AT&T FirstNet Makes Great Progress; Deal with Mutualink increases Inter-operability

FirstNet is a dedicated LTE network for public safety users, which passed 600,000 “connections” earlier this month.  It has been built by AT&T and has has engagements with more than 7,000 public safety agencies.

FirstNet is built in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority). This helps to ensure that the FirstNet communications platform and service offerings meet the short- and long-term needs of the public safety community.

FirstNet is improving communications to allow for improved response times and outcomes for first responders from coast-to-coast, in rural and urban areas, inland and on boarders – leading to safer, and more secure communities. It provides innovation and dedicated capacity so public safety can take advantage of advanced technologies, tools and services during emergencies, such as:

  • Applications that allow first responders to reliably share videos, text messages, photos and other information during incidents in near real-time
  • Devices configured to meet the focused needs of public safety
  • Improved location services to help with mapping capabilities during rescue and recovery operations
  • Deployables available for planned and unplanned emergency events

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Speaking this past week at the MoffettNathanson’s 6th  Annual Media & Communications Summit in New York City, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer John Stephens discussed how the carrier’s deployment of FirstNet is progressing rapidly and laying the groundwork for 5G.

According to AT&T, FirstNet is 25% faster than any domestic commercial network.  That claim is based on Ookla test data covering average download speeds in Q1 2019.

The FirstNet build-out is instrumental to AT&T 5G deployment plans, Stephens said. “The FirstNet contract, which is enabling us to go through a process from an LTE to evolve into a 5G network, is really working. We’re getting dramatic speed uptakes. If you look at the two fastest networks in the United States right now, they’re both ours…That’s what’s driving the business. That’ll drive innovation, that’ll drive opportunity.”

As AT&T upgrades its cell sites to deploy Band 14 [1] for FirstNet, crews are upgrading other equipment to support the 5G New Radio specification. Stephens said the operator is working toward “national coverage of 5G” by the “middle of the next year.”

Note 1. Band 14 is the spectrum licensed to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to create a nationwide public-safety wireless broadband network. Band 14represents 20 MHz of highly desirable spectrum in the 700 MHz band that provides good propagation in urban and rural areas and decent penetration into buildings.

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This week, AT&T announced it would resell Mutualink to enhance interoperable communications for public safety. This new relationship will allow AT&T to bring Mutualink’s Interoperable Response and Preparedness Platform (IRAPP) to first responders and supporting agencies using services provided over FirstNet public safety communications platform. 

Mutualink states on their website:  “This network is the largest nationwide network of public safety agencies, critical infrastructure, schools and private enterprise security. The IRAPP is transport agnostic, device agnostic and media agnostic. It leverages your current communications assets and incorporates new devices as needed. Connect to the IRAPP network via public or private LTE, satellite or terrestrial broadband.”

“FirstNet brings public safety one, nationwide platform for consistent, reliable communications across agencies and jurisdictions,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, FirstNet Program at AT&T. “As apps and mobile data increasingly become critical components of the public safety response, we want to help make sure the flow of information that FirstNet provides remains seamless. Our agreement with Mutualink aims to do just that, taking the interoperability that FirstNet provides to the next level.”

FirstNet already facilitates multi-agency communications to aid in incident response and resolution. The agreement with Mutualink builds upon this, expanding the reach, reliability and capability of FirstNet services today. FirstNet subscribers can use the Mutualink IRAPP solution to enhance their ability to easily and quickly communicate across systems and applications, sharing voice, data, video and more in a highly secure environment.

By bringing the Mutualink solution to the FirstNet platform, first responders using Mutualink’s IRAPP will be able to simultaneously take advantage of key FirstNet capabilities – like First Priority™, which enables priority and, for first responders, preemption.

“Adding Mutualink’s Interoperable Response and Preparedness Platform to the FirstNet communications platform will increase the level of interoperability for public safety, especially with respect to on-demand cross-agency interoperability. Our solution enables highly secure sharing of video and data across systems and integration with smart sensor and IoT systems,” Mark Hatten, chief executive officer and chairman, Mutualink. “This will help FirstNet subscribers scale up their access to emerging information as the situation unfolds, creating a common operating picture for all involved.”

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“FirstNet is helping first responders solve long-standing interoperability challenges and arming them with the information they need to coordinate action plans and make critical decisions. We’re pleased to see AT&T form innovative collaborations that will help foster a new era of situational awareness for public safety,” said FirstNet Authority Acting CEO Edward Parkinson.

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References:

https://www.firstnet.gov/network

https://about.att.com/story/2019/att_and_mutualink.html

https://mutualink.net/our-solution/

http://mutualink.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/1-National-Vision-White-Paper-3-17-17.pdf

https://www.rcrwireless.com/20190516/5g/att-5g-national-coverage

 

2019 IoT World: T-Mobile is Changing the Game for Massive IoT via NB-IoT

Introduction:

T-Mobile USA was the first U.S. wireless carrier to provide nationwide NB-IoT coverage last July.  The “uncarrier” is very proud to have 81 million cellular customers and a very low churn rate.  The company has invested billions of dollars in the last five years to modernize and transform its wireless network. As of February 7, 2019,  T-Mobile’s LTE network now covers 325 million people, according to a recent earning report..

