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”

Singtel Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance Its IoT Portfolio

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Singtel is strengthening its IoT portfolio through a partnership with Microsoft by integrating a range of Azure capabilities into its network.
  • Its service coverage is still limited in Singapore, China and Australia (Optus) compared to the global IoT networks offered by competitors.

Singtel announced its partnership with Microsoft in February 2019 to launch an AI-powered IoT network over Microsoft Azure. This is achieved through integration of Singtel’s IoT network into Microsoft Azure cloud capabilities, including IoT Hub, IoT Edge, and other machine learning and cognitive services. Singtel has a comprehensive IoT portfolio with software-defined network capabilities, a range of technologies including LPWAN standards, a private IoT network for added security (‘IoTConnect+’), competitive pricing (as low as SGD1 per month for 10 MB on NB-IoT) and various solutions across industry verticals. The additional capability gained from the partnership with Microsoft complements the carrier’s IoT portfolio. The AI capabilities enable the carrier to deliver more efficient services, especially in the orchestration and automation of applications and workloads across IoT stacks (e.g., devices, network and clouds), thus accelerating enterprises’ business outcomes and the ROI. The cloud services offer scalable deployments, addressing the high upfront investments required by enterprises to implement IoT use cases. It also enables Singtel to retain its IoT leadership in Singapore and address the increasing demand in the key Asian hub. GlobalData research shows that 62% of 1,664 global enterprises interviewed (including 65% of 57 in Singapore) are making major or large investments in IoT in the next three years. The access to Microsoft’s vast range of development tools, developers and other packaged solutions enables the carrier to further strengthen its own IoT platform capabilities, while IoT Hub offers an additional platform option to its customers in addressing diverse market demands. Continue reading “Singtel Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance Its IoT Portfolio”

Will Maxis’ New Enterprise Strategy Work?

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Maxis redefined its enterprise strategy to grow its business in the managed services market.
  • The provider needs to tackle the real needs of enterprises instead of just replicating best practices.

The practice of consumer telcos entering the enterprise managed service market is not uncommon, especially for telcos playing in a mature market. Telcos are looking to expand their revenue streams, as business from the traditional services (e.g., data, broadband, voice) is no longer growing. Maxis, a leading consumer mobile provider in Malaysia, started this journey as early as 2010, although the consumer mobile market was still growing at that time and there was no critical need for the service provider to look for new business areas. The move was mainly driven by technology leadership, following ‘best practice’ from other global leaders at that time. Today, while the provider is still playing in the enterprise managed service market, the driver has shifted from technology leadership/innovation to a real need to grow revenue in the segment and hence the overall business. Without much success in the past (with only 1.4% growth in 2017 and 3.1% decline in 2018), Maxis recently shared its new strategy to grow its enterprise service (managed services, cloud and IoT) by threefold in five years, focusing on leveraging connectivity assets and replicating industry best practice. While the strategy looks promising, will it work for Maxis in the Malaysia market? Continue reading “Will Maxis’ New Enterprise Strategy Work?”

IoT Projects Increasingly Target Revenue Growth

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

• Most IoT projects to date have focused on increasing efficiency or reducing costs

• In 2018, IoT deployments are increasingly intended to generate new revenues as well

IoT offers operators and enterprises a slew of opportunities, with the rise of pervasive connectivity opening up new ways to both collect and generate data in pursuit of stronger businesses and a better experience for customers. The GlobalData IoT Innovations Tracker is following new deployments across sectors worldwide, capturing the key use cases and technology choices made by the deploying organizations. But it also considers the key questions for each deployment: Why are we doing this? What do we hope to gain from this IoT project?
Continue reading “IoT Projects Increasingly Target Revenue Growth”

The Road Ahead for Australian Start-up MOVUS for AI and Predictive Maintenance

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

• Reactive, Preventive, and Predictive Maintenance regimes will continue to be major use cases for AI-assisted industrial IoT deployments

• As a start-up, MOVUS has a strong first mover local advantage, channels, an end-to-end platform and OT approach which are unique.

Artificial intelligence (AI) – the science of making computers mimic humans using logic, decision trees, deep learning, and machine learning – is fast approaching the market opportunity around preventive and predictive maintenance. According to a recent GlobalData survey, the top two business challenges in Australia are in improving operational efficiency and reducing costs. Many businesses, such as manufacturers, producers of natural resources, through to the agriculture and health sectors, need ongoing reliability of machines and their constituent parts to keep the lights on in the business. Unplanned outages, for example, can cost an oil and gas company, on average $50 million dollars annually. In the case of a windfarm, in the event of one single fail, an entire turbine needs to come down, a technical crew with a crane needs to be on site costing $100,000 or more for each time a part fails. There are many cases of overheated servers in data centers that caused major outages. The myriad of examples create compelling business cases. Continue reading “The Road Ahead for Australian Start-up MOVUS for AI and Predictive Maintenance”