Are CBRS-powered Private Nets a Threat to Operators?

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

Summary Bullets:

• Operators and network infrastructure providers are vying to provide enterprises with “private” in-building networks that use cellular alternatives to WiFi (4G LTE and 5G), for advanced speed, reliability, security, and low latency.

• The supplier ecosystem for private nets is already crowded, and now Amazon and Google are among the applicants for 3.5 Ghz CBRS shared-spectrum management licenses. Enterprises can also apply for licenses themselves.

CBRS is a wireless technology that operates in three tiers: Tier 1 is used by the Navy, DoD, and by military satellites, while the other two tiers are for commercial use. Applicants can apply for: a Priority Access License (PAL), a non-renewable three-year license to use a 10MHz channel within the 3500-3650MHz portion of the band, in a limited geographical area. They can also apply for General Authorized Access (GAA), which is unlicensed, like WiFi, and provides dynamic allocation of available 100MHz channels so that access does not interfere with communications in the higher tiers. There are also applications for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to use the technology for testing purposes. Continue reading “Are CBRS-powered Private Nets a Threat to Operators?”

TM ONE Smart Services: End-to-End IoT Solutions Tailored for Local Needs

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • TM ONE leverages its wide ICT capabilities, research and development, and local knowledge to offer IoT solutions and gain a competitive edge in the market by addressing the needs of domestic enterprises.
  • However, the applications offered are limited and there are still gaps in its platform features compared to others in the market.

IoT in Malaysia and the Main Inhibitor

IoT has become a business need rather than a good-to-have technology. With benefits such as reducing operational expenditure, the technology is implemented by enterprises across verticals as a new solution or a replacement of the existing process. In Malaysia, the IoT deployment is growing, driven by the manufacturing sector, which accounts for over 80% of the country’s total exports and 23% of the GDP. However, overall adoption is still low, mainly due to the high solution cost and intangible business case, as revealed by a recent study done by GlobalData. For example, the labour and utility costs are low in the country, making it challenging for enterprises to justify the investment needed to implement IoT solutions. An IoT solution that replaces a human role needs to cost less than the minimum annual wage in the country (US$3,100) before the enterprise can start seeing the cost benefits. In another example, a solution that offers 25% of energy reduction from street lights offers savings of only US$20 per light, per year. While the benefits are proven and promising, the total investment required for end-to-end IoT solutions (connectivity, devices, platform, security and services) is often higher than the cost benefits a solution can offer in Malaysia. Continue reading “TM ONE Smart Services: End-to-End IoT Solutions Tailored for Local Needs”

At Last, We Can Bid a Fond Farewell to Microsoft’s Troubled Skype for Business Online

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Starting on September 1, 2019, Microsoft will begin onboarding new Office 365 users directly into Microsoft Teams, in essence removing the option for customers to run both Teams and the soon-to-be-retired Skype for Business Online.
  • Though somewhat extreme, this migration plan has been coming on for some time now, frankly ever since Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams in 2017.

Via blog post earlier this week, Microsoft made the wholly unsurprising announcement that it would officially retire its long-term messaging solution, Skype for Business Online, on July 31st, 2021. Unlike many similar migration plans, where rival products can linger for years after closure, Microsoft does not intend to let Skype for Business Online slowly fade away. Continue reading “At Last, We Can Bid a Fond Farewell to Microsoft’s Troubled Skype for Business Online”

Video Analytics for Public Safety Will Require Digital Transformation

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

  • AI and machine learning-powered video analytics are revolutionizing the video capabilities of public safety departments, with solutions like Scene from Nokia and Appearance Search from Motorola Solutions-owned Avigilon leading the way.
  • Further integration into other public safety infrastructure will be critical to leverage the full potential of this technology, but that presents a challenge, as many critical communications systems rely on siloed radio networks.

