Star Gazing – 5 Predictions for M2M & IoT Trends in 2016

Star Gazing – 5 Predictions for M2M & IoT Trends in 2016

Alright so we’re a couple of weeks into 2016 so I think I’m still within the prediction grace period? If you haven’t already you can read my review of 2015 on our blog and see how my predictions from 2015 stacked up.

Last year I was fairly bullish on specific change, and that didn’t really pan out for me… This year I’m going with slightly broader strokes.

So here are my predictions for things we can expect to see in M2M/IoT in 2016, have at it:

edge computing vs cloud computing iot and m2m

A battle for the ages… – EDGE © WWE

  1. Edge Computing vs Cloud – You may have heard the term Edge Computing start to be thrown around last year, you might have even heard someone use the term FOG computing (and if you were anything like me your head immediately hit the desk). Edge computing is the concept of putting the intelligence, processing and decision making power into the device sitting at the edge of the network.
    Typically, modems/remote devices can be seen as ‘dumb’, they simply collate data from various sensors and send it back to a central server or more recently to a cloud environment for processing and decision making.
    Edge computing wants to change this by empowering the device to make decisions as soon as the data is received.
    Reducing the latency and ‘time to act’ significantly benefits autonomous or critical applications like the increasing swarms of drones and unmanned safety units being developed for agriculture and emergency applications like forest fires.
    The other benefit to processing on the edge is that it theoretically reduces the amount of data sent back over a wireless network, a device might alert someone that it is taking an action or has completed an action rather than sending a request to act, waiting for a response, then acting.
    The debate is still in its early days with proponents on both sides arguing the benefits and drawbacks, but I have a feeling we’ll see a lot more coverage of edge computing in 2016.

    LPWAN M2M and IoT

    Some of the major LPWAN players you’ll see in 2016

  2. LPWAN on the rise – 2015 saw Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) firmly insert themselves into the IoT networking conversation. Last year France’s SIGFOX secured over $100 million in funding and announced expansion plans in the USA & Australia arguably putting themselves at the forefront of the LPWAN movement, but the LoRA Alliance & Weightless SIG are also poised to make a disruptive splash in Low Power Communications.
    Australia has it’s very own Sigfox deployer Thinxtra who will be rolling out pilot sites soon. Telstra are also looking at LPWAN with a pilot in Melbourne CBD and we expect a number of LoRA alliance deployers to be hot on their heels.
    Expect more conversation and visibility of LPWAN networks in 2016 but there is still a fair amount of consolidation & brand building to be done before we reach peak LPWAN penetration.

    iot and m2m cellular decisions

    Where do we go from here? – Parks & Recreation © NBC Universal

  3. Cellular Flux – Expect the 2G/3G/4G debate to continue to rage on in 2016 with AT&T and Telstra both poised to hit the button at the end of the year with Optus and all of Singapore’s cellular providers aiming to do the same in early 2017.
    In the operator space I can see a few scenarios happening:

    • More networks announce their 2G shutdown dates – As alternative technologies become more affordable and solution providers in some parts of the world are inevitably forced to make the change, I can see more operators feeling comfortable with pulling their 2G networks.
    • LTE leapfrogging – With a strong established base of 2G hardware in Europe I can see some operators taking the Telenor approach and shutting down 3G prior to 2G in a long term effort to consolidate everything under LTE (Read about Telenor’s 3G 2020 shutdown here) It’s a smart approach as it buys more time for operators who are still rolling out LTE base stations and fine tuning coverage and it allows their customers to continue planning and designing boards without being forced into a 3G device that may not last as long as they hope.
    • Opportunistic 2G grabs – We’ve already seen M2M/IoT MVNOs making any deal they can to squeeze more life out of 2G in the USA with Vodafone still not announcing in Australia I’m wondering if we won’t see the same here. There is even talk of some independent operators/MVNOs buying old hardware and spectrum to keep 2G alive for M2M. It’s a short term gain for a decent outlay but with Asia and Europe still churning out cheap 2G hardware it may pay off.

