Midterm Observations on the Telecom Industry.

Observations - Telecom IndustryThree events were held this past week that provided an opportunity to get a midterm pulse of the telecom industry: the MWC-Shanghai, 5G World and WBA Congress. Having attended the last two, I wanted to summarize a few observations:

* The vision for 5G is converging; industry is aligning along common themes.  A few leading operators are racing to claim 5G capability for different reasons and interests. The absence of standards coupled with vendors’ urgent need for 5G, will lead to market confusion which will climax in the next two years as the olympics in Japan and Korea approach and companies and countries race to claim firsts. Expect to be inundated with terms such as ‘5G-Lite’, ‘pre-5G’, ‘5G-Phase1’, ‘pre-certified 5G’, ‘5G-ready’, etc. Read more of this post

Comparative Look at LPWA Performance.

There are over a dozen LPWA technologies contending to provide connectivity for some of the billions of connected devices as projected by market analysts. How they all compare with each other is a hot topic in the race to markets. We recently published detailed analysis benchmarking these technologies in terms of capacity, range, throughput, power consumption and other characteristics*. In the process we developed a graphic for two parameters – range and throughput. Both are important parameters, but in the context of IoT, they are not the only parameters that need to be considered. Nevertheless, it is worth outlining some important aspects of this graphic. Read more of this post

5 Reasons Why Smart Cities Fail

Smart Cities - IoTBeyond the hype of Smart Cities lies a number of challenges that have made the realization of smart cities a slow and arduous process. Some of the top challenges in my experience are the following:

1- Budget: cities operate on very tight budgets. The budget allocated to information technology is a relatively small part of the overall budget. This gates smart city activities a municipality can engage even before considering any other factor. Read more of this post

The Mushrooming IoT Alliances!

IoT AlliancesMany industry associations emerged on the scene within the last 8 – 18 months reflecting both the heightened interest in the general IoT space and the need for interoperability in a fragmented market. These alliances can be categorized broadly into two groups: industry collaboration alliances and technology alliances focused on ensuring interoperability among devices. For the home automation space, alliances and organizations have recently formed with the direct purpose of enabling interoperability of connected home devices. We review these below in addition to listing adjacent alliances that have influence on this market. Read more of this post

MNOs Investments in LPWA: Strategic or Tactical Expediency?

Internet of Things LPWA IoTOver a year ago, SK Telecom invested in SigFox in a round that raised €100 m from a consortium of investors that included Telefonica and NTT Docomo. This week, SKT announces that it will build a LoRa network at a cost of more than $84 m over two years. In the meantime, SKT is working with Ericsson to evaluate the potential of LTE Cat-m2, the new designation for Narrowband-IoT (NB-Iot), which is the latest of a series of LTE-based standards for IoT connectivity. This is only one example among many of a mobile service provider taking a multi-pronged approach to address IoT connectivity. The moves by many MNOs in this space raise many questions, such as: Why are MNOs making multiple investments in IoT? What is the business opportunity? Are MNOs serious about LPWANs? Is this interest based on hype or is there a real business to be had?  Read more of this post

The State of IoT Connectivity

IoT: LPWA vs. NB-IoT LTEMWC16 was a great venue to check the pulse of developments in IoT connectivity. We summarized part of our observations which we shared and published (link). It caused many follow ups by colleagues and friends who voiced a wide range of opinions that I thought some further color would be useful.

To start, the main challenge in IoT is applications. The challenge is not technology which exists. Rather, the issue is in making the business case for IoT to arrive at a functional solution. That cycle is long and expensive. When we drill deeper into many IoT activities, the question becomes “who will pay for this service.” Technology can lower the cost, but there are many elements that are not technology related which gate the process. Read more of this post

IoT in the Home: Funding

Home Automation FundingSmart home startups took $454 million in investor funding in 2014, an increase of 57% over 2013[1]. Among the largest deals in the space over the past six months include a $38MM Series B from Bessemer Venture Partners, Comcast Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures to August (smart locks) and a $31.8 million Series B to connected home software platform Zonoff from investors including Grotech Ventures and Valhalla Partners.

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