Video analytics has been a hot topic for the past few years, but only recently have we seen larger-scale deployments in the public safety sphere. Government spend on these technologies is set to increase in the coming years, and plenty of vendors are readying their portfolios to meet this demand. While there is a wealth of small players specializing in this field, Nokia has developed its Scene Analytics platform and Motorola Solutions purchased AI-based video analytics company Avigilon in March 2018. Both these vendors have seen some significant return on these investments, with Nokia launching its Scene Analytics service in Belgium through security company Room40. Meanwhile, Motorola Solutions has a host of wins for its Aviligon service across public safety, logistics, and education, including the New Bedford Housing Authority in the US, Express Cargo in Ireland and Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. Continue reading “Video Analytics for Public Safety Will Require Digital Transformation”

AT&T and Verizon Compete to Offer U.S. Public Safety Solutions

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

Summary Bullets:

• AT&T positions its public safety network, FirstNet, not only as a highly significant win and lucrative opportunity, but also as the highest-performing, fastest, most secure wireless communications network for first responders.

• While Verizon may do less marketing, it remains a very strong player in the public sector, with its own benefits for first responders and a somewhat different approach to the market than its rival.

When AT&T won the FirstNet deal in 2017, it was seen as a major coup for the carrier and a big blow to mobile operator rivals. FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce, authorized by Congress in 2012, with the mission to develop, build, and operate a nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. In 2017, after an open RFP process, a public-private partnership was forged between the federal government and AT&T. FirstNet agreed to provide 20 MHz of telecommunications spectrum and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the network buildout; AT&T will spend about $40 billion over the life of the contract to build, deploy, operate, and maintain the network, with a focus on ensuring robust coverage for public safety. AT&T can also use FirstNet’s spectrum when it is not being used by public safety for other, commercial purposes but it must prioritize first responders over any commercial users. As of May 2019, AT&T had connected approximately 600,000 wireless devices to the network from 7,250 agencies, and offers FirstNet on Band 14 spectrum in 600 markets, roughly 50% of its eventual proposed coverage. The operator notes that 50% of these agencies are new to AT&T and were not just upgrades from existing customers. AT&T doesn’t just provide wireless connectivity to first responders (for both phones/tablets/fleets and IoT devices), but offers applications, specialized devices, enhanced security solutions, and satellite options. Flying Cells on Wings (COWS) were recently introduced, comprised of two tethered drones and a trailer equipped with a satellite dish and fiber connections, which are well suited to provide connectivity in hard to reach locations for emergencies such as wildfires and earthquakes. Continue reading “AT&T and Verizon Compete to Offer U.S. Public Safety Solutions”

Alibaba Cloud Strengthens Its ASEAN Presence, Penetrating into Domestic IoT Ecosystem

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

• Alibaba Cloud’s partnership with Sena on Smart City initiative strengthens the provider partner ecosystem, especially with the domestic players.

• However, Alibaba Cloud’s City Brain still has limited customer references compared to other hyperscalers such as AWS and Azure. The cloud stack such as AWS Outpost and Azure Stack would enable cloud providers to address the data residency and edge compute requirements without having local facilities.

On May 23, 2019, Alibaba Cloud announced a collaboration with Sena Traffic System (Sena), Malaysia’s leading smart traffic controller, to build a smart traffic management in the country. In the partnership, Alibaba Cloud will provide its City Brain solution, cloud computing resources, and talent development programs while Sena will be responsible for the overall design and development of the traffic light systems as well as the deployment. Continue reading “Alibaba Cloud Strengthens Its ASEAN Presence, Penetrating into Domestic IoT Ecosystem”

Key Takeaways from PTC LiveWorx

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• At LiveWorx 2019 PTC used the term Digital Thread to describe how its CAD, product lifecycle management, and IoT/AI/AR products are interconnected, providing a comprehensive end-to-end solution for manufacturers bringing a product to market and remaining connected to the buyer.

• PTC highlighted its AR functionality at the show, a unique capability in the markets where it plays. AR may be on the rise, but in need of a marketing boost; many PTC and partner demos showcased AR use cases.