During his May 14th 2019 IoT World keynote, Balaji Sridharan, VP of IoT & M2M at T-Mobile US, described the challenges to overcome to realize massive IoT at scale and T-Mobile’s wireless networks that might be used for three different classes of IoT connectivity.  Balaji also enumerate key features and attributes of NB-IoT and showed an interesting comparison chart of LPWANs.  He said its 600 MHz spectrum is deployed throughout the U.S.  [1]

Note 1.  During its April 2019 earnings call, CTO Neville Ray said: “we have over 1 million square miles of 600 megahertz LTE rolled out.  It’s working in 44 states and Puerto Rico. And we have a 100 million covered PoPs on 600 megahertz LTE. So we’ve said that in 2020, we’ll have a nationwide footprint on 5G. 

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IoT Classification and Characteristics [from Ericsson white paper]:

Massive IoT: Connecting billions of devices, small amounts of data volumes, (mostly) sent infrequently, low power required for long battery life (years not days, weeks or months).

Broadband IoT will need high throughput and/or low latency.; large data volumes.

Critical IoT will require ultra high reliability/availability and very low latency.  Industrial automation (and robotic surgery) will require time sensitive information delivery and precise positioning of devices.

Industrial Automation is tailored for advanced industrial automation in conjunction with the other cellular IoT segments. It includes Radio Access Network (RAN) capabilities to facilitate the support of deterministic networks which, together with ethernet-based protocols and other industrial protocols, will enable many advanced industrial automation applications. 

These applications have extremely demanding connectivity requirements and require very accurate indoor positioning and distinct architecture and security attributes. Industrial Automation IoT reinforced by Critical IoT connectivity is the key enabler for the full digitalization of Industry 4.0 for the world’s manufacturers, the Oil and Gas sectors as well as smart grid components for energy distribution companies. 

Figure 1: Cellular IoT segments

Above chart courtesy of Ericsson.

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T-Mo has wireless networks to meet all of the above IoT market segmants.  In particular, NB-IoT, 4G-LTE, and (soon) 5G.

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Challenges to overcome for Massive IoT:

  • Support billions of devices at scale (that includes provisioning and (re) configuration).
  • Long battery life (via low power consumption of devices/things)
  • Coverage enhancements
  • Global reach

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NB-IoT meets the requirements for Massive IoT:

Operates in guard bands of T-Mobile’s LTE network. [2]

Wide range of devices to be connected to the Internet using existing mobile networks (rather then new network infrastructure).

Key benefits include:  better battery life (again via low power consumption for connectivity), cheaper device costs ($5 certified NB-IoT module is now available), optimized data usage, reduced IP header and ability to transmit/receive non-IP data (which results in 30% to 40% less data transmission than if traditional IP was used), enhanced security via GSMA standards, licensed spectrum (no interference),, SIM based, and encryption.

Balaji said: “Improved network coverage is achieved via repetitions, which are used to enhance coverage.”  [3.]

Note 2. NB-IoT can also be implemented in “standalone” for deployments in dedicated spectrum.

Note 3. From an IEEE published paper titled: Enhancing Coverage in Narrow Band-IoT Using Machine Learning:

NB-IoT needs only a small portion of the existing available cellular spectrum to operate without interfering with it. Hence, NB-IoT provides more reliability and more quality of service (QoS) as it operates in regulated spectrum. Moreover, NB-IoT uses existing cellular network infrastructure, which reduces the deployment costs.

However, since repeating transmission data and control signals has been selected as a major solution to enhance coverage of NB-IoT systems, this leads to reducing the system throughput and thereby a spectral efficiency loss.

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Here’s a comparison chart showing: 2G,  licensed spectrum NB-IoT vs unlicensed band Sigfox and LoRa (WAN):

Chart courtesy of T-Mobile USA

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Balaji highlighted several Massive IoT applications that could effectively  use NB-IoT for connectivity.  Those include: asset tracking, smart metering, smart lighting, equipment monitoring, smart packaging, and intelligent waste management.

In addition to the $5 NB-IoT modules now available Balaji revealed T-Mo has a $5/year NB-IoT service plan.  

T-Mo hosted the U.S.’ first NB-IoT Hackathon to develop IoT applications that would leverage NB-IoT as a viable wireless network.  Sensing the presene of forest fires was an example he provided.

T-Mo partnered with Twillio to get NB-IoT to market.  They created a new development kit that allowed Hackathon participants to access the NB-IoT network.  [4.]

Note 4.  More than 100 new and seasoned developers descended on T-Mobile HQ to help shape the future of NB-IoT at the Hackathon.  20 creative and unique IoT concepts for prospective IoT solutions emerged that could leverage the low cost and power efficiency of NB-IoT and its reliability over long distances.

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U.S. Carrier Comparison for NB-IoT Deployments:

T-Mobile launched its NB-IoT network last July. AT&T’s NB-IoT network went live two weeks ago. Sprint said it is testing NB-IoT technology, but it plans to merge with T-Mobile in the not-too-distant future so may not roll out its own NB-IoT offering.

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NB-IoT Chipset Forecast:

Research & Markets predicts the NB-IoT chipset market is expected to grow from USD 272 million in 2019 to USD 2,002 million by 2024 at a CAGR of 49.1%.

