Augmented Reality Growth in the Enterprise: What Will 5G Bring?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Use of augmented reality (AR) is growing in the enterprise, but 5G is expected to light a fire under the still-nascent technology.
  • A recent AT&T hackathon on AR coupled with 5G highlights some novel approaches and use cases we hope to see grow over the next few years.

Augmented reality is the use of technology that superimposes a computer-generated image (generally a 3D one) on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. AR in the enterprise is already growing, but not as fast as might be expected. It is often showcased by companies such as PTC, which has an end-to-end design and development suite based on its Vuforia acquisition. PTC highlights the ability to remotely train technicians, enliven marketing demos with the ability to show prospects new products in granular detail, and provide off-site instructions along with 3D visual overlays for on-site maintenance engineers as they fix machine components. Since 5G does not yet play a role in these kinds of use cases (i.e., 4G LTE seems to be fast enough to demonstrate and use them), it makes one wonder what faster access, ultra low latency, and network slicing will add. Continue reading “Augmented Reality Growth in the Enterprise: What Will 5G Bring?”

Is the Internet of Things Growing as Rapidly as We Hoped?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Early forecasts for the IoT suggested that we would have 50 billion global devices connected by 2020, but in reality, we have only reached about 2 billion devices globally.
  • What are the reasons to be optimistic about the next five years when it comes to the growth of the IoT? What are the reasons to be pessimistic?

In 2010, we started to see huge excitement about the IoT from a diverse ecosystem of suppliers, ranging from operators and MVNOs to infrastructure vendors, module manufacturers, integrators, and solution providers. Early forecasts from companies such as Cisco and Ericsson suggested that by 2020 we would see from 20-50 billion devices connected. Continue reading “Is the Internet of Things Growing as Rapidly as We Hoped?”

Verizon’s 5G Analyst Event Details Strategy and Showcases Use Cases

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Verizon held an analyst event to highlight its 5G strategy for enterprises and demo a set of ‘real-world’ 5G applications.
  • The demos were credible and interesting, with some showcasing a very strong 5G value proposition.

Verizon’s 5G analyst event on September 4 at the operator’s Innovation Lab in Waltham, MA combined a presentation by Senior Vice President for Enterprise Innovation and 5G Solutions Toby Redshaw with a series of demos of 5G enterprise-focused applications. The event was aimed at giving analysts an updated perspective on Verizon’s approach to the market and showing that 5G applications are truly different from 4G applications due to the capabilities of the new network to support higher bandwidth, immersive experiences, and low latency. Continue reading “Verizon’s 5G Analyst Event Details Strategy and Showcases Use Cases”

GlobalData Tracks the Evolution of the Enterprise IoT Platform Market

Kathryn Weldon – Research Director, Business Network and IT Services – Americas

Summary Bullets:

• Over the past year, changes in the market have led to changes in GlobalData’s rankings of the top ten enterprise IoT platforms.

• While SAP leads the pack, IBM, PTC and AWS are close behind; each vendor has added capabilities. Analytics, edge processing, go-to-market plans, and integration with other elements of vendors’ portfolios contributed to higher scores.

GlobalData has just completed its analysis and rankings of the top vendors in the Enterprise IoT platform market. For the complete report see here – vendors included are Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Google, HPE, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, PTC, and SAP.

Over the last 12 months, the enterprise IoT platform market has evolved; new capabilities were added by vendors, new partnerships established, changes were made in go-to-market strategies, and some vendors have largely dropped out of contention. The most significant example of such a change in direction was GE’s decision to sell off its Digital division last year, which included its Predix IoT platform, in spite of the fact that it was considered a strong contender in the manufacturing sector. For this reason we have eliminated GE from our analysis. Continue reading “GlobalData Tracks the Evolution of the Enterprise IoT Platform Market”

Are CBRS-powered Private Nets a Threat to Operators?

Kathryn Weldon – Research Director, Business Network and IT Services – Americas

Summary Bullets:

• Operators and network infrastructure providers are vying to provide enterprises with “private” in-building networks that use cellular alternatives to WiFi (4G LTE and 5G), for advanced speed, reliability, security, and low latency.

