Internet of Things represents an exciting opportunity for device manufacturers, service providers and consumers alike. The ability to connect billions of ‘things’ to the internet is set to profoundly change the way we all interact and make use of countless ‘dumb’ devices that we encounter in our daily lives. (more…)
Why do companies like Salesforce open up their organization by providing APIs? The fastest growing platforms need to work differently. They open up their core, publish APIs, and start up developer programs. Understanding the mechanics of becoming an API platform is key. For IoT to be useful, the devices that make up this mesh must be connected to the cloud. The way in which they do this is via APIs. Cloud-based services are the way in which the IoT is connected to data. APIs are the bridge — IoT on one side, useful information and plentiful data crunching capabilities on the other. APIs make IoT useful, turning limited little things into powerful portals of possibilities!
This a study that I had presented on the current ecosystem for Internet of things, machine-to-machine ecosystem. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out.
Mobile network operators (MNOs) add the largest value to Internet of Things value chain by providing the last mile wireless connectivity for Voice, Data and Machine-to-Machine(M2M) communications. This can be done in several ways – either by having a dedicated M2M gateway (or APN/Internet Gateways) or by creating an MVNE (Mobile Virtual Network Enabler) architecture that allows quick on-boarding (provisioning) with special SIMs (subscriber identity module) and software.
Several functions as stated below can be re-used by the following verticals: Connected Vehicle; Smart Grid; eHealth; and Connected Home. These are some common M2M service layer functions were necessary for their respective vertical segment and to then converge on those common functions as the components for a “Common M2M Service Layer” capability, which are provided by MNOs as a service for M2M subscribers. Machine-to-Machine communication is an essential part of the IoT concept, due to the fact..
The value of data is becoming a larger part of the business value chain, the lines between different industries become more vague, or as GE’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt once stated: “If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you’re going to wake up today as a software and analytics company.” This is not only true for an industrial company, but for many companies that produce “things”: cars, jet-engines, boats, trains, lawn-mowers, tooth-brushes, nut-runners, computers, network-equipment, etc. GE, Bosch, Technicolor and Cisco are just a few of the industrial companies that offer an Internet of Things (IoT) platform.
Manufacturing has undergone a quiet revolution in the last few years, but even most industry insiders don’t realize it yet – because it’s an invisible revolution, running through its cables and wires and circuits.
Today’s manufacturers produce more data in a single day than they did in a full month just ten years ago: sensor data, camera images, P..
IoT is crossing the chasm as we speak, slowly but in an ubiquitous way. A very good use case in play today is the hundreds of thousands of smart sensors along the San Andreas fault in the Bay Area that monitor 24/7 the movement of the fault or the thousands of sensors on the Golden Gate bridge that measure the effects of traffic and weather.
But Seriously to use IoT to it’s full potential we will need Big Data – to collect, learn and decide all near realtime. IoT + Big Data (and Cloud) seem to be made for each other as we utilize the machine learning algorithms to make calculated decisions in real time.
What is changing? (more…)
Gartner’s Hype Cycle for the Internet of Things, 2014 , estimates that that IoT will reach the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ in 5 years to 10 years. Before we get there we have to head through the Trough of Disillusionment, which we believe will leave a number of companies going out of business or being absorbed.
Examples of aquisition over the last year:
- Axeda: Bought by PTC for $170M
- ThingWorx: Bought by PTC for $130M
- Neul: Bought by Huawei for $25M
- Xively: Bought by LogMeIn for £5M
- SmartThings: Bought by Samsung for $200M
- Nest: Bought by Google for $3.2Bn
- Revolv: Bought by Google and shutdown
- Dropcam: Bought by Google for $555M
- 2Lemetry: Amazon acquired them. (raised $9 million)
LTE services so far have been launched 124 countries around the world (Q4 2014), and the number of the LTE subscribers reached around 373 million and still counting (source: GSA). This accounts for 5.3% of mobile subscribers and has a long way to go.
Nevertheless, it has been already a year since ITU discussed 5G as a topic after some world’s leading countries and companies in the mobile industry first raised concerns regarding the necessity of 5G standardization.
A typical standardization process of IMT at ITU starts with discussing of visions, followed by recommending visions including some key objectives (parameters). For example, for IMT-Advanced (4G) standardization, ITU set a goal of up to approximately 100Mbps for high mobility such as mobile access and up to approximately 1 Gbit/s for low mobility such as nomadic/local wireless access through Recommendation ITU-R M.1645, to encourage research and investigation in the industry. (more…)..