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References:

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/americas-first-narrowband-iot-network

https://iot.t-mobile.com/narrowband/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2019/04/27/t-mobile-u-s-profit-beats-estimates-plan-to-launch-5g-on-600-mhz-in-2h-2019/

https://www.gsma.com/iot/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/NB-IoT_Deployment_Guide_v2_5Apr2018.pdf

https://iot.t-mobile.com/hackathon/

https://iot.t-mobile.com/wp-content/themes/T-Mobile/device_images/pdf_download/Whitepaper_NarrowBand_IoT_March2019.pdf

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2019/05/15/2019-iot-world-verizons-narrowband-iot-nb-iot-network-now-covers-92-of-u-s/

 

2019 IoT World: Award Winners in 11 Categories; Senet for Connectivity Solution

Winners of the first-ever IoT World Awards were named May 15th at the 2019 Internet of Things World conference. The awards program highlighted exemplary IoT projects, products and people in 11 categories, with 51 entries named as finalists.

A mix of editors, analysts, researchers, consultants and others participated in the judging process for the non-personal IoT World awards. The personal awards were chosen based on votes by nearly 5,000 industry professionals.

Here are the winners:

  1. Startup of the Year: Apana. Five-year-old Apana won in the startup category for its intelligent water management system, which helps to reduce water waste and optimize its use for industrial and commercial customers. Apana’s LoRa-based technology is installed as a retrofit kit and sends real-time water use data to the cloud. The service analyzes the data to identify patterns and sends information about water misuse to frontline workers, who could then take action to stop the waste.
  2. Enterprise IoT Deployment: Avis Budget Group. Avis Budget Group took home this prize in recognition of its multiyear program to connect its 600,000 vehicles to its IoT platform and mobile app. In 2018, partnerships with vehicle manufacturers such as Toyota and Ford, hardware companies such as ID Systems and technology providers such as Continental figured prominently in its plan to connect more than 100,00 vehicles. In Kansas City, it showcased connectivity of all 5,000 vehicles in its regional fleet there. Late last year, it announced its tech platform would be hosted on AWS Connected Vehicle Cloud. Avis Budget Group touts benefits of the program, both for the company and its customers. Internally, Avis has reduced operational costs and cut revenue loss from fuel and vehicle recovery. Externally, it says, customer satisfaction associated with the mobile app has increased in the double digits, measured by Net Promoter Scores.
  3. Achievements in IoT Integration: Siemens MindSphere integration efforts. According to the company, its integration differentiators fall into three categories:

    • Connectivity. Siemens provides connectivity to a range of assets and systems, including industrial and enterprise systems, data historians, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), distributed control systems (DCS), manufacturing execution system (MES), manufacturing operations management (MOM), product lifecycle management (PLM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), quality management (QM) and supply chain management (SCM) systems and service platforms.
    • Digital twin capability. Siemens said its digital twin platform integrates operational asset data; data from product, production and performance twins; and industrial IoT analytics.
    • Ecosystem support. The company’s integration services encompass devices and systems (including on-premises and cloud-based systems) from Siemens as well as other manufacturers.

    According to Siemens, its R&D team’s efforts related to integration focus on data lakes, data contextualization and data connectors for additional data integration within MindSphere. The company boasts of a benchmark it recently completed at an automotive company, with all integration and analytics work completed in two weeks — after two competitors spent five weeks without finishing either the integration or analytics work, it said.

  4. IoT Merger/Acquisition of the Year: IBM and Oniqua. IBM acquired Oniqua, a maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) company focused on the mining, oil and gas, utilities, process manufacturing, and transportation industries, in June 2018 and then folded it into the Global Business Services and Watson IoT business units. IBM intends to leverage Oniqua to enhance its software as a service (SaaS) offerings aimed at digital transformation of asset-intensive industries, giving clients the ability to monitor, manage and proactively maintain their assets; minimize operational downtime; and optimize inventory costs. According to IBM, Oniqua gives the company the ability to improve its asset optimization portfolio, which includes Maximo enterprise asset management, predictive maintenance and prescriptive repair.

    IBM says that Oniqua provides an ROI of between 100% and 400% in the first year of deployment; 15% to 50% reduction in inventory; 30% to 50% reduction in stock-out risk; 15% to 40% reduction in maintenance budgets; and 20% to 25% improvement in supplier performance.

  5.  Consumer IoT Solution: Phyn Plus Smart Water Assistant + Shutoff. According to the Phyn, the product gives homeowners an unprecedented understanding of their water use, toward the goal of avoiding leaks, conserving water and saving money. It monitors a home’s entire plumbing system from a single location on the water line, measuring changes in water pressure 240 times a second. It alerts homeowners immediately upon detection of a leak, diagnosing potential problems before they wreak havoc. The Phyn Plus Smart Water Assistant + Shutoff develops a “fingerprint” of each plumbing fixture in the home to be able to ID the source of a leak. If a home experiences a sudden large leak, the Phyn Plus can automatically turn off the water.

    The product has a mobile app that allows remote monitoring of water usage, remote control of water use in up to six properties, and integration with Alexa for voice queries and commands.

  6. Edge Computing Solution: Dell Technologies’ “open edge” software stack. The “open edge” approach consists of commercially supported versions of the open source EdgeX Foundry framework. It runs on Photon OS, is managed by VMware’s Pulse IoT Center and has builds available for Dell Gateway hardware or other ARM reference boards. The company describes the stack as modular and open, able to work with any device, hardware, app or cloud service. It has integrated device management and pre-built software connectors (to sensors and devices as well as to the cloud) that help accelerate the implementation, deployment and operation of IoT projects. Its open architecture allows developers to quickly move between projects without having to learn custom code, and components can be reused in multiple projects.

