With Mobile World Congress (MWC) revealing new and more connectivity-hungry devices both in the consumer and enterprise spaces, the need for more robust, faster and reliable networks is driving the IoT standards race.
Interoperability, communication, latency, and more, are all key components that everyone in the industry is trying to address. Yet, in a united IoT world, there is a lack of unity when it comes down to standards, with different vendors and customers joining different alliances, consortiums and groups.
Microsoft, Samsung, Intel, GE, Cisco, Qualcomm and others have recently come together to launch the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), an open IoT standards body that wants to unify IoT standards so that companies and developers can create IoT solutions and devices that work seamlessly together.
In the meantime, at MWC, CenturyLink, Deutsche Telekom, Reliance Jio Infocomm and SK Telecom have announced the Next Generation Enterprise Network Alliance (Ngena), a network alliance set for launch in H1 2017 to provide international network services for enterprise customers.
CBR lists five IoT network takes from MWC 2016.
1. T-Mobile and Ericsson
T-Mobile and Ericsson will work together to evaluate the performance and applicability of potential 5G key technologies and develop a pre-standards based 5G test system for lab and field trials.
The trials will start in H2 2016 and the companies will be looking to develop and test selected 5G use-cases and services to enable T-Mobile to evaluate emerging 5G technologies, drive 5G development and standardisation and to explore new business opportunities.
Ericsson predicts that by 2021 there will be 150 million 5G subscriptions worldwide, as well as connectivity technology for the smart autonomous and driverless transportation, remote control of heavy machinery in hazardous environments, remote surgery and new levels of human-IoT interaction including immersive augmented reality and immersive gaming.
2. Qualcomm and Ericsson
Qualcomm and Ericsson have both reinforced their collaboration around IoT connectivity by announcing that they will continue to develop LTE IoT networks, including eMTC and NB-IOT.
eMTC, also known as LTE-M, has 1.4MHz bandwidth and it is set to become an official IoT standard in the next 3GPP’s Release 13 later this year. 3GPP is an industry-wide body responsible for the standardisation of most networking technologies, including 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE.
NB-IOT, or NarrowBand-IoT networks are also set to become a 3GPP recognised standard this year. NB-IoT is a LPWA technology designed to be mostly used indoors and supports a larger amount of devices than current networks. It also supports both standalone deployments and deployments within an existing LTE network.
In addition, Qualcomm and Ericsson have also started a 5G partnership to develop the technology and carry out trials. The companies will engage in early trials and verification of 5G technology components to support the technical work required for 3GPP standardisation in Release 15, which is expected to be completed in 2018.
Machine connectivity provider Ingenu, has revealed that it has licensed 25 new IoT networking contracts in 25 countries that account for over 50% of the world’s population.
The licensed networks will be using the organisation’s 2.4 GHz technology, the standard industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio bands used in most wireless connections.
Ingenu is also building a wireless Machine Network solely for machines. The company has also announced that it will license its RPMA (Random Phase Multiple Access) standard technology to its partners.
With this, partners that include GE, WellAware and EDMI, will get access to tools to build nationwide public networks specifically for IoT traffic in their respective countries.
With 38 private networks under its belt, today Ingenu unveiled that some of the countries included in the expansion of its connectivity portfolio include Australia, China, UAE and South Africa, on top of already existing networks in the US, Canada, Japan and Chile.
4. ARM and HPE
ARM is looking for its share in the industrial IoT space by using open IoT standards. The company has announced in Barcelona that it has teamed up with HPE to improve devices interoperability, and enable new applications for industrial automation, smart cities, environmental monitoring and smart lighting.
The collaboration between the two companies has been designed to allow devices to be centrally identifiable, accessible and manageable.
HPE will use ARM’s mbed IoT Device Platform connectivity solutions that integrate all device hardware and software, manage operational deployment and do analysis of device intelligence.
The platform is built on open standards, it is supported through open source software and utilises chip-to-cloud device security by mbed technology.
Verizon has announced that later this year it will be in place to launch its own IoT Core Network based around an LTE network architecture standard for wirelss communications.
The company said this will be possible has design and integration work with Nokia and Ericsson has been completed. The IoT Core Network will be used for large deployments on low power use cases.
With the launch of the network, Verizon will also expand its ThingSpace platform to third-party network and technology providers. The platform, launched in October and used by 4,000 developers, enables users to build their IoT applications with the use of a connectivity management API.