Verizon on 2020: “IoT is a generational aspiration – the future is now and it’s exciting”
Steve Szabo, head of global products and solutions for IoT, Verizon Business:
“Digital transformation is a hot topic, but it is not a new topic. And it is, itself, transforming.
“In 2000, the degree to which a company could consider itself on a path to digital transformation was based on the percentage of sales that went through its website – in other words, digital was a mechanism to optimize distribution. The scope of digital transformation then expanded to include processes related to marketing and advertising. Messaging became more targeted and engagement between company and customer became more personalized because organizations were able to leverage the digital data generated by commercial interactions.
“IoT will take center stage in the next wave of digital transformation. In the same way companies optimized advertising and marketing by tapping into digital sales data, they can now vastly improve business efficiency and effectiveness using data generated by all of the ‘things’ associated with operational processes.
“What makes this new wave of IoT driven digital transformation possible is the evolution, maturity, and intersection of key enabling technologies that will open up new commercial and industrial opportunities.
“The mobile industry has developed a suite of communications technologies that address a multitude of use cases. While most people think about advancements in cellular networks as a way to deliver higher volumes of data at higher speeds, the other key advancement in cellular networks has been at the other end of the spectrum – notably for use cases where the ‘thing’ communicates infrequently and only in very small amounts.
“According to the GSMA, there are currently 125 commercial low-power wide-area (LPWA_ IoT networks (LTE-M and NB-IoT) across the world. The first of these networks launched commercially in 2017 and now that these networks are widely available globally, 2020 will be the year where we hit the inflection point and begin to scale massive IoT.
“LPWA networks enable a broad range of ‘smart’ solutions – utility meters, lights, parking meters and sprinklers to name a few. These networks help organizations achieve a higher level of insight. Companies depend on things to carry out their business – trailers, tools, pallets, containers, just to name a few. IoT networks enable organizations to answer critical questions about these things like ‘where are they?’ and ‘what condition are they in?’ to improve operational efficiency, reduce disruptive downtime, and improve business performance.
“5G will change the technology landscape and unleash a new wave of innovation and digital transformation. The enabling power of 5G relies upon eight currencies – or attributes – that make this wave of network innovation unique:
- Throughput – 5G will ultimately offer peak data rates up to 10Gpbs. This is not an incremental improvement over 4G, it’s an exponential improvement.
- Service deployment – virtualized functions exist within 5G eliminating the need for additional hardware. Cycle times can be drastically reduced while new features and improvements can be rolled out quickly.
- Mobility – 5G enables devices to stay connected to the network at speeds up to 310 mph. A future of fast moving vehicles – self driving cars, trains, and drones – can always stay connected.
- Connected devices – 5G can support up to 1 million devices per square kilometer enabling the sensorization of everything. It makes massive IoT a reality.
- Energy efficiency – 5G has lower energy requirements for network operations compared to 4G. It’s not just a better network because it’s faster, it’s a better because it contributes to a more sustainable and responsible society.
- Data volume – 5G can carry massive amounts of data while supporting a large number of simultaneous users. This means less network congestion in dense urban areas and crowded venues.
- Low latency – The round trip time for data to traverse the network and back again will be in the sub-10ms range. This improvement in latency enables the mobilization of low latency dependent use cases like virtual reality and autonomous driving.
- Reliability – 5G networks built right can achieve 5 9s uptime meaning businesses can count on the network being there when it’s needed.
“One of the most significant outcomes of digital transformation is that it is fundamentally transforming the architecture of the internet. Not only is there a lot more data, but data is everywhere. The traditional model where data is collected at the edge and transmitted back to a highly centralized architecture for processing is not economically viable and does not support emerging use cases where speed, latency, and scalability is critical.
“Edge compute combined with the 8 currencies of 5G enables a whole new class of real time IoT solutions. Monitoring and management of critical infrastructure such as power grids and pipelines requires the ability to process and analyze vast amounts of sensor data. Reducing the distance and time between where the data is created and where it is analyzed will enable organizations to operate at peak efficiency, reduce costs and minimize downtime.
“Public safety solutions with compute capabilities at the edge can vastly increase the situational awareness for first responders. Security threats can be mitigated when data from video cameras, gunshot detection systems, and environmental sensors can be processed and analyzed quickly in situations where every second matters.
“A key trend in 2020 will be the acceleration of adoption of IoT edge solutions. While there will always be demand for traditional cloud based IoT deployments, solutions where lower latency yields significant operational benefits will begin to scale rapidly.
“IoT is the embodiment of what is frequently called the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ because it is at the intersection of a variety of rapidly developing and emerging technologies that are individually interesting, but collectively transformational. Simply put, IoT is about creating outcomes based on data insights and the industry continues to reach new heights on both the type of data that can be collected and the insights and actions that can be taken from that data.
“Computer vision is a technological concept that has evolved over the course of decades. Early use cases for computer vision enabled the identification and sorting of objects into various categories – circles, rectangles, etc. The technology was first commercialized to interpret written text for the blind. Computer vision has been the enabling technology behind facial recognition solutions that scaled once photos and videos became digitized and broadly available on the internet.
“The pervasiveness of high definition cameras in mobile devices combined with high speed networks that can deliver those pictures and videos to an edge or centralized compute processor along with increasingly advanced algorithms and methods for analyzing, identifying, and classifying objects allows today’s computer vision solutions to be quicker and more accurate that humans at detecting, analyzing, and reacting to visual inputs.
:What’s important about the evolution of computer vision is how enabling technologies – digitization of video, mobile networks, compute, storage, and analytics – have driven its advancement.
“In 2020, we expect video and computer vision technologies to be increasingly incorporated into IoT solutions. Previously, video and computer vision were less prevalent in IoT solutions since networks could not support the bandwidth and latency requirements. 5G solves for those bandwidth and latency issues and opens up video-as-a-sensor as a horizontal capability applicable to a variety of vertical use cases.
“We’re at an inflection point in IoT. The vision of Industry 4.0 is an ecosystem of interconnected things, people, and processes. Until now, IoT has largely been about enabling point solutions; but those solutions were designed to solve specific problems or answer specific questions. The IoT solutions of the future will be far more integrated and drive broad business outcomes.
“For example, the concept of an intelligent supply chain will be realized through the orchestration and integration of multiple point IoT solutions – fleet management, asset tracking, condition based monitoring, and inventory management. 5G networks, edge compute and other enabling technologies will make the transformation and reinvention of outcome based business processes a reality.
“We are early days of this technological innovation. Industry 4.0 is a generational aspiration that will redefine digital transformation. The future is now and it’s exciting.”