Over the last few months we saw two big announcements for Telecom consolidation in the US from the 3rd and 4th largest carriers. Is this a surprise or what? By all means it is not – I have been busy lately studying demand and supply curves for my micro-economics class (part of my MBA program) and viola – this all makes perfect sense! It is all due to the economy of scale – the larger the firm is the better it is able to supply the service needed at a better rate (meaning lesser dollars!). The one graphic that is always hurting the budgets for carriers is the ARPU distribution and the long tail economics.
So what will happen over the next few years is a change from selling voice and data for MNOs to service enablers. This requires several market plays which require – two main factors investment dollars and partnerships with several niche market players and this will allow MNOs to move into the VAS space. (more…)
I heard of OpenFlow three years ago while working for a WiMAX operator, but it never peaked my interest to read up on it till Nicra was acquired by VMware this year. This is when it occurred to me that this space of the network industry is gearing up for serious change a scenario which will impact Mobile ecosystem even on the edge. In contrast to the LAN, the WAN is staid. In the early 2000s, IT organizations began to move away from Frame Relay and ATM and adopt MPLS WAN services. However, up until now, the conventional wisdom in the IT industry has been that there isn’t a fundamentally new technology in development that will replace MPLS. A key consequence of that assumption is that, on a going-forward basis, IT organizations will have to build their WANs using a combination of MPLS and the Internet.
Software defined networks (SDN) have the potential to change the conventional wisdom about WANs. SDN isn’t a technology, but a way of building networks. Like many of the good commerc..
A recent development of Tekelec as the diameter supplier for T-Mobile LTE deployment has once again brought forth the discussion of control plane congestion and the operator readiness to address the issues. I have been working on this area for a long time and have seen the impact first hand on several customer outages. 3GPP and the Infrastructure vendors have come a long way since the days when the first smartphones changed the trend of user behavior and network congestion. It is not just an improvement on the ‘plumbing’ of smart pipes but the overall change end-to-end that has helped mitigate many problems, both from a signaling as well as performance. QOE (quality of experience) plays a big role in network planning and management today, as users now demand more from a handset/tablet than ever before. Signaling plane control gives the operator a better leverage and control over the various elements of the network that handles customer management and quality of service along with it…
I have been a smartphone since iPhone 2G was launched, though I had to jailbreak it to use it over the T-Mobile network. But my user experience improved since the day Android devices landed on T-Mobile, and being part of the team that launched helped me bridge the gap. But how has the user experience for mobile apps improved after all these years of smart phone adoption? We have grown smarter with using our phones, networks and software in terms of design, implementation and optimization.
UI/UX Design: Application interface and interaction is something that users including yours truly gets going on things like the position and location of the keys on the smartphone screen, having difficulty with resizing or webpage scrolling, or agreeing with built-in dictionary items, or about inefficient manual input (e.g., the “fat finger” problem). Most users prefer interacting with a web-based interface of particular applications (e.g., Facebook) than with its widget.
Each user in..
Wireless networks of today have become a complex mix of various different flavors of services. Big macro networks can no longer become the sole provider of services but will become a conduit for heterogeneous networks and become a ‘backhaul’ for many services that will happen over the years. With a limited spectrum scenario it looks like a bleak future for wireless networks unless a smart strategy to inter-operate wireless with various protocols and software to overcome this. HetNets are evolving as we speak and implementation is a complex mix of various 3GPP and IEEE networks. Atleast in terms of 3GPP we are now backward compatible and there is convergence with LTE, though the bands of operation are fragmented and cumbersome for one phone to work worldwide.
M2M is probably the first implementation of wireless other than providing voice or data access to a live user. Wireless monitoring of fleets and SCADA devices on 2G networks is how it all started. ..
BYOD – Bring your own device has become the new nightmare for CIOs and security folks in the world of IT. I remember a ticket assigned to a security analyst while working with a Mobile operator that had a BYOD policy, he left me a cryptic message to meet him with my laptop. It so happened that the outlook and Windows accounts were the cause of conflict, flooding the account servers with authentication requests. Can this happen over the air for mobile operators? (more…)
Some time back I had an opportunity to speak with a technology pioneer, who helped introduce the best multi-media device – the iPhone on AT&T. We went into the technical details of the experiences, the paradigm shift that never happened and the impending “data tsunami” that is happening as we speak. I have been blogging about this very data explosion for a long time now. I have been a traffic planner for the last 5-6 years of my career as a telecom engineer. I have seen the evolution of wireless networks from a voice centric GSM to a data centric-LTE, a shift in the thought processes of the big-iron telco companies that have shaped the way we communicate and interact with the world. MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) are in the cross hairs of technology evolution, data pipes are filling up faster that they can build. I monitor capacity at the Radio access side for an operator on a day-to-day basis, take my word for it – we ding your data experience at the cost o..
