IoT vendors strive for simplicity with NB-IoT developer kits, LoRaWAN box solutions
A number of pre-MWC announcements from variously-aligned IoT vendors, including Spanish and US IoT firms Libelium and Senet, have revealed a truth about the manic IoT sector and a sub-theme of this year’s summit: that the IoT market has gone unchecked, and its protagonists are seeking to create order from the early chaos.
The tone has already been set by the big European telecoms vendors, Nokia and Ericsson, which have issued pre-show statements about re-packaging IoT technologies and re-mapping their evolution, respectively.
Nokia has introduced four ready-made IoT packs to help mobile network operators go after the agriculture, livestock management, logistics, and asset management markets. Its new IoT packages – available “off-the-shelf” and “as—a-service” – will drive new revenues for operators, with “minimal investment and less risk”, it said.
Meanwhile, Ericsson, has redefined its vision for cellular IoT technologies in four categories, including two new segments for Broadband IoT and Industrial Automation IoT, to go alongside its existing segmentation for Massive IoT and Critical IoT.
Ericsson’s exercise was more about stamping its authority on the developing IoT market, than simplification of the existing one, and it might even be argued it has muddied the waters somewhat by imposing four IoT categories onto three developing 3GPP groupings – in enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine-type (mMTC), and ultra-reliable low-latency (URLLC) communications.
But Ericsson was talking about simplifying the IoT market at least as long ago as last year’s MWC, when it introduced its Accelerator Marketplace as a one-stop shop for bonafide IoT solutions.
This time, amid the rush of early MWC 2019 announcements, Ericsson has been name-dropped in an announcement from Libelium. The Spanish IoT outfit is integrating NB-IoT into its sensor platform, based on a modeul from Quectel, as part of a move to offer customised configurations for different applications.
Libelium is releasing NB-IoT developer kits as part of the deal to allow easy testing and deployments. The Quectel module also offers LTE-M and GPRS as fallback, in case NB-IoT coverage is not possible. Libelium said it is working with Ericsson to make the new NB-IoT connectivity compatible with the LWM2M protocol used by Ericsson in its configurations with this technology.
The context is an IoT market that “demands greater maturity and homogeneity in communication protocols,” it noted. Alicia Asín, co-founder and chief executive at Libelium, commented: “In our 13-year history we have integrated more than 15 communication protocols and we understand the fragmentation of IoT market requires different protocols depending on the application.”
Meanwhile, LoRaWAN solutions provider Senet is working with Arrow Electronics, it said, to simplify the process of purchasing and deploying connected IoT solutions. Arrow is offering LPWA gateways pre-configured for Senet-based LoRaWAN networks and applications – so they work on Senet setups out-of-the-box.
Senet claims it has “connectivity readiness” in over 80 countries, with new channel plans in the US, Latin America, Europe and Australia.
The company claims a global LoRaWAN network by incentivising LoRaWAN connectivity through its LPWA virtual network (LVN) ‘marketplace’, which enables network operators, technology providers, and system integrators to connect and structure revenue sharing arrangement between then, based on their relative contributions.
Bruce Chatterley, chief executive at Senet, said: “With fewer steps required to deploy an end-to-end solution and quality of service built into both the procurement and deployment processes, today’s announcement is an example of how the IoT ecosystem is maturing and providing tangible cost and time-saving benefits. We are excited to be working with Arrow to revolutionise how the value of the Internet of Things is delivered.”