several IDC telecommunications analysts were attending Mobile World Congress this week, there were very few communications/networking sessions or data points at this year’s IDC Directions conference, February 28, 2017 in Santa Clara, CA.  In this event summary, we touch on an IDC forecast for IoT, it’s relationship to “5G,” and cellular communications opportunities for the Connected Car. We also provide Author’s Notes on the current status and future directions of various standards, e.g. 5G/IMT 2020, V2X, and V2V.

Image result for IDC Directions 2017 pic

1.  Frank Gens Keynote on Digital Transformation (DX) and the New Economy:


In 2017–2020, we’ll see the emergence of digital transformation at a macroeconomic scale — the dawn of the “DX economy.” In this new economy, enterprises in every industry will compete based on their ability to hit and exceed a new set of demanding performance benchmarks enabled by cloud, mobility, cognitive/AI, the Internet of Things, immersive interface, and other technologies — and the digital transformations enabled by these technologies. In the DX economy, every growing enterprise — no matter its age or industry — will become a “digital native” in the way its executives and employees think and operate. And tech industry leaders will need to align with this new customer reality — bringing the right technologies, ecosystems, and customer insight to the fight for IT market share.

Key Points on IoT:

  • IoT is highly verticalized (i.e, many different industry vertical market segments) and is tapped into DX use cases.
  • IDC predicts $1.3T in IoT spending by 2020. At 22%, manufacturing will be the largest IoT vertical industry segment.
  • Every industry has an IoT strategy or initiative to be implemented in the near future.
  • By 2019, 43% of IoT data will be processed at the edge of the cloud.
  • IDC forecast for “connected things” = IoT endpoints:  15B by 2016, 30B by 2020, 80B by 2025

2.  Carrie MacGillivray on 5G: Five Reasons IoT Drives the Collision of Mobility and IoT:

Reasons Why IoT will need 5G:

  1. Speed and/or Reliability?  Many IoT applications will require low latency, high throughput and/or ultra reliable operation (always available).
  2. Universe of Connections, Standardized for all.  Challenge: in IoT today there are multiple “standards” (industry specifications) at the network, device, and security levels. “Mobile has standardized for the most part, but they are still bifurcated.”

Author’s Note: There was no mention of the 5G standards bodies, which at this time are led by ITU-R WP5D IMT 2020 project (AKA “5G” standard). ITU-R IMT 2020 initial recommendations are scheduled to be completed by November 2020 and to be published the following month.   Nonetheless, over a dozen mobile network operators are conducting “5G” trials this year and next, based on their own proprietary “5G” specs.

3. Edge Computing Gets More Interesting- But what is edge computing? According to Carrie: “The Edge is the farthest point from the enterprise Data Center or cloud, where processing, compute and/or storage occurs.”

4. Need for Complementary On-Ramps – WLANs (e.g. WiFi, Zigbee), short range (e.g. Blue Tooth)/near field (NFC), LPWA (Low Power Wide Area networks), cellular backhaul, satellite communications.

5. 5G Drives Next Gen Tech- as innovation accelerates and gains market traction, connectivity becomes an enabler of IoT and mobility.  Some next gen technologies to be enabled by 5G include: Voice-as-an-Application, AR/VR, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.

Examples of 5G-IoT Applications:

  1. Remote monitoring of oil rigs, generators, other industrial equipment where a quick response (low latency) is required.  One benefit could be predictive maintenance.
  2. Remote surgery with ultra short lag time between surgeon’s movements and (robotic) action on patient.
  3. Remote control of machinery, e.g. machines that cut down/fall large trees which could be dangerous to a human being.
  4. Surveillance & security – Emergency response times and human safety.

Carrie’s Conclusions:

  • 5G will create the intersection point for IoT and mobility.
  • Video, remote “control”, human-interactive applications are the use cases to lead adoption.
  • 5G will provide the backbone for many edge use cases for mobile and IoT 5G is the Mobile Internet (for things and people).
  • IoT forecast to be released next week: By 2025, there will be 82.2B connected IoT endpoints of which ~17B (or ~20%) will use 5G for connectivity.

3. Brian Haven and Heather Ashton on “the Connected Car”:

5G: Two Value Propositions for the Connected Car:

a] Enhanced Mobile Broadband (EMB):

  • Evolution of today’s 4G network
  • Higher throughput speeds than LTE
  • Standardization process underway (in ITU-R IMT 2020), commercial rollout in 2020 (Author’s Note: December 2020 is when the first IMT 2020 set of ITU-R recommendations will be published so any 2020 rollout will be in advance of the ITU-R “5G” standards.)

b] Next-Gen Capabilities:

  • Important enabler for V2X+ (Vehicle to Everything is not part of IMT 2020 “5G”)
  • Low latency, high density, speed and bandwidth
  • Will rollout later than EMB, in the 2021-2022 timeframe

The Role of the Operator and Network:

  • 5G will be involved to varying degrees (not specified how?)
  • Degree of operator involvement will be based on subjective service/technology
  • Focused on meaningful insertion in value chain (what is meaningful?)

+ Author’s Note on V2X Standardization History:

WLAN-based V2X communication is based on a set of standards drafted by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The ASTM E 2213 series of standards looks at wireless communication for high-speed information exchange between vehicles themselves as well as road infrastructure. The first standard of this series was published 2002. Here the acronym Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE) was first used for V2X communication.  V2X encompases V2V (vehicle to vehicle)  and V2I(vehicle to Infrastructure interaction).

From 2004 onwards the IEEE started to work on wireless access for vehicles under the umbrella of their standards family IEEE 802.11 for Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN). Their initial standard for wireless communication for vehicles is known as IEEE 802.11p and is based on the work done by the ASTM. Later on in 2012 IEEE 802.11p was incorporated in IEEE 802.11.


