• 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.
Prominent KubeCon themes included observability and service mesh.
New Relic and F5/NGINX made key announcements.
The open source software (OSS) community huddled up last week during KubeCon Europe, clearly affected by the past year’s strain on companies and DevOps teams, resolving to refine digitization via emerging technologies. Twice a year, KubeCon provides the industry with a developer-focused gauge of key trends and innovations related to app modernization, DevOps, and Kubernetes/container innovations. Continue reading “KubeCon Europe 2021: Key Themes Centered on Observability and Service Mesh”→
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?”→
Malaysia has joined Indonesia and Vietnam with its commitment to launch 5G this year, while telcos in the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand are moving to the next deployment phase with a wider focus on standalone (SA) architecture, private network services, and industry collaborations.
5G adoption has been revised slightly upward, driven by the increase in the subscriptions and lower overall mobile users.
February 2021 – Singtel Launches Singapore’s First Commercial Indoor 5G Network: Singtel expanded its 5G coverage to VivoCity Mall, with plans to extend the coverage to other popular malls in the country this year. While the focus was mainly on enhancing customer experience through faster speeds (up to 1.2 Gbps), the indoor network is expected to drive new 5G applications in the retail industry such as enhanced shopping experience through AR/VR, personalized customer experience, and smart inventory. Continue reading “ASEAN 5G Q1 2021 Roundup: More Edge Computing and Private Network Developments”→
The enterprise IoT platform market continues to evolve. GlobalData reports that new initiatives over the last six months have focused on edge services, hybrid cloud integration, LoRaWAN support, vertical solutions, and new integrations and partnerships.
GlobalData also notes that AWS, IBM, Microsoft, PTC, and Google continue to lead this market. However, other providers, including Software AG, Oracle, Huawei, Hitachi, and Siemens, also have strong solutions.
‘Service robots’ are coming outdoors as 5G enables operation beyond the range of WiFi.
In Europe, early trials in the Nordics point towards both industrial and B2C use cases.
When 5G networks were first deployed in China, mobile robots were wheeled out almost immediately, demonstrating the possibilities of using the wireless network to control connected devices beyond the range of WiFi. As early as February of last year, makeshift hospitals set up in Wuhan to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic were using robots to perform ultrasonic scans, while on streets around the country, 5G-enabled robots were providing body temperature testing, spraying disinfectants, cleaning surfaces, and delivering prescriptions.
Digital acceleration implements short-term tactical changes over longer-term strategic projects.
Digital acceleration is a response to changing customer demands, not just COVID-19.
Digital transformation has been an industry catchphrase for some time now. Its definition is both vague and changeable, but it speaks to using technology to improve internal processes within an enterprise to deliver cost savings and/or improved performance. It encompasses a wide range of technologies including cloud, SD-WAN, collaboration, IoT, 5G, blockchain, AI, and SaaS.
However, there is a new buzz phrase on the block: digital acceleration. So, is there a difference between digital transformation and digital acceleration? The ‘helpful’ answer to that is ‘yes and no.’ The intentions of both digital transformation and digital acceleration are the same, as are the technologies involved. The big difference is in methodology. Continue reading “Digital Acceleration – For When Digital Transformation Is Too Slow”→
The fragmentation of the IoT supplier ecosystem has long been a barrier to adoption, as enterprises may be worried about having to separately negotiate, pay for, and manage connectivity, devices, security solutions, management platforms, and vertical solutions from multiple suppliers.
The role IT services providers play in making IoT easier to adopt and use is by offering a one-stop shop that combines their own and third-party solutions and adds advisory, integration, professional and managed services, and end-to-end vertical solutions.
In COVID-19 times, IoT has evolved to become a key enabler of solutions to ensure safety of workers, facilitate remote operations through monitoring and control, and ensure uninterrupted supply chains. Some operators and IT services providers (ITSPs) have thrived in this environment, while others have found it difficult to convince skeptical businesses to invest in what may still be perceived as an unproven technology (that has actually been around for 20+ years) with uncertain outcomes. In past years, it has also been difficult for some IoT ecosystem vendors to generate substantial revenues, with security breaches, supplier fragmentation, and perceived high solution costs listed by enterprises as barriers to adoption, along with difficult-to-prove ROIs. Continue reading “Can IT Service Providers Add Significant Value to IoT Deployments?”→
Comcast, Cox Communications, and UScellular all launched IoT businesses in the 2016-2018 time period.
While the big mobile operators get most of the deals, these ‘alternative’ providers continued to improve their portfolios and gained new IoT customers in 2020.
2020 was a mixed bag for IoT services as COVID-19 tamped down some opportunities while spawning others, especially in the areas of healthcare, building management, and remote operations. While new services were launched by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, there are other service providers in the mix. MVNOs such as Sierra Wireless and KORE offer increasingly industry-specific IoT connectivity and platforms, using aggregated cellular connectivity from top mobile operators. In addition, several cable companies and consumer-oriented cellular providers also launched IoT services or full-fledged business units in 2016-2018 to further monetize their networks and offer added value to their business customer bases. In 2020, they added platform capabilities, launched services for new verticals with wide-ranging solution partners, and gained a sprinkling of new customers. Continue reading “Cable Companies and Smaller Mobile Operators Progress on the IoT Services Front”→
Edge computing is still new in the ASEAN region, with very limited initiatives by providers and enterprises.
Providers and enterprises should start exploring the opportunity to gain a first-mover advantage.
The edge computing market is still new, but the ecosystem is developing fast with various initiatives and collaborations announced by key players in the last 12 months. This includes SK Telecom’s recent partnerships with VMware and Dell to offer edge computing in private 5G networking solutions (January 2021), AWS and Vodafone’s collaboration to roll out distributed multi-access edge computing (MEC) services in the UK (December 2020), Ericsson and Telstra’s initiative to develop enterprise use cases in verticals such as agriculture and smart cities in Australia, and many more. Edge computing has become a key focus for every provider across the technology stacks, including hardware vendors, cloud providers, telcos, and device manufacturers. Continue reading “Telco Edge Computing in ASEAN”→