Connect with us

Technology

The Future with Internet of Things

Published

on

                                                     … Internet of Everything

We all use the internet daily for various reasons employing different standard devices such as desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets and what have you. Now a wide range of traditionally “dumb” or non-internet-enabled physical devices and everyday objects are embedded with technology. These devices can communicate and interact over the internet, and can be remotely monitored and controlled. These constitute the Internet of Things (IoT).

The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) was first used in 1999 by British technology forerunner Kevin Ashton in the context of supply chain management. IoT is “the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment”, as defined by Gartner. IoT has come to incorporate internet on a daily basis into our personal, professional and societal lives. Indeed our common TVs are now smart TVs, we have smart appliances, smart air conditioners, smart thermostats, smart lighting and smart security just to name a few. These devices are used by individuals, enterprises and industries.

Imagine your car is able to communicate with your gate as you arrive, or the conference room set up for your staff meeting is able to regulate the room temperature based on the number of people in the room or even the sensors in the production line machinery are able to detect an anomaly. These are things that are already happening, definitely a smart way of living, making life easy.

Why do we need the Internet of Things?

IoT is basically to expand interdependency of humans to interact, contribute and communicate to things. For example, the way humans interdepend on one another for information, sometimes we do not get the information as quickly as we would want it because someone may not be available at the moment to provide it. When we expand this interdependency to things, getting the right information, at the right time and at the right place makes our work more efficient and timelier.

Recent researches show by next year; 2020 we would have over 20 billion devices using IoT. These devices cover a wide range of areas including; environmental monitoring, infrastructure management, industrial applications, energy management, medical and healthcare systems, building and home automation, transport services, and large scale deployments.

Brendan O’Brien said “IoT promotes a heightened level of awareness about our world, and a platform from which to monitor the reactions to the changing conditions that said awareness exposes us to”, hence a smarter way to manage these conditions.

  • Smarter disaster management with the ability to accurately predict natural disasters and prevent fewer damages and victims.
  • Smarter Urban Management that will aid in proper monitoring of traffic and regulate to the ever-changing flow from “rush hour” to downtime. IoT gives better and proper ways of utility distribution while also cutting down on emissions that pollute the earth. Bridges, railways, or roads can be tracked to diminish the risk of danger to road users.
  • Smarter Healthcare by providing wearable devices that monitor your body’s vital statistics like your heart rate or blood pressure, and whenever something goes wrong an alarm goes off to alert the hospital of your condition for an ambulance sent to your location.
  • Smarter Homes giving you the ability to monitor and remotely control your devices such as air conditioners, security lock, lighting system, regulate your thermostat, TV or audio system for your comfort, security, and low energy consumption.

Benefits of IoT

IoT is definitely making an impact on our personal and professional lives. The benefits of IoT speaks for itself no doubt. The benefits include:

Efficient Resource Utilisation

If a smart system/device is configured properly and fully understands how things work, the resources available to it will be fully utilised. For example, voice assistants like Apple’s Homepod or Amazon’s Alexa can provide answers to your questions without you needing to pick up your phone or turn on your computer.

Minimising Human Effort

The concept of Smart Homes is growing very fast with this benefit. A smart home/office is able to do a lot of things for you without you making a single effort, your interaction with such devices will be minimal. Like, regulate the temperature in the room, increase or dim the lighting system and lock and unlock doors. You can relax and have a good time.

Saves time

Definitely, anything that reduces human effort, and utilises resources available will save time as well, which gives you additional time to accomplish other activities.

Development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) through IoT

Your smart device is able to learn things about you by swiftly gathering data on the things you like or dislike and modifies services to your preferences. According to Kevin Lindsay, “more personalized connections are better connections. More personalised means more relevant, more interesting, less distracting and more enjoyable.” AIs such as Google Assist, Siri, Cortana and Alexa are all examples.

Improved Security

The security integrated into these IoT is very huge so the overall security with respect to everything will increase multiple times. The connection of these devices and objects to the internet is a whole new ballgame that puts security, interoperability, power/processing capabilities, scalability and availability into question in order to successfully deploy an IoT system and its connected devices. With that in mind features like device registration, device authentication/authorization, device configuration, device provisioning, device monitoring and diagnostics, device troubleshooting have been put together by device management companies to help integrate, organize, monitor and remotely manage internet-enabled devices at scale, whiles offering features critical to maintaining the health, connectivity and security of the IoT devices.

