Nokia snaps up industrial IoT analytics firm SpaceTime, ramps up 5G activity
Nokia has acquired California-based IoT analytics firm SpaceTime Insight to expand its capabilities help it develop industrial IoT applications formarkets such as manufacturing, energy, logistics, transportation and utilities.
The move follows Nokia’s disposal of its digital healthcare business last week, just two years after acquiring it for $190 million. The timing underlines its change of strategy, from consumer to enterprise IoT solutions.
SpaceTime Insight, based in San Mateo, already provides data analytics for major Entergy, FedEx, NextEra Energy, Singapore Power and Union Pacific Railroad, among others. It has offices in the US, Canada, UK, India and Japan. Its data analytics and machine learning models gauge the health of industrial assets, enabling enterprises to predict failures, optimise maintenance schedules, minimise downtime and reduce costs.
Nokia said it is acquiring the company for its track record in application development, machine learning and data science, as well as its sales expertise. SpaceTime Insight will be integrated into Nokia’s software IoT product unit.
Nokia Software president Bhaskar Gorti said: “Adding SpaceTime to Nokia Software is a strong step forward in our strategy, and will help us deliver a new class of intelligent solutions to meet the demands of an increasingly interconnected world. Together, we can empower customers to realise the full value of their people, processes and assets, and enable them to deliver rich, world-class digital experiences.”
SpaceTime Insight chief executive Rob Schilling, retained with the acquisition, commented: “Today marks a transformational moment for SpaceTime, and I’m delighted to join forces with one of the world’s top organisations – a global brand that is reshaping the future of networking and intelligent software.
Meanwhile, Nokia said it had completed the first 5G call using the 5G New Radio (NR) system on the 3.5GHz frequency band. The transmission was conducted at Nokia’s test centre at its Paris-Saclay campus in France; it was carried on SFR-owned airwaves.
Nokia already supplies LTE radio access equipment to SFR. The technical solution incorporated Nokia’s AirScale radio platform and purpose-built cloud RAN based Nokia’s AirFrame data centre solution.
Nokia president of mobile networks Marc Rouanne said: “By testing 5G technologies now, we can place SFR ahead of the needs of its data-hungry customers while preparing the operator for the launch of next-generation services.”
SFR head of mobile network François Vincent commented: “SFR is developing a roadmap for the evolution of its networks that takes into account the benefits and complexity of implementing 5G. The joint projects and trials will enable us to meet future data demand in the most effective way, while exploring new ways to deliver our media content that will increase the subscriber experience.”
The 5G NR standard, agreed by 3GPP in December 2017, is designed to support a wide variety of 5G applications and enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services, including multiple consumer and industrial IoT use cases.
Nokia has run a number of industrial IoT experiments based on 5G technologies recently. German manufacturer Bosch showcased an extended smart-factory mock-up at Hannover Messe last month, which included a Nokia 5G network enabling real-time data exchange, and artificial intelligence (AI) pre-empting faults in industrial equipment and machinery.
It also combined last month with Finnish compatriot Telia and US chip-maker Intel to run a series of 5G smart factory tests using a trial 5G radio access network, operating in the 28 GHz frequency band. The 5G smart-factory tests used a video application to monitor and analyse processes on an assembly line at a Nokia factory in Oulu, in Finland.
Nokia sees the power utilities sector as a high-growth vertical in particular, and is working with numerous partners on IoT projects, including French utility EDF. The pair are running a “comprehensive testing regime” with low-power, wide-area networking for “critical operations”.