Displaying items by tag: IoT
The World Economic Forum launched six Industry 4.0 Councils on Wednesday to aid policymakers and enterprises in leveraging emerging technologies whilst anticipating the social risks that could result from them.
Ericsson announced an internal shake-up on Wednesday with the launch of a new unit, Business Area Emerging Business, which will consolidate other units within the company. The new business unit will focus on innovation and new business development, with a focus on IoT and 5G. It will be led by former McKinsey & Company partner Asa Tamsons.
“I am excited to work together with a great team to drive the next wave of growth and new business for Ericsson. With the company’s strong capabilities in 5G, IoT and other emerging technologies, I see a big potential to bring innovation and new solutions to existing and new customers,” said Tamsons.
Through a structured approach to both technology and business innovation, Ericsson said its new business unit will over time “identify, nurture and scale new businesses to support our customers to capture the potential of 5G and IoT.”
The company is simplifying its group function structure, from currently six to four. The majority of current Group Function Technology & Emerging Business, including hosted group responsibilities such as the CTO office and Ericsson Research, will form part of the new unit Business Area Emerging Business.
Ericsson said it will merge its Group Function Marketing & Communications unit and Group Function Sustainability & Public Affairs unit into one consolidated unit called Group Function Marketing & Corporate Relations. This new unit will be led by Helena Norman who is currently the head of Group Function Marketing & Communications.
Börje Ekholm, Ericsson’s president and CEO, said the internal changes aim to simplify the company’s structure to focus on innovation and new business ventures. “With these changes, we will also increase focus on sustainability and corporate responsibility in each business area and market area, making the unit heads fully accountable for their respective areas,” said Ekholm.
Ericsson also announced that Ulf Ewaldsson will step down from his role leading the Business Area Digital Services unit which is undergoing “significant transformation to create a profitable and strong offering in this strategically important area.” Following the completion of its build up phase, Ewaldsson will assume the role as advisor to the CEO.
Earlier in January Ericsson said it will book SEK 14.2 billion (US$ 1.77 billion) in write-downs in its Q4 2017 financial results. The write-downs, Ericsson said, are related to the company's Digital Services and Other divisions, in addition to an SEK 1 billion charge related to tax changes in the United States.
“During a very challenging year we have taken important steps to create stability and quality in our products and roadmaps,” said Ewaldsson reflecting on his time leading the business unit. Jan Karlsson, currently head of Solution Area BSS, will step in as acting head of the unit when Ewaldsson leaves the Executive Team effective February 1.
In light of the change in responsibilities, Ericsson also announced that Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, currently head of Group Function Sustainability & Public Affairs, will leave the company “to pursue other opportunities”.
“I want to thank Ulf and Elaine for their contributions to the Executive Team and to Ericsson,” said Ekholm. “They have both been instrumental in shaping our strategies and have built important relationships with customers and other stakeholders to the company.”
Ericsson announced in 2017 that it was restructuring the business, following an extensive cost-cutting program as it seeks to offset the decline of its traditional network business. In Q3 2017, the company recorded a loss of SEK 4.3 billion, which included a restructuring charge of SEK 2.8 billion and a write-down of assets in Canada amounting to SEK 1.6 billion.
"We continue to execute on our focused business strategy," said Borje Ekholm in a statement following the Q3 results. "While more remains to be done, we are starting to see some encouraging improvements in our performance despite a continued challenging market."
He said the "general market conditions continue to be tough."
Etisalat UAE announced its first VoLTE (Voice over LTE) call over Cat-M1 IoT network in the region setting the future roadmap to deploy advanced networks to meet demands for diversified mobile broadband and communication services for IoT.
Etisalat maintains a strong leadership position in IoT technology and solutions with a history of firsts, including the first deployment of a nationwide LTE Cat-M1 network in July this year. This deployment was a revolutionary change and set a benchmark in the IoT ecosystem.
A game-changer for the industry, Cat M1 (Category M1) is a new class of LTE chipset that is designed for sensors. They require less power, offer extended battery life, wide coverage, flexible deployment, low latency and support an array of use cases ranging from water meters to asset trackers to consumer electronics.
The demonstration was conducted in partnership with Qualcomm Technologies using Etisalat’s IoT and VoLTE capable network infrastructure and IoT devices with Qualcomm MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modems.
Saeed Al Zarouni, Senior Vice President, Mobile Network, Etisalat said: “We are proud to showcase our leadership and innovation in conducting this first trial which is an industry first and is important as we need to stay ahead of the technology evolution for our customers to provide them services on the best and most advanced wireless network. With Etisalat moving into a digital future the investment and deployment of new technologies and services are critical to achieve this future goal for the company and the country.”
This technology will enable applications across different industries and areas, such as smart homes, industrial monitoring, asset tracking, healthcare, retail, smart cities, wearables, and much more.
Cat M1 is important because it extends LTE’s market reach. By allowing LTE to cost effectively support lower data-rate applications, Cat M1 is being touted as a good fit for low-power sensing and monitoring devices such as health and fitness wearables, utility meters, and vending machines, among many others.
According to the latest regional appendix to the upcoming Ericsson Mobility Report, the first 5G subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa region are expected during the period 2020 to 2022, reaching around 17 million subscriptions by 2023.
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, which encompasses more than 70 countries, faces extreme market variations in terms of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) maturity, but Ericsson’s Mobility Report nonetheless predicts a region-wide growth in mobile subscriptions from 1.590 million to 2.030 million by the year 2023. Further, the MEA region will witness a nearly five-fold increase in LTE subscriptions, from 190 million to 860 million, in the same timeframe.
Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said: “Total mobile traffic for the region is forecasted to grow by around 49 percent annually between 2017 and 2023. This rapid growth is seeing operators increasingly exploring methods of optimizing their networks with more capacity and coverage. We are supporting operators across the region throughout the different phases of the network evolution enabling best performing networks and differentiated customer experience.”
The MEA region has a young and growing population with a median age of 21 years which, combined with its improving economy and favorable policies, creates potential for continued growth in the uptake of telecom and ICT services.
Particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which has higher penetration rates of smartphones, mobile traffic, and mobile data traffic compared to Sub-Saharan Africa, operators will be faced with an increasing demand for faster network capability (lower latency and higher data throughput speeds) to deliver better application coverage for more consumers in the coming years.
Across the MEA region, smartphone subscriptions are expected to increase from 670 million to 1.510 million in the next five years, resulting in data traffic per active smartphone multiplying nearly six times over, from 2.2 GB/month to 12 GB/month.
Today, mobile data traffic in the region represents 83 percent of total mobile traffic, and is expected to increase to 98 percent by 2023, bringing it more in line with the global average. This will require operators to come up with efficient strategies differentiated by exceptional user experiences and optimal network performance.
The Mobility Report’s analysis of these factors considered the different strategies operators employ to approach these demands and found that the greatest challenge they face is employing available tools to maximize network utilization without negatively impacting the user experience. Moving forward, operators will need to find the “sweet spot” between the two, where a good user experience is delivered while still allowing significant volumes of traffic through the network.
On the road to 5G and IoT
The Mobility Report also revealed that the Internet of Things (IoT) is facilitating the digital transformation of industries and providing mobile operators in the MEA with opportunities to explore new revenue streams.
Cellular IoT subscriptions in the region are expected to grow from 35 million to 159 million between 2017 and 2023, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 30 percent. This will enable operators to explore new digitalization opportunities as the world becomes more connected and industries experience an ICT-driven transformation.
In fact, 5G-enabled industry digitalization revenues for MEA are predicted to at USD 242 billion between 2016 and 2026 – meaning ICT players must adopt and integrate digital technologies into specific industries to generate new revenues.
5G will be an important technology in growing industrial digitalization, and despite IoT being in its infancy in much of the region, there are still examples of how it has already helped improve the livelihood of MEA communities and industries.
These include smart agriculture initiatives in Turkey and Africa, remote monitoring of oil wells and temporary networks in case of disasters in Saudi Arabia, and Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) being used to address utilities and smart meters in South Africa. Technologies like 5G and IoT will serve the region’s diverse operator needs by opening up new revenue streams as a result of industry digitization, improving standards of livings in countries across MEA.
Perhaps the most striking and indicative finding of this latest Ericsson Mobility Report for MEA is the fact that, despite being amongst the fewest, LTE connections will show the highest growth rate at 46 percent annually over the next five years.
The report also forecasts that total mobile traffic will continue to rise in both the Middle East and North East Africa, at a compound annual growth rate of 48 percent, driven by higher mobile data traffic and increased penetration of smartphones in the region.
As a result, operators will be faced with increasing demand for faster network capability (low latency and higher data throughput speeds) to deliver better application to enable widespread uptake of the 5G and IoT technologies of the future.
In the face of such widespread technological advancement, operators, governments, and industries are investigating what new opportunities these technologies will bring as the Networked Society comes increasingly closer to reality.
As more devices, sensors, and appliances connect to each other and to the internet, security and sustainability continue to be strengthened and optimized, paving the way for a truly connected world. The resulting technologies will empower people, transform industries, and enable the smart city solutions that will reshape the future in the Middle East and Africa.