    Best Edge Computing Solution shortlisted entries: Dell Technologies, EdgeX Foundry, FogHorn, Itron Inc., Lantronix Inc. and Relayr.

  7. IoT Security Solution: AWS’ IoT Device Defender. This product audits device-related resources (such as X.509 certificates and client IDs) for compliance with best practices, such as the principle of least-privilege. It detects unusual behavior by continuously monitoring security metrics from the device and AWS IoT Core, and it reports devices that are out of compliance. It also facilitates mitigation steps, such as revoking permissions or rebooting a device.

    The company cites customers across vertical markets, from industrial to consumer to enterprise.

  8.  IoT Connectivity Solution: Senet’s Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network. Senet said it takes a “revolutionary approach to providing IoT connectivity.”

    Senet connects all customer network and gateway deployments through its Low Power Wide Area Network Virtual Network (LVN), where participating connectivity providers have access to the largest global LoRaWAN network and benefit from a revenue share model based on the role they play in the larger network ecosystem.

    Senet’s LVN, Managed Network Services for IoT (MNSi) and public network are powered by its proprietary Network Operating System, which is built on a common cloud-based services architecture. The Senet operating system provides extremely efficient, scalable and secure options to connect and manage low-power, low-cost sensors at massive scale and simplifies historically complex operations related to application and device registration, message accounting and settlements.

    The Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network allows device connectivity on any LoRaWAN network using Senet’s OSS and BSS platforms, which eliminates the need for roaming contracts and delivers low-cost connectivity. According to Senet, third parties can build IoT-related services on top of the Senet network. The company points to distribution partnerships with SenRa (India) and Inland Cellular (Northwest U.S.) and to deployments by New York City (LoRaWAN gateways on city-owned buildings in all five boroughs) and propane and oil tank monitoring company WESROC.

    Best IoT Connectivity Solution shortlisted entries: Emnify, MediaTek, Nordic Semiconductor, PTC and Senet.

  9.  Industrial IoT Solution: IBM Watson IoT Platform. This service (available across public or private cloud or in a hybrid cloud deployment model) aims to simplify the process for industrial shops in a variety of markets to capture and explore data from IoT devices, equipment and machines. The service comprises three components:

    • IoT Platform Connection Service. This service helps to securely register and connect resources to IoT Platform.
    • IoT Platform Analytics Service. This service focuses on visualizing and analyzing IoT data, enabling AI-driven predictions about the assets connected to IoT Platform.
    • IoT Platform Blockchain Service. This service aims to validate transactions among IoT resources within IoT Platform, delivering the ability to track and trace assets as, for instance, they move through a supply chain.

    IBM touts the impact of IoT Platform across a range of industrial verticals, including cosmetics manufacturing, mineral mining, home appliance manufacturing, the shipping industry, railways, energy supply companies and offshore drilling operations.

  10. Enterprise CxO of the Year: Joanna Sohovich. The CEO of access control and smart home integration company Chamberlain Group snagged this award based on her work on Chamberlain’s myQ technology, which enables users to control or monitor garage access via smartphone.

    Lutz Beck, CIO at Daimler Trucks North America, took second place, and Arthur Orduna, CIO at Avis Budget Group, came in third.

  11. Solution Provider CxO of the Year: Kevin Brown. Kevin, senior vice president of innovation and CTO in the Secure Power Division at Schneider Electric, is known for creating high-impact strategies and teams to maximize revenue, profit and competitive advantage.

    Anthony Bartolo, chief product officer at Tata Communications, took the silver medal, and Bask Iyer, CIO at VMware, claimed third-place honors.

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IoT World Awards Winners Announced

 

FCC: White spaces on hold till Microsoft and TV broadcasters have consensus

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will put aside its work freeing up TV white spaces until Microsoft and broadcasters reach an accord on sharing the spectrum for wireless broadband, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told the House Communications Subcommittee. He cited “tricky” technical and policy matters the agency needs to address even as Microsoft and TV stations try to find middle ground on the band’s use.

Pai was asked by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) about the status of the white spaces “experiment,” who said that probably every part of his district has such white spaces.  Pai said he had seen the promise of white spaces technology in places like South Boston, Va., a town in rural southern Virginia, 

The chairman said there had been a lot of “tricky” technical issues and policy issues the commission had been hammering out (a number of them involving how to use that spectrum without interfering with licensed broadcast transmissions nearby).

The FCC in March resolved a number of petitions to reconsider the remote sensing database works, which is how unlicensed mobile devices can use the spectrum without–hopefully–interfering with TV station signals. So far broadcasters have questioned the efficacy of that process.

The FCC is permitting the use of white space devices (notably computers), both fixed and mobile, in unused channels, ch. 37, guard bands between broadcast and wireless spectrum and between uplink and downlink spectrum in the 600 MHz band–which they are sharing after the incentive auction.

It is part of the FCC’s focus on freeing up more spectrum for advanced wireless and closing the rural digital divide, which computer companies argue “white spaces” play a key role.

Pai praised Microsoft, the prime mover behind a white spaces rural broadband project, and the National Association of Broadcasters, who have agreed on a number of outstanding issues, though not on Microsoft’s desire to use adjacent channels, which NAB has argued is too close for comfort.

