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Verizon Makes Major IoT Push

Carol Wilson
10/28/2015
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Verizon today unveiled a major new strategy around the Internet of Things that it has had in the works for two years. It includes a new platform called ThingSpace, that makes it easier for developers to roll out IoT devices and applications, as well as a new scaleable IoT core within its 4G LTE network for lower-cost connections, and external access to its massive data analytics engine for putting to use the vast data produced by IoT.

The overall goal is to reduce complexity and make it easier for IoT to take off more quickly by lowering three key barriers to that development: choosing connectivity, developing devices and getting them to market, and analyzing/processing the data coming from connected devices to put it to work making money or increasing efficiencies.

In announcing ThingSpace and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s new strategy, Mike Lanman, SVP of enterprise products, Product and New Business Innovation, said the company views all markets for IoT as under-served, even though its own IoT revenues are growing in double-digit amounts, generating a half-billion dollars in revenue growth this year.

"Why aren't people executing faster in this space? That was challenge two years ago when we formed this organization," Lanman said at a product launch in New York for analysts and media that was also live-streamed. "We wanted to deliver IoT solutions faster and break down the barriers that are holding back IoT."

Key to that effort is ThingSpace, which can be found here.

"ThingSpace is an easy web-based platform for developers to have an easy on-ramp into the Internet of Things," he said. "It will have all the tools to create, test, deploy, manage and market their devices and applications. They will have, all under a single pane of glass, the tools they need to drive solutions."

He also promised to have a massive open application programming interfaces available for developers to access other elements needed for their IoT solutions.

Choosing connectivity is another barrier, Lanman said. Obviously, Verizon would like this new market to take off on its wireless network but he admitted there are significant cost challenges to do that -- modules that enable devices to run on LTE have been more expensive than those that use WiFi or Zigbee-based connectors, for example.

Lanman then showed off a new Sequans Communications' chipset which he said will halve the cost of developing IoT devices for LTE.

"This changes the game and is not the end of the work we are doing around device cost reduction. In 2016 we will halve the price again," he said.

In 2016, Verizon will launch what he called an IoT Core that will be much more efficient in connecting low payload devices and will be at a much lower cost, Lanman said.

"We will connect in 92 countries around the world through ThingSpace, he said. "And that number will skyrocket by 2016 to blanket the globe by end of the year."

Finally, Verizon has made available the massive data analytics engine it has been using internally for its customers, providing a new level of data analytics for the IoT space. That is being used today by customers in the auto and beverage industries and will be more broadly used going forward.

Stay tuned for further details of Verizon's IoT push in this space.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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MordyK
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MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
11/3/2015 | 9:37:26 AM
Re: VZ vs. SigFox, et al.
Absolutely Joe! In terms of M2M and telematics there has finally been much success in the ecosystem develoment, but in terms of IoT or IoE (Everything) - as Cisco prefers to call it - were still very much in the embryonic stage and are in desperate need of a platform(s) to let it rip.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
11/3/2015 | 9:32:07 AM
Re: VZ vs. SigFox, et al.
Ah.  Perhaps our disagreement, then, is merely of semantics.  It seems that I'm saying that there's already a lot available and possible while you're saying that it could and should be even better.  Yes?
MordyK
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MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
11/2/2015 | 2:24:47 AM
Re: VZ vs. SigFox, et al.
The industries that played in M2M and some newer defined industries have vertical solutions for analytics, which are simply upgrades to their old solutions but with better data. IoT is so much more than that, and represents an opportunity for multiple sensors and multiple data points to do amazing things. Name an industry and i'll show you how limited the capabilities are at the moment and what could be posible.

IoT needs the equivalent of an AWS that removes all barriers and welcomes all who wish to play.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
11/1/2015 | 10:37:41 PM
Re: VZ vs. SigFox, et al.
"without significant resources to play well in IoT"

Interesting.  What do you mean by this?  I ask because I've seen many vendor solutions (especially for fleet management) that provide the tools/sensors along with the data-aggregating software using both local sensor data and publicly available data.  What other resources do you see as being missing from the table with such solutions?
MordyK
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MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/31/2015 | 7:47:25 AM
Re: VZ vs. SigFox, et al.
Joe, you make some good and valid points.

A year ago I was concerned about this as well, but the carrier community woke up to the IoT opportunity and has been doing alot of work to address those issues, from specific networks like NB-LTE and Sigfox, to working on pricing, certification and ease of deployment. So while this element is not yet perfected, the problem is recognised which is already half the solution, and ThingSpace is a nice attempt by Verizon in that vain.

On the data element however, while there's a large and growing set of capabilities for the top of the funnel with significant resources, there is nothing out there - to the best of my knowledge - that matches the capabilities needed for smaller developers and companies without significant resources to play well in IoT. This in effect will continue the M2M approach with internal and partner data sources, and keep IoT away from living u to its full potential.

However, Once the high-end capabilities are "democratized" the promise of IoT can live up to its hype and usher in a revolution is services.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/30/2015 | 12:02:28 PM
Re: VZ vs. SigFox, et al.
"third-party data and easy to use tools to utilize the data is more important"

I respectfully disagree.  Those are problems that have been solved -- and IoT solutions that aggregate third-party data are getting to be a dime a dozen.  The problem that hasn't been satisfactorily solved yet is that of cost-effectively transmitting the data -- and when that problem has a clear and affordable solution, we'll see how the chips fall.
MordyK
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MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/29/2015 | 11:52:46 PM
Re: VZ vs. SigFox, et al.
Joe, Cost is and always will be an important factor, but I would argue that availability of third-party data and easy to use tools to utilize the data is more important when it comes to IoT. If ever the statement "data is currency" were true, it would be in reference to the multiple use-cases that are part of IoT.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/29/2015 | 11:47:24 PM
Re: VZ vs. SigFox, et al.
True, but at the end of the day, it's about keep costs low and efficient, yes?  Whoever can manage IoT data communications most cost-efficiently is, ultimately, going to come out a winner.
MordyK
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MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/28/2015 | 5:11:16 PM
Re: VZ vs. SigFox, et al.
IMO IoT is too big and diverse for any single approach to be an all out winner. In all likelyhood there will be a few diverse successful approaches.
MordyK
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MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/28/2015 | 5:09:56 PM
Re: Verizon's IoT Push
I'm very interested in this approach as it aligns with alot of my thinking for the requirements needed to get IoT off the ground, and most interesting is their approach to analysis & analytics.

To me IoT has always been the successor of M2M in a more flexible format, yet what was always missing in the M2M road beyond niche solutions was the Big-Data element with an a la carte menue of ready made data sources and tools. So in effect Thingspace provides an opening salvo in the combination of M2M and Big-Data to create a real IoT development platform.

For this to work it will have to be super open and inviting. So I was therefore a bit surprised and concerned that alot of teh documentation and elements are beyond a login requirent. This to me is an early warning signal of the telco DNA kicking in, instead of the open documentation and experiementation approach of the current generation's succesful development platforms.

I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out, and the effect it will have on the entiety of Verizons business.
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