Features of IoT

Internet of Things is one major technology in the world that can help any other technology reach its full potential. To connect, analyse and integrate, are the main ways as to how IoT works.

Connect

The device is virtualised using a standardised integration of devices with the IoT enterprise, with a high-speed messaging system to enable reliable, secure and bi-directional communication between devices and the cloud and finally endpoint management to manage the endpoint identity, metadata and lifecycle states of all devices.

Analyse

Real-time analyses of incoming data streams with event aggregation, filtering and correlation mark the streaming process in the analysis stage. Apart from this, raw data is enriched with contextual information to generate composite streams. An event store queries and visualises the massive amount of data with integrated Business Intelligence (BI) Cloud Service support to enable big data analysis.

Integrate

Critical IoT data and events can be dispatched dynamically to applications through Enterprise Connectivity to a corresponding Service Provider using Representational State Transfer (RESTful) Application Program Interface (API) based integration with Cloud and IoT devices. In addition to this, most importantly is the command and control. If there is no way to send messages to the device from enterprise or mobile apps independent of device connectivity then the device or system itself is not useful.

Predictions about how big the Internet of Things are going to be and how it is going to take over everything (Internet of Everything) in the year 2020 started over a decade ago.

Flatworld Solutions predicts that by 2020 IoT will connect 21 billion devices. According to them; “the Internet of Things has taken the technology world by storm. And its limitless applications have fuelled its popularity. Hence, every year more and more devices are getting connected with IoT”

Symantec Corporation envisages more cities will become smart. “Consumers won’t be the only ones using IoT devices. Cities and companies will increasingly adopt smart technologies to save time and money.”

Artificial intelligence will become a trend, “…every smart device connected to the internet will learn its user’s patterns and habits and will respond accordingly through learning.” Chris Albert revealed in 2018.

5G networks will make their presence felt, foresees Fredric Paul. Although these IoT devices rely on low-powered, low-data-rate networks, 5G will have a big impact high-end IoT applications linked to robotics and automation, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) and artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).

We are in 2019, and so far this is an absolute reality. Definitely slow in catching up in the developing countries but far ahead in advanced countries. So what does the future hold for us? We are moving from just the Internet of Things to the “Internet of Everything.”

A smart world ready to be conquered with millions of opportunities to be grabbed in this field as McKinsey predicts the IoT market will be worth $581B for ICT-based spend alone, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 7 and 15% by 2020.

By 2021, IoT spending will reach $6 trillion predicted by Flatworld Solution. Big money is already been seen in this technology space as the world has recognised “Internet of Things’ ability to enhance customer experience. Hence there will be no dearth in funding and capital for IoT.”

So brace yourself, and welcome to the world of “Internet of Everything!”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Technology

5G Rollout and Key Guiding Principles for Telco CEOs

Published

on

Most telco operators today are priming for the rollout of 5G wireless technology. The majority are doing trials, some are busy acquiring spectrum, and a minority are deploying 5G in focused areas. But all still face uncertainty about what the future might hold given untested use cases, regulatory issues, and unproven economics. As a result, most are proceeding cautiously. While many have made progress developing their technology and pilot strategies, few have moved beyond the early stages of developing their business cases and commercial plans.

No matter which stage operators find themselves at, five key principles will help guide the formulation of their strategies and help them better prepare for what might lie ahead.

 

5G strategy must be led by the CEO.

The journey from second-generation wireless technology, when voice was still king, to the data-focused fourth generation has been evolutionary, with legacy mobile networks gradually repurposed and improved over the course of two to three decades. Fifth-generation networks are altogether different. 5G promises a step change in service—lightning-fast speed, incredibly low latency, and the capacity to carry massive numbers of connections simultaneously—ushering in all sorts of new communications possibilities for work, play, and in between.

