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

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

C-RAN and the True 5G

5G Cloud RANWhile people may debate what 5G will be, there are a few key facts that cannot be changed. These facts will shape what 5G will be. Based on this we expect that new winners will emerge who can capitalize on new trends through innovating new solutions. Therefore, aside from the hype that dominates 5G talk, the key is to peel the layers that shroud the fundamentals. Over the last three years of researching the potential for Cloud RAN (C-RAN), I saw all the traits of a disruptive technology lurking in the background (2014, 2015). But with 5G, I think this can all change, and C-RAN will bolt to the foreground in more than one way. 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

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

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