MTS, the largest telecommunications operator in Russia, and Ericsson, have agreed to upgrade the network of MTS. Ericsson will deliver the newest software features that will be continuously developed during the next three years.
The scope of the agreement also includes 5G-ready radio hardware, Ericsson Radio Systems and core network with the latest Ericsson Mobile Softswitch Solution (MSS), as well as User Data Consolidation (UDC), providing consolidation of user data for all network functions.
These solutions will upgrade the mobile networks for 2G, 3G and 4G. In addition, MTS will prepare the network for 5G with Ericsson software for Massive IoT solutions, including NB-IoT and Cat-M1 technologies. This enables a wide range of IoT use-cases including metering and sensor applications.
The agreement supports MTS’s strategy of preparing the network with 5G and IoT-ready hardware to enable a fast commercialization of these technologies. The deployment starts Q4 2017 and total value of the contract is expected to exceed EUR 400 million.
“In April 2017, in Moscow our company demonstrated 5G technology with peak data rates up to 25 Gbit/sec,” said Andrey Ushatsky, MTS Chief Technology Officer. “Now we have reached an agreement with Ericsson, which will supply MTS with new equipment enabling our network to deploy first solutions based on 5G technologies starting 2020.”
Andrey added, “After upgrade, MTS network will provide higher data rates, increased capacity and low latency. These characteristics are critical for IoT and digital services that we are starting to implement today.”
According to the latest edition of Ericsson Mobility Report, many operators will deploy 5G commercially from 2020, in line with the time plan for 5G standardization. In 2022, the number of 5G subscriptions is forecasted to reach more than 500 million.
The adoption rate of 5G mobile broadband is expected to be similar to that of LTE, and rollout will commence in major metropolitan areas, reaching around 15 percent population coverage by 2022. 5G will enable a wide range of use cases for massive IoT and critical IoT.
“Early deployment of IoT and 5G technologies positions Russia as an early adopter of the most advanced ICT solutions,” said Arun Bansal, Head of Ericsson in Europe and Latin America. “Ericsson supports MTS in the company’s goals to meet growing capacity needs and be ready for huge opportunities that will come with 5G and IoT.
Bansal added, “5G will be a major technology in booming industrial digitalization, creating and enhancing industry digitalization use cases such as immersive gaming, autonomous driving, remote robotic surgery, and augmented-reality support in maintenance and repair situations.”
The announcement represents a milestone in the large-scale commercialization of IoT and 5G technologies in Russia. It follows the agreement of an extensive 5G Memorandum of Understanding signed by MTS and Ericsson in December 2015.
To further demonstrate the capabilities of 5G and IoT technologies, the two companies will roll out 5G demo zones during FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Ericsson, PS Solutions Corp. (affiliated with SoftBank Group Corp.), and CKD Corporation, a supplier of actuation products, are collaborating on an update to “e-kakashi”, a platform which applies artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies into agricultural processes. First introduced by PS Solutions in 2015, the second-generation “e-kakashi” platform will launch in March 2018.
“True collaboration is the only way to bring real automated IoT uses cases to life,” said Mikael Eriksson, Head of Ericsson Japan. “The combination of PS Solutions’ experience, applications and insight in the industry, along with the advanced features provided by Ericsson IoT, will create positive change for agriculture."
An IoT scarecrow with an AI brain
The Japanese word kakashi translates to scarecrow, but PS Solutions' “e-kakashi” does much more than frighten off pests. With a powerful combination of AI, IoT and cloud technology, “e-kakashi” is designed to maintain an ideal environment for almost any crop to grow in. Japanese manufacturer CKD Corporation, a pioneer in actuation, provides the electro/pneumatic devices that allow the IoT machinery to be controlled remotely.
Easy onboarding of agricultural IoT machinery
The “e-kakashi” platform can easily integrate new IoT devices as agriculturalists need them. Through the Zero Touch Onboarding functionality of the Ericsson IoT Accelerator platform, devices are immediately accessible after installation. No physical control panels are needed, as all functions are handled in the cloud.
Zero Touch Onboarding, which allows devices to be onboarded to the IoT Accelerator platform and then managed through their lifecycles with ease, uses the Open Mobile Alliance Lightweight Machine to Machine (a protocol from the Open Mobile Alliance for machine-to-machine or IoT device management) and smart objects from The Internet Protocol for Smart Objects (IPSO) Alliance. These are complements to cellular IoT connectivity.
