Are you interested in Expanding your Low Power IoT Innovation Globally?

NB-IoT and LTE-M are the two major Low Power IoT technologies expected to dominate the immense growing IoT domain. Both technologies are 3GPP standardized and is now getting significant traction from the largest entities within the IoT ecosystem.

 

 

 

NB-IoT:  

NB-Iot offers a deep indoor penetration, low cost devices and low power operations for long battery life.

LTE-M

LTE-M uses LTE networks utilizing the national and international coverage that is already available.

When looking to choose between LTE-M and NB-IoT one needs to think about the following characteristic of the two technologies:

LTE-M
NB-IoT
IP based communication Message Based communication
Higher speed (384Kbps to 1 Mbps) Low speed – less than 250 KBps
Supports mobility and VoLTE Does not support mobility and VoLTE
4 times better indoor penetration than LTE 7 times better indoor penetration than LTE

 

Regardless of which Low Power IoT technology you choose, iBasis is here to support you and to help you to expand your IoT innovation globally. Get in touch with us to learn more about how iBasis can assist you with you.

 

 

Enterprise Mobility: A New Age is Coming – Part I

Enterprise Mobility Today

Is texting via SMS becoming a thing of the past?

It seems that calling with our phones or messaging using SMS/MMS on our smartphones is becoming more and more of a rarity. Probably because in today’s world, we have access to a number of alternative mobile devices and applications that allow us to communicate with colleagues, family, and friends. These include devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops/2-In-1s and applications like WhatsApp, Viber, iMessage, or Jabber.

In order to use many of these devices and applications, staying connected is critical. At home or at work, WiFi is usually how we stay connected, while we rely on cellular connectivity whenever we travel outside these locations. However, in recent years, mobile WiFi (MiFi) dongles and stand-alone multi-device connectivity MiFi Hotspots have become available for connecting laptops, tablets and other devices to the mobile data network. We’ve also seen a rise in advances such as MiFi Hotspots built right into the latest 4G smartphones, laptops with SIM slots built in, and 4G enabled tablets.

Shifts to new Devices

Not surprisingly, with these advances, more and more “connected” devices are beginning to hit the market. These devices are making use of newly offered embedded cellular modules and embedded SIM (eSIM) technology to offer advanced mobile connectivity features while using less real estate on the device. As a result, we are seeing an increase in not just smartphones and tablets, but also in connected wearables hitting the market. Even more important is the fact that with eSIM technology, these wearables can access mobile data directly without having to be tethered to your smartphone!
According to P&S Market Research, the smartwatch market is expected to reach $43.8 billion by 2023, with the standalone (untethered) category projected to experience the highest growth during the forecast period. Smartwatches like the Samsung Gear S2, Huawei Watch 2 and the Apple Watch Series 3 are among the new connected smartwatches on the market that utilize eSIM technology for 4G/3G mobile data connectivity.
Similarly, some of the latest 2-In-1s, like the ASUS Transformer Mini T102HA and the Microsoft Surface Pro 2-in-1 with LTE Advanced, provide “anywhere” connectivity by including 4G/3G access with eSIM technology built-in. According to Microsoft, the Surface Pro 2-in-1 delivers 4G LTE connectivity around the world with support of 20 LTE bands.

Other shifts toward new devices include more niche wearable technology like smart glasses. Although they remain tethered for safety reasons, smart glasses like the Vuzix Blade and Intel Vaunt are seeing greater and greater use in the Enterprise environment in Augmented Reality (AR) applications.

Shifts to new Technologies

In addition to new devices, new technologies are emerging to enhance the usability of these devices. Going back to AR devices, one important example of shifts in technology is the gesture-based AR controls by companies like ManoMotion, Crunchfish and uSens. “We firmly believe that virtual reality and AR is the next form of the computer, the next generation of smart devices,” Dr. Yue Fei, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Bay Area human-computer interaction specialist uSens, told Digital Trends.

Although voice assistants are not entirely new, assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are getting more and more skills and are being continuously improved with artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques.

Even the default technology for voice calling and messaging applications are getting a facelift on Android smartphones. Android and Samsung Messages are planned to be in wide use by the summer of 2019 and is based on a standards based open voice and messaging service developed specifically for the mobile device industry.

Enterprise Mobility vs. Consumer Mobility

So what does this mean for the enterprise versus consumer markets?

Mobility devices and functionality for the Enterprise and Consumer markets do overlap to some degree based on the size of the organization and the communication applications they use. For example, very small businesses can have much in common with the consumer market if they do not specifically seek out a specialized Enterprise Mobility Provider (ranging from AT&T to Wavelink). However for larger enterprises, there are some distinct differences: specific business applications, team collaboration applications and web conferencing applications. Larger enterprises often require higher performance devices which support global connectivity (e.g. tablets, 2-in-1s and smartphones) much more than your typical consumer. Because of this, newer, higher-priced technologies are often introduced to enterprises first, before making their way to the Consumer market. As new technologies emerge, we will therefore see more enterprise specific devices that accelerate business productivity and intelligence (e.g. enterprise specific wearables and AI functions). Of course, when it comes to the commercial side of things, enterprises obviously want a single contract, a single bill, pooled data across their devices and a single provider for their global mobile service needs, regardless of their size.

We at iBasis envision employees of the next generation enterprise will perform business tasks using these emerging devices and technologies. iBasis Global Access for Things is helping a number of companies enable the next generation of enterprise mobility with a single source for mobile data access, globally. Stay tuned for part II of this series to see how we envision this future. Come join us for the journey!

Our 3 Key Takeaways From Mobile World Congress 2018

The Mobