Is Sprint Prepared for IoT Tsunami?

Sprint Business President Jan Geldmacher detailed the carrier’s vision for the Internet of Things (IoT) in a speech this week, saying the company needs to prepare for a future in which 1 trillion devices can connect to the web. Geldmacher spoke of a converging network in which half a dozen platforms will support IoT, adding:

Our network infrastructure is not really prepared to deal with all these trends yet.”

Author’s Note:  

That’s after at least seven years of a M2M/IoT R&D lab and showcase center in Burlingame, CA which was massively scaled down a couple of years ago.  Sprint was a featured speaker at the IEEE ComSocSCV 2010 seminar on IoT/M2M.


Geldmacher said the network of the future will be a converged network, combining wireless, wireline, Bluetooth, LoRa, Sigfox and unlicensed spectrum. He said mobile networks are about to be part of a sea change that will impact all of society, which he described with a quote from Son.

“The boom in the rate at which we are starting to collect, analyze and ultimately glean knowledge from data is like the Cambrian explosion, the period during which prehistoric creatures developed the five senses,” Geldmacher said in quoting Son.

“When you think about what’s next you really need to think about the megatrends,” Geldmacher said, noting demographic changes, globalization and digitization are all impacting network traffic. “Our network infrastructure is not really prepared to deal with all these trends yet.”

“We are talking about an explosion of data volumes of probably a factor of 2,400.  We are talking about creating latencies that come close to the reaction time of a human being,” he said.

Geldmacher compared today’s internet of things to the internet in 1997, meaning the basic technology is falling into place but people have not really figured out all the things they can do with it.

“It’s time to innovate now,” Geldmacher said. “If you talk about how the market is divided in the IoT space I think it’s not relevant, because we’re just beginning.

“I offer to those in the room that want to partner, we are ready to partner,” Geldmacher said, adding he encouraged companies that want to make IoT technology part of their business to be brave and to believe the future is not as unpredictable as it may seem. “I think the future looks predictable if you just anticipate what’s happening in technology and apply it in the right way.”

Geldmacher said 94% of IoT investments yield some return on investment. Geldmacher also shared results from a recent survey of enterprises looking at IoT deployments, and listed the benefits that companies say they expect. The expectation named most often was streamlined operations, followed by higher productivity; better safety, security and monitoring; better customer service; improved automation; and increased revenue.


Building the Internet of Things could be risky business