Happy New Year everyone!
At the start of 2015 I offered up a list of 5 predictions for the future of M2M & IoT, as they say hindsight is 20/20 and looking back at them now I think I might have been a little too hasty/optimistic with some… 2015 turned out to be a less progressive year than expected, but bullish in terms of funding and overall dollars going in to the IoT ecosystem.
We saw lots of businesses sticking to their guns and focusing on laying strong foundations rather than pushing the envelope innovation wise (not a bad thing).
Let’s take a quick look back at my predictions and see how they panned out… (View the original 2015 M2M & IoT prediction post here)
“ABC – Always be changing the definition of IoT” – Glengarry Glen Ross © New Line Cinema
- Definition – I expected more companies to stop being IoT/M2M companies and focus on providing specific verticals.
I may have been a bit too optimistic with this one, instead we got a lot of major corporates deciding to throw their names in to the mix and offer M2M/IoT services.
Amazon investing in 2lemetry to create it’s IoT offering and Googles announcement of Weave added more noise to the IoT solution space without any clearer definition of what specific need they are trying to fill.
Do you know what your smart toaster is planning? – Fallout New Vegas © Bethesda Softworks
- Security – I expected to see solution providers putting more focus on the security of their solution in their sales & marketing, this was not really the case…
In 2015 we saw a huge rise in DDoS activity on public networks, we saw lots of customers hosting services with a public IPv4 address getting hit over and over again.
As well as some of the more widely publicized breaches we also saw hackers getting more ‘playful’ with hackers on a crusade to reduce the UKs obesity numbers hacking smart kitchens (IoT Security Breach Forces Kitchen Devices to Reject Junkfood)
Best in the World or Best in Country, the choice is yours – Image © WWE
- Global Market, Local Champions – I predicted a rise of partnerships and channel sales rather than branch offices.
I’m going to call this a 50/50 while we did see some of the bigger players in the space extending their presences overseas, particularly in APAC, we also saw more channel activity with solution providers opting to sell the distribution rights to particular regions rather than setting up shop themselves.
Locally we saw M2M Connectivity become distributors for the Cradlepoint product line (Read the M2M Connectivity and Cradlepoint Release), Netcomm Wireless strengthen their work with Kanematsu in Japan (Read Here) and expand their global reach with Arrow (Read here)
Maybe if you hit hard enough it will fit?
- Interoperability – I was hoping that 2015 would see us get through the standards talk and on to practical solutions for interoperability but we seemed to take a few steps back.
In December we saw Philips manages to universally irritate everyone interested in smart lighting by removing support for third party light bulbs (Read the full story on Tech Crunch here)
For an industry as young as IoT creating a closed model ecosystem is a bad move right now, we still need time to develop and play and see what shakes out.
Locally we’ve seen some really exciting movements from companies trying to open up their IoT/M2M platforms and become device agnostic, check out Helian Systems, Reekoh & Higgins by TwoBulls.
I couldn’t think of anything funny for LTE… It’s really fast though.
- LTE for M2M – Better late than never M2M One got full access to Telstra’s LTE network in June (Read about our LTE Service here) and we’ve already seen a huge uptake in customers using LTE for digital signage, remote access and redundant networking.
While LTE seems to be making leaps and bounds it’s still not quite had the mainstream impact I was expecting it to have in 2015, this is partly due to chipsets with the correct bands not being fully integrated yet and also due to alternative communication networks looking like a viable option.
2015 was a year of uncertainty and research for a lot of solution providers, many of them faced with the looming reality of a 2G shutdown, the decision to jump from 3G waivered when LTE became a viable option and now companies are evaluating LoRA & Sigfox as another pathway to connectivity.
Some highlights in the M2M/IoT space in 2015
One day this could be you!
- Corporate uptake – While M2M as a business term seems to be rapidly disappearing IoT has become fully ingrained in the lexicon of most CIOs at major corporations around the world. Forrester research showed nearly 50% of large organizations will be looking at some kind of investment in IoT in the near future (More info here) – LinkedIn users will also notice the avalanche of users with IoT related titles and taglines popping up.
Sigfox provide wireless connectivity using unlicensed spectrum
- Investment in LPWAN – Spoiler alert this will probably be one of my predictions for 2016… 2015 saw some big investment in LPWAN networks like LoRA Alliance but the big winner was French Sigfox who raised over $100 Million in funding and deployed networks across Europe and are eyeing expansion in the US & Australia.
Elementary my dear…
- $3 Billion for IoT from IBM – That’s right $3 Billion dollars of budget from IBM is going in to IoT initiatives, acquisitions and IoT Watson.
NTT Docomo’s Thingworx Integration
- Networks enabling solution development – AT&T announcing their M2X development platform in January (Forbes Article), Germany’s Cumulocity working with EE, Deutsche Telekom & Telstra and the growth of NTT Docomo’s Thingworx implementation Toami all point towards Network Operators taking a more hands on approach to IoT & M2M.
With Telstra successfully running an Internet of Things Challenge in Melbourne in December, you can expect to see more network sponsored developer and maker events next year.
GE Predicts big things for Predix
- GE Predicts big money from Predix – If IBMs $3bn budget didn’t quite get your jaw all the way to the floor, let GE assist with their $6bn predictions for their Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform Predix finish the job. (Tech Crunch Article) With a high profile arrangement with SoftBank in Japan and some hefty figures from Rail Optimization projects in India GE could well be on track to meet these predictions.
