Enterprise IoT Platforms Evolve with New Edge and Analytics Enhancements

Summary Bullets:

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

• Microsoft and AWS were named “Very Strong” in GlobalData’s most recent Enterprise IoT Platform report published in September 2021. In the last six months, both vendors announced several key platform enhancements.

• New tools for access control, edge computing, visualization, and digital twins improved these vendors’ IoT portfolios. Microsoft’s new role as a board member in the LoRa Alliance was also a significant ecosystem addition.

Enterprise IoT platforms transform data collected from devices and machines to help customers build applications that automate processes, improve products, and help business leaders make decisions. Once data is collected, the platform provides data storage, processing, management, and manipulation along with filtering and visualization options. The platform may send data to an edge computing device, public or private cloud, or remote data center for further processing and analytics. An enterprise IoT platform also provides tools for application enablement; elements may include visual application modelling, design tools, processing rules using business logic, security and access management, reporting, and real-time or historical analytics.

Continue reading “Enterprise IoT Platforms Evolve with New Edge and Analytics Enhancements”

IoT and Environmental Sustainability Can Come Together to Protect the Planet

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives have become important marketing tools and proof points of credibility for enterprise IT and communication services providers. Providers also hope to leverage these initiatives as revenue generators.
  • While IoT contributes solutions to help with many ESG concerns, its role in measuring, monitoring, and control of environmental conditions and parameters is particularly relevant. IoT service providers should continue to develop and extend these capabilities to position themselves as worthy stewards of the planet.

ESG has never been as important as it is today, at a time when our health continues to be threatened by a global pandemic and the world faces drastic disruption due to climate change.  Service providers that offer IoT solutions, as well as their network equipment and software vendor partners, are adding ESG messaging into many of their offerings, as each is intent on proving its worth as contributors to the common good.  While the ‘S’ and ‘G’ aspects of solutions are extremely important, the environmental contributions should be especially key to the positioning of service providers that may still struggle to monetize their IoT portfolios.  This is because measuring, monitoring, and control of environmental parameters have always comprised a key benefit and use-case driver for IoT.  Some of the many types of IoT use cases that contribute to environmental ‘health’ include: Continue reading “IoT and Environmental Sustainability Can Come Together to Protect the Planet”

IT Service Providers Play a Key Role in Ensuring Successful IoT Deployments

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • The role of IT services providers in offering IoT solutions to enterprises is important for delivering successful engagements that might otherwise have been thwarted by ecosystem fragmentation and complexity.
  • GlobalData’s August 2021 report on IT service provider IoT solutions highlights vendors that have developed unique portfolios and end-to-end solutions that can break through enterprise skepticism and reduce worry.

The fragmentation of the supplier ecosystem has long been a barrier to adoption of IoT, as enterprises are often confused, frustrated, and worried about having to separately negotiate, pay for, and manage connectivity, devices, security solutions, management platforms, and vertical solutions from multiple suppliers. The central role of IT services providers (ITSPs) in making IoT and other complex technologies easier to use while simultaneously helping to solve business problems is to offer a one-stop shop.  This approach combines the ITSP’s own and third-party partner solutions, while adding advisory, integration, professional and managed services, and end-to-end vertical solutions. Continue reading “IT Service Providers Play a Key Role in Ensuring Successful IoT Deployments”

Are IIoT MVNOs Still Relevant?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • IIoT MVNOs have struggled in recent years due to a reliance on connectivity-led portfolios while large mobile operators have had a stronger focus on directly selling their own enterprise IoT solutions.
  • Those MVNOs that remain and thrive have revamped offerings in order to stay relevant, drawing customers with application enablement, vertical solutions, management platforms, and professional and managed services.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) play an important role in expanding the reach of enterprises looking to connect diverse devices on a global basis, primarily via cellular technologies.  They can expand mobile or fixed operators’ footprints as a partner or sell directly to OEMs and enterprises that need widespread, easy-to-use connectivity.  Whether they partner with operators or compete directly against them depends on whether customers need seamless connectivity in regions where a single carrier cannot provide service.  They also may partner with satellite providers or have their own satellite connectivity services – ideal for markets where cellular service is spotty or unavailable such as maritime environments. Continue reading “Are IIoT MVNOs Still Relevant?”

