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M2M Platforms

Verizon Joins AT&T in GE's Industrial Internet

Exactly one year after AT&T announced it had signed up giant General Electric as a machine-to-machine (M2M) communications customer, Verizon is announcing it is in the mix too.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) said on Thursday that its LTE network and cloud will power the "industrial Internet" that General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is building with the vast array of connected devices it offers, including electric vehicles, lighting systems and engines. The pair say adding connectivity will enable new value-added services for GE Predix, the software platform that supports the industrial Internet, such as remote monitoring, diagnostics and remote maintenance. They are also working on building a single SIM for global LTE connectivity.


For more on M2M connectivity, visit our dedicated IoT content channel here on Light Reading.


Verizon will be joining AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) in powering GE's industrial Internet, but the opportunity is certainly big enough for both of them. The huge, multinational conglomerate wants to play a role in rail, aviation, energy and healthcare, among other verticals, helping enterprises improve their productivity through the analytics garnered from these sensors. It sees this industrial Internet producing $82 trillion of output, accounting for half of the global economy by 2025. (See AT&T Clinches M2M Market Lead With GE Deal and AT&T Adds GE to M2M Roster.)

AT&T and Verizon have been duking it out in the M2M market for a while now. Earlier this year Verizon lost General Motors 's business to AT&T. Kicking AT&T out of GE would've been a nice feather in its cap, but at least joining it means Verizon won't miss out on this massive global opportunity. (See Verizon Spends $612M for a Future in Cars.)

In discussing Verizon's strengths at GE, Mark Bartolomeo, head of IoT Connected Solutions at Verizon, played up the carrier's secure cloud capability and the strength of its partner ecosystem. He sees energy and transportation, as well as healthcare, as the areas where both companies -- GE and Verizon -- are being the most aggressive.

"From our own perspective, we believe a strong partner ecosystem is critical to the industrial Internet," he says. "GE has tremendous capabilities and Verizon does too; other service providers do too. The key is how do we coordinate our activities to solve these big problems, like in healthcare, to deliver better patient outcomes."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

dfoote 10/10/2014 | 3:59:01 PM
IIC, M2M, Data Mashups A few comments:

 

1.  No mention in the presss release of how the announced "partnerships" with companies like Verizon, Cisco and Intel related to the GE Predix platform relates to the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) which has significant overlap in lead members (ATT, Intel, Cisco, etc.) and which GE was supposedly a main driver.

 

2.  The applications emphasized here would probably more realistically fit in the current definition of M2M, not IoT.   (sure to stir up some debate on this point)

 

3.  IoT and even M2M are still much in their infancy and we have a long way to go (much opportunity for vendors, startups, investment, success & failures as well as journalistic and analyst prognostication).    As long as M2M and IoT implementations remain siloed, the predicted explosion of devices and applications will be held back definitely in the consumer market but even for enterprises.

Rudimentary issues are still being emphasized:  global SIMs, cloud platforms, development APIs, local mesh networks, etc. One of the much bigger challenges will be "data mashups".  I.E.  How to share data from devices resident on different siloed systems?  (not every device is going to be on an application or service developed on the Predix platform). 

The real value of M2M/IoT is not the local mesh network, not the WAN network, not the development platform/APIS but the data itself.   So the more intersting question and big challenge as M2M/IoT matures is:  "Where and when to share the data?"   The natural answer most give is "in the cloud".  But really analysis of the different needs of M2M/IoT applications across all the various industries would indicate that solution architectures and implementations need the ability to share the data at the "edge" sometimes, in the cloud sometimes, both sometimes and potentially change the behavior dynamically.  
DHagar 10/10/2014 | 3:51:58 PM
Re: A new GEnie? kq4ym, I am with you on that.  I think GE is really in a smart position.  If they can make this work, they will stay in the driver's seat!
kq4ym 10/10/2014 | 3:45:57 PM
Re: a new GEnie? It only makes sense that Verizon would join so as not to be left behind if things really ramp up with GE's program. Afterall, the more the merryer for GE and presumably for it's partners.
e2mbcorp 10/9/2014 | 5:38:25 PM
Nextgen Architectures Will Not Need A Carrier It really doesn't matter because nextgen layer 2 MACs will allow mesh networks to get stronger as they get larger.  This will be the boom that ZigBee, Dash7, WiFi and 4G have been waiting for to take on cable. SDR will also perform better, as will any PHY layer technology.  For IoT and the Industrial Net, it will not be capillary networks to carrier networks that provide the best solution.  

The best solution would probably be to repurpose the ATT/Nortel synchronous plant to feed/capture Big Data by injecting a 3 volt IoT wireless hub for Industrial, home or intelligent city apps.  We call it DQ, and it will solve the last mile with a novel synch/asynch MAC that can also provide a migration path for legacy 802.x.x devices.  

For IoT, the WSN will not be a capillary network to the carriers cell cites.  However, IoT will finally happen when devices create their own networks, and without the burden of traditional layer 2 MAC routing over asynchronous middle hardware.  Because every new wireless router we buy including new 4g towers, is based on the fundamental technology that was in the dialup modem.  This technology requires middle hardware to work and that's just wrong. because with Ethernet-based MACs as the common denomenator, then TCP/IP and cable and telephony can never truly converge, and there will never be a path to layer 2 broadcasting for IP traffic.
DHagar 10/9/2014 | 3:43:37 PM
Re: a new GEnie? jabailo, so you see it as "back to the future" with GE?

This does make sense, though, with the GE equipment producing the data and Verizon applying its data/cloud capabilities and making those pieces work together, which will provide the real value in IoT.

It will be interesting how GE continues to build its network and navigate with its multiple partners (AT&T, Verizon, and more).  Maybe they together can provide greater value than sticking your head out the window?
jabailo 10/9/2014 | 1:51:10 PM
A new GEnie? The old GEnie platform was ahead of its time back in the 1980s.  It was a kind of cloud database where you could build your interface on top of their replicated database servers.  Microsoft's original Product Services database and ticketing information system was designed that way (with a Windows front end of course) in the days before SQL server.

The M2M is the flip side of the IoT.  With Thing 1, Thing 2, ... Thing N broadcasting its state to the world, that info is going to go direct to Internet.  Suddenly, you don't have a data representation of state -- but you get the state itself.   In the same way, if you want to know if it's raining, you can stick your head out the window.

 
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