IoT: even more disruptive than you think

Staff writer
Vision 2016

Barry Lerner, Chief Information Officer for Huawei Southern Pacific RegionBarry Lerner, Chief Information Officer for Huawei Southern Pacific Region, outlines the challenges and opportunities of IoT, who will adopt it first (and how), and what’s in the pipeline for 2016 

Vision 2016: How disruptive will IoT be, and in what ways?    

Barry Lerner: The Internet of Things (IoT) will revolutionize the way we live, work and play.  Fundamental to IoT is the collection and management of data from various devices and sensors that will offer new insights and change. For example: how cities are planned and managed, how public transport and emergency services are coordinated, buildings and the environment is managed, how we interact with our home environment, and generally how businesses operate - e.g. how goods are manufactured. IoT is a disruptive technology that will enable new business models and new value chains, forever changing the way we interact with the world around us.       

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Vision 2016 Supplement

Who are the early adopters of IoT, and what use cases are they implementing?    

The early adopters of this new technology are governments, medium & large enterprises, and service providers. We are seeing the largest opportunities in developing nations.  These nations view the implementation of IoT as a key differentiator, enabling them to leapfrog and build sustainable cities, provide economic value and increase the standard of living of their citizens.  

The IoT offers enhanced technology capabilities in diverse industries. In the healthcare sector, it will bring new connected medical devices that support near real-time monitoring of patient health information. In the transportation industry, connected vehicles will communicate securely with each other and with the environment surrounding them, offering safer commutes. In the utility industry, energy distribution and consumption will be regulated with more efficient grids. In smart homes, IoT will enable home automation of home appliances, utilities management and homecare for elderly.   

What are the key challenges in implementing IoT?

One of the major challenges in IoT is managing the vast amount of data that is generated and collected from millions and millions of smart devices and sensors.  This data often needs to be shared with different organizations so data governance is a key issue as well as integration into legacy environments and systems.  

Also with data comes the need to ensure privacy of citizen information; therefore, having a trusted design to achieve data anonymization is a critical success factor for IoT implementation. The need by manufacturers to create open standards-based sensors that any application or database can access is a key inhibitor to the success of IoT.     

Additionally, with IoT comes the need to manage a massive number of connections with differing requirements - i.e. video surveillance, industrial control, smart metering, etc - mandating the need for networks to evolve to support machine-to-machine type traffic.  Lastly, security will always be an issue with a need to be able to take proactive actions to mitigate any threats through a carefully constructed security architecture.    

How does Huawei view IoT, and what are you investing in?   

Huawei’s key investments in IoT are in the areas of sensor OS, agile IoT gateway, 4G and 5G networking, IoT platform and selected smart-city applications such as safe city, building management, smart parking and traffic management.    

For example, our “Safe City” solution applies a comprehensive public security video surveillance platform to video surveillance resources from public security departments and other sources. This solution provides real-time urban surveillance and surveillance video query services. Police “cyber pursuit” is facilitated using real-time, space-based surveillance services for accurate tracing and analysis in combating crimes and securing public environment.   

Another example is our energy-efficient building management solution (BEMS), which supports green buildings enabling improved management of environments - i.e. lighting, air conditioning, security etc - all through a cloud based IoT gateway.   

Recently we announced the Agile IoT Architecture and shared a light open IoT operating system (LiteOS) with the industry. Huawei’s R&D has emphasized its focus on software-defined ICT/converged IoT gateway with flexible networking such as PLC, ZigBee/RF, RS485, 3G/LTE, Ethernet, etc.    

Huawei’s has also developed a Hi-PLC meter reading solution, which features 10-Mbps bandwidth with a 98% success rate. This enables an advanced metering infrastructure solution for smart-grid VAS with open services, allowing easy integration of multiple services, such as billing, line loss and electricity stealing analysis, etc.     

We’re focused on building a universal and open platform for IoT data supporting independent software vendors in developing new service applications to rapidly respond to customer needs.    

What specific developments will we see with IoT in 2016?   

NB-IoT (Narrow Band Internet-of-Things), Huawei’s LTE-M technology, has just been approved by the 3GPP for Release 13. This new technology will provide improved indoor and outdoor coverage and will support a massive number of low throughput devices, low delay sensitivity, low power consumption and longer battery life. The technology can be deployed in-band, utilizing resource blocks within a normal LTE carrier, or in the unused resource blocks within a LTE carrier’s guard band, or standalone for deployments in dedicated spectrum. NB-IoT is also particularly suitable for the refarming of GSM channels to further address the promising IoT market. IoT manufacturers and service providers will embrace this technology for applications demanding those characteristics.

The industry is working continuously, seeking a more secure and resilient architecture for the management of IoT. OTT giants Apple and Google have already announced their IoT platforms: Apple HomeKit and Google Brillo. They have promised their IoT platforms will be fully integrated to their App Store and Play Store, respectively. We expect to see some new disruptive IoT developments in the consumer market with these OTT companies’ IoT plans in the coming years. 

This article was first published in Telecom Asia Vision 2016 Supplement

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