Yet the stakes for operators are high, as 5G requires big up-front commitments at a time when future rewards are still far from clear. For example, one way or another, operators need to commit to building costly new infrastructure. Yet strong returns on those investments are unlikely to lie in a mass-market offering, as was the case with previous generation technologies. Instead, they’re more likely to reside in specific new use cases, from the Internet of Things (IoT) to fixed wireless access (FWA) to ones not even dreamed up yet. But when those will start bringing in significant new revenues, and customers, is uncertain.

In addition, regulators are releasing a few different bands of 5G spectrum simultaneously. This adds further complexity, since bands used for different mobile technologies require different network upgrades, pushing up-front capital expenditure to unprecedented levels. Important too is the fact that it looks like network sharing will play a significant role, which could reduce the cost of 5G. But the long-term strategic implications of a commitment to network sharing—perhaps even with a competitor—are difficult to predict.

A CEO’s top priority must be to decide the company’s strategic stance. Some operators will choose to be network leaders, committing to fast, national or regional rollout to secure first-mover advantage. Others may opt to focus more narrowly, perhaps on certain regions or cities, use cases, sectors, segments, or clients. Operators who serve stadiums, shopping malls, or private hotspots could focus on these areas first, for example, while those with a manufacturing client base could lock in these clients by helping facilitate smart, autonomous systems. The choice will depend on each operator’s existing customer base, appetite to invest, and ambitions.

 

Don’t focus on RAN alone. Understand the investments required across the entire 5G architecture.

Radio access network (RAN) decisions are important and rightly get a lot of attention. That’s because RAN accounts for the lion’s share of mobile operators’ costs given the large number of sites in a network. These will need to be upgraded, and most operators worldwide have plans to do so by 2025. In addition, many small-cell sites will be needed to extend the coverage of mobile networks to indoor areas where outdoor signals do not penetrate well, or to add outdoor capacity in areas with very dense data usage. This will trigger a whole new set of considerations besides cost. The network design, access to adequate cheap infrastructure, and deployment timelines are all key to profitability.

Yet 5G will require investments in all network domains, not just RAN. These are rarely discussed. Here are some of the most significant:

  • Core network. Equipment manufacturers are still developing the technology for core 5G networks. That presents some tricky decisions for operators, balancing the desire to be fast to market with the need for solutions that will be future-proof. Initially the choice shouldn’t be that difficult. Since many elements of current 5G technology build on 4G networks, mobile operators can take an evolutionary approach to infrastructure investments, upgrading existing 4G core networks to support 5G ones and adding new 5G functionalities as needed. This incremental approach also makes sense from a financial perspective, given that investments can be kept down when revenue remains uncertain.

But there will come a time when network upgrades are no longer sufficient to support the new use cases, and new build-out will be required. When should that shift—with the accompanying costs—be made? Indeed, some argue that it makes sense to build a greenfield core network, deploying stand-alone architecture and advanced 5G capabilities from the very start. The advantage is that the operating model can then be entirely cloud-based, and much of it automated. However, that may be a risky option until equipment makers have finalized the technology road map. And even once that is settled, the network would need backward compatibility with 4G to allow for handovers of the use cases that will run on both.

  • Transport network. Many operators’ transport networks still aren’t ready for 5G. Fiber-only will become essential because fiber can best support 5G capacity as well as latency requirements and small-cell deployment in urban areas. This will take time and money.
  • OSS/BSS. There has been no shortage of talk about new network capabilities ushered in by 5G, from leveraging latency to enabling more quality guarantees. Yet, most operators still see investment happening in the network, rather than the enabling layers like operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS). These are the very systems needed to be able to market, sell, price, provide, and operate the oft-touted new use cases, such as connected cars and mission-critical solutions.

 

Pinpoint the cost-saving opportunities.

Most operators believe the shift to 5G will be expensive. They have a point. When network upgrades are no longer sufficient to support the increased traffic, operators will need to build new macro sites or small cells, which will be the primary driver behind network cost increases.

However, what many overlook are the opportunities to keep costs in check. First, many operators assume they will have to fund nationwide coverage like the first generations of mobile networks. Not so. As discussed above, they need to pick their geographic, client, and use-case focus with care. Indeed, blanket coverage should be avoided without a clear idea of how to monetize deployment.