“If there is a consensus that allows us to move forward, we would like to do so,” he said, though he could not provide a timeline. 

https://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/fccs-pai-white-spaces-item-awaits-broadcast-microsoft-consensus

https://www.fcc.gov/general/white-space

Huawei to compete in global consumer electronics market with world’s first “5G” TV

Huawei is reportedly preparing to produce the world’s first 5G TV as a way to challenge Apple and Samsung in the global consumer electronics market. The TV would include a “5G” modem [1] and 8K display resolution, allowing users to download high-resolution programming over cellular connections. Huawei would then be able to use some type of non standard “fixed 5G” network to download data-heavy content, such as 360 degree videos in which viewers can watch in every direction, and virtual reality programs. There are questions, however, over how soon the wider ecosystem for such services will be available.

Note 1.  This author has no idea what fixed broadband network or frequencies will be used for this version of so called “5G.”  Can’t emphasize enough that residential broadband Internet access and/or TV are NOT IMT 2020 use cases and are not being standardized by any accredited standards body.

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Huawei’s first attempt to make TV sets is fueled by a desire to complete its “ecosystem” of consumer electronics — which already includes everything from smartphones to wearable devices — even as analysts voice doubts over the strength of its brand image.  Among the potential benefits of a 5G TV is the fact it would not require the fiber optics or cable boxes that traditional cable or satellite broadcast services do. The TV could also act as a router hub for all other electronic devices in a home. The ultrahigh-definition 8K resolution, meanwhile, represents the most advanced TV screen on the market, with 16 times more pixels than the standard 1080 pixel high-definition.  Indeed, 8K video is also shaping up as an important battlefield.  Research company IHS Markit forecasts that shipments of 8K TVs will increase from less than 20,000 sets last year to 430,000 this year and to 2 million next year.

Huawei is the world’s biggest telecom equipment maker and in the first quarter of this year it overtook Apple to become the second-largest smartphone maker by shipments, just behind Samsung. It has signalled its determination to stay ahead in the 5G era. Besides 5G base stations, Huawei has already unveiled a 5G foldable smartphone and several home-use 5G routers that will be available later this year.

Samsung is currently the world’s biggest TV maker and just started shipping its own 8K TV without 5G capability starting at $4,999 this spring. Apple introduced the Macintosh TV in 1993, but it was not a hit, and the California tech giant has not released its own TV set since. It did, however, introduce a digital streaming box dubbed Apple TV in 2006 and has updated it several times to incorporate third-party applications, including Netflix. This March, the company unveiled Apple TV plus, a subscription service for original Apple content starring superstars such as Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Many leading TV and camera makers are planning to roll out 8K products by 2020, as Japanese broadcaster NHK is set to broadcast the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in ultrahigh-definition. Samsung, LG ElectronicsSharp, China’s TCL, and Hisense all showcased 8K TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.

Huawei is not a total newcomer in the television business. The Chinese company’s chip arm Hisilicon Technologies is the world’s second-largest provider of TV chipsets after Taiwan’s MediaTek, and supplies to various local brands such as Hisense, Skyworth and Changhong, as well as Sharp. It also builds its own 5G modem chips in-house. Modem chips are a crucial component that help determine the speed of data transfers and the quality of phone calls.  Although Huawei could secure large TV displays from local vendors BOE Technology Group and China Star Optoelectronics Technology, the supply of large, high-quality 8K displays is still dominated by Samsung Display, Samsung’s panel-making arm, analysts said.

“Compared with existing TV makers, Huawei likely has the most resources and knowledge related to 5G … so it’s very natural at the moment it would want to get into the sector,” said Eric Chiu, an analyst at WitsView. “It’s not yet known whether Huawei could quickly grab market share, but such a move could definitely help the Chinese company expand its brand into a new market and boost its ecosystem.”

C.Y. Yao, a tech analyst at the Taipei-based TrendForce, said there are still many challenges ahead for 5G-capable 8K TVs. “In addition to 5G base stations, you also need small-cell stations in the region, and there needs to be an ecosystem for 8K, including cameras, and 8K TV processors, encoders and decoders to broadcast 8K content, which are not yet mature.”

Cooperation with telecom operators to support the 5G service is also needed, which would disrupt current cable broadcasters, Yao added.

 

Huawei wants to complete is consumer electronics “ecosystem” and tie users more closely to its smartphones.    © Reuters

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In addition to getting into TVs, Huawei has also set a goal of becoming a top five PC maker by 2021 and target to triple shipments in that segment for 2019, a source told Nikkei. Though Huawei relies heavily on Intel for processor chips for laptops, the Chinese company is developing its own central processing units, or CPUs, for its computer product line, the person said.

Huawei is a latecomer to this market, having introduced its first laptop computer in late 2017. It shipped some 1 million units last year in the overall PC market of about 259 million units, according to research company IDC. Apple — whose MacBook line of laptops served as the inspiration for Huawei’s MateBook and MagicBook — is the world’s No. 4 PC maker, shipping some 18 million units last year.

President Linford Wang of Tablet&PC Product Line of Huawei Consumer Business Group told Nikkei that his company is making computers in hopes of completing its consumer electronics ecosystem. “But if we are able to expand our market share, that’s very welcome too.”

Joey Yen, an analyst at IDC, said Huawei’s emerging PC business is doing well in China, its home market, grabbing a nearly 4% share last year despite its recent entry and could gradually put some pressure on smaller PC makers such as Acer and Asustek Computer. “It also has chances to expand in emerging markets first,” said Yen.