PS Solutions will use Ericsson IoT Accelerator’s building blocks with SoftBank’s cellular connectivity, which is also powered by Ericsson. Incorporating data on variables such as temperature, humidity and precipitation, “e-kakashi” uses AI to automatically optimize growing conditions. For example, to maintain the ideal temperature for growing tomatoes, “e-kakashi” adjusts greenhouse ventilation accordingly.
Using an intuitive app from PS solutions with comprehensive data visualization, the “e-kakashi” user can modify the AI-based standard settings to apply their own professional know-how.
The current solution monitors temperature, humidity, CO2 and other conditions, and guides what actions to take next based on the AI engine. With the support of analytics from Ericsson IoT Accelerator, the next generation of “e-kakashi” will enable higher automation by connecting with actuators.
Ericsson expanding IoT possibilities in Japan
Ericsson IoT Accelerator gives operators a low cost, reliable method to support enterprise IoT with a large number of connected devices.
With the rapid growth of IoT, there are great opportunities for operators to expand revenue with new services. PS Solutions' parent company, network operator SoftBank, has partnered with Ericsson to expand networks and increase IoT revenue streams in Japan. In April 2017, SoftBank began rolling out Ericsson solutions to support the deployment of cellular IoT services across Japan.
Etisalat Misr (Etisalat Egypt) has signed a four-year contract with Ericsson to modernize and expand its core network and business support systems, which will help the operator to capitalize on the growth in 4G and pave the way for 5G and Internet of Things. The partnership will play an important role in further developing the services offered by Etisalat Misr, one of Ericsson’s largest customers for business support systems.
“We are pleased to be working with Ericsson again on a new project that addresses the evolving requirements of our organization,” said Hazem Metwally, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Misr. “It will double the capacity of our business support systems, which will allow us to provide more innovation to our customers, resulting in more traffic passing through our network. Ericsson is our trusted partner and has provided valuable support since we launched our services.”
The project will be a significant milestone for Etisalat Misr, allowing shorter time to market, commercial innovation, and improved user experience. It will also have a positive impact on capital and operational expenditure. Subscribers will be able to enjoy highly flexible and personalized offerings, including cross-bundling and add-on services. They will also have access to shared data plans and family offerings, which will provide them with a single bill and a consolidated spending view.
Furthermore, 4G technology will enable efficient means of communication and opportunities for global collaboration and innovation. For example, the project will accelerate the introduction of IMS Voice over LTE, Voice over WiFi, Service Aware Policy Control and Unified Communications.
Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Region Middle East and Africa, said, “This agreement will enable Etisalat Misr to respond very quickly and in a flexible way with new offers to the ever increasing needs of their subscribers. The current massive diversity of applications, services and bundles, that both consumers and business customers wish to use on their multiple devices, requires more flexible provisioning and real-time charging based on advanced systems and solutions, such as our state-of-the-art Business Support System.”
India’s largest telecom services provider, Bharti Airtel, announced a strategic partnership with South Korean telecom provider SK Telecom, under which the Indian comapny will leverage SK Telekom’s expertise to build the “most advanced telecom network in India”.
“SK Telecom is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with Bharti Airtel, a global leading mobile operator,” said Park Jung-ho, the President and CEO of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will work closely with Bharti to achieve new network innovations so as to deliver a greater value to Bharti’s customers.”
The partnership will work across several areas, according to the two companies, including developing bespoke software to dramatically improve network experience, leveraging advanced digital tools including machine learning, big data, and building customized tools to improve network planning based on every customer’s device experience.
The capacity to identify, monitor and deliver improvements to the network experience on an individual device basis will be a first in India, helped by SK Telecom’s global leadership in this area.
The two companies will also collaborate on an on-going basis to evolve standards for 5G, network functions virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) and Internet of Things (IoT), and jointly work towards building an enabling ecosystem for the introduction of these technologies in the Indian context.
“We are extremely delighted to announce this partnership with the world’s leading operator when it comes to technology understanding and expertise. This partnership will bring a dramatically improved experience to Airtel customers in India by leveraging the expertise of a company that has built one of the best mobile broadband networks in the world,” Said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Airtel.
“Strong partnerships have been a hallmark of Airtel’s growth journey and we are proud to have always looked ahead to bring the latest technology to India,” he added. “With SK Telecom’s clear and undisputed leadership in technology, this is one partnership that will decisively change the game in India and put the country at par with the most advanced broadband nations in the world.”
Norway-based Telenor Group and Wireless Trondheim are joining forces to open a new IoT powerhouse to boost innovation, build competencies and promote Norwegian competitiveness. The IoT ProtoLab will be open to start-ups, developers and students looking to rapidly prototype and develop IoT products and services.
