Sony, Kigen, FloLIVE prep IoT solution for hybrid public-private 5G, LTE, NB-IoT
London-based startup FloLIVE, offering global 5G connectivity for high-performance IoT, has combined with SIM specialist Kigen and chip maker Sony Semiconductor Israel (Sony; formerly Altair)) on a new iSIM-based cellular IoT module. The solution embeds the FloLIVE roaming solution onto Sony’s Altair ALT1250 cellular IoT chipset, running NB-IoT and LTE-M, with an integrated SIM (iSIM) from Kigen.
FloLIVE received a $15.5 million funding extension in June from Qualcomm Ventures and Dell Technologies, among others, taking its total series B total to $37 million. They join a venture capital roster that already includes Intel Capital. The firm is approaching the IoT market – and notably the enterprise and industrial IoT markets – as a kind of in-market private 5G MVNO, offering access to public and private spectrum for national private enterprise usage.
FloLIVE claims a “globally distributed array” of local core networks in key countries and regions, managed from its centralised FloNET cloud platform. It has a number of deals with mobile operators in local markets to allocate international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number-ranges to its FloNET platform, to provide carrier-grade security around cellular network access.
But the key idea is enterprises will want to combine private on-site 5G networks with national 5G coverage, leveraged from public 5G networks – and that operators want a simpler way to serve these enterprises. FloLIVE reckons it can straddle the line by offering localised core networks, adhering to regional privacy rules and data sovereignty regulations, that plug into privately-licensed and owned 5G networks, as well as public 5G infrastructure.
The introduction of network slicing on public 5G networks will, presumably, extend the mobile private network (MPN) features into the public network domain, and make FloLIVE’s offering ‘private’ effectively end-to-end, across both sets of infrastructure. Writing in a blog post, Nir Shalom, chief executive at FloLIVE, explained: “Traditionally, mobile private networks have been associated with a private campus, but this kind of local coverage is insufficient.”
He went on: “Think about users on the move as part of the work that they do. It’s important for connectivity providers to take the idea of an MPN beyond the campus, and think about it on a national and even global scale. This requires flexible solutions that include complementary public access, and a consideration of how to allow other operators to pick up the slack where possible – all without business interruption or compromising security.
“In such cases, for command and control reasons and also for reasons of security, you would need to have the public and private RAN utilizing the same private core network instance. Such a hybrid solution allows greater flexibility, higher coverage and cost savings without compromising on performance, security and control. At FloLIVE this is handled automatically through a converged MPN that covers both the enterprise’s campuses and their remote employees who utilize the global public network to access corporate resources.
“Our SIM-based autonomous switching capabilities further extend the flexibility and agility of our solution to cater for the stringent enterprise demands, ensuring efficient operation and business continuity.”
FloLIVE appears to be offering the same, but with low-power wide-area (LPWA) cellular IoT, with Sony and Kigen (which have a number of iSIM joint-references in the bag already). Its global enterprise 5G remit covers all cellular tech, from 2G through LTE (4G) and 5G, plus NB-IoT and LTE-M; the new solution (“advanced, state-of-the-art”) claims the same iSIM benefits – reduced size and cost, remote SIM provisioning.
It offers global NB-IoT and LTE-M on public networks, plus “local breakouts” in private setups. FloLIVE said: “This collaboration is a significant step in FloLive’s growth as a global connectivity leader, and in the worldwide need for innovative, iSIM-based connectivity solutions that meet new business needs… FloLIVE can customize any element to meet specific customer requirements. The solution supports additional cellular technologies such as 5G, for future use cases.”
Shalom said: “Our joint solution is a unique offering in the IoT space, and will be a model for other solutions in the market. We are proud to have the opportunity to partner with Sony and Kigen to leverage our highly-effective over-the-air multi-IMSI solution that is in line with Sony’s own target to extend battery life and optimize data usage, and Kigen’s advanced, highly-secure integrated SIM OS.”
Aviv Castro, vice president of business development at Sony Semiconductor Israel, said: “Sony is at the forefront of the next generation of connected devices, and to make that happen, we collaborate with vendors who have new approaches to enabling IoT connectivity. FloLIVE offers broad global coverage in our target markets and can address local regulatory challenges. This not only encourages IoT adoption, but also supports specific customer requirements for privacy and scale.”
Vincent Korstanje, chief executive at Kigen, said: “Kigen initiated the iSIM technology with a vision to simplify the manufacture of global IoT products and scale seamlessly. This collaboration with Sony and FloLIVE combines the best of security through Kigen iSIM OS with out of the box LPWAN connectivity on proven iSIM chipset so OEMs can focus on meeting regulatory and local market needs.”