IoT Subscription Growth Forecasts Demonstrate Slow but Steady Progress

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • GlobalData’s Q2 mobile trends report provides growth rates and insights into subscriptions for mobile networks across service types and regions; it also offers clues to the progress of IoT uptake in various regions.
  • Examples of operator traction and new initiatives are quite diverse, while regional growth rates are moderate, in the range of 12% to 16% CAGR. For all regions, IoT has steadily (if slowly) been gaining ground and the outlook is positive.

GlobalData’s Q2 mobile trends report provides insights into subscriptions for mobile networks.  Among many other key findings, it offers a clue to the progress of IoT uptake in various regions.  The following regional snapshots describe growth rates and recent operator initiatives. Continue reading “IoT Subscription Growth Forecasts Demonstrate Slow but Steady Progress”

What’s New in Global IoT Services So Far in 2021?

GlobalData published its latest Competitive Landscape report on IIoT Services in May 2021. In analyzing the large number of new capabilities and alliances that were announced by the top mobile operators, a number of issues are clear:

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

• While COVID-19 may have dampened demand early on for IoT solutions, in late 2020 and early 2021 the market came roaring back.

• Market expansion is not limited to COVID-related projects, and announcements are for a wide-ranging set of new IoT offerings that may represent projects for which there was pent-up demand during the pandemic.

• These new initiatives have been energized in part by related capabilities such as private networks, edge computing, and 5G rollouts.

The following list is a super-set of announcements from the GlobalData report showcasing more of the primary announcements that operators in the U.S. and Europe have made over the past six months; they imply solid momentum for IoT.

Continue reading “What’s New in Global IoT Services So Far in 2021?”

Vodafone Americas IoT Update: 2021 Starting Strong

Summary Bullets:

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

• Vodafone Business is a leader in global IoT services with a dedicated IoT BU, 120 million connected devices, and clear goals for expansion of its role in managed connectivity, mobile private networks, and end to end solutions.

• In the Americas, the operator is attracting a diverse set of multinational companies, often headquartered in the U.S., that not only require both local and global connectivity, but are looking to deploy IoT for use cases ranging from COVID-19/post-pandemic solutions to connected car, manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare.

While Vodafone Business is a known leader in IoT services in Europe and APAC, its regional group serving the Americas has a somewhat different remit. It looks to serve U.S. companies with global connectivity and IoT solutions requirements, or global companies with U.S. facilities that require IoT services and solutions. These are generally large companies with diverse connectivity needs that increasingly include IoT. Vodafone Americas IoT customers are using the technology for three main “buckets” of use cases in 2021: COVID-19-specific requirements such as thermal cameras, social distancing, and vaccine tracking; post pandemic healthcare applications such as home health monitoring; and deployments of other more traditional IoT use cases that may have stalled in 2020, such as connected car, manufacturing, and logistics.

Continue reading “Vodafone Americas IoT Update: 2021 Starting Strong”

The 5G Fixed Wireless Access Opportunity: Where Does It Fit Within Enterprise Services?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • In recent months, AT&T and Verizon have launched business services leveraging 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) that complement consumer versions introduced in 2019 or 2020.
  • We examine where these services fit into the rest of their business portfolios, how are they positioned, and potential pitfalls and competitive threats the operators need to look out for.

