ComTech Forum meets monthly with dozens of telcos, vendors, startups and VCs. Join us this month to discuss connecting the Internet of things over lunch. As we inch towards 50 Billion connected devices, it's still not clear what slices of the pie each connectivity solution will own. What networks will connect the Things?
Silicon Valley, California, Apr 2017/Meeting Recap/ With our thanks to Ruckus for hosting our “Connecting IoT Meeting”, we opened with John Feland, CEO of Argus Insights offering a market prediction of 50 connected things for every person on the planet by 2025! And while there are many conversations that might surround the what, why and where of those things, the focus of today’s meeting is the module and connection element of getting those devices to their end point, wherever that may be.
In our unpanel format, our audience gets to pick the topics. From 5Gs link to IoT through to use cases for unlicensed spectrum, the argument for standards through to the chicken and egg dilemma of solution first or technology first, our panelists, Davide Pacchini, Director Global Ecosystem Partners at SigFox, Steve Martin, SVP GM Emerging Technologies at Ruckus Wireless, Sanjay Khatri, Head of Product Marketing at Cisco Jasper, and Jameson Buffmire, Business Analyst at Orange Silicon Valley, are challenged to provide the answers.
Top pick from all the items listed was defining the Markets for IoT. The panel discussed how Enterprise IoT actually has a long history as M2M and “Telematics”, and that telematics is going “horizontal” as IoT asset tracking solutions for both enterprise and consumers. Education of the market was noted as a barrier to adoption, but Asset Tracking is fairly simple and well-known so it avoids that hurdle.
Connected car was seen as the most immediate vertical market opportunity, since it has the needed demand drivers of:
need for data
benefit of offloading sensor data for analysis
But there are complexities with the connected car, as it needs to interact with smart home, smart cities, insurance, and combat the changing consumer demands of shared mobility. Smart Cities was seen as a changing market opportunity where environmental sensors, gunshot sensors were just the tip of the iceberg of the demands of IoT in a metropolitan context. However, the panelists noted the gross revenues from Smart Cities are slow to grow.
The panel’s target list identified the low hanging fruit for most immediate growth:
Moving on to barriers to adoption, the panel unanimously agreed that the biggest technical challenge was connection. From maintaining pairing between devices, tracking beyond the “coverage umbrella”, and providing the low cost, low power/long battery life, signalling bandwidth to keep the things connected, the panel saw opportunities for telcos if the pricing model is right. On the marketing side the biggest challenge is educating the target markets, who are widely distributed and don’t see themselves as “users of IoT”.
Security was seen as another barrier, from the app tier through to the device, where the fragmentation of the ecosystem created the challenge of who takes the responsibility of ensuring end to end security … who can strengthen the weakest link!
Conversations continued during the networking session with so much of the connectivity challenges left on the board. This is surely a topic that will be revisited many times as the IoT ecosystem grows. Thanks again to our host, to our panelists and to NCore Communications and Iotium who took spotlight tables at this event. Their pitches can be seen here.