Cisco Fleshes Out Its IoT Vision at Virtual Summit

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Cisco’s virtual IoT summit (held on June 18 as a special adjunct to Cisco Live) helped illustrate how its IoT products and those of its partners work together to provide end-to-end solutions to businesses in diverse industrial verticals and help bring together IT and OT constituencies.
  • Recent additions to the IoT portfolio include high-capacity and ruggedized networking equipment to meet industrial requirements, while Cisco’s intended acquisition of Fluidmesh and a variety of partner solutions add differentiated capabilities.

Cisco acknowledges that the customer’s need for visibility and security, IT/OT collaboration, and expanded connectivity is driving its IoT solution mix. It is optimistic about the road ahead for IoT, seeing new opportunities in smart cities, railways, utilities, public safety, manufacturing, oil & gas, ports, and mining. As organizations are converging to all-IP networks, they are also experimenting with use cases such as real-time traffic updates, automated power distribution, predictive maintenance, and wireless backhaul for fast-moving assets. This need for higher performance and bandwidth plays into Cisco’s core routing and switching product portfolio, so it is no surprise that two new products noted at the Summit were for network connectivity equipment. However, beyond routers and switches, the vendor also has products and platforms for IoT connectivity management, data control and exchange, edge computing, and cybersecurity as well as a lot of interesting partner solutions that add to its IoT opportunities. With these building blocks, in Cisco’s words, it can help “build a robust network, identify and secure devices, expand connectivity everywhere, extract data, and drive outcomes.” Continue reading “Cisco Fleshes Out Its IoT Vision at Virtual Summit”

Mobility and IoT; Have Businesses Changed Their Spending Due to COVID-19?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• GlobalData’s latest ICT survey includes questions on 2019 budget and 2020 spending plans for many technologies, as well as pre and post COVID-19 priorities and investment plans. The survey covers diverse areas from digital transformation to cloud services, software, hardware, networking, security, consulting, outsourcing, mobility, IoT, and more.

• Mobility and IoT spending appear relatively static, as the percent of the budget they represent hardly changed from 2019 to 2020. However, 12% of respondents said mobile spending may decrease due to COVID-19, and the percent of businesses planning to invest in subsets of IoT such as telematics, NFC, security and IoT platforms will also decrease due to COVID-19 concerns.

COVID-19 has put a damper on the spending plans of many businesses, especially in hard-hit verticals such as retail, travel and tourism, public and private transportation, retail banking, and non-essential businesses where people normally congregate. Continue reading “Mobility and IoT; Have Businesses Changed Their Spending Due to COVID-19?”

Virtual PTC LiveWorx Gets Its Message Across

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • PTC held a virtual version of its annual LiveWorx event on June 9, highlighting its own products but bringing in discussions from customers, partners, and leaders in related technologies such as augmented reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), and digital transformation.
  • The event worked pretty well with a combination of live and recorded events, losing some of the detailed product discussions while – needless to say – lacking the dynamism of the ‘Xtropolis’ exhibit hall that usually showcased new PTC and partner solutions.

PTC’s LiveWorx has always been a lively and informative show for those interested in areas such as CAD-enabled product development, product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing automation, augmented reality, the industrial IoT, and digital transformation. Rather than playing to the analyst community per se, the LiveWorx audience has always included existing and prospective PTC customers as well as a roster of its diverse set of strategic, go-to-market, and integration partners. Continue reading “Virtual PTC LiveWorx Gets Its Message Across”

What Is the Telco Edge?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• There are opportunities for operators to leverage edge technology as a key enabler to enhance the performance of applications that leverage their 4G LTE/5G networks. This is especially important for supporting new IoT use cases.

• Operators can provide Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) gear that are essentially micro data centers, collocated with base stations at the perimeter of their networks to process and store data nearer to where it is created. But they can also orchestrate other edge solutions along with cloud services hyperscalers, equipment vendors, and IT service provider partners.

There are many locations where operators can locate or orchestrate edge resources:
– Within their own network(e.g., at telco offices)
– At the perimeter of their network(e.g., at RAN or base station locations)
– At third party locations between the edge of the CSP and operator networks, or at the edge of a customer’s network
– Within customers’ networks(e.g., for retail and factory locations)

By locating a mesh of local or regional micro data centers adjacent to telco infrastructure to store and process data, there are benefits both for the operator and the enterprise customer. The benefits to the operator include lowering the cost of sending traffic to a remote data center or public cloud. Continue reading “What Is the Telco Edge?”

What’s New in Industrial IoT Services?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • In spite of a likely short-term dampening effect on technology spending due to COVID-19, many businesses are continuing to see the benefits of IoT, and mobile operators are meeting their demand through new capabilities.
  • Over the last six months, new roaming relationships, ecosystem alliances for application enablement, vertical solutions, and edge partnerships have deepened and broadened IoT service portfolios.

While we wait for significantly more ubiquitous availability of 5G, which we believe will be an enabler of further real-time ultra-low latency IoT capabilities in a few years, the IoT ecosystem remains active and engaged. Not only are there IoT applications which help detect and combat COVID-19 (seeCOVID-19: As IoT Ramps Up, Will COVID-19 Tamp It Down or Will the Ecosystem Find Ways to Help Detect and Combat the Pandemic?,” March 25, 2020); mobile operators have also added significantly to their portfolios over the last six months to make IoT offerings more compelling to businesses. These additions include edge alliances, partnerships for roaming and footprint expansion, application enablement and analytics, and vertical solutions. Continue reading “What’s New in Industrial IoT Services?”

Verizon’s Multi-Layer Approach to IoT Security

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• While there are many approaches to IoT security, consumers and businesses still have reasonable doubt – will carriers and vendors be able to sway public opinion?