These are just a selection of some of the noteworthy developments in the IoT space in 2015. There are plenty more out there and 2016 looks like it’s going to be a big year with lots of decisions that were delayed in 2015 coming to fruition.
Did you find this information useful? Do you have some questions on the Australian Machine-to-Machine and Internet of Things market we can answer for you? Let us know on Twitter @M2MOneAU, on LinkedIn at M2M One or visit our website at www.m2mone.com.au.
General Manager – M2M One
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of M2M One or M2M Group.
This week we’re doing something a little different – We wanted to reach out to other businesses in the M2M/IoT ecosystem and get their opinions and tips on the industry. The first cab off the rank is M2M Connectivity, a specialist M2M hardware provider offering a range of products designed to help people build their ideal M2M product. With all the talk of 2G shutting down (read our blog) and companies deciding to make the jump to 3G or LTE we wanted to get some technical perspectives on LTE and the different flavors available.
Over to M2M Connectivity for their post: LTE Enhancements for M2M and IoT
The benefits of a M2M / IoT future places new requirements on connectivity with the evolution of LTE a key component. LTE is becoming more viable for M2M / IoT applications by offering spectral efficiency, longevity, and scalability. LTE MTC (Machine Type Communications) will specifically address dramatic increases expected in the number of devices that will be deployed for M2M communications. The development and introduction of LTE MTC chipsets and modules is seen as a significant step for the cellular M2M market with solutions meeting the key requirements of low pricing, low power consumption, and network longevity.
Many anticipate that 4G LTE MTC will be the smoothest path to adoption as cellular operators shut down 2G networks to re-farm spectrum for more efficient 4G/LTE services. AT&T in the U.S. plans closure of their 2G network by January 1st 2017. All of Singapore’s 2G networks will shut down with M1, Starhub and Singtel announcing a joint shutdown on April 1st 2017. In Australia, Telstra’s 2G will be shut down on December 1st 2016 with Optus to following suit with their 2G network closure on 1st April 2017. Businesses with devices on 2G services have had early and continuing encouragement to migrate from 2G to 3G/4G technologies.
Cellular specialists, however, face competition from dedicated M2M/IoT networks such as SigFox and Semtech’s LoRa technologies that offer low power, low cost alternatives. SigFox, espousing a protocol designed specifically for the IoT, rather than one tweaked to address it, plans global expansion that include networks in Australia. Other technologies are competing in the M2M / IoT space and are gathering multivendor support. LoRaWAN backed by the LoRa Alliance, boasting 130 members has announced a certification program. While LoRa technologies have yet to be widely deployed in Australia, LoRaWAN networks are planned and trials are being conducted.
Global support over existing LTE cellular networks is a big advantage of LTE over alternative networks. LTE will expand into new usage scenarios by providing improved support for low-cost and energy-efficient MTC devices through reduced RF bandwidth. Applications envisioned for LTE MTC include metering, environmental & industrial monitoring, object location tracking, e-health, wearables and sensors. Lower latency will also enable support for new applications that include traffic safety/control and control of critical infrastructure and industry processes.
LTE current, and upcoming, standards for M2M/IoT include:
- LTE Cat-1: Provides downlink data rate sufficient for most M2M applications. Enablement of single antenna implementation minimizes changes to current 2G/3G equipment designs. Most US mobile operators have committed/enabled Cat-1 on networks with a range of Cat-1 modules to be available from late 2015 through 2016 from various device manufacturers.
- LTE Cat-0: Provides same single antenna cost optimisation as Cat-1 but with enhanced power saving mode (PSM) for extended battery life. Modules for Cat-0 may be available depending on operator support.
- LTE Cat-M: Standard to be ratified with 3GPP in March 2016. Anticipated enhancements to Cat-1 include modem simplification, reduced bandwidth to 1.4MHz, range of power saving options for ultra-long battery life and extended coverage for remote/harsh environments.
- Narrow-Band Long-Term Evolution (NB-LTE): This new specification is set to rival other narrowband LTE specifications for 3GPP’s consideration of choice of standards for 4G M2M / IoT communications. NB-LTE proponents argue that without the need for expensive network infrastructure and chipset investments, NB-LTE by leveraging existing LTE network technology enables fast adoption and economies of scale maximization.
Currently, LTE devices have full bandwidth of up to 20MHz typically supporting multiple bandwidths depending on the carrier frequency. Although this provides deployment flexibility and allows devices to exploit the full performance of the bandwidth used, a single small bandwidth on the radio side such as 1.4MHz allows for simpler radio implementation and lower device cost.
Release 13, supporting the coexistence of 1.4MHz narrow-band devices with current LTE devices on a single, wider-band carrier, will further reduce costs by offering low-cost MTC devices that operate using half-duplex and a single antenna, and will limit the data rate to 1Mbps without negatively impacting the performance of existing fully flexible LTE devices.
Exploiting unlicensed spectrum and complemented by multi-antenna enhancements, LTE Release 13 enhancements will improve overall capacity, user data rates and latency in combination with higher-layer protocols such as TCP. In Australia, LTE MTC on networks and device availability is still to be finalized. With wide availability of LTE MTC on the horizon, LTE is set to play a key connectivity role in the various applications that make up M2M / IoT solutions.
For more information on 4G/LTE hardware you can visit M2M Connectivity’s Website at http://m2mconnectivity.com.au/ or visit their LTE technology page at http://m2mconnectivity.com.au/technologies/lte