& cplSiteName &

Comcast Opens Up on Smart Cities & machineQ

Mari Silbey
6/19/2017
50%
50%

Comcast first signaled its interest in smart cities when it announced trial network deployments last October based on the Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology known as LoRa. The company has been relatively quiet on the topic since, but new details are starting to emerge both from Comcast partners and Comcast itself as the cable company plows ahead with its new subsidiary IoT business known as machineQ.

machineQ's early activities make two things clear. One, IoT is a priority for Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), even if few know it yet. Two, everything Comcast is developing in the IoT and smart city sectors flows right back to the company's existing telecom infrastructure, and to technology ecosystems Comcast has already helped to create.

On a June day in Philadelphia...
The scene is a dark auditorium tucked away in a corner of the otherwise rowdy Franklin Institute in Philadelphia where hundreds of students are bouncing around the science center in camp programs or as part of end-of-year school field trips. Members of the LoRa Alliance are on site for the group's member meeting, and Comcast is sponsoring the event along with a co-located Smart City Summit that includes presentations by the city's mayor and CIO, IoT application companies, and of course Comcast's own machineQ.

machineQ is new to the Comcast family, a product of internal business development efforts focused on the nascent IoT sector. The subsidiary seemed to appear out of nowhere last fall, but now has three trial LoRa network deployments in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago, as well as champions who are ready to talk about the organization's IoT mission.

"This is really an exciting greenfield. We at Comcast like to think of having four fundamental lines of business: voice, video, data, home security. We really hope to make IoT that fifth major line of business," says Bill Ver Steeg, chief architect of machineQ.

machineQ founder and general manager Alex Khorram has done his homework. Before the business officially existed, Khorram made trips around the world to talk with other telecom providers about their own LoRa deployments, including one sojourn to South Korea where he met with executives at SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM), which has already rolled out a LoRa network nationally.

Back in Philadelphia, Ver Steeg explains why Comcast believes it will succeed in its own LoRa efforts. The company, he says, has a major cost advantage over competitors because of the local infrastructure and right-of-way access it already owns.

Ver Steeg notes there are two kinds of sensors that IoT applications can use: high-power and low-power ones. High-power sensors are necessary when a transmitter has to broadcast a signal over a relatively long distance to a LoRa gateway, but low-power sensors, which can be significantly cheaper, are sufficient when a gateway is nearby.

And across its customer footprint, Comcast can make sure there's always a gateway nearby.

Next page: What about those gateways?

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
varunarora
50%
50%
varunarora,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/20/2017 | 11:27:23 PM
The federated model is the key
I see operators (here in South / SE Asia) struggling with the IoT business case - they know they need to do it but are finding that they hype may be running ahead of business reality. It's becoming clear that the connectivity part of the IoT business represents only a small sliver (some say as little as 1%) of the overall business opportunity. Under the circumstances, they can either go deep (consulting, integration, monitoring - skills they lack and largely lack the ability to sustain even if they hire) or broad, through federation, increasing the overall size of the pie so that 1% counts for a whole lot more. Seen in that light, the B2B2B approach Comcast appears to be taking makes tremendous sense.

- Varun.

 
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/23/2017 | 8:03:43 PM
Re: The federated model is the key
The IoT plans could well undergo some of the growing pains of wireless in its early days as there was either too few towers, connection problems from other issues or overhyped expectations. It will be interesting to see what performance Comcast considers to be good enough to stay on schedule (or accelerate it) for other deployments.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/25/2017 | 11:33:16 PM
SF & others
Considering the vast number of network alternatives there (not to mention ongoing innovation), I consider the S.F. market to be a very important area for Comcast to have focused on thus far (along with Philly & Chicago).

As these IoT trials proliferate from city to city across the world, industry watchers should "keep score" as to who is participating in -- and who winds up dominating -- each major market.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/25/2017 | 11:37:23 PM
Re: The federated model is the key
The model being explored hinted at here of leveraging existing and future customer networks/connection points has already been under heavy consideration for years -- the idea being known as "Carrier Wi-Fi".

I remember a cloud/IoT conference a few years back in Boston where one Google executive, Don Dodge, speaking on a panel, discussed this very thing. The panel moderator, tech journalist Barb Darrow (then of GigaOm, now of Fortune), pointedly retorted, "Will you pay my...bill?"

Dodge's hesitating response: "Uh, the business model hasn't been worked out yet..."

(And, of course, this does not even begin to get into the other -- more technical -- considerations for these customers (such as privacy, security, etc.))
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (2) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
BBC Head: We Must Reinvent Broadcasting for a New Generation
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/21/2017
NFV, SDN, Big Data – It's All About Automation
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 7/21/2017
What's a Little Throttling Between Friends?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/24/2017
Qualcomm Takes Q3 Pummeling From Apple
Iain Morris, News Editor, 7/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.