In the hardware space 2016 there is still some juggling of frequency bands to get the right products for multiple markets together. Most customers we work with are waiting patiently for hardware compatible with Band 28 (700Mhz) which will offer the greatest LTE coverage on Telstra’s 4GX network the successor to their Next-G 3G offering.
With Telstra’s 2G shutdown looming we’ve already seen customers in Australia testing heavily with LTE in the hopes of getting everything ready to bypass 3G entirely.

Iridium Next

Irdium NEXT coming to an orbit near you in 2016…

  1. Satellite – 2015 was a relatively quiet year for M2M/IoT over satellite, expect this to change in 2016.
    Iridium will be launching their first run of satellites for their Iridium Next constellation partnering with US space exploration heartthrobs SpaceX and Russian organization Kosmotras. With SpaceX delivering a very successful launch for Orbcomm last year, Matt Desch and the Iridium team should be feeling positive. While Next isn’t scheduled to be fully operational until 2017 the increased noise and conversation around Iridium is sure to spark renewed interest in M2M/IoT applications using satellite, especially those with global implications.
    As cellular operators continue to struggle with global roaming arrangements, pricing and interconnects we are seeing lots of customers with low bandwidth global solutions opt for the satellite route. With services like Iridium’s SBD and Inmarsat/Skywave’s IDP, companies who want a solution that will work out of the box anywhere in the world without having to deal with roaming contracts, excess usage and coverage issues are finding more and more uses for satellite as the cost for hardware and airtime comes down.
iot and m2m facepalm

Face meet palm – Star Trek Next Generation © CBS

  1. Terminology – With several major organizations already making steps to remove M2M from their corporate lexicon and replace it with IoT could we have finally settled on a term for this nebulous new technology?
    The writing has been on the wall for M2M for some time now, the term is already seen by most as an “insider term” only really used by those in the industry and not something that needs to be on customer facing marketing. To the customer this connected world and everything in it is IoT. Sure some of the major players will still try and make my palm connect with my forehead by rolling out IoE, IoYT & IIoT but now we’re starting to see job titles incorporating IoT, I think we are fairly safe to say we’ve decided on a term.
    Maybe I should be filing this one under hope rather than prediction, but could 2016 finally be the year we stop with all the pointless acronyms and corporate marketing terms and just call things what they are?
    In the solutions space I’ve already started to see a move away from using “smart”, “e-“ & the dreaded “i” prefixes for products. Does anyone really use the term smart-phone anymore? It’s just a phone, they’re all smart by definition now. Likewise we’ll start to see IoT products go from being Smart Thermostats, to just being thermostats as the technology becomes commonplace.

And there you have it – My 5 predictions for M2M/IoT in 2016! Do you think these are more likely than my 2015 predictions? I’d love to hear what you think, Let us know on Twitter @M2MOneAU, on LinkedIn at M2M One or visit our website at www.m2mone.com.au.

James Mack

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.

Guest Blog: LTE Enhancements for M2M and IoT

Guest Blog: LTE Enhancements for M2M and IoT

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

M2M One – May 2015 Newsletter

As a part of M2M One’s initiative to find ways to improve our services to help our customers, we are pleased to announce reduced pricing on SMS, Data and Static IP Services. Information on the new reduced pricing and PAYG and bundled packages for outbound Voice are included in this newsletter. Our busy trade show schedule looks set to continue with M2M One exhibiting at CommunicAsia in Singapore early next month. We’re proud to be part of the State Government of Victoria’s trade delegation at this event which aims to showcase the depth and talent of the state’s ICT industry. Connect Expo in Melbourne and CeBIT in Sydney were successful events overall. Read our thoughts, including the good and the not-so-good, on both events in our featured blogs.

This months newsletter features:

  1. Notification – Reducing Pricing – SMS, Data and Static IP Services
  2. Blog – Thoughts on Connect Expo and CeBIT 2015
  3. Exhibition – CommunicAsia 2015 – Singapore
  4. Reminder – Telstra 2G (GSM) 900MHz Shut Down

1. Notification – Reduced Pricing – SMS, Data and Static IP Services

M2M One are constantly working with our carrier partners to be able to offer competitive pricing that helps you to reduce your costs and maintain and grow your business. We are now able to offer reduced pricing on SMS, Data and Static IP Services as well as the ability to provision outbound voice in PAYG and bundled packages.

