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

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Observations and Trends in Wireless Communications from MWC16

Mobile World Congress MWC 2016The 2016 edition of MWC had two key themes: 5G and IoT. Both themes are positioned as potential revenue drivers for MNOs, but they are diametrically opposed propositions. These themes enforce the status of the MNOs as connectivity providers. Connectivity is a (necessary) commodity; 5G and IoT will take time to unfold as bounded by the requirements of investments and market development. But behind the limelight, the Internet giants and OTTs continue to lead the evolution towards network virtualization, while leveraging their inherent cloud and big data advantages, and as such, driving towards major market disruption. New business models are now possible that may render the MNOs to spectrum holders as service delivery is achieved through multiple channels with the cellular network being one of many such channels. Read more of this post

MWC2015 Wrap-up Notes

MWCIf there’s a single theme to sum up this year’s MWC, it is the acquisitions that were announced. A number were announced and many are yet to be announced: NXP’s acquisition of Freescale ($11.8 bllion), HP of Aruba, Mitel of Mavenir, CommAgility of MIMOON are but a few examples. Consolidation is a natural outcome for an industry that transcends communications to offer multiple services including but not limited to entertainment, education, and financial services. So in a clear trend, we find more focus this year on how to enable mobile network operators (MNOs) generate more revenue as opposed to a focus on performance which is characteristics of past years. This represents a new level of maturity in a number of products and solutions that initially were brought upon as a mean to enhance performance but since have morphed into tools to generate revenue. It is also an acknowledgement that the status quo for MNOs characterized by eroding margins (EBITDA margins have dipped below 40% down from low 50% range a few years ago) has to change whereby data services are better monetized. Read more of this post

Observations on MWC 2014 – My Takeaways

Saddlenode BifurcationIn a nutshell, the wireless industry keeps on getting broader and more bifurcated. This is the main trend that has been around for years and that will not stop. Communication is becoming truly pervasive. Opportunities and confusion are intermingled. To understand it all, one needs to cut across wider breadth and dive into greater depth to separate hype from reality. This is a challenge all in its own. Separating the real from the fake is harder than ever!

In this year’s edition, some of my observations are: Read more of this post

Mobile Data Traffic Predictions Say: It’s WiFi Offload!

Mobile Data - Small Cell NetworksIf you’re in the wireless infrastructure business, you’ve seen it many, many times. I’m talking about the predictions showing exponential mobile data traffic growth. Hardly a conference presentation goes by without seeing this graph on the first or second slide. It became customary to preface any discussion with this context, often with the idea to get people salivating at a potential windfall of profits from selling systems, software, or services. But predictions are tricky, and mobile data predictions are particularly tricky. A sober read of the facts and what’s behind the headlines is revealing.

Let’s have a look at Cisco’s latest VNI was released earlier last month. It includes a significant reduction in estimated mobile data traffic of about a third for 2012-2016 from those estimated a year ago (29% reduction for 2012). Cumulative average growth rate drops from 78% (18x) to 66% (13x) for the 5-year period ending 2016 and 2017, respectively. Mobile data growth, although still substantial, is not as high as we thought it is, and it is continuously being downgraded every passing year. Predicting data growth is tough business. Read more of this post

Word Clouding MWC: Observations and Takeaways.

MWC Cloud LogoMWC is over. In reflecting on the show, I came up with an idea and tried it out, just for fun. What if I take all the news coverage from the show and generate a ‘word cloud,’ would I be able to zoom in on the few key trends? What would ‘word clouding’ tell me? As it turned out, it was much more work than I had anticipated, but it was an interesting process. I’ll take you through this while I add my observations on the show. Read more of this post

MWC 2012: Larger Devices, Smaller Cells!

MWC 2012 Larger Devices Smaller Cells

Just back home from MWC’12… What a show this year… Over 67,000 attendees and some 1500 exhibitors, and some student protests in the mix… It was the biggest to date and a good finale for the Fira before moving next year to a new nearby location.

For those in the mobile infrastructure space, long gone are the days when infrastructure set the agenda. The show is now strongly dominated by the handset and applications of mobile technology to everyday life: in the home, the car, applications for entertainment and for health and everything else conceivable. Surely, the show is no longer bound for the industry’s elite, but is becoming a major consumer event. The crowds jamming the Samsung booth for a peak at the latest tablets and the buzz and excitement of the App Planet are but a couple of examples. Read more of this post