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


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.



Ericsson IoT accelerator platform:

Ericsson Technology Review (our most technical papers):

Cellular IoT Use Cases:

Enabling intelligent transport in 5G networks

Industrial automation enabled by robotics, machine intelligence and 5G

Ericsson white papers:

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

4 thoughts on “Ericsson’s Deliverables and Take-aways from IoT World 2018 & Private Briefing

  1. Keynote highlights from the Internet of Things World 2018 conference:
    “Safety is the most important thing,” said Russ Benson, vice president of IT product systems at Boeing; “It’s all about data,” said Juan Perez, chief information officer and chief engineering officer of UPS; “Semiconductors accelerate IoT growth,” said Tony Keirouz, vice president of IoT strategy, ecosystem, and partnerships at STMicroelectronics; “Itron was in IoT before IoT was cool,” said Sharelyn Moore, senior vice president of networked solutions at Itron; “Standards are indeed essential,” said Walter G. Copan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; “Urban environments can be run much more efficiently,” said Philip Mezey, president and CEO of Itron; “Consumers want a destination,” said Kiki Del Valle, senior vice president of commerce for every device at Mastercard; “Imagine a city with no congestion, imagine an airport with no delays, imagine medicine tailored for you, imagine optimal energy consumption – these aspirations are not that far away,” said Jen Bennett, Office of the CTO, Google Cloud.

  2. At the IoT World 2018 conference held in the Santa Clara Convention Center, SUNSEA, a Shenzhen based IoT pioneer, launched the world’s first intelligent IoT cloud module. This new product, based on cloud services, big data and CPS technology is designed to provide end users with smart services such as device-cloud connection, module cloud diagnosis, and predictive maintenance. This new cloud module represents a major innovation in cloud integration and the introduction of the software-defined IoT module.

    “The new cloud module not only supports intelligent sensing of module status, remote diagnosis and network condition awareness but also contains a module failure model based on big data to provide predictive maintenance service for modules and devices. The cloud module also enables SUNSEA to provide value-added services to Telcos and MNOs leveraging the massive data collected from modules”, said Dr. Jun Zou CTO of SUNSEA. He emphasized that the new cloud module can flexibly meet the various needs of device ODMs, module manufacturers, MNOs and their customers.

    For module manufactures, it provides remote monitoring and diagnosis services to reduce on-site service cost;
    For MNOs, it provides service-oriented network optimization, supports fault recovery, and improves network service quality
    For device manufacturers, it reduces time-to-market by integrating cloud platform, cellular data plan and communication modules, and simplifying development and maintenance

  3. The Ericsson CTO identified enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless as amongst the first 5G bright spots for Ericsson. “The beauty of fixed wireless,” he told Light Reading Thursday, is that it lessens the need for fiber. With wide carriers (radio channels) and narrow beams (i.e., beamforming) — “spotlight beams” as Ekudden calls them — able to deliver multi-megabit to gigabit speeds, high-speed and efficient fixed wireless is now possible, where it wasn’t before, Ekudden said.

    Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on
    Light Reading.
    “It’s now financially and technically viable,” the CTO said, particularly as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G New Radio (5G NR) specs make it possible to use the same infrastructure for both fixed and mobile 5G services. According to the CTO, high-band 5G equipment could deliver a high-speed data connection from a small cell sited 200-300 feet from antennas installed at customers’ homes. In this scenario, an operator such as Verizon would save money by serving multiple premises without having to dig up the customers’ front yards for a cable run.

    “I’m not advocating universal build-out of fixed [wireless 5G],” Ekudden hastens to add. “There are fewer operators that are planning for fixed wireless.”

    But in the US, both Verizon and T-Mobile US Inc. have launched — or are planning to launch — 5G home broadband services (using fixed wireless capabilities) along with mobile 5G services. Mobile services are expected in the first of 2019 for T-Mobile, and “sometime” in 2019 for Verizon. (See T-Mobile: 6 of Top 10 US Markets Ready for Our 5G in 2019.)

    Ericsson, like its vendor rivals, is also expecting the Internet of Things to be a massive part of the 5G age: Ericsson is predicting there will be 3.5 billion “cellular IoT” devices in use by 2023. That’s a big number, but not as ambitious as many other predictions seen for 5G and IoT.

    “Most of that number is China,” explains the CTO.

    The low-power, wide-area aspect of 5G can be supported now. Technologies like narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) or Cat M LTE can be used “in-band” in 3GPP-compliant 5G NR deployments. A crucial part of the industry vision for “Critical IoT,” however, won’t be able to be supported until the end of 2019 with NR/Phase 2 (Release 16), which means the earliest commercial equipment will become available sometime in 2020.

    This “ultra reliable low latency” upgrade for Release 16 is crucial for the millisecond latency needed for everything from self-driving cars, to automated product lines, to supporting more sophisicated thin client devices. Like rival Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Ericsson is gearing up for this IoT industrial sector to be a money-spinner for the company in 5G — just not yet. (See Nokia Reveals Future X Network Project.)

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