• Service providers talk about the need to provide security at every layer – at end and edge devices, for data in transit through multiple networks, and to cloud services providers and applications. Verizon is well on its way to realize this goal.

Every survey conducted by GlobalData on IoT (and every other one I have ever seen) over the past five years notes that the major barrier to adoption of IoT is still fear of the lack of end-to-end security and “the end” of data privacy. It doesn’t help that in-home devices such as cameras and voice assistants have already caused some famously embarrassing invasions of privacy. We are approaching a time when 5G-enabled low latency, high speed, and “massive” bandwidth availability may finally push IoT adoption towards the tens of billions of devices that have been predicted for years. But alongside this growth is a vision of billions of unprotected, unmanned devices in the field that are able to not only see and hear what humans say and use this data to sell products, but may cause serious breaches to business and government systems that have already been weakened by cyber-security malware and identity theft. Continue reading “Verizon’s Multi-Layer Approach to IoT Security”

COVID-19: Industrial Automation Has Become an “Essential” Business Process

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• The definition of an essential business during the pandemic is an evolving one and includes more than just grocery stores, drug stores, and financial services. As the food supply may be in danger, the definition has expanded.

• To keep industries running that affect the national food supply, companies that provide industrial automation solutions that help ensure that manufacturing lines of food and beverage companies keep going are now considered essential.

After I got over my horror that my son was still expected to go into his company office three times a week, I learned that his business was considered an essential one, according to state COVID-19 definitions. This is because his company keeps manufacturing companies, which include food and beverage manufacturers, up and running, through industrial automation, robotics, and machine vision technology. I interviewed my son to find out how this works. Continue reading “COVID-19: Industrial Automation Has Become an “Essential” Business Process”

COVID-19: Post-Crisis Outlook for 5G Adoption in the Enterprise

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • While 5G for consumers will kick-start the appetite, enterprise 5G has long been considered the ‘real’ opportunity for a wide ecosystem of service providers and vendors.
  • With some operators delaying launches and standards bodies delaying updates due to COVID-19, when will we see the market take off?

While operators are seeing huge demand for core voice, data, and collaboration services among consumer and enterprise customers that need to leverage remote communication while social distancing, 5G is such a nascent technology that the addition of a global pandemic is bound to have a dampening effect on the market opportunity. In the consumer market, there is still no 5G iPhone (until September at the earliest), and in general, carriers are having some trouble explaining to customers why they need to upgrade to 5G. Even without the pandemic, there has been limited uptake of new and expensive 5G devices that don’t provide clear benefits, even though operators have not yet pushed up data plan prices. Continue reading “COVID-19: Post-Crisis Outlook for 5G Adoption in the Enterprise”

COVID-19: AT&T Responds to the Crisis by Adapting Services to Fit Unique Requirements of Businesses and First Responders

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Telecom operators are seeing a huge uptick in usage of their voice and collaboration services, as droves of employees are now working remotely.
  • AT&T is not only meeting this capacity demand surge, but also adapting enterprise offerings and support services as well as launching new capabilities for first responders.

Not surprisingly, AT&T has already seen a huge uptick in business usage of its voice and collaboration services in the past three weeks. In addition to meeting this capacity surge, it is also adapting its services portfolio with 13 unique business offers while also enhancing communication capabilities to meet the needs of first responders. Continue reading “COVID-19: AT&T Responds to the Crisis by Adapting Services to Fit Unique Requirements of Businesses and First Responders”

COVID-19: As IoT Ramps Up, Will COVID-19 Tamp It Down or Will the Ecosystem Find Ways to Help Detect and Combat the Pandemic?

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

Summary Bullets

• As many sectors of the economy are already negatively affected by COVID-19, the big ramp up of IoT that we have been anticipating, alongside the growth of 5G and edge computing, may also be in jeopardy.

• However, IoT may also be used to facilitate capabilities such as remote learning, remote health monitoring, working at home, enhanced public safety, and people tracking, much-needed technology for detecting and even helping to fight the disease.

With the global economy in a tailspin, technology providers within the IoT ecosystem are looking for ways to use their skills, software platforms, infrastructure, and connectivity platforms to help fight both the economic and health problems associated with COVID-19. Some of the areas where IoT is likely to be put to good use include:

Smart Detection: People Tracking/video surveillance and facial recognition with location permissions tracked via phone apps (used in China and Israel). HD cameras for body temperature monitoring.

Smart Healthcare: Remote patient monitoring and telehealth (thermal imaging for contagion monitoring, remote monitoring and diagnosis at home and during patient transfer, smart medical robots to care for quarantined patients)

Smart Home: Sinks to control soap and water flow for proper handwashing

Smart City/Public Safety: Patrol drones to enforce Shelter-in-Place laws, control centers for food and resource supply management

Smart Manufacturing: Remote equipment monitoring/repair, along with machine vision to detect anomalies. Remote command centers/IT and security management. Remote/OTA security and patches for connected equipment in manufacturing, utilities and oil and gas locations.

Wearables: Smart watches and fitness trackers for early detection. Smart rings for healthcare workers to track their own temperature and other parameters. Remote/OTA security and patches for wearable devices.

Some of these initiatives are causing legitimate concerns over privacy, as governments (in China and Israel for example) may use technology to control crowds, identify people who have been exposed to the virus through surveillance, AI, facial recognition, and video analytics, and even block their access to specific locations. Telecom operators are also involved because these controls are often dependent on exposing location and other personal data on users’ phones.

Continue reading “COVID-19: As IoT Ramps Up, Will COVID-19 Tamp It Down or Will the Ecosystem Find Ways to Help Detect and Combat the Pandemic?”