While she was less confident about Huawei’s ability to challenge Apple’s strong brand image, she noted the thinking behind the company’s strategy. “It will surely hope that building key consumer electronics products such as laptops, smart speakers, earphones, and TVs will help consumers stay inside its ecosystem and be more loyal to Huawei’s phones.”

Huawei’s consumer electronics unit has become the company’s biggest revenue contributor for the very first time in 2018, making up 48.4% of annual sales of 721.2 billion yuan ($105.2 billion).

Its flagship telecom equipment business, however, experienced headwinds in many markets since last year as the U.S. has been lobbying allies to ban the use of the Chinese company’s equipment in crucial network infrastructure, citing cyber espionage concerns.

Huawei has consistently denied all the allegations and sued the American government on March 7 over being blocked from the U.S.  Huawei has already rolled out a wearable product line including smart watches and wristbands, similar to Apple Watch and Fitbit’s offering. It also makes wireless earphones FreeBuds and FlyPods from its diffusion line Honor, to compete against Apple’s AirPods. The company’s AI speaker unveiled last October as an answer to Apple’ voice-activated Homepod.  For 2018, it shipped 206 million units of smartphone and ranked as the world’s third largest vendor, just behind Samsung and Apple.

References:

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/China-tech/Huawei-to-enter-high-end-electronics-with-world-s-first-5G-TV

https://venturebeat.com/2019/05/01/huawei-reportedly-plans-first-5g-8k-tv-to-one-up-samsung-and-apple/

https://www.techradar.com/news/huawei-is-developing-a-5g-8k-tv-because-thats-apparently-a-thing-now

 

Waiting for 5G? Researchers want early development of 6G telecom technologies in South Korea

by Lim Chang-won; email : cwlim34@ajunews.com

South Korea has become a front runner in disseminating 5G mobile services, but researchers were not complacent, calling for the early and pre-emptive development of next-generation technologies for market advantage as it did in code-division multiple access (CDMA), a second-generation channel access method used in mobile phone standards.South Korea started providing 5G services for ordinary consumers on April 4, claiming to be “industry-first.” 5G is ten times faster than 4G. Although 6G is still seen as an illusion, researchers at the University of Oulu think the future-generation mobile network can transfer terabits per second, creating near-instant microsecond connectivity between societies.

“We have begun to discuss the development of 6G mobile communication technologies,”Kim Myung-joon, president of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), told reporters on April 24. “I think securing intellectual property rights is more important than anything.”

ETRI is a major state-funded body in wireless communication domain that has played a crucial role in the history of South Korea’s telecom industry by commercializing CDMA technologies in the 1990s. The institute has been working on Terahertz (THz) band for 6G. THz is a unit of frequency defined as one trillion cycles per second.

Because 6G is 100 times faster than 4G LTE and five times faster than 5G, scientists say it will open a completely new era. China has already disclosed a roadmap to develop 6G for commercialization in 2030.

“Not only China but also other countries such as the U.S. and Japan are scrambling to develop 6G technologies.” said a mobile telecom industry official on condition of anonymity. “In order to secure a voice in national security or the international telecom market, preempting 6G-based technology is an essential task.”

In January, LG Electronics opened a 6G research lab through cooperation with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), a prestigious state science school, to secure core technologies for 6G mobile communication. “It is meaningful to start the development of 6G mobile communication technology ahead of others,” said Cho Dong-ho, a KAIST professor who heads LG‘s research lab.

http://ajudaily.com/view/20190426142351793

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6G Research Centre (Center) in South Korea:

In January 2019, LG Electronics and KAIST opened a 6G research centre to ‘lead in next-generation mobile telecommunications’, the pair said.

The LG-Electronics-KAIST 6G Research Centre will be housed at Daejeon, which is home to the university’s KAIST Institute research complex.

KAIST Institute was set up in 2006 and focuses on convergence research. LG Electronics said it will use the institute’s personnel and infrastructure to preemptively secure technology for 6G.

“We want to secure core technologies for sixth generation wireless network ahead of time,” the company said.

5G is yet to be commercialised but Asia already has its eyes on 6G as the competition heats up among them. China has said it will begin 6G research from 2020.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/lg-sets-up-6g-research-centre-at-kaist/

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Reference:

With no 5G standard (IMT 2020) China is working on 6G!

 

Will Hyperscale Cloud Companies (e.g. Google) Control the Internet’s Backbone?

Rob Powell reports that Google’s submarine cable empire now hooks up another corner of the world. The company’s 10,000km Curie submarine cable has officially come ashore in Valparaiso, Chile.

The Curie cable system now connects Chile with southern California. it’s a four-fiber-pair system that will add big bandwidth along the western coast of the Americas to Google’s inventory.  Also part of the plans is a branching unit with potential connectivity to Panama at about the halfway point where they can potentially hook up to systems in the Caribbean.

Subcom’s CS Durable brought the cable ashore on the beach of Las Torpederas, about 100 km from Santiago. In Los Angeles the cable terminates at Equinix’s LA4 facility, while in Chile the company is using its own recently built data center in Quilicura, just outside of Santiago.

Google has a variety of other projects going on around the world as well, as the company continues to invest in its infrastructure.  Google’s projects tend to happen quickly, as they don’t need to spend time finding investors to back their plans.

Curie is one of three submarine cable network projects Google unveiled in January 2018. (Source: Google)

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Powell also wrote that SoftBank’s HAPSMobile is investing $125M in Google’s Loon as the two partner for a common platform, and Loon gains an option to invest a similar sum in HAPSMobile later on.