PTC LiveWorx is always full of interesting presentations, exhibits and demonstrations, not only about PTC products but also about products and services from its key partners and the broader IoT ecosystem, from integrators to operators to technology start-ups. This year was different because rather than treat IoT as a silo, with a focus almost exclusively on ThingWorx and the IoT market at the show, its new positioning is to portray its entire product line from CAD (Creo) to product lifecycle management (Windchill) to ThingWorx IoT, analytics, and AR as connected by a “digital thread” that also aligns with the digital processes that a manufacturer goes through as it designs, manages and connects its products. This way of looking more holistically at its entire product line makes sense as PTC primarily sells IoT capabilities to its own installed base of over 35,000 manufacturers. It also enriched the show with more diverse demos and exhibits. PTC made about ten public announcements at the show, ranging from expanding its alliance with Microsoft to include WIndchill on Azure; winning partner of the year awards from Microsoft and HPE; touting and expanding its alliance with Rockwell Automation for digital transformation; and the launch of new ThingWorx tools that simplify the composition, configuration and deployment of IoT solutions. Continue reading “Key Takeaways from PTC LiveWorx”

Is This the Year of Augmented Reality?

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

Summary Bullets:

• At PTC LiveWorks 2019, augmented reality (AR) in the business segment (especially the manufacturing vertical) was a big theme, supported by customers on panels, and featured with compelling demos, in partner exhibits.

• While the outlook is optimistic, there are some limitations to uptake, including price of devices, corporate cultures that appreciate old-fashioned in-person training, and lack of manufacturers that are ready for digital transformation.

At PTC’s annual LiveWorks show, held from June 10th through 13th in Boston, the use of AR by businesses was a major theme. The technology is positioned by PTC as a way to bridge the physical and digital worlds. AR can digitally replicate an object such as a machine used in a manufacturing environment, or a complicated subsystem used in a complex field environment such as an oil rig. It essentially makes either a 3D model that can be viewed with a HoloLens or other smart glasses technology (easy to do with PTC’s CAD system, CREO) or a digital twin – essentially 3D in two dimensions – for viewing on a phone or tablet, which accurately represents all components of the machine, with all of its parts easy to discern. The model can have annotations added, including step-by-step training instructions, or ways to identify a part through colors or other effects. The AR model can provide simulations for operations such as seeing both the inside and outside of a machine or any component, or simulating operations such as refilling a fuel tank, or opening and closing a valve, etc. In 2015 PTC acquired Vuforia, which was a leading provider of AR software, picking up solutions to create content with 3D overlays, author and publish content quickly as needed, allow developers to create branded solutions, and mark-up views to highlight details or guide multi-step solutions. Continue reading “Is This the Year of Augmented Reality?”

Geopolitical Issues Roil IT Sector

S. Schuchart

Summary Bullets:

• Cost sharing between vendors/SPs and customers can strengthen relationships in a difficult time.

• Calm and deliberate planning by vendors/SPs and customers is key to minimizing impacts to business.

The new tariffs on imported goods in China and the U.S. will have a significant impact on pending and future deals, both for service providers, vendors, and customers. The technology industry has a complex and deeply international supply chain, with U.S. and Chinese companies both utilizing components and intellectual property. Component price increases will lead to sharp increases in product costs. These increases will slow or stall deals as customers may wait and see if the issues can be resolved in a short time frame.
Continue reading “Geopolitical Issues Roil IT Sector”

WiFi 6 and Its Benefits to Enterprises

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • WiFi 6 is entering the market and will offer higher capacity, better security, and more efficient resource/device management.
  • As a successor to the current WiFi standard, it will be widely adopted in the mass market. There are also several benefits to enterprises.

What’s New

WiFi 6, which is based on the IEEE802.11ax standard, is a logical progression of the current WiFi technology (IEEE802.11ac). It comes with various new features and updated technologies to offer higher network capacity and security as well as better device management. WiFi 6 has a theoretical peak speed of 9.6 Gbps, almost triple that of its predecessor (WiFi 5). This is achieved through updated wireless technologies such as orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) and multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output (MU-MIMO) antenna systems. However, the gain in capacity is not just about offering a higher speed, but also about addressing the larger number of WiFi devices served by an access point (AP). Continue reading “WiFi 6 and Its Benefits to Enterprises”