When it comes to concocting the best underlying engine or innovative solution for addressing opportunities in the fast-growing Internet of Things (IoT) sector, the field of competition is surprisingly strong -- despite the fact that the IoT realm is still in its early stages, and service providers around the world are still deliberating over which IoT strategies will prove the most revenue-enhancing over the long term.
The Leading Lights award will go to the technology developer that has unveiled the most innovative IoT/M2M strategy in the past year. The entries ranged from silicon solutions to smart city applications to platforms adapting underlying mobile network protocols toward an IoT ecosystem -- in short, a broad range of innovative solutions for a world edging ever closer to automation, smarter devices and more intelligent machines.
Here are the finalists in the Most Innovative IoT/M2M Strategy (Vendor) category.
Nokia Networks – LTE-M (LTE For Machine Type Communication)
LTE-M is a LTE variant adapted to meet the specific requirements of the IoT, ranging from lower power to extended battery life to enhanced coverage. (Nokia claims a factor of four, compared to conventional LTE.) The protocol is what operators require to accommodate M2M communications on a large scale without building proprietary additional networks.
Nokia Networks launched an LTE-M trial with KT Corp. this year, and established an LTE-M test site on KT premises. The vendor has demonstrated a live implementation of an LTE-M solution that linked together wearables, cars and smart grid elements, and showed use cases of LTE-M such as smart grid, traffic and lighting control.
Sensity Systems Inc. – Light Sensory Network
Sensity Systems has developed a high-speed, sensor-based network of LED lighting that allows entities such as municipalities to convert to LED in order to reduce costs while enabling applications such as public safety, environmental monitoring and location analytics.
The vendor's NetSense 2 platform, which powers the Light Sensory Network, can be integrated into existing third-party lighting nodes and adds functions such as HD video monitoring and storage that can be leveraged in a number of IoT applications.
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is using Sensity's NetSense platform as a foundation for its City Infrastructure Management (CIM) software, creating a joint solution that converts city lighting infrastructure into a distributed sensing platform for Smart City applications, such as smart parking, lighting, retail analytics, and public safety and security. LED maker Acuity Brands is also enhancing its smart outdoor lighting capabilities with the Sensity platform, adding real-time video and data capture capabilities targeted to cities, commercial and retail buildings, airports and universities.
Sequans Communications – Cat 1 LTE chipset for IoT/M2M devices
In advance of pending 3GPP standards for IoT/M2M, Sequans Communications developed a chip solution based on existing Category 1 technology that provides significant reductions in size, cost and power consumption and leverages today's LTE standards. The Sequans chip potentially accelerates the timeline for IoT/M2M availability and adoption on a much broader scale.
The chip solution is market-ready for IoT and M2M device makers seeking to LTE-enable devices now. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) showed early interest in Sequans' Category 1 chip solution, and the tests performed by those companies showed that Cat 1 devices can coexist with Cat 3 and 4 devices on existing networks without major network upgrades or changes.
The Leading Lights 2015 winners and newest class of Hall of Fame inductees will be unveiled at the Leading Lights awards dinner, which will be held the evening of Monday, June 8, at Chicago's Field Museum. The star-studded soirée will follow a day of special workshops covering topics such as SDN, 5G and Carrier Ethernet for the Cloud that take place ahead of Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which this year is being held at the McCormick Place convention center on June 9 and 10. (Details and the agenda are on our show site, Big Telecom Event.)
— Jason Meyers, contributing editor, special to Light Reading