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?”

COVID-19: Communication Providers Step Up to Utilize Blockchain for New Use Cases, Including Helping People Impacted by the Outbreak

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Blockchain use cases are evolving, including new systems devised by service providers to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alibaba’s use of blockchain for more efficiently distributing financial payments to affected parties is a good example.
  • The industry has also seen an uptick in other telecom providers’ involvement in the blockchain market, resulting in a number of deployments aimed at improving business processes and enhancing service offerings.

Blockchain holds promise as an enabler for service providers for a wide range of internal and external (customer-facing) use cases, ranging from IoT and mobile device security to payments, supply chain management, asset tracking, and logistics. Retail, manufacturing, and healthcare companies have been identified as the most likely industries to take advantage of these capabilities, but there are many companies that can benefit from the secure trusted ledgers enabled by blockchain. At the same time, during the world’s COVID-19 pandemic, early blockchain use cases are appearing as parts of efforts to help combat the crisis, including Alibaba’s use of blockchain for more efficiently distributing financial payments to affected parties. Continue reading “COVID-19: Communication Providers Step Up to Utilize Blockchain for New Use Cases, Including Helping People Impacted by the Outbreak”

IoT Platforms Add Enhancements for Machine Learning, Application Development, Vertical-Specific Use Cases, Security, and Edge Computing

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

Summary Bullets:

• GlobalData has completed its latest update on the enterprise IoT platform market. Not surprisingly there have been many vendor announcements over the last six months, including new partnerships and new technical capabilities.

• New features focus on updated edge capabilities, machine learning-powered security (and assorted other security enhancements), analytics improvements, further support for no-code application development, and vertical-specific IoT applications.

Over the last 12 months, the enterprise IoT platform market has evolved, with many new capabilities added and diverse go-to market and technology partnerships established. Examples of the latter include Microsoft’s collaboration with Winmate to build hardware, IoT devices, and embedded solutions; SAP and Verizon’s collaboration on analytics; Google’s integration with the Aeris connectivity management platform, and PTC’s partnership with Magic Leap to advance AR in the enterprise. Some of the new capabilities recently announced include the following: Continue reading “IoT Platforms Add Enhancements for Machine Learning, Application Development, Vertical-Specific Use Cases, Security, and Edge Computing”

What to Expect at MWC 2020 for the Enterprise

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• MWC is nearly upon us and GlobalData consumer, infrastructure, and enterprise technology analysts are anticipating the major topics and themes to be showcased at this year’s event.

• While 5G and IoT have been the two big (and broad) themes at the last two shows, this year’s focus may be more granular and, hopefully, will be based more on real-world solutions than on hype, as these technologies start to mature.

Every year at MWC, analysts prepare for a diverse array of one on one meetings, booth tours, and occasionally inspiring keynotes and panel discussions, as well as a barrage of media and marketing events aimed at getting analysts excited about new products and services and turning these into “story” ideas.

Assuming that coronavirus doesn’t further disrupt the event by the time it is scheduled (February 24th-27th) it is fairly easy to anticipate what we will see there. Like the last two years, this year’s show is going to be focused a lot on 5G, on IoT, and on new and improved offerings for both consumers and enterprises, including devices, services, applications, and infrastructure solutions. But since this is the third year in a row that 5G and IoT are the major themes (which is not surprising as MWC remains a show about the mobile industry and these technologies dominate the news cycle), we are hoping that this year will be more about the real world and less about the hype. Clearly IoT has been around for a long time, but has been somewhat disappointing so far in terms of revenues to the provider ecosystem. 5G has barely gotten started, but is already dominant in the service and product discussions of mobile operators and equipment vendors. Continue reading “What to Expect at MWC 2020 for the Enterprise”