Sprint’s IoT platform will be finished and 5G-ready next month, says Ericsson
Ericsson will have completed construction of Sprint’s new IoT core network and operating system (OS) by next month, it has said. The US carrier will be able to offer ‘internet of things’ (IoT) connectivity and applications on the new infrastructure in November.
The IoT platform, given the name Curiosity by Sprint, will support 5G NR radio as it comes available, based on an LTE or a 5G core, said Ericsson, responding to an invitation from Enterprise IoT Insights to shed further light on the arrangement, announced last month by Sprint.
Sprint also confirmed at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Americas it is working with fellow Softbank companies Arm and Packet on the new IoT platform. But Ericsson is handling the build, and contributing major parts.
The Swedish vendor’s head of IoT, Jeff Travers, clarified: “It will be built and available to use in November.” The dedicated IoT core network is a combination of Packet’s cloud-based ‘bare metal’ servers and Ericsson’s virtual gateways, available with its own IoT Accelerator.
The distributed and virtualised network core, providing low latency and highest availability, will reduce distance between devices generating data and applications processing data from up to 1,000 miles to less than 50 miles, rendering data insights more quickly.
Large volumes of enterprise data will be rendered at the network edge, in real time, for advanced analysis using machine learning.
“This core is dedicated, virtualised, and distributed,” said Travers.
“[It is] dedicated because it runs on Packet.net infrastructure – the gateways are virtualised, running on the Packet.net servers, and distributed because they can be located in many locations, closer to the business.”
Meanwhile, the OS is “fully based” on Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator, said Travers. Sprint suggested at MWC Americas, however, the OS will use Arm’s Pelion connectivity management and Kigen SIM solutions.
The idea is enterprises will be able to manage IoT devices and connectivity over the air, across multiple SIM profiles. “The IoT OS is key, it simplifies device and connectivity management, and can be used for businesses to manage devices globally,” said Travers
“At the heart of the IoT OS is the Ericsson IoT Accelerator, to make it easy to manage devices and their connectivity – it [means] faster on-boarding, faster time-to-market, using the ecosystem of partner companies already served by the combined IoT Accelerator and Sprint ecosystems.”
He detailed also the standard theory of innovation that, with the right tools, developers will ensure the ecosystem thrives. “Developers are motivated to develop apps when there is a wide market and so we encourage the users of IoT OS and the IoT Accelerator to open up API sets to enable this.”
Travers said the offering will support 5G NR radio, including versions based on an LTE and 5G core, “whenever it is introduced”. In terms of IoT use cases, he said Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator is designed for enterprises, with some crossover into consumer led home security and connected vehicle applications.
The platform offers massive scalability, from the start, he said. “We don’t have numbers to share, but the platform is certainly ready to support millions of devices from day one and is intended for scale.”
The Sprint IoT platform proposition also covers service assurance for all IoT elements and enterprise locations, including network operations centre monitoring, service resource fulfilment, cloud orchestration management and application management.