Not all apps on our smartphones are created equal, just like how not all network technologies work the same. Some perform great and some not as much, but do we know how each one differs from the other? The other day I was discussing mobile applications with my wife who is a mobile developer when I realized that we as telecom network architects pay so little attention to the details of the design of mobile applications and their performance. It is not always about coverage and getting the best signal – indoors or outdoors. I was always aware of the implications of a badly designed mobile application going rogue as we had seen that a few years ago with Android launch or a recent topic of NTT DO CO MO asking for help from Google. The rules for development have changed significantly and they are here to stay, as Apple goes into mobile publication and Amazon has democratized publication. I am all for democratization of the Mobile web – it is all about you – the user. The ..
With Super Bowl XLVI around the corner, as a wireless engineer I always wait with bated for the performance of the network. How many calls did we drop? What was the congestion and customer satisfaction? How did we fare against other operators? Well these and more questions will always be on my mind as I have worked across different networks in the US. I still remember the days when COWs (cell on wheels) were the only option, but DAS (Distributed Antenna System) has come to the rescue. Businesses are finding a growing demand to provide a wide variety of wireless technologies in the indoor space today with coverage in stadiums and Casinos leading the need. Wireless cellular customers depend on the mobility of their devices wherever they go. There is a necessity for DAS systems with the breadth of design requirements that allow it to carry a wide range of technologies and to do it well. Both the venue owners and wireless carriers wish to provide their customers and occupants with a sati..
Churn has a simple definition for a wireless operator – it is the number of net deactivations (i.e. gross adds minus net adds) divided by the average number of the subscriptions during the year. Mobile telecommunication market has changed from a rapidly growing market, into a state of saturation and fierce competition. The focus of telecommunication companies has therefore shifted from building a large customer base into keeping customers ‘in house’. Customers who switch to a competitor are so called churned customers. Churn prevention, through churn prediction, is one way to keep customers ‘in house’. In contrast to post-paid customers, prepaid customers are not bound by a contract. The central problem concerning prepaid customers is that the actual churn date in most cases is difficult to assess. This is a direct consequence of the difficulty in providing an unequivocal definition of churning and a lack of understanding in churn behavior. In the telecom service industry, churn can ..
Like most guys I love my car (after my gadgets & my Triumph) and like most of you I drool at the prospect of getting a car that will talk to me and connect all the pieces together. As a child, the first car that caught my imagination was Herbie (the wonderful little Bug), and its adventures. I make it a point annually to take my son to local car shows so that when he grows up he learns to appreciate the fact that fast cars are meant to be revered! But the connected car is something very special it connects what I do as a wireless engineer to what I love as a driver! So what is a connected car, will it talk to you? Listen to your commands and maybe drive for you – if you wait for say 10 years Google will make them and make them cheaper for you to actually get one. So my grandchildren will ask me how we ever lived without a self-driven car ever. (more…)
Inherently we the humans always want to get connected by phone, email, social media, Television, radio with the rest of the world. Things are changing fast now it’s about connected devices, appliances, automobiles, transport systems and even the plants. Anything can be connected will be connected. Anything can have a chipset will have a chipset.
When we talk about the connectivity, wireless comes to our minds.
In wireless land scape there are several technologies having different set of advantages and disadvantages. Broadly the wireless technologies divided into WAN, MAN, LAN, PAN. We have a distance Vs throughput with application comparison chart located below.
Traditionally 3GPP standard based technologies dominate in the WAN and MAN technology landscape. In MAN segment, WiMAX is used to some extent, which is an IEEE standard (IEEE802.16 *) based technology. It did not get traction world-wide. In t..
I am not an early adopter of technology, though I am one of the gears that drive the engine of change for wireless technology. But I read most of my news, books, email, Youtube – 80% of the time today on my Cellphone or iPad (love Flipboard & Zite!) which runs on my wireless carrier. Can I cut the cables and just go wireless – are we there yet? My answer is not yet, but maybe in three years from now with the momentum from LTE and the device ecosystem will make the telecommunications ecosystem capable of wireless speeds of 1Gbps and more.