Opening in early 2018, the IoT ProtoLab will be a centre for IoT research and innovation, specifically focusing on next generation Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies and applications. It will also enable the exchange of data, sharing of experiences and collaboration with ongoing projects at the Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab.
The lab was established as part of Telenor's initiative to prepare Norway for a digitised future, contribute to national competitiveness, increased innovation and new competencies.
“The people and companies shaping tomorrow's society are the ones that are able to utilize and apply data in new ways,” said Sigve Brekke, President and CEO of Telenor Group. “Telenor is committed to help build these capabilities in Norway. The IoT ProtoLab will be a place for students, entrepreneurs and startups to experiment and prototype solutions using next-generation IoT technologies.”
The IoT ProtoLab will be located at FAKTRY, the new community for ambitious start-ups in hardware-centric disciplines at Sluppen in Trondheim, which opens in November 2017.
To support the piloting and testing of IoT services in Trondheim, Wireless Trondheim has enabled a city-wide IoT test-bed and connected to Telenor's non-commercial offering, Start IoT. This provides access to IoT devices, a physical LPWA pilot network and a backend system, which enables prototyping and developing of IoT services at a relatively low cost. Wireless Trondheim will be responsible for the setup and the daily operation of the IoT ProtoLab.
“Our mission at Wireless Trondheim is to enable students, entrepreneurs and start-ups to experiment and prototype solutions using next-generation IoT technologies,” said Thomas Ulleberg, Manager of Wireless Trondheim. “By coupling our specialist competence with companies like Telenor, we can create real impact and help make new smart products and services for the future.”
In addition to its Start IoT offering, Telenor will also provide mentorship, support internships in the lab and will collaborate with key partners for student projects and hackathons. The first official IoT ProtoLab hackathon will be organised at FAKTRY in November by Telenor, Wireless Trondheim and Pycom.
The two day event aims to gather creative minds of the city's developer community, start-ups and students to identify and solve real-life critical business problems using next generation IoT technology, supported by experts, network access and devkits.
Nokia is to completely modernize the nationwide LTE network for Ukkoverkot, the Finnish private network operator offering wireless data communications services for infrastructure operators, the industrial IoT market, public safety authorities, the maritime industry and both residents and enterprises in remote areas.
The new network will be powered by Nokia's leading LTE solution, which provides superior network quality, capacity, security and reliability required for such specialized use cases.
"Ukkoverkot is totally focused on serving our customers, for whom connectivity means the world,” said Mikko Uusitalo, CEO of Ukkoverkot. “The agreement with Nokia enables us to roll out the most advanced public protection, IoT and campus network functions as they are available. The agreement with Finavia to develop their airport infrastructure on Nokia technology is clear testimony to the potential we have."
Founded in 2014, Ukkoverkot operates its own LTE-based mobile data network and a number of local private LTE networks, offering fast connections using the 450 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum bands.
Ukkoverkot's low-frequency nationwide network is largely reserved for the use of its industrial and public safety customers, which helps ensure exceptional network stability and reliability, while its high frequency network is reserved for private micro-operator networks. As a pure broadband operator, Ukkoverkot's network exclusively carries data services.
Starting in Q4 2017, Nokia will upgrade Ukkoverkot's older-generation network technology to Nokia's state-of-the-art LTE-based solution, which significantly improves network performance. This enables Ukkoverkot's customers in industrial IoT settings to capitalize on opportunities related to new Industry 4.0. applications, while critical communications and public safety operators can benefit from ultra-reliable, high-bandwidth services supporting all standardized public safety features.
Due to better propagation characteristics, low-band spectrum can provide a larger coverage area than high-band spectrum, which makes Nokia's 450 MHz LTE network solution ideal for delivering services in sparsely populated areas such as the Nordic countries.
This agreement highlights Nokia's growing momentum around the delivery of critical communications networks for customers outside of the traditional communications service provider market. Large industrial and public sector organizations are seeking robust, reliable and highly resilient networks to support services on which - in some cases - lives depend, and Nokia's solutions are ideally suited to addressing this challenge.
"With their LTE network based on Nokia's wide portfolio of technologies, Ukkoverkot brings the benefits of broadband data to the reach of new customer segments such as the industrial IoT market and public safety authorities,” said Thorsten Robrecht, head of Advanced Mobile Network Solutions at Nokia. “We are proud to team up with Ukkoverkot in its network modernization to ensure these customers can benefit from first-class network quality, and to prepare them for the services enabled by future 5G networks."