IoT World 2018 Recap

We spoke to five of the movers and shakers powering the Internet of Things while we were there. Here’s what they're up to.

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IoT For All attended its 3rd consecutive IoT World conference in Santa Clara last week and what a show it was! The attendance and quantity of content made this year’s show the biggest so far. The IoT community came out in full force to witness “IoT in Action,” this year’s theme, and there were dozens of new companies showing their wares in the exhibit hall. Industry heavyweights such as Boeing, UPS, and Mastercard all delivered compelling keynotes, but Microsoft stole the spotlight on opening day announcing a $5B commitment to IoT.

It was refreshing to see many customer success stories and use cases this year. Perhaps we’re emerging from the trough of disillusionment and climbing the slope of enlightenment in the IoT hype cycle. There was certainly plenty of excitement and smart cities were all the rage – with several municipalities singing the praises of IoT and allocating real budget to implementations. All of the major cloud platforms were present and Google Cloud made its presence known with keynotes and a large booth full of live demos right at the entrance to the exhibit hall. It’s clear that all of the cloud providers view IoT as a cornerstone of their businesses going forward and are expecting strong growth in the years ahead.

To give our readers a glimpse beyond the headlines, we spoke to 5 of the movers and shakers powering the Internet of Things while we were there and here’s what they are up to.

1. HarperDB

HarperDB provides a unified database solution that has both true native high transactional NoSQL and SQL capabilities. It’s cloud-agnostic, written in Node.js for maximum portability, and was created to simplify the data value chain without sacrificing scale, speed and stability.

One of the more interesting features of HarperDB is its ability to run in a distributed manner within a very small footprint (65MB) on IoT edge devices. With built-in clustering and replication features and a standard REST API, HarperDB looks like a great fit for edge devices with intermittent and unreliable connectivity. If you’re in the market for flexible database technology, check out www.harperdb.io for more details.

2. TEKTELIC

TEKTELIC is well known as a major supplier of carrier-grade LoRa gateways to big name customers and partners. Their product line runs the gamut from inexpensive indoor Pico gateways all the way up to a massive 64-channel outdoor Mega gateways.

Recently though, they’ve begun expanding their horizons beyond just gateways and have become active in both the sensors and LoRa server space. They offer multi-function home sensors that detect temperature, humidity, light intensity, motion, shock, and water plus a GPS-enabled asset tracker that provides near-real-time location via LoRaWAN. While details are still emerging, they are also working on a LoRa software capability to move further up the stack and enter the IoT solutions space more fully. Visit www.tektelic.com for the latest news.

3. Tata Communications

With a tagline of “Born Connected,” Tata Communications (not to be confused with Tata Consultancy Services) is an emerging player in global IoT connectivity. Tata (formerly VSNL) has been a recognized leader in wholesale voice services for some time and introduced a global IoT mobility platform called MOVE at Mobile World Congress in 2017. MOVE is enabled by Tata Communications’ partnerships with hundreds of mobile communications service providers globally and a recent stake in Teleena, an IoT connectivity specialist and mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE).

At this year’s MWC, Tata unveiled its MOVE IoT Connect offering that focuses squarely on data connectivity. Jeff Bak, VP of Mobility, Messaging, and Broadband at Tata Communications, said that IoT Connect provides 2G, 3G, and LTE connectivity now and there are plans for NB-IoT and LTE-M by the end of 2018. Tata also expects to become a licensed MVNO within the US later this year and will be launching eSim capabilities for increased flexibility. If you’re looking to connect globally roaming devices, be sure the check them out at www.tatacommunications.com.

 

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4. Ericsson

Having roots that date all the way back to 1876, Ericsson has long been an established force in the networking and telecommunications business. The company made it’s IoT presence known at IoT World with a large booth and several sessions over the course of the 3 days. IoT For All spoke with Erik Josefsson, Head of Advanced Industries IoT, to get the details on their Industrial IoT experience. Ericsson’s approach to IIoT, a.k.a., Industry 4.0, focuses on 3 core values: Simple, Secure, and Stable.

Since approximately 95% of IIoT applications currently rely on wired connectivity, mobility represents a big shift in thinking for many customers. Critical IoT use cases in manufacturing require low latency, guaranteed delivery, and instant feedback so spotty connectivity has not been an option until the advent of private LTE networks. Private LTE is the most robust of all wireless solutions and provides cost benefits as well. Ericsson is leading the way in this new category and offers 3GPP compliant, licensed and unlicensed bands for Private LTE. Industrial use cases powered by Ericsson technologies include connected factory robots, manufacture of highly precise bladed disks (BLISKs) for turbines, and spherical roller bearings for SKF. If you have mission-critical manufacturing needs and are thinking about reducing costs through automation with IoT, definitely give www.ericsson.com a look.

5. Software AG / Cumulocity

Software AG is the second largest enterprise software company in Germany and recently made its move into IoT with the acquisition of Cumulocity last year. We sat down with Bernd Gross, former CEO of Cumulocity and current SVP of IoT at Software AG to get his perspective on the market. Bernd still believes that a majority of buyers are viewing IoT as a make or buy decision internally, especially in the Industrial IoT business, and that many customers underestimate the skills and expertise required to successfully deploy an IoT solution.

Cumulocity’s platform has been employed for many diverse use cases including supply chain automation for Nespresso office coffee machines (Lyreco), control of mobile medicine coolers (Definitiv), industrial and agricultural solution development (STW), and Deutsche Telekom’s “Cloud of Things” business offering. Bernd stated that both LoRa and NB-IoT are surging in popularity in Europe with fill level monitoring being the primary use case. Now that Cumulocity has been officially folded into Software AG, expect new energy and focus on IoT from this German heavyweight. Check out www.cumulocity.com and www.softwareag.com for further information on product details and vertical solutions.

All in all, it was great show and the future appears bright, although I’m sure they’ll be some bumps along the way. Perhaps 2018 will finally be the year that IoT fantasy meets reality for customers and businesses alike.