As Principal Analyst for Enterprise Mobility and IoT at GlobalData, Kathryn is responsible for analyzing events, companies, products and technologies within the wireless enterprise services, IoT, and private wireless solutions space.
• Nokia’s Q2 2022 disclosures about its private cellular network market performance provide insights on the overall market, which is seen as a significant growth opportunity by a diverse cast of characters.
• Nokia experienced a slower new-customer growth rate over the last two quarters than in 2021. The company notes regional, seasonal, and go-to-market disparities with some verticals slower to adopt than others.
Nokia transparently discloses details of its private cellular wireless market performance to analysts each quarter, which not only provides insights on the vendor’s momentum, but also enlightens us with information on enablers and challenges that likely apply to most providers. As so many vendors and service providers see private cellular as a major growth opportunity, Nokia’s insights may help explain why the market is still at an early stage of enterprise adoption and why some provider segments appear to be doing better than others in gaining large numbers of new customers and associated revenues.
• GlobalData’s new report (please see ”Private LTE/5G Network Services”) profiles AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, and BT. These operators announced new wins/deals and diverse technology and use case-specific alliances over the last six months.
• Announcements disclose not only the expanded use of private cellular by customers, but also plans to deploy 5G more widely, leverage technologies such as AR/VR and edge, and to deploy low-latency applications.
Private LTE/5G network services are offered by leading mobile operators and are aimed at business customers looking for dedicated connectivity, security, and data privacy combined with the flexibility of cellular technology and its support for advanced use cases within industrial manufacturing sites and other geographically constrained environments such as utilities, mines, ports, and campuses. Many of these businesses are leveraging private 4G; others are deploying or planning to use 5G to take advantage of its high speeds and low latency, often in combination with edge computing. Private 5G is also positioned as a follow-on and/or complement to in-building/campus WiFi networks. Leading mobile operators are gaining new customers from private networks and anticipate substantial future revenues for connectivity, as well as value-added services such as design, testing, proofs of concept, integration, application enablement, edge computing, and ongoing management. According to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, there are 889 commercial deployments of private cellular networks globally, including only one deployment per customer per country.
• Celona raises the profile of its private network offering by introducing device certification and enterprise training programs to address interoperability, enhance plug-and-play experience, and increase the number of devices that work on its network.
• The new program streamlines the device certification process while providing rigorous performance testing, including suites for enterprise applications and measurements of parameters such as packet error rate, latency, handover time, and features for QoS and 5G routing.
Celona’s new device certification and customer training programs have several key aims. In order to expand its share of the increasingly competitive private wireless network market, Celona needs to expand the number of certified devices that work with its private wireless offering and edge software. At the same time, it wants to ease customer pain points, which it claims have not been addressed well by other providers. These include (1) the difficulty of finding the best devices for the customers’ particular use cases and environments; (2) making sure these devices work properly, not just from the perspective of the standard certification criteria such as regulatory compliance and device specifications for macro networks, but based on more rigorous performance testing; and (3) ensuring that these devices are interoperable. All of these issues feed into its marketing claims about having turnkey, plug-and-play solutions. The new customer training modules are also aimed at frictionless deployments, which in turn provide more satisfied customers and potential references. Specific elements of its new programs include:
• The last two weeks have seen unusual levels of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity within the IoT ecosystem and the announced exit of an IoT platform from a major vendor.
• These changes confirm a need for consolidation in an overly complex and fragmented market with a way to provide growth and longevity for vendors by enlarging product scope.
On July 29, Telit, a US-based provider of IoT technology solutions including hardware and management platforms, announced its intention to acquire the cellular IoT products of Thales, a French vendor of aerospace, defense, security, and digital identity solutions. These include Thales’ portfolio of wireless communication modules, gateways, and data modem cards that support 4G LTE, LPWAN, and 5G. Telit notes that the acquisition will expand its presence in new industrial IoT segments including payment systems, energy, e-health, and security. It also enhances the company’s ability to respond to demand for cybersecure IoT solutions in modules and cellular connectivity. In turn, Thales will take a 25% stake in the expanded Telit business, which will be rebranded as Telit Cinterion.
• GlobalData’s latest report on IoT services from IT service providers (or ‘ITSP’ – please see: ”IT Services Provider IoT-Services Competitive Landscape Assessment”) highlights recent alliances and acquisitions that have given providers a deeper focus into industrial verticals or enhanced digital transformation capabilities with IoT and adjacent technologies.
• Looking at new services, partnerships, and recent alliances over the last six months, GlobalData ranks Atos as a ‘Leader’ in ITSP IoT services; Accenture, Capgemini, and IBM as ‘Very Strong;’ and InfoSys and Cognizant as ‘Strong.’