• The supplier ecosystem for private nets is already crowded, and now Amazon and Google are among the applicants for 3.5 Ghz CBRS shared-spectrum management licenses. Enterprises can also apply for licenses themselves.

CBRS is a wireless technology that operates in three tiers: Tier 1 is used by the Navy, DoD, and by military satellites, while the other two tiers are for commercial use. Applicants can apply for: a Priority Access License (PAL), a non-renewable three-year license to use a 10MHz channel within the 3500-3650MHz portion of the band, in a limited geographical area. They can also apply for General Authorized Access (GAA), which is unlicensed, like WiFi, and provides dynamic allocation of available 100MHz channels so that access does not interfere with communications in the higher tiers. There are also applications for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to use the technology for testing purposes. Continue reading “Are CBRS-powered Private Nets a Threat to Operators?”

AT&T and Verizon Compete to Offer U.S. Public Safety Solutions

Kathryn Weldon – Research Director, Business Network and IT Services – Americas

Summary Bullets:

• AT&T positions its public safety network, FirstNet, not only as a highly significant win and lucrative opportunity, but also as the highest-performing, fastest, most secure wireless communications network for first responders.

• While Verizon may do less marketing, it remains a very strong player in the public sector, with its own benefits for first responders and a somewhat different approach to the market than its rival.

When AT&T won the FirstNet deal in 2017, it was seen as a major coup for the carrier and a big blow to mobile operator rivals. FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce, authorized by Congress in 2012, with the mission to develop, build, and operate a nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. In 2017, after an open RFP process, a public-private partnership was forged between the federal government and AT&T. FirstNet agreed to provide 20 MHz of telecommunications spectrum and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the network buildout; AT&T will spend about $40 billion over the life of the contract to build, deploy, operate, and maintain the network, with a focus on ensuring robust coverage for public safety. AT&T can also use FirstNet’s spectrum when it is not being used by public safety for other, commercial purposes but it must prioritize first responders over any commercial users. As of May 2019, AT&T had connected approximately 600,000 wireless devices to the network from 7,250 agencies, and offers FirstNet on Band 14 spectrum in 600 markets, roughly 50% of its eventual proposed coverage. The operator notes that 50% of these agencies are new to AT&T and were not just upgrades from existing customers. AT&T doesn’t just provide wireless connectivity to first responders (for both phones/tablets/fleets and IoT devices), but offers applications, specialized devices, enhanced security solutions, and satellite options. Flying Cells on Wings (COWS) were recently introduced, comprised of two tethered drones and a trailer equipped with a satellite dish and fiber connections, which are well suited to provide connectivity in hard to reach locations for emergencies such as wildfires and earthquakes. Continue reading “AT&T and Verizon Compete to Offer U.S. Public Safety Solutions”

Key Takeaways from PTC LiveWorx

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• At LiveWorx 2019 PTC used the term Digital Thread to describe how its CAD, product lifecycle management, and IoT/AI/AR products are interconnected, providing a comprehensive end-to-end solution for manufacturers bringing a product to market and remaining connected to the buyer.

• PTC highlighted its AR functionality at the show, a unique capability in the markets where it plays. AR may be on the rise, but in need of a marketing boost; many PTC and partner demos showcased AR use cases.

PTC LiveWorx is always full of interesting presentations, exhibits and demonstrations, not only about PTC products but also about products and services from its key partners and the broader IoT ecosystem, from integrators to operators to technology start-ups. This year was different because rather than treat IoT as a silo, with a focus almost exclusively on ThingWorx and the IoT market at the show, its new positioning is to portray its entire product line from CAD (Creo) to product lifecycle management (Windchill) to ThingWorx IoT, analytics, and AR as connected by a “digital thread” that also aligns with the digital processes that a manufacturer goes through as it designs, manages and connects its products. This way of looking more holistically at its entire product line makes sense as PTC primarily sells IoT capabilities to its own installed base of over 35,000 manufacturers. It also enriched the show with more diverse demos and exhibits. PTC made about ten public announcements at the show, ranging from expanding its alliance with Microsoft to include WIndchill on Azure; winning partner of the year awards from Microsoft and HPE; touting and expanding its alliance with Rockwell Automation for digital transformation; and the launch of new ThingWorx tools that simplify the composition, configuration and deployment of IoT solutions. Continue reading “Key Takeaways from PTC LiveWorx”

