Announcements from Industrial IoT Services Providers Augur Well for Market Momentum

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Over the past six months, IoT service providers in the US, Europe, and APAC have been busily disclosing new capabilities, with close to 30 announcements, not including customer wins.
  • Announcements ranged from news on acquisitions and investments to new and enhanced services, technology alliances, and vertical solutions.  

New and Enhanced Services

New and enhanced services ranged from asset tracking improvements to expanded coverage, roaming alliances, managed services, wholesale expansion, and blockchain in conjunction with Internet of Things (IoT), edge alliances, and dynamic network access.

  • Orange announced plans to roll out a 5G network on the 700 MHz frequency band in Spain. The band is suited to ultra-low latency services and will enable the implementation of IoT technologies throughout 1,100 towns and cities.
  • Orange integrated Wirepas massive mesh connectivity software into its asset tracking solution, Smart Tracking, to identify and locate business assets in real time with perfect accuracy.
  • T-Mobile U.S. and Deutsche Telekom launched T-IoT, to simplify global IoT connectivity, enabling enterprises to manage applications from a single platform. The solution is optimized for 5G and will be available across 188 destinations, on 383 networks worldwide. DT and T-Mobile will partner on go-to-market and delivery with harmonized customer billing.
  • Telefónica, Mavenir, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are working on a pre-commercial managed IoT connectivity service to be offered by Telefónica, using Mavenir’s packet core solution and AWS’ cloud infrastructure.  The service is managed through Telefónica Tech’s IoT KITE platform.
  • Vodafone UK is developing a new set of priorities, which include delivery of technologies such as 5G and IoT and migration to the cloud, but with a ‘services mindset’ to generate new revenues beyond connectivity.
  • Vodafone launched a global blockchain platform, Digital Asset Broker, which allows connected devices to securely trade with each other on a user’s behalf. 
  • Telstra announced IoT wholesale services for MVNOs, including connectivity, wearables, consumer IoT, and asset tracking.  The services will be available in July 2022.  
  • Telstra began trials of Australia’s first 5G-enabled edge compute solution for enterprises, in partnership with Ericsson and Microsoft.  The managed service from Telstra Purple will give customers access to applications, leveraging cloud-first, IoT enablement, and advanced analytics strategies. 
  • PCCW Console Connect relaunched its CloudRouter solution.  Beyond multi-cloud connectivity, the enhanced offering allows users to create a scalable, virtual, fully-meshed network, including IoT access that changes dynamically, according to business needs.

Vertical Solutions

New vertical solutions ranged from energy management and monitoring to remote healthcare solutions, smart agriculture, predictive maintenance, resource conservation, digital operating rooms, and smart city applications.

  • Deutsche Telekom and grid operator ED Netze are rolling out NB-IoT to 500 substations for remote monitoring of local grid stations to eliminate time-consuming fault localization.  
  • Deutsche Telekom, Murata (i.e., a Japanese module expert), and Nowi (i.e., a specialist in energy harvesting) introduced the world’s smallest energy-harvesting NB-IoT module, featuring nuSIM technology.
  • AT&T partnered with device and services company Smart Meter to improve remote patient monitoring services for patients with chronic conditions.
  • AT&T IoT connectivity is helping farmers manage dairy cows, to reduce costly veterinary bills and optimize production. Austrian-based technology company, smaXtec, is using AT&T IoT expertise to enable a smart sensor for the project.
  • Telefónica Tech and engineering company, Grupo Álava, launched a predictive maintenance solution to provide industrial companies with a data platform to anticipate faults or defects in machinery.
  • Verizon collaborated with Cisco on a PoC demo in Las Vegas which demonstrated that cellular and mobile edge compute technology can enable autonomous driving solutions without using physical roadside units to extend radio signals. 
  • Vodafone and energy company E.ON partnered to detect tap water damage to conserve resources. They plan to extend this to electricity and gas meters to detect damage at an early stage.
  • Vodafone Business partnered with health technology provider Proximie to digitize operating rooms with 5G, IoT, and edge computing installations.
  • Tata Communications and Zain KSA, a mobile operator, announced a partnership in Saudi Arabia to deliver smart city solutions for street lighting, waste management, connected workplace, healthcare, and connected cars. 

Acquisitions and Investments

Acquisitions and investments made by operators included companies providing industrial professional services to those providing process automation, industrial control, and network infrastructure technology.

  • Telefónica Tech acquired Geprom to reinforce capabilities in Industry 4.0. Geprom has over 40 professional experts in Industry 4.0 and a strong network of partners for project planning, production, quality control, logistics, and maintenance.  
  • DT invested in a startup, Kinexon, which provides cloud software that captures, optimizes, and automates processes in manufacturing, logistics, and sports.  DT is already using Kinexon technology as part of its real-time, location-based automation solutions for manufacturers.
  • Telstra Purple acquired two Australian companies to bolster IoT capabilities. Alliance Automation is a provider of IoT industrial automation solutions and control systems. Aqura Technologies delivers technology and infrastructure solutions for industrial wireless, access networks, unified communications, and industrial IoT.  

Technology Alliances

Technology alliances over the last six months included deals made by operators to provide edge computing, use-case simulation, application performance management, multi-vertical use-case exploration, policy management, and eSIMs for roaming.

  • AT&T and IBM announced plans to show the digital transformation potential of 5G wireless networking and edge computing by creating simulated environments for enterprise clients. 
  • AT&T and Microsoft announced Azure Edge Zones with AT&T support, to boost application performance by extending Azure capabilities to the operator’s 5G network edge. It is designed for metros where latency could adversely affect application performances.  
  • Verizon and Oracle partnered to explore 5G use cases for utilities, manufacturing, communications, construction, and engineering verticals.

While the new offerings were not necessarily revolutionary, they show the directions that operators are headed in as they expand their IoT services, making them more available to a larger set of enterprise customers and improving the underlying technologies that make them more compelling, more competitive, easier to implement, and less costly to use.

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