Recent key announcements from these providers not included in the aforementioned report (and others such as Tech Mahindra and Wipro) demonstrate how important recent acquisitions and alliances have been to fortify IoT offerings along with other digital transformation technologies such as AI, digital twins, 5G, edge, blockchain, and cloud services.
• While 5G is positioned as a “near-term” game-changer, both pundits and telecom vendors debate network characteristics, performance expectations, and use cases that will be enabled by next-generation wireless technology: 6G.
• Compelling enterprise use cases in early trials, or are only hinted at today, will allegedly be widely available in the 2030s.
Analysts are busily digesting evolving information on the capabilities of 5G as they aim to come up with answers to burning questions such as:
Internet of Things (IoT) mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) had to overcome reliance on connectivity-led portfolios as they court global enterprises while competing with mobile operators focusing on IoT as a growth area.
Those MVNOs that remain and thrive have re-vamped offerings to stay relevant, drawing customers with application enablement, vertical solutions, management platforms, and professional and managed services.
IoT MVNOs expand the reach of enterprises looking to connect IoT devices on a global basis, primarily via cellular technologies. They can expand mobile or fixed operators’ footprints as a partner or sell directly to OEMs and enterprises that need widespread, easy-to-use connectivity. They can also offer seamless connectivity in regions where a single carrier cannot provide service.
Over the past six months, IoT service providers in the US, Europe, and APAC have been busily disclosing new capabilities, with close to 30 announcements, not including customer wins.
Announcements ranged from news on acquisitions and investments to new and enhanced services, technology alliances, and vertical solutions.
New and Enhanced Services
New and enhanced services ranged from asset tracking improvements to expanded coverage, roaming alliances, managed services, wholesale expansion, and blockchain in conjunction with Internet of Things (IoT), edge alliances, and dynamic network access.
The Nokia Bell Labs and Equideum Health collaboration will leverage data generated from wearables and home health devices.
Analytics will be fundamental in aiding clinicians, pharmaceutical companies, and researchers to rapidly gain insight from the data as well as shorten clinical trial timelines.
In April 2022, Nokia Bell Labs and Equideum Health announced a partnership focused on empowering individuals to own and benefit from their personal health data. The collaboration will leverage the rapidly expanding datasets generated from wearables and other edge devices, including the growing set of in-home medical devices. The central premise is that while health data is increasing exponentially, no one has figured out a way to collect it, centralize it, and use it for near real-time meaningful insights. Edge computing, AI, ML, and blockchain technologies are now available to accomplish this by collecting and analyzing diverse data types from a wide variety of devices (e.g., wearables, sensors, smartphones, and video feeds). The partners also expect to empower a flood of innovation, without companies worrying about sharing proprietary information or individuals worrying about sharing their personal information without knowing who has access to it. Beneficiaries of this vision will include consumers, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, researchers, institutions, medical device manufacturers, and potentially a slew of startups excited about access to reams of high quality, verifiable health data.
T-Mobile joins Zephyr Project as a platinum member to offer innovators a developer kit and partner resources to help them develop innovative applications/devices for its 5G network.
This builds on the 5G Forward initiative disclosed by the operator in March, which includes a new developer platform, DevEdge. What kinds of use cases is T-Mobile anticipating and will they give it a leg up in the enterprise?
When T-Mobile launched 5G Forward on March 23rd, it described initiatives designed to accelerate 5G developer innovation, including DevEdge, a new developer platform; the Tech Experience 5G Hub, a state-of-the-art innovation center; new T-Mobile Accelerator participants; venture funding for two companies (SignalWire and Spectro Cloud); and strategic partnerships with Disney StudioLAB and Red Bull to develop 5G-powered experiences for fans. T-Mobile claims that wireless developers run into “carrier barriers,” including the need to navigate a maze of hoops and hurdles with limited support, inaccessible experts, unclear pricing, drawn-out certification processes, and limited coverage from rivals’ 5G networks. DevEdge promises easy connection of any device to T-Mobile’s network, pre-certified modules and chipsets, access to APIs and open-source projects, real-time collaboration, and a developer kit (free to the first 1,000 users) with access to data from T-Mobile’s LTE and, in the future, its 5G networks. The T-Mobile Accelerator already boasts a handful of partners, most of which are building consumer applications or devices such as augmented reality (AR) glasses. Spectro Cloud, however, is an enterprise management platform. Continue reading “T-Mobile US Joins Zephyr Project to Boost 5G Developer Innovation”→