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Internet of Things Year in Review: 2018
Source: | Author:pmo4d0f6d | Published time: 2018-12-21 | 2292 Views | Share:
As another year comes to an end, it’s a good time to reflect on Internet of Things (IoT) industry advancements, recent trends impacting our customers, emerging IoT use cases and new solutions that are helping businesses and industries use the IoT to re-imagine the future.

LPWA and 5G

Over the past year, we celebrated many important milestones for Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies, including expansion of the LPWA ecosystem and increased LTE-M and NB-IoT wireless coverage, driving continued growth of the market for LPWA deep edge IoT applications. 

Carriers around the world are lighting up new LTE-M and NB-IoT networks, while enterprises are developing and deploying IoT applications with modules certified for use on these networks. Sierra Wireless’ HL78 module has been certified for use on KDDI and AT&T’s LTE-M networks in Japan and the US, while the WP77 has been certified for use on T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network.

These new LPWA modules are enabling a range of new IoT use cases, from large-scale deployments in smart energy, tracking and industrial asset management to home security, patient monitoring, wearables and other exciting applications. For example, KDDI Corporation chose the HL78 to connect next-generation LP gas smart meters, enabling LP gas service providers to boost operational efficiency while offering customers value-added services.

LPWA routers, like the AirLink® LX60 and LX40, out-of-the box LTE and LTE-M/NB-IoT cellular connectivity for a variety of IoT applications including: building automation, digital signage, security, remote sensing and data logging equipment. 

With the expanding LPWA ecosystem, growing LPWA coverage and new IoT technologies, enterprises are realizing that when they develop solutions using LTE-M and NB-IoT, they are already on the path to 5G. There’s no need for enterprises to wait for 5G to begin building out the massive Internet of Things.

Customers Using the IoT to Re-imagine the Future

2018 also saw the emergence and expansion of a variety of innovative IoT use cases, including:
  • Tracking: Tracking “things” is one of the fastest growing IoT applications, with LPWA and other IoT technologies enabling many new asset and other types of tracking use cases. Sierra Wireless solutions are already being deployed for not only supply chain asset tracking, but also pet tracking and kid tracking and communications solutions. 
  • Industrial IoT (IIoT): Customers are increasingly exploring the IoT for industrial use cases, including predictive maintenance and equipment-as-a- service. Girbau and Atlas Copco are great examples of how new IoT technologies are enabling the deployment of IIoT applications that improve equipment reliability, differentiate products, deliver value-added services and leverage IoT data to launch new business models.
  • Retail: New IoT solutions are enabling retailers to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives by obtaining end-to-end supply chain visibility, managing inventory in real time and creating more demand-driven supply chains. In doing so, retailers can reduce costs, improve product availability, more accurately forecast demand and provide consumers with better shopping experiences. For example, Honey Baked Ham is using new IoT technologies to easily and affordably expand its retail footprint every holiday season, and the International Vending Alliance (IVA) is supporting new business models and customer experiences, including cashless payment, touch screens, targeted advertising, online monitoring and more efficient management.
  • Oil & gas: Pason Systems Inc. is using IoT connectivity to help oil drilling companies accelerate their digital transformations by providing them with fully integrated solutions for accessing critical drilling information – anytime, anywhere. These capabilities make it easy for clients to collect, manage, analyze and report on drilling data to optimize the performance and cost-efficiency of their operations.
  • Cross-sector: XSun is using a device-to-cloud IoT solution for a solar-powered drones that can be used for agriculture, maritime, land and industrial infrastructure surveillance applications, while Intellinium has developed a smart safety shoe designed to improve worker safety at construction sites, factories, mines, oil platforms, and commercial fishing and agriculture operations.

Open Source

In 2018, we’ve also seen increased adoption of open source IoT platforms, which offer vendors and application developers a cost-effective and efficient path to developing new IoT solutions. A growing number of developers now recognize that open source technologies can be used to address many of the challenges that previously limited their ability to quickly and affordably bring new IoT applications to market. For example, at the beginning of the year, the IoT Breakthrough Awards named our open source hardware platform for the IoT, mangOH® Red, as the IoT Development Tool of the Year.

Companies like Bosch (connected agriculture), Solar Boat (real-time tracking and data collection), and Glassboard(asset tracking for first responders) have all taken advantage of mangOH to rapidly develop next generation IIoT and other IoT applications. Meanwhile, Mobile Network Operators like AT&T and Orange are using mangOH in their developer kits. 

We’re excited to the new and innovative applications that developers create with the latest mangOH, mangOH Yellow, a “super sensor” for connected IoT applications that allows developers to measure and monitor virtually anything.

Public Safety Communications: FirstNet

The rollout of FirstNet, a dedicated communication “fast lane” for first responders and other public safety professionals in the US, accelerated in 2018. The FirstNet wireless network addresses congestion issues that have hindered public safety communications in the past, offering first responders secure, smoother and more reliable communications. 

Sierra Wireless is supporting the rollout of FirstNet, with solutions like the Sierra Wireless AirLink® MG90 High-Performance Multi-Network Vehicle Router, the industry’s first high-performance, multi-network, in-vehicle router certified for use on FirstNet, and the AirPrime® EM7511 LTE-Advanced Pro Embedded Module, which provides the priority and pre-emption services first responders need to access FirstNet whenever they need to, 24/7/365.

To perform efficiently in the field, first responders also require rugged connected laptops, such as those from BAK USA and Panasonic, which feature Sierra Wireless’ EM7511 and other modules. To help highlight how these laptops enable first responders to better protect people and property, Sierra Wireless joined Panasonic on its Panasonic Toughbook Truck, which visited 17 cities across the US.

2018 also marked the first FCC approval of an embedded module for Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)networks in the U.S.—the AirPrime EM7565. This enables organizations to operate their own LTE networks in areas such as college and corporate campuses, arenas, airports, ports and warehouses. As the CBRS ecosystem of infrastructure, carriers, and modules roll out, it becomes much easier for organizations to operate their own LTE networks with more device and service options for users.

IoT Security

As the IoT continues to expand, so does the work needed to keep it secure. Today, network management and other solutions are increasingly being used by enterprises to implement stronger IoT security strategies. In addition, Sierra Wireless and other IoT industry leaders are working closely with government agencies and their customers to ensure that enterprises are adopting current security best practices that can help them reduce the risk of a successful IoT cyberattack, while also collaborating on other new initiatives that will further improve IoT security.

Coming in 2019: Data Orchestration

As we move into the new year, a major innovation is being introduced that promises to further empower enterprises to develop IoT applications that enable them to thrive in the connected economy. This new solution addresses one of the key challenges enterprises have faced when trying to develop, deploy and manage IoT applications – the IoT’s complexity. This D2C solution is called Octave, and it delivers distributed data orchestration

With the Octave D2C data orchestration solution enterprises can now control the entire IoT data stack, allowing them to easily orchestrate the flow of IoT data from the cloud to the edge and back and make sure the right data is sent at the right time, with the right priority, to the right system of record. Distributed data orchestration simplifies the IoT, making asset data much more accessible and actionable, so enterprises in the energy, transportation and other sectors can use this data to generate insights quickly and easily. We look forward to going into further details on how D2C data orchestration will disrupt the IoT market in the new year.