Comcast expanding enterprise IoT base with utility, ag customers
Enabling enterprise IoT applications key focus of Comcast’s LoRaWAN network
As cable-giant Comcast continues to build on its core business with services typically dominated by more traditional wireless operators, its Xfinity Mobile MVNO play, for instance, the Philadelphia-based company continues to grow its enterprise IoT offering dubbed machineQ. Based on recent customer wins, Comcast is looking to address a wide range of valuable IoT use cases in rapidly transforming enterprise segments, including the utilities, agricultural and facilities management verticals.
Comcast uses the LoRa (long range) wide area networking specification for its machineQ service. LoRaWAN is marked by a “star-of-stars topology,” according to the LoRa Alliance wherein gateways connect to a network server to convert RF packets to IP packets. LoRaWAN supports bi-directional communications and enables over-the-air updates to firmware.
In its latest slate of customer win, Comcast highlighted key enterprise IoT applications like asset tracking, wireless management of water usage for utilities, building managers and agricultural interests.
“We’re helping break down barriers to entry for B2B-focused IoT solution providers because our cloud-based, scalable and secure IoT hardware and software solutions have the ability to extract device data from hard to reach locations with low power requirements – that traditional wireless connectivity options can’t offer,” Alex Khorram, machineQ’s GM said in a statement. “These qualities, are opening up a whole new world of use cases and vertical industries for our customers, leading to new market opportunities and helping them to quickly scale their business to meet their customers’ demands.”
To the agricultural use case, California vineyards are working with Vinduino and machineQ to better control water usage by connecting irrigation valve controllers to the enterprise IoT network. A mobile application allows users to remotely operate their irrigation infrastructure and, according to Comcast, “adapt crop management to changing climate conditions; ultimately optimizing their quality yield and saving money by using water more efficiently.”
Back in May, machineQ went live in what Comcast called the “epicentre of IoT” with a deployment covering California tech hot spots Cupertino, Fremont, Hayward, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Oakland, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. At the time Khorram called the geographic focus a “no-brainer.”
Comcast’s LoRaWAN network, initially trialled in 2016 in Philadelphia, the Bay Area and Chicago, is available in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington DC.