In addition, whatever the extent of coverage, there are ways to temper investment costs. For example:

  • Where possible, upgrade and retrofit existing macro sites.
  • To densify networks, build new, small cells instead of macro ones, installing them on lampposts, traffic lights, and so on. The best locations for this infrastructure will vary by city and operator.
  • Optimize the network rollout with the help of analytics to know exactly who is using what level of data.
  • Consider network infrastructure partnership options. There may be cities and municipalities keen to push ahead with 5G development that will agree to the use of their infrastructure if it helps deliver certain public services—such as emergency service communications. And operators should not dismiss sharing with other operators, particularly if they are considering deployment in an entirely new location.

 

Embrace cooperation. Your future depends on it.

Far too often, we see companies plowing ahead with their technology strategies without sufficient regard for other stakeholders with whom they will need to cooperate.

Take vendors. Operators have always had to cultivate relationships with them, of course. But with 5G, much more depends on how they work together. That’s because in the past, it was relatively simple to move in lock-step with vendors as technology options were limited and spectrum released were aligned to a specific technology. Today, with so many technology choices and different bandwidths, operators could find their decisions leaving them out in the cold if vendors settle upon other technologies that then become industry standards, or that are compatible only with certain spectrum bands.

This aspect of the business will be further complicated by the fact that operators will have to work with a much broader range of vendors. This is largely due to the growth of software-based networking, which has removed many of the high barriers to entry and prohibitive costs that kept newcomers at bay when hardware dominated the sector.

 

Relationships with business customers could also prove particularly important in the 5G era, as locking in the right ones early could turn out to be more important than fast deployment. These “anchor” B2B customers may be willing to partner with telcos, as well as other ecosystem players, to experiment with use cases. But that will only be the case if operators can develop much closer relationships with customers than ever before, given how deeply they will be involved with their operations.

Then there are relationships with competitors to consider. In a world of network sharing, they could prove pivotal to success, as players frozen out of strong partnerships could suffer higher 5G costs and a slower rollout.

Finally, much will depend on relationships with government agencies and regulatory bodies, given their power to influence the industry’s economics. Their decisions on which and how much spectrum to release first—low bands (700 MHz), mid to high bands (3-4GHz range), or mmWave—will be a key component of network costs. Early release of higher bands forces operators to build out new capacity earlier, thus raising costs. How the spectrum is auctioned will also determine costs: auctioning off, say, two small chunks and one large piece in a market with three or more bidders could push bids for the large, more desirable chunk, very high. In addition, some governments extract coverage and network-sharing commitments from operators in return for spectrum—commitments that could determine whether rollout will end up being profitable.

In some cases, local government authorities also determine infrastructure access rules, such as whether to allow more than one network access to street furniture or to public hotspots.

All this makes clear why your 5G strategy cannot be built in a vacuum.

 

Prepare now for 5G’s operational challenges.

Uncertainty about how quickly demand for 5G services will grow, and their profitability given the investments required, tends to focus minds on how best to build the network. What gets overlooked are the operational challenges that will ensue, of which there are many. For example:

  • Networks will be significantly more complex. There will be more frequency bands. A recent auction of 5G spectrum in Italy offered three different frequency bands, on top of the six bands currently used for 2G, 3G, and 4G, making a total of nine bands for use by operators. As a result, network load will need to be balanced between 3G, 4G, and 5G across many frequency layers, and handovers managed not only between the different technologies but between different vendors too.
  • Network slicing promises great advances in customer experience and delivery, as well as new business models. But its true potential, whereby operators provide dedicated virtual networks with functionality specific to the service or customer over a common network infrastructure, will only be achieved when end-to-end reconfiguration is possible in real time. That degree of sophistication will require high levels of network intelligence and automation.
  • 5G networks will be highly automated, and IT and networks will converge. That means new tools will be needed for network resource management and new talent. Operators will need engineers with native cloud programming and engineering skills, for example—skills that are currently in short supply in the industry. To lure that new talent, they will have to compete with the high-tech giants and small start-ups whose reputations as fast-moving companies with more flexible work cultures—and in many cases better compensation—could seem more attractive.

In sum, the operating model requires reinvention. Unless operators address these challenges, their deployment ambitions might not be realized.

Continue Reading

Trending