Will Enterprise 5G Use Cases be Ready for Prime Time?

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

Summary Bullets:

  • As some 5G networks will be commercially available by the end of this year, operators must now turn to development of compelling and realistic use cases beyond a faster rendition of 4G networking.
  • Operators need to up their game if they are to be recompensed for the substantial investments they are making in 5G. The question is, will autonomous cars, robots, and virtual reality be enough to spark buyer interest?

While 5G services are not yet live, this next generation of wireless technology is already top of mind for service providers, OEMs, and other telecom market ecosystem players. Aside from gearing up to build out the technology, they will be working together to make sure that 5G use cases are compelling – i.e., different enough from 4G to matter to customers. As with any new generation of wireless, the stakes are high, and operators are hoping that they’ll make back their substantial investments in 5G. For most operators, this should come via a “massive” uptake of connectivity, plus revenues from advanced services spanning consumers and business customers. Continue reading “Will Enterprise 5G Use Cases be Ready for Prime Time?”

Cable and Satellite Companies Pushing into IoT: Can They Win Against Mobile Operators?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • U.S. cable operators and satellite TV providers have been entering the IoT market over the past two years, selling smart home and wearable solutions to consumers, as well as B2B offerings to businesses.
  • Cox Communications, Comcast, and Dish Networks are actively providing B2B IoT services already or have plans in place to do so.

How Do Cablecos Deliver IoT Services?

Cablecos and satellite TV providers differ fundamentally from mobile operators because they don’t actually own spectrum or licensed wireless networks. But, they have other ‘cards up their sleeves’ which give them a route to market. Continue reading “Cable and Satellite Companies Pushing into IoT: Can They Win Against Mobile Operators?”

LPWAN Progress: Are We There Yet?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Operators were racing to roll out LPWAN networks in 2017, with the aim of generating massive numbers of new IoT deals and new connections.
  • The LPWA World event in London on May 22 and 23 may help provide a reality check on market traction.

The agenda for LPWA World this week in London provides some clues about the burning issues that need to be addressed, as the networks that mobile operators built out in 2017 are now in place and looking for action. Nearly every major operator offering IoT services and some that are new to the game got on the LPWAN bandwagon in 2017, as the market for inexpensive, energy- and battery-efficient technologies to support low-bandwidth IoT use cases looked hugely promising. The hope was (and remains) that many companies that wanted to deploy IoT for mobile use cases but couldn’t afford the high cost of traditional 3G/4G cellular networks would flock to these new fit-for-purpose low-cost/low-power networks. The operators also see potential new growth opportunities in market segments they haven’t been able to penetrate well, such as smart cities/smart lighting and agriculture. While some providers are offering non-standardized networks based on LoRa and SigFox, most mobile operators launched NB-IoT and LTE-M in 2017. Continue reading “LPWAN Progress: Are We There Yet?”

Atos Analyst Event 2018: IoT Solutions and Alliances Provide Differentiation as Atos Focuses on Business Outcomes

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

Summary Bullets:

• The Atos event theme was described as an evolution “From Vision to Business Outcomes”; the integrator uses digital technology, including IoT, to help customers improve bottom lines, enhance products, and streamline operations.

• A growing number of Atos engagements are enabled by IoT platforms and services, including its own products and those of strategic partners. The event showcased offerings and examples of IoT-enabled outcomes.

Atos is a digital services provider and integrator, headquartered in France, with approximately 13 billion euros in annual revenues. The company has expertise in big data and security, high performance computing, business and platform solutions, digital payments, infrastructure and data management, and unified communications. While IoT is not a separate corporate business area, it has clearly become an enabler of digital transformation for a growing number of Atos’ business customers. IoT offerings and deployment examples were highlighted frequently in the company’s annual analyst event held in Boston on April 5th and 6th.

In a discussion entitled IoT: From Experimentation to Business Scale, Atos laid out the three primary solutions in its portfolio which feature IoT.

Atos Codex is a set of services around IoT including consulting, managed services (including device lifecycle management, remote monitoring, and security), back/office integration, application development, and “cloudification” platforms. The platforms have enabled Atos to develop custom vertical solutions in payments, automotive, smart home, healthcare, smart city and manufacturing. Atos focuses on industrialized use cases that allow customers to go beyond the primary phase of pilots and connectivity/data collection to large-scale deployments that provide process transformation and allow businesses to generate revenues from new services. Customer examples include: Renault’s connected car service; an unnamed global truck manufacturer for whom Atos provides fleet management, logistics and design optimization; and a “pay as you drive” scheme for a global insurance company. Throughout the examples Atos provided outcome statistics. For example, the trucking company was able to realize a 13% reduction in fuel costs and the insurer realized a 24% reduction in accident-related pay-outs. Continue reading “Atos Analyst Event 2018: IoT Solutions and Alliances Provide Differentiation as Atos Focuses on Business Outcomes”

Up, Up, and Away: Satellites Add to IoT Options, with New Capabilities on the Rise

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Satellite services augment/complement cellular coverage for IoT deployments in specific verticals and hard-to-reach geographies.
  • Recent enhancements from satellite providers improve speed and latency, and new management platforms and vertical solutions make them even more compelling.

Service providers such as Iridium, Inmarsat, Orbcomm, and Globecomm have been offering satellite services for many years in order to serve enterprise mobility and IoT deployment requirements where cellular service is weak or unavailable. These include rural areas and other locations where there is little or no connectivity such as aboard ships and in military installations. Some providers, such as Globecomm, partner with carriers, offering backup services for IoT to AT&T in far-flung global locations. Others are MVNOs that aggregate an array of carriers’ cellular access in addition to offering their own satellite capabilities. Continue reading “Up, Up, and Away: Satellites Add to IoT Options, with New Capabilities on the Rise”

Is a Cellular-Enabled Tablet Enterprise Mobility or IoT?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • MVNOs that offer IoT services are starting to offer embedded connectivity for laptops or tablets, calling these services use cases for the IoT.
  • While this suggests that the two worlds of IoT and enterprise mobility are starting to converge, it also is a somewhat misleading misuse of terminology.

