Home North AmericaNorth America II 2014 Moving towards the future of connectivity

Moving towards the future of connectivity

by Administrator
Dave Williams Issue: North America II 2014
Article no.: 13
Topic: Moving towards the future of connectivity
Author: Dave Williams
Title: CEO
Organisation: Device Cloud Networks
PDF size: 395KB

About author

Dave Williams, CEO, Device Cloud Networks

Dave Williams has invested his entire career developing wireless telecommunications networks around the globe. He has vast experience building world class networks for very successful companies both in Europe and the USA. Prior to his days as CTO for Telefónica Europe, Dave was Group CTO of O2. At Cingular Wireless, Dave headed up Technology Strategy and was responsible for uniting the company in developing one of the most profitable wireless networks in the world currently the AT&T Network.

Adding more diversity to his portfolio, Dave was Head of Wireless Technology at Comcast where he helped develop one of the largest WiFi Network deployments in the world and how that fits into fixed IP networks. Most recently Dave has been helping some Silicon Valley venture companies develop their investment portfolios.

Looking back a few years Dave was an early member of the Vodafone team before joining Orange and helping both companies develop into the global networks they are today.

Article abstract

Unlike the Internet that can be easily accessed anywhere in the world, connectivity for machines is very complex and can be a challenging process. Connectivity depends on the type of network – whether it is satellite, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, fixed or cellular – with each having their own ecosystem and their own way of integrating in the value chain. This means that if you would like to have your device connect across Wi-Fi and cellular, you would need to meet specific requirements for each integration, instead of a single provisioning method. Once this has been taken care of, there are additional complexities when connecting a device across countries.

Full Article

Connected devices go by many names, from telemetry to Machine-to-Machine (M2M) to the Internet of Things (IoT) and even the Internet of Everything (IoE). Yet one thing is clear, and that is the world of connected devices is a bustling market that is experiencing tremendous growth. According to Morgan Stanley, there will be 75 billion connected devices by 2020. This would equate to more than nine devices for every person, assuming there will be 8 billion people by 2020. In addition, nearly every machine will someday soon be connected to the cloud, a trillion dollar market for enabling technology and services. With the tremendous growth in connected devices, the industry will see strong increases in revenue. Ovum forecasts that M2M revenue will grow to reach US$44.8bn in the next five years. With all of the growth M2M and the IoT, it is an exciting time to be in this a rapidly changing ecosystem. However, there are a number of key challenges – including lack of standards, fragmentation and complexity – that if not addressed could limit or delay the potential of this burgeoning industry.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma of standards
The M2M market is very complex and fragmented, with a vast amount of players in the ecosystem all vying for a part of the pie. One of the challenges adding to the fragmentation and complexity is the lack of standards. While M2M has existed in different forms since the beginning of computer networking automation, it has only recently become a defined industry trend. Certification issues still vary from network to network, there are regional regulations instead of global and every company and vertical is pushing for their own standards to be adopted. Much like the Prisoner’s Dilemma psychological game theory, while it would be best if everyone cooperated to set global standards, the fallback position is that companies join the standard committees and ensure that their competitor’s standard does not get adopted. Ultimately, instead of working together for the common cause, very little is achieved.

The additional challenge in M2M and IoT is that not only do each technology company and their ecosystem try to drive a standard, but also each vertical applications segment (smart meters, medical devices, etc.) tries to establish standards that might not be compatible with other verticals. Until companies are able to agree on set standards that drive simplicity instead of complexity, the industry will remain fractured.

Fractured global deployment of M2M Systems
Unlike the Internet that can be easily accessed anywhere in the world, connectivity for machines is very complex and can be a challenging process. Connectivity depends on the type of network – whether it is satellite, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, fixed or cellular – with each having their own ecosystem and their own way of integrating in the value chain. This means that if you would like to have your device connect across Wi-Fi and cellular, you would need to meet specific requirements for each integration, instead of a single provisioning method. Once this has been taken care of, there are additional complexities when connecting a device across countries.

Each one of the mobile network operators around the world has its own predefined value-chain based on who they’ve selected as the device connectivity platform, hardware manufacturers, etc. Even if you solve and integrate the value-chain in one place, you might not be able to do the same thing in a different country. This destroys the promise and the efficiency of the Internet-of-Things. Instead of having one global solution, there are many different networks that each has its own rules, regulations and specifications. The rules are different in each geographical region for mobile communications, because you have different operators there that see things differently and each have control of their own networks.

Until these challenges are taken into account, the only companies that will be able to effectively deliver globally connected devices are the very large enterprises, such as the large car OEMs. These companies must bear a heavy cost and complexity of global connectivity, which affects their end-users and adoption rates. While in terms of the small businesses, this fragmentation in global connectivity stops them from being able to drive outside one country or region. For example, even if a small company was able to overcome the complexities of mobile connectivity between the different networks, with the current M2M ecosystem, they are not able to easily integrate with all of the mobile operators around the world to take their solution global. This increases the cost of deployment and may prevent adoption as well.

Horizontal enabling technologies are the answer. Agnostic interfaces as well as geographic-agnostic solutions that pre-integrate the value-chain and ecosystem for the customer will help propel growth in IoT and M2M. The industry needs to get to the point where the enterprise or manufacturer only needs to embed the technology in the hardware, and it works anywhere just like the mobile Internet.

Connectivity of any machine, anywhere
Global connectivity is no longer a nice to have, but rather an expectation. With today’s global ubiquity of mobile broadband, enterprises and businesses assume they can reuse the systems and processes previously used to deliver applications and services via the wired and wireless Internet anywhere in the world. With the issues of standards, fragmentation and complexity outlined, a change in the M2M deployment model is necessary for businesses to be able to viably and cost-effectively deliver their devices globally. Instead of the difficult process of dealing with multiple operators in every country or region, solutions should be focused on providing enterprises and small businesses with one access point that simplifies connectivity for any machine, anywhere. This can be possible through the revolutionary new Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card form factor, e-UICC and cloud-based solutions that can change a SIM over-the-air to the local region where the device needs to be operational. This SIM is designed to be embedded in machines permanently, and can be provisioned over-the-air (OTA) after the machine is delivered anywhere. Through this process, enterprises could create one unique manufactured device SKU, and sell the device to anywhere in the world.

Successful companies will provide technology that is easy to integrate across platforms and services, which accelerates design, development and time-to-market at a reasonable price, and mapping how devices actually get designed and manufactured. This business model will spur connectivity integration of innovative devices – that might not otherwise garner global connectivity – and present a huge opportunity for smaller companies looking to deliver their products to a large global market.

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