AT&T’s Smartphone Launch Signals a Different Approach to Kicking Off 5G

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • As operators start to roll out 5G and launch new handsets that can eventually take advantage of the technology’s speed and latency advantages, most have focused on the consumer market.
  • AT&T used a different approach this week in offering its new device solely to business customers and developers; it hopes these innovators and early adopters can help it find novel use cases which can aid in monetizing its network.

AT&T announced last week that, as of June 17, its new Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will be available to businesses that are on its Business Unlimited Preferred Plan for $999. This is the same price as its current Galaxy S10+ model, which has half the internal memory. The new model also has a bigger screen, better battery, and better camera than its predecessors. In addition, the operator is making the device available to roughly 100,000 developers next week through its Developer Program, at no charge through the end of the year. It is also sponsoring a 5G hackathon later this year at which developers have a chance to win $100,000. Continue reading “AT&T’s Smartphone Launch Signals a Different Approach to Kicking Off 5G”

Is This the Year of Augmented Reality?

Kathryn Weldon – Research Director, Business Network and IT Services – Americas

Summary Bullets:

• At PTC LiveWorks 2019, augmented reality (AR) in the business segment (especially the manufacturing vertical) was a big theme, supported by customers on panels, and featured with compelling demos, in partner exhibits.

• While the outlook is optimistic, there are some limitations to uptake, including price of devices, corporate cultures that appreciate old-fashioned in-person training, and lack of manufacturers that are ready for digital transformation.

At PTC’s annual LiveWorks show, held from June 10th through 13th in Boston, the use of AR by businesses was a major theme. The technology is positioned by PTC as a way to bridge the physical and digital worlds. AR can digitally replicate an object such as a machine used in a manufacturing environment, or a complicated subsystem used in a complex field environment such as an oil rig. It essentially makes either a 3D model that can be viewed with a HoloLens or other smart glasses technology (easy to do with PTC’s CAD system, CREO) or a digital twin – essentially 3D in two dimensions – for viewing on a phone or tablet, which accurately represents all components of the machine, with all of its parts easy to discern. The model can have annotations added, including step-by-step training instructions, or ways to identify a part through colors or other effects. The AR model can provide simulations for operations such as seeing both the inside and outside of a machine or any component, or simulating operations such as refilling a fuel tank, or opening and closing a valve, etc. In 2015 PTC acquired Vuforia, which was a leading provider of AR software, picking up solutions to create content with 3D overlays, author and publish content quickly as needed, allow developers to create branded solutions, and mark-up views to highlight details or guide multi-step solutions. Continue reading “Is This the Year of Augmented Reality?”

Apple Still Courting the Enterprise with New Alliances

Kathryn Weldon – Research Director, Business Network and IT Services – Americas

Summary Bullets:

• An agreement between Apple and AT&T allows the operator to simplify customer enrollment, device configuration, activation, and MDM software integration

• An expanded agreement with Apple and SAP uses on-device machine learning to help customers create custom, intelligent iOS apps that use augmented reality (AR), and enhance business tasks

While Apple has been successfully courting enterprise buyers for many years with the iPhone and iPad, recent alliances suggest new ways for it to penetrate business accounts. Many businesses already appreciate Apple’s built-in security, while Android devices and laptops provide more variety and less of a vendor lock-in. MDM software for first-line device management and security is about the same on either platform today. So what are the kinds of agreements that Apple is making lately to fortify its position? Continue reading “Apple Still Courting the Enterprise with New Alliances”