Both companies envision automatic, unmanned, solar-powered devices in the sky above the range of commercial aircraft but not way up in orbit. From there they can reach places that fiber and towers don’t or can’t. HAPSMobile uses drones, and Loon uses balloons. The idea is to develop a ‘common gateway or ground station’ and the necessary automation to support both technologies.

It’s a natural partnership in some ways, and the two are putting real money behind it. But despite the high profile we haven’t really seen mobile operators chomping at the bit, since after all it’s more fun to cherry pick those tower-covered urban centers for 5G first and there’s plenty of work to do. And when they do get around to it, there’s the multiple near-earth-orbit satellite projects going on to compete with.

But the benefit both HAPSMobile and Loon have to their model is that they can, you know, reach it without rockets.

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Venture Beat Assessment of what it all means:

Google’s increasing investment in submarine cables fits into a broader trend of major technology companies investing in the infrastructure their services rely on.

Besides all the datacenters AmazonMicrosoft, and Google are investing in as part of their respective cloud services, we’ve seen Google plow cash into countless side projects, such as broadband infrastrucure in Africa and public Wi-Fi hotspots across Asia.

Elsewhere, Facebook — while not in the cloud services business itself — requires omnipresent internet connectivity to ensure access for its billions of users. The social network behemoth is also investing in numerous satellite internet projectsand had worked on an autonomous solar-powered drone project that was later canned. Earlier this year, Facebook revealed it was working with Viasat to deploy high-speed satellite-powered internet in rural areas of Mexico.

While satellites will likely play a pivotal role in powering internet in the future — particularly in hard-to-reach places — physical cables laid across ocean floors are capable of far more capacity and lower latency. This is vital for Facebook, as it continues to embrace live video and virtual reality. In addition to its subsea investments with Google, Facebook has also partnered with Microsoft for a 4,000-mile transatlantic internet cable, with Amazon and SoftBank for a 14,000 km transpacific cable connecting Asia with North America, and on myriad othercable investments around the world.

Needless to say, Google’s services — ranging from cloud computing and video-streaming to email and countless enterprise offerings — also depend on reliable infrastructure, for which subsea cables are key.

Curie’s completion this week represents not only a landmark moment for Google, but for the internet as a whole. There are currently more than 400 undersea cables in service around the world, constituting 1.1 million kilometers (700,000 miles). Google is now directly invested in around 100,000 kilometers of these cables (62,000 miles), which equates to nearly 10% of all subsea cables globally.

The full implications of “big tech” owning the internet’s backbone have yet to be realized, but as evidenced by their investments over the past few years, these companies’ grasp will only tighten going forward.

CB Insights: What’s next for 5G

As expected, there is no mention of 5G standards or IMT 2020 in this entire 31 page report.  This is an unedited excerpt:

As numerous wireless carriers plan to offer 5G service in the coming year, the entire telecom industry is hard at work to capitalize on this shift to higher radio wave frequencies:
• Qualcomm recently unveiled the Snapdragon 855 chipset, which grants smartphones 5G capabilities. The Snapdragon 855 will roll out in early 2019.
• Verizon launched its first 5G broadband internet networks in 4 cities during late 2018 and plans to release 5G wireless service in 2019 after its first 5G-ready phones hit the market.
• AT&T rolled out 5G mobile hotspots in a dozen cities in 2018 and will be adding at least 9 more in 2019.
• Sprint and LG plan to release the first 5G smartphone in the first half of 2019. Sprint will have its 5G network in place in at least 9 cities by the time the smartphone launches.
• Motorola unveiled its new 5G Moto Mod in 2018; the mod snaps onto the back of the Moto Z3 and turns it into a 5G-capable device. The 5G mod will be available for purchase
in 2019.
• Companies like Zayo are helping to lay the necessary fiber to support these 5G networks, while others like Siklu are providing fixed wireless antennas and small cells.
• Manufacturers of 5G devices also play one of the more important roles in 5G adoption: device manufacturers need growing coverage, while wireless networks need a growing number of compatible devices.

 

 

FTTH Council Asia Pacific Conference: Singapore is APAC’s top Smart Fiber City

Singapore is the top Smart Fiber City in Asia-Pacific (APAC region), according to a new ranking released at the FTTH Council Asia Pacific Conference in Wuhan, China.

The inaugural Smart Fiber Cities ranking list Singapore as the region’s Champion, due to the city’s 93% FTTH/B coverage, 100% 4G coverage and its over 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.  For the regional rankings, FTTH Council Asia-Pacific evaluated cities with high FTTH/B coverage based on the innovative and useful solutions that have been developed to take advantage of this infrastructure.

Cities were raked in two categories – champs and challengers.

  1. Champs have almost complete fiber coverage city-wide and have reached maturity in smart projects that have been deployed. They also generally have a comprehensive smart city framework in place and smart projects already in operation.
  2. Challengers meanwhile are actively deploying fiber infrastructure to meet their smart city ambitions, but their fiber-based smart services are usually limited to specific domains.

Behind Singapore in the Champs category are Tokyo in Japan and Seoul in South Korea with roughly 90% FTTH coverage, followed by Hong Kong, Busan in South Korea, and Melbourne in Australia.

