Does the Short Road to 4.5G Mean a Long Road to 5G?!

4.5G vs. 5GBrowse through industry literature or conference proceedings and trade shows, and you’ll be inundated with talk about 5G. On the other hand little is to be found on “4.5G”, or technically speaking, LTE Release 12 and 13 branded as LTE-Advanced Pro [which incidentally I find to be a bad choice of terms that I prefer to use 4.5G even as I don’t like the nomenclature!]. Why is there little to discuss on 4.5 G and much to talk about on 5G? What does this tells us about 4.5G and 5G? And, is there something between the lines that we can read? Read more of this post

Will Smart Parking be the NB-IoT Killer App?

NB-IoTThe outcome of the IoT connectivity standard battle which is in full swing today will hinge on a number of factors. One critical factor is the application of the technology. Applications vary in requirements as well as in barriers of entry. While IoT promises huge economic potential at a macro-economic level, it is a major challenge for any entity, be it investor or service provider,  to assess where to place its investments and focus. Such dynamics are fully evident today at different levels: competition between LPWA and 3GPP IoT standards, and the competition within each camp, for example, between backers of NB-IoT and LTE Cat-m1. So, if applications are so critical, what are some of the leading ones and where one needs to look? 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

Which IoT Technologies Will Die Out?

LPWA LTEIoT use case are fragmented with different requirements. To match these requirements, a number of IoT connectivity solutions are available including wide-area low-power (LPWA), cellular wireless technologies (EGPRS, UMTS, LTE of different varieties), and short range technologies adapted to cover wide areas through mesh networking (ZigBee, WirelessHART, etc.) or extension of point-to-multipoint technologies (e.g. 802.11ah/HaLow). Each of these technology spaces is crowded with options, so which will survive and which will die out? Read more of this post