For existing customers the new pricing will take effect as of June 1st 2015.  This new pricing applies immediately for new customers and you can take advantage of it by signing up at our website.

Price Reduction Details:
SMS Pricing – Our overall price for Outbound SMS has dropped from $0.25 to $0.20 and volume discounts are now applicable for all SMS messages sent in a billing month. This discount is unique as it applies to your whole M2M One account not an individual SIM.

CAP & Group Data – We’ve made some small adjustments to our volume based discounts on data including a larger discount for customers with over 250 SIMs on a single plan and some small adjustments across all plans.

Static IP Services – In accordance with recent customer feedback we have simplified our pricing model for IPX services to make the cost of entry lower and the ability to achieve discounts at scale quicker.

M2M One Voice Service:

  • M2M One are now able to provision outbound voice on SIMs using the “telstra.m2m” and “telstra.internet” APNs – We will soon be adding it to our private “m2mone.com.au” APN.
  • Voice is available as a PAYG component on all plans and is billed per second.
  • Voice can also be purchased in monthly bundles of 1 minute or 10 minutes.
  • Discounts apply to the number of SIMs on a single data plan with voice.

If you have any questions regarding service from M2M One, the M2M Control Centre, M2M Pricing or anything else please don’t hesitate to contact our support team at support@m2mone.com.au or contact me directly at james.mack@m2mone.com.au.

2. Blog – Thoughts on Connect Expo and CeBIT 2015

M2M One’s most recent blogs review the two main ICT trade shows held this year. From an M2M/IoT exhibitor’s perspective, we present our thoughts on each event in terms of layout, exhibitors. trade show attendance and the effectiveness of the M2M/IoT specific summits and conferences.

In its second year running, Connect Expo 2015 held in Melbourne is improving. The case studies showing practical uses for M2M/IoT was a highlight in the IoT summit, a forum where presentations more often than not tend to be general. Acknowledging the growing importance of M2M/IoT in the ICT space with a dedicated area, Connect Expo will continue this focus with a larger dedicated layout planned for next year.

CeBIT 2015 in Sydney continues to fall short in this regard with a lack of M2M/IoT focus.  Seemingly smaller this year, with fewer M2M/IoT companies exhibiting, we also wonder whether CeBIT’s Olympic Park venue was having this effect.   Hannover Fairs brand new staff are listening to feedback and assure us that 2016 would finally bring an M2M specific area and focus to the CeBIT. The Start-Up section and university technology displays with exciting new developments gets a big tick and so does the conference sessions which CeBIT always does well in organising content.

Read the full blog on Connect 2015 here.
Read the full blog on CeBIT 2015 here.

3. Exhibition – M2M One at CommunicAsia 2015

CommunicAsia is Asia’s largest integrated ICT exhibitiion where key executives from the ICT industry congregate to network, create new business opportunities and help shape industry trends.  M2M One is pleased to be part of a trade mission organised by the Victorian government and will be exhibiting on the State Government of Victoria’s stand BN2-07.

Date:           2 – 5 June 2015
Place:         Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Stand:         BN2-07

Admission is for trade professionals only and there is no charge to visit the exhibition. Admission to the Summit is subject to registration and fees payable.To register for a visitor badge to visit the exhibition, you can do so online before show days, or at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore on show days (2 – 5 June 2015) with your business card.

For more information and to register for free entry to CommunicAsia 2015 please click here.

4. Reminder – Telstra 2G 900MHz Shutdown

We would like to remind our customers that Telstra will discontinue their 2G/GSM network on the 1st of December 2016. This has implications for M2M One customers using 2G 900MHz GSM/GPRS modems.

M2M One customers with 2G devices have the opportunity to utilize 3G and soon 4G LTE. All M2M One SIM cards are compatible with the Telstra 2G, 3G and soon 4G network so you will not need to physically change any SIM cards from M2M One.

M2MOne customers affected by the shut down of Telstra’s 2G/GSM network who are looking for solutions/alternatives for their 2G/GSM devices are advised to contact a 3G/4G LTE device vendor.
Please read M2M One’s notification of the shutdown if you haven’t already.

If you do not know if your devices will be affected by this please contact M2M One and we can help you.

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