In September 2016, 3GPP completed an initial Cellular V2X standard.  In February, 2017, 3GPP announced a first set of LTE-V2X Physical layer standards (in 3GPP Release 14) that use a radio technology based on a LTE sidelink,which specifically addresses communications at vehicular speeds.  This standard is NOT based on IMT 2020/5G!


Here’s a recent 5GAA presentation by Dino Flore on 5G – V2X: The automotive use-case for 5G


Author’s Note: IoT/MMC and “5G”

IoT (often referred to as Machine to Machine Communications or MMC) is an important use case for the “5G” IMT 2020 set of recommendations.  Please refer to “Usage Scenarios of IMT 2020” in this ITU-R report on IMT 2020 Background.

In a recent IHS-Markit survey,  IoT was rated by 79% of network operator respondents as the top use case for 5G, up from 55% in last year’s study.

A February 6, 2017 U.S. contribution to the ITU-R WP5D meeting proposed a new ITU-R report titled:

The Use of the Terrestrial Component of International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT) for Narrowband and Broadband Machine-Type Communications

It remains to be seen if that report will be approved and if it impacts the IMT 2020 “5G” standardization work in ITU-R WP 5D.  A few excerpts of the contribution follow:

Machine-type communications (MTC) are penetrating into our daily life and promising to deliver a more convenient, intelligent and hyper-connectivity world. MTC is expanding with a rapid speed and has tremendous market potential. There are many kinds of services and applications of MTC with diversified requirements targeting different market segments, such as asset tracking, smart home, video surveillance, etc. posing distinct challenges in terms of coverage, power consumption, cost, data rate and etc.

MTC/IoT is a subject of high interest for the information and communication technology industry, as well as end users, regulators and other sectors that can benefit from this new communication technology or pattern. International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT) networks are expected to play a critical role as network infrastructures to support MTC applications and IoT.

Relevant ITU-R Recommendations and Reports:

  • Recommendation ITU-R M.2012 – Detailed specifications of the terrestrial radio interfaces of International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced (IMT-Advanced)
  • Recommendation ITU-R M.2083 – IMT Vision – Framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2020 and beyond

Technical and Operational Aspects of IMT-based Radio Networks and Systems to Support Narrowband and Broadband Machine-Type Communication:

In recent 3GPP releases standardization enhancements for Machine-Type Communication (MTC) have also been introduced, including support for congestion control, improved device battery lifetime, ultra-low complexity devices, massive number of devices and improved indoor coverage.

Recent releases of the 3GPP standards have introduced enhancements for Machine Type Communications (MTC), e.g. 3GPP Release 13: LTE Physical Layer Enhancements for MTC (eMTC) (LTE),  Narrow band Internet of Things (NB-IoT), etc have evolved into LTE category M1 (AKA LTE M).

Important References:

IMT Vision – Framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2020 and beyond

IDC Directions 2016: IoT (Internet of Things) Outlook vs Current Market Assessment


2 thoughts on “IDC Directions 2017: IoT Forecast, 5G & Related Sessions

  1. Capabilities of IMT-2020 [“5G”]:
    IMT-2020 systems are mobile systems that include the new capabilities of IMT that go beyond those of IMT-Advanced. IMT-2020 systems support low to high mobility applications and a wide range of data rates in accordance with user and service demands in multiple user environments. IMT-2020 also has capabilities for high quality multimedia applications within a wide range of services and platforms, providing a significant improvement in performance and quality of service.
    A broad variety of capabilities, tightly coupled with intended usage scenarios and applications for IMT-2020 is envisioned. Different usage scenarios along with the current and future trends will result in a great diversity/variety of requirements. The key design principles are flexibility and diversity to serve many different use cases and scenarios, for which the capabilities of IMT-2020, described in the following paragraphs, will have different relevance and applicability.
    In addition, the constraints on network energy consumption and the spectrum resource will need to be considered. The following eight parameters are considered to be key capabilities of IMT-2020:
    1. Peak data rate-Maximum achievable data rate under ideal conditions per user/device (in Gbit/s).
    2. User experienced data rate-Achievable data rate that is available ubiquitously across the coverage area to a mobile user/device
    (in Mbit/s or Gbit/s).
    3. Latency-The contribution by the radio network to the time from when the source sends a packet to when the destination receives it (in ms).
    4. Mobility-Maximum speed at which a defined QoS and seamless transfer between radio nodes which may belong to different layers and/or radio access technologies (multi-layer/-RAT) can be achieved (in km/h).
    5. Connection density-Total number of connected and/or accessible devices per unit area (per km2).
    6. Energy efficiency-Energy efficiency has two aspects:
    – on the network side, energy efficiency refers to the quantity of information bits transmitted to/ received from users, per unit of energy consumption of the radio access network (RAN) (in bit/Joule);
    – on the device side, energy efficiency refers to quantity of information bits per unit of energy consumption of the communication module (in bit/Joule).
    7. Spectrum efficiency-Average data throughput per unit of spectrum resource and per cell2 (bit/s/Hz).
    8. Area traffic capacity-Total traffic throughput served per geographic area (in Mbit/s/m2).
    IMT-2020 is expected to provide a user experience matching, as far as possible, fixed networks. The enhancement will be realized by increased peak and user experienced data rate, enhanced spectrum efficiency, reduced latency and enhanced mobility support.
    In addition to the conventional human-to-human or human-to-machine communication, IMT-2020 will realize the Internet of Things by connecting a vast range of smart appliances, machines and other objects without human intervention.

  2. I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the great data you will have presented on IDC Directions 2017. I shall be coming again soon to read IEEE Techblog posts.

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