Chinese cities took the first three spaces in the Challenger category, with Shanghai on top with round 90% FTTH/Building coverage, followed by Hangzhou and Wuhan. Runners up included Malaysia’s Selangor, Jakarta in Indonesia, Bhubaneswar in India and Ho Chi Minh in VIetnam.

FTTH Asia Pacific Logo

“The research into Smart Fiber Cities shows that we are just at the beginning of these developments. Across APAC, we see many mature projects in areas such as e-government and security, with 5G-based applications in, for example, transport and disaster management coming up,” FTTH Council Asia-Pacific president Venkatesan Babu said.

The ranking promotes the specific concept of a ‘Smart Fiber City’ as the FTTH Council believes that only a Smart City enabled by Fiber can be a genuine Smart City.

“We have great expectation for the large numbers of pilots in areas such as healthcare, smart grids and autonomous traffic. We look forward to closely follow new developments in the coming years.”

FTTH APAC 2019: 5G Smart Cities Enabled by Fiber will take place on 15-17 April 2019, Hilton Wuhan Optics Valley Hotel, Wuhan, China

For more information on the FTTH Conference APAC, please visit http://bit.ly/2uT4mPd.

About FTTH Council Asia-Pacific

The FTTH Council Asia-Pacific is a non-profit organization established in 2005 in Singapore. The organization is building on the success of its sister organizations in the US and Europe to educate the industry and the general public on the opportunities and benefits of FTTH solutions. FTTH Council Asia-Pacific members represent all areas of broadband industries, including telecommunications, computing, networking, system integration, engineering and content-provider companies, as well as traditional telecommunications service providers, utilities and municipalities.

To find out more about the work of the FTTH Council Asia-Pacific, please visit http://www.ftthcouncilap.org.

PR Contact:

Rusafie Alam
Associate Manager
FTTH Council Asia-Pacific
Mobile : +880-171-7087708
Email: rusafie@ftthcouncilap.org

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cru-ftth-council-asia-pacific-presents-first-ever-apac-smart-fiber-cities-ranking—singapore-achieves-first-position-and-becomes-champion-300832944.html

 

 

Cignal AI: Record Spending on Cloud Operator Optical Networks Drives Growth in 2018

by Andrew Schmitt and Scott Wilkinson of Cignal AI

Cloud operator spending on optical hardware grew almost 50 percent year-over-year to reach well over over $1 billion in 2018, according to the most recent (4Q18) Optical Customer Markets Report from research firm Cignal AI.

“Cloud network operators such as Google and Microsoft were the only customers in the optical market to exhibit significant spending growth last year” said Scott Wilkinson, Optical Hardware Lead Analyst for Cignal AI. “While still the largest segment overall, incumbent spending on optical hardware was down last year, particularly in North America.”

Optical Ahrdware SPending Trends by Customer Market 4Q18 North America
The Cignal AI Optical Customer Markets Report is issued quarterly and quantifies optical equipment sales to five key customer markets: incumbent, cloud and colo, wholesale, cable MSO, and enterprise and government. Findings from the current report – including market size, forecasts by regions and optical hardware vendor market share – will be examined via a webinar on Tuesday, April 23 at 11 a.m. EDT, which is open to all report clients.

Key findings in 4Q18 Optical Customer Markets Report:

  • Cloud operators remain the fastest-growing segment – North American cloud operators spent nearly as much on optical hardware as incumbents such as AT&T and Verizon in Q4.  New builds drove growth in EMEA, making cloud and colo the fastest-growing worldwide customer segment in 2018.
  • Ciena extends market lead among cloud operators –Ciena supplied over a third of the global market and doubled its lead over its nearest competitor. Others in the top five include Cisco, Huawei, Nokia and Infinera.
  • Incumbent spending growth will remain in low single digits through 2023 – While incumbents still purchase most optical hardware, their spending is static when compared with new network operators. Updated forecasts indicate a decline ahead in North American incumbent spending.
  • Cable/MSO and Wholesale Operators Decelerate Spending – Spending growth by cable/MSO operators was weak and market consolidation resulted in slowing wholesale optical network deployments.

The 4Q18 Optical Customer Market Report includes current quarter and full year 2018 optical sales for all tracked vertical markets. The report also includes optical equipment vendor market share for sales to cloud and colo operators, as well as updated customer market forecasts through 2023.

About the Optical Customer Markets Report

The Cignal AI Optical Customer Markets Report tracks optical equipment spending by end customer market type. It provides forecasts based on expected spending trends by regional basis. The report includes revenue-based market size for all end customer markets across all regions, with market share for sales to the cloud and colo segment broken out on a worldwide basis.

Vendors examined include Adtran, ADVA, Ciena, Cisco, Cyan, ECI, Ekinops, Fiberhome, Fujitsu Networks, Huawei, Infinera, Juniper Networks, Mitsubishi Electric, MRV, NEC, Nokia, Padtec, TE Conn, Tejas Networks, Transmode, Xtera and ZTE.

Quarterly report deliverables include an Excel file with complete data set, PowerPoint summary of highlights and Cignal AI Active Insight market event news briefs. Full report details, as well as free articles and presentations, are available on the Cignal AI website.

About Cignal AI

Cignal AI provides active and insightful market research for the networking component and equipment market and the market’s end customers. Our work blends expertise from a variety of disciplines to create a uniquely informed perspective on the evolution of networking communications.

Contact Cignal AI/Purchase Report

Sales: sales@cignal.ai
Web: Contact us
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