Wireless Industry measures Churn an important KPI(key performance indicator) – that defines customer satisfaction and Operator performance. One of the biggest causes of churn is user experience or quality of user experience (QoE) and is used to describe the perception of end-users on how usable the services are. QoS (Quality of Service) on the other hand, describes the ability of the network to provide a service with an assured service level. I..
A recent media article stating that Steve Jobs wanted to build an unlicensed network for the iPhone peaked my interest on speaking about unlicensed spectrum and the way it has been carved out by the FCC. I have always been against licensed spectrum making wireless expensive. The recent auctions both AWS and 700MHz have shown that it is all but a numbers game and deeper the pockets of the Operator the more spectrum they have are able to garner. Spectrum has been called the oxygen for wireless operators and in many ways it is as all commercial operators. Recognizing this potential the Obama administration and the FCC has made plans to make available 300 MHz of new spectrum over 5 years and 500 MHz over the next 10 years, which is almost, doubles the 547 MHz of spectrum that we license out today.
Having seen the evolution of wireless from voice-centric to data-centric I can truly say that the spotlight now lies on data. And who would have thought a few years ago that the tipping point would come from apple. Apple products have done to wireless ecosystem what the warm temperatures of waters in Gulf of Mexico do to hurricanes in the gulf coast. I am an engineer by profession but all my theories of radio propagation, design principles, erlang B principles all stop to bow before the devices that are unleashed today on our networks! Wireless has become the utility like PG&E. And the pipes in networks are clogging. They are filling up faster than can be laid. Have we all become bandwidth hogs? What are we doing today that we never did in the past. One example I have from my own life – I update my Facebook status from phone, tweet every now and then, send an MMS to my circle. It is the ‘my’ profile that has changed, I used to maybe browse on my phone, send emails from Blac..
Mobile networks of today will evolve to become the Cloud providers of tomorrow. What does a cloud provider mean? It means that the networks of the future will become your only source for – Internet, TV, Cellular service – voice and data, home automation, Car connectivity and so much more. Networks of today have an inherent advantage they have the existing infrastructure like cell towers, the backhaul and other services in place to compete tomorrow. How many providers will we have? My guess is as good as yours. We will have a duopoly with Verizon and AT&T from existing carriers; the smaller carriers will no longer matter. Their existence as bottom-feeders will always be there for Pre-paid plans and serving customers for entry-level voice and data plans and rural carriers. Cable companies like Comcast, Roadrunner, Qwest, etc will exist either in a partnership or will merge with the wireless giants.
That will depend on the evolution of the cloud architectures and how users evolve..
Distributed Node-B architecture called Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN) is the new paradigm in base stations architecture that aims to reduce the number of cell sites while increasing the base station deployment density bypassing some of the zoning and construction hurdles to brining up new sites on-air. Metro cities like NY, LA and SFO already have a high density of Cell towers. As LTE and more complex wireless technologies are being deployed – would it not make sense to re-use and harness the existing infrastructure?
The concept of the Cloud RAN comes with a new architecture that breaks down the base station into a Base Unit (BU) – a digital unit that implements the MAC PHY and AAS (Antenna Array System) functionality, and the Remote Radio Head (RRH) that obtains the digital (optical) signals, converts digital signals to analog, amplifies the power, and sends the actual transmission. By making the RRH an active unit capable of converting from analog to digital, operators c..
The growth of wireless Telecom is no longer Customer Acquisition – it is a dead paradigm. As CTIA aptly puts the numbers here , unless one operator cannibalizes the other then they can grow. How can operators build a sustainable business model? They would need to differentiate by engaging themselves with the customer more and more – be available to them whenever and wherever, have great portfolios of devices, services and wireless modes. We are doing many things todaythat seemed impossible just a few years ago.
How do we do that?
Several different ways – there are clear trends and paths that need to be explored and engaged by the MNOs. Are they doing it? Clearly they are but is the industry looking to benefit out it. Obviously to a layman it is not visible but the Industry has taken a winding road that has lead to the one of the most vibrant parts of the US economy. If we look at just look the top 10 trends put out by CTIA below it shows why we are where we are today…
Selling a service instead of access will be the future for all telecommunication companies to come. The current trends are all pointing in the direction of cannibalizing the ‘control’ that telecom operators have in today’s world. Data deluge has begun as have seen in the last few years and it will only increase astronomically. MNOs in order to retain control over their networks, while preventing customer churn, diminished profitability and brand devaluation, must shift their role from traffic carrier to “application enabler.” With this approach, they can derive the greatest possible value from their network and its capabilities by developing and delivering first- and third-party applications.