According to GlobalData’s report, “2018 Predictions: What to Expect in the Industrial Internet of Things Services Market” (December 11, 2017), the two distinct ecosystems that provide solutions for enterprise mobility and for the Internet of Things (IoT), respectively, are slowly converging. This can be positive for business customers because they can theoretically go to a single vendor to manage, secure, or provide apps for traditional mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and mobile broadband-enabled laptops, as well as for IoT devices such as machines and robots in factories and sensors collecting data in the field or in smart buildings and smart cities. Continue reading “Is a Cellular-Enabled Tablet Enterprise Mobility or IoT?”

IBM’s Genius of Things: The Vendor Lays Out Its Portfolio for Industrial IoT

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

Summary Bullets:

• IoT solutions providers often struggle to assemble a set of offerings that allow customers to extract maximum benefit from the IoT, let alone provide a full stack of solutions from consulting to software to platforms to vertical solutions.

• IBM has the benefit of its Rational and Maximo software, already used by hundreds of companies in manufacturing, automotive, insurance, and defense, and repurposed/expanded to exploit IoT data to improve product design and operations.

IBM’s Genius of Things event in Boston earlier this month described in detail IBM’s solution set and roadmap for the Industrial Internet of Things (Watson IoT), along with insights on its positioning and differentiation, illustrated with customer examples. IBM has an impressive IoT portfolio that focuses on three areas: engineering connected products, driving operational excellence, and finding and sustaining differentiation. All three leverage elements of existing software products (primarily Rational application development tools and Maximo asset management software) that have been repurposed for the IoT or perhaps more accurately have been expanded to work with the diverse kinds of data that can be collected with IoT technology and analyzed in back office systems. In addition the vendor is using next-gen enablers such as AI, AR and Blockchain to provide differentiation. IBM is also aiming to deliver a full set of Digital Twin/Digital Thread solutions, which provide detailed 3D representations of a “thing” or connected product to aid in product design and continuous improvement, development, training, maintenance, usage simulations, and marketing demonstrations.
Continue reading “IBM’s Genius of Things: The Vendor Lays Out Its Portfolio for Industrial IoT”

Does Ingenu’s CEO Search Portend Problems for Proprietary IoT LPWANs?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• LPWAN provider Ingenu announced that CEO John Horn was leaving the company and that it has a new strategic direction with an emphasis on partnering with leading ecosystem vendors to offer turnkey solutions

• This may portend difficulty for all the proprietary LPWAN vendors, who face imminent, highly significant competition from Tier 1 mobile operators launching LTE-M and NB-IoT networks

The sudden departure of Ingenu CEO John Horn, who was also the former head of T-Mobile USA’s IoT division, may be a signal of things to come. The flurry of network launches and service expansions from proprietary LPWAN providers Ingenu, SigFox, and the LoRA Alliance over the last two to three years have given way to more recent and frequent news about LTE-M and NB-IoT build-outs and service trials from mobile operators. 2017 has already seen the majority of global mobile operators promising or delivering on their network promises with national LPWAN networks ready to take on customers. All of these networks have a common message, to lower the price of IoT deployments for lower bandwidth use cases such as non-real-time sensor data collection, while extending device battery life – an ideal combination for long-term deployments where devices may be out in the field without much action or human intervention. A surprisingly large percent of IoT deployments today are in this usage category (often estimated at 60-80%). These are the kinds of applications that used to take advantage of lower cost 2G networks, but the LPWAN providers expect huge growth in the number of connections on their networks over the next five to ten years. Continue reading “Does Ingenu’s CEO Search Portend Problems for Proprietary IoT LPWANs?”

Chinese Operators Ally with U.S. and European Operators and Technology Vendors to Expand Their IoT Reach

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • China already dominates the world in numbers of cellular IoT connections; Chinese operators are set to plumb the LPWAN opportunity as well.
  • Recent announcements highlight the importance of U.S. and European IoT alliances to Chinese operators, with opportunities on both sides of the globe.

Over the last several weeks (which included the MWC Shanghai trade show), there have been a sizeable number of announcements relating to IoT initiatives and alliances by the three main telecom operators in China: China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom. The announcements were focused on LPWAN rollouts, alliances with other operators for reciprocal footprint expansion, and technology enhancements/vendor alliances for connectivity and subscription management. China is already a powerhouse in IoT, at least in terms of the number of connections already in use. For example, China Mobile has about 120 million connections, while China Unicom had about 20 million a year ago (and China Telecom hasn’t disclosed numbers). In comparison, Vodafone has about 50 million, while AT&T and Verizon have about 65 million connections jointly. All three Chinese operators are also actively deploying LPWAN networks, focusing on the standardized 3GPP technology, NB-IoT. Continue reading “Chinese Operators Ally with U.S. and European Operators and Technology Vendors to Expand Their IoT Reach”

Sprint & T-Mobile Merger Looking Real: What Does It Mean for the Enterprise?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Industry ‘chatter’ is intensifying as a Sprint and T-Mobile merger attempt seems increasingly likely.
  • Given each company’s relatively weak position in enterprise services, a combination will not result in a superior enterprise mobility portfolio, at least at first.

Sprint and T-Mobile merger rumors have been circulating for many years, as the number two and three mobile operators are in many ways a likely pairing to go after Verizon and AT&T, possibly expanding business focus, lowering prices and improving customer responsiveness. Continue reading “Sprint & T-Mobile Merger Looking Real: What Does It Mean for the Enterprise?”