AT&T launched 5G FWA for businesses in March 2021, described as the “first nationwide business-focused broadband network.”  Customers can choose from Sierra Wireless or Ericsson/Cradlepoint routers and pay for either 50 or 100 Mbps speeds (on low-band 5G, as AT&T’s mmWave service is still limited).  The operator positions these services as fiber alternatives, where fiber may be unavailable, or hints that there may also be cases where customers may appreciate the speeds, flexibility, and easier provisioning of 5G.  It notes that it has 2.5 million business locations already served by fiber or wireless broadband (as LTE has been offered for two years) and the new 5G service offers equal control and security to fiber through closed, dedicated tunnels to the mobile network that are not accessible by other devices.  It is described as ideal for companies that have many distributed sites (such as large retailers), and along with fiber, these customers can count on AT&T for nationwide coverage.  AT&T usage examples include POS solutions for retailers, pop-up stores, and backup, with prioritization noted as an option.  AT&T has further launched an expanded portfolio with Cradlepoint that combines AT&T’s broadband network, data plans, and management with Cradlepoint’s 5G adapters, routers, and wireless WAN lifecycle management platform.  New vertical opportunities are noted by the partners; Cradlepoint offers a 5G mobile router for in-vehicle networks, as well as adapters that can integrate with AT&T’s SD-WAN service to position 5G as a primary connectivity option. Continue reading “The 5G Fixed Wireless Access Opportunity: Where Does It Fit Within Enterprise Services?”

Verizon Hyper-Precise Location: Is This a Game-Changer for IoT?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • The current generation of location services based on GPS and GNSS can only guarantee precision from three to nine meters; according to Verizon, this is not accurate enough to serve applications that depend on very precise real-time location information such as autonomous vehicles, drones, and AI-enhanced construction.
  • Verizon’s SaaS-based hyper-precise location (HPL) offering, now integrated into its ThingSpace IoT platform, may be a game-changer, unless other operators have capabilities in the works that can match self-correcting accuracy that provides precision to the centimeter level.

Verizon has been working on integration of hyper-precise location technology into its ThingSpace IoT platform for several years. Now that its 5G and edge technologies are also starting to be more widely available, the operator has launched a service that takes advantage of a capability called real-time kinematics (RTK), which has been available for a decade but has had limited coverage and couldn’t scale to large fleets or IoT deployments.  Verizon is using its cloud backend to make the technology available as a service in 100 markets, with the aim of ‘hypercharging’ new solutions for 4G/5G.  It is currently designed for use cases that rely on very precise location.  The service uses reference stations with known locations and then collects signals and observes the error between what the signal suggests as the location and where the reference station actually is located.  It uses this to reverse-calculate the error and provide error correction to all nearby devices very rapidly (i.e. data is collected/corrected every second).  Verizon has deployed multiple reference stations in each of its 100 markets in order to provide ‘correction as a service.’  The autonomous driving segment (including location information for C-V2X protocols) is the most obvious market to require this kind of precision (not only for truly autonomous vehicles, but also for interim capabilities such as lane keeping, as RTK knows where in the lane the vehicle is located).  However, it seems clear that other IoT use cases such as robotics ‘last-mile’ functionality, AI-enhanced construction, and pedestrian safety will be emerging applications. Continue reading “Verizon Hyper-Precise Location: Is This a Game-Changer for IoT?”

Capgemini Opens 5G Lab in Paris, Detailing Strategy to Energize Customers to Develop Innovative Use Cases

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Capgemini held an analyst event at its new 5G Lab in Paris on March 30, which detailed its strategy to generate excitement about 5G and drive usage among both existing and potential business customers.
  • The lab will not only demo use cases that showcase the capabilities of 5G to drive transformation, but will also help businesses develop and test PoCs and deploy new use cases at scale, while navigating the complexity of the ecosystem for connectivity, edge, cloud, and other enablers.

Capgemini’s new 5G Lab is a sister facility to one in Mumbai, India; the company also has a facility in Portugal that helps telecom providers develop 5G network solutions.  The company is clearly excited about the potential of 5G to energize digital transformation, ignite innovative use cases, and of course, drive business.  As a leading systems integrator and provider of solutions that enable intelligent industry solutions, Capgemini sees 5G as an important and potentially disruptive enabler that can help redefine how the world will be connected and lead to new revenue-generating business models.  It points out that 5G is the first wireless network developed with the enterprise in mind due to its high availability, capacity, and speeds; its low latency (especially when coupled with edge solutions); its support for massive IoT; and its enablement of mission-critical applications. Continue reading “Capgemini Opens 5G Lab in Paris, Detailing Strategy to Energize Customers to Develop Innovative Use Cases”