Today’s mobile application explosion and evolution to 4G technology give service providers a valuable opportunity to transform their networks and services to deliver a truly next-generation Web 2.0 experience — profitably. Wireless providers have a number of key assets they can leverage to dr..
With the release of the FCC report last month on the outlook for wireless for the next year, the picture doesn’t seem to be as dismal as so many other sectors like Housing, Banking etc. But the last three years have made an impact that will be here to stay and has shaped the way people spend and MNOs spend their budgets. As an engineer who has worked at three levels – Corporate, Regional and Markets I understand the decisions that are made solely based on economic merits that impact the network and the customers. Understanding the economics is harder for me as an engineer as technological advantages and not short-term cash flow savings make sense in a longer run. But economics play a bigger role than any engineering marvel as most MNOs are for-profit organizations and run solely based on ARPU, Churn and EBIDTA (Interest before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization). The current stagflation and recession has taken a toll on the mindset of the customer and their spending habit..
With the advent of the iPhone and iPad – new classes of devices were born, one that captivates the imagination and capabilities of the common man. The devices now are always on, power hungry and data hungry – one that brings convergence of a multimedia and a computer married together. Hence, NGMN (a consortium of Operators) and 3GPP laid a foundation way back in 2006 for LTE and LTE-advanced standards development that have started to take off in a big way from mid-2010 onwards with the rollout of LTE (read Data Centric) networks. So what has changed from the UMTS world? How and why is it so different that operators will need to upgrade their networks, which is capital intensive? All these and more on how inadvertently we are moving to Cloud centric systems, sans the hoopla about iCloud, Amazon web-services or Hadoop. Let us look at the problems and resolutions with LTE for moving our applications to the cloud and beyond.
Flatter Architecture and Air Interface developments (read l..
LTE or Long Term Evolution has brought to the fore things that technologists and administrators (a.k.a. FCC/3GPP) have been championing for the longest time. Advantages that have been realized after operating GSM/CDMA systems for years, but without the investment from MNOs (mobile network operators) it was never going to be realized. These and the parallel development of exciting new phones and tablet devices have changed the way we communicate today. Pull mechanisms of today have replaced the push mechanisms of yesterday. A few years back if we had to share photos with our friends we sent an email with the links to our photos on yahoo photos, picasaweb or flickr. But today we just post them on our facebook or tweet the link to our ‘followers’. The way we use the internet today has changed and a recent study by Harvard Business Review has captured this paradigm shift.
Source: Harvard Business Review
With this shift in the way we interact with our fellow humans the devices and..
Wireless telecommunication market is witnessing a shift in business models and market structure as a result of the deployment of new broadband access technologies, spectrum management techniques, policy-based network management, and the drive of new entrants to compete against the incumbents. If you look at operators in the US today – Verizon has 2G, 3G and now LTE; AT&T is rapidly looking to deploy LTE and so is Sprint with its technology refresh program. There are reasons why all the operators need to look intrinsically as well to plug their coverage holes. Deploying new technologies is very exciting but the need to plug holes in the current technologies to address – traffic offload, inter-technology handovers and IP as a layer to guarantee the QOS needed to continue as a data or VOIP session is an often isolated. There have been technologies like IMS around for quite some time that operators have been reluctant to utilize the benefits due to high initial investment needed. But as ..
Femtocells or small cells or liquid radio or one of the umpteen names that this small basestation goes with has evolved organically in the last few years to make an appearance in the home. Finally is it ready to replace my Wi-Fi router at home? Maybe not, as it still remains a one trick pony that guarantees indoor coverage for operators but no visible benefit for the consumer. So why is the Femtocell important for a consumer? What does it offer that operators have an incentive to subsidize and give it away for free? How has the ecosystem changed over the years to say that now is the time for Femtocells to become the differentiator between operators? Come next year, when 70% of US wireless customers will either be AT&T or Verizon, how would somebody in the market for a ‘new’ wireless connection differentiate them? So what is different now from the cellular services of the yester-year?
Connection – and a great connection at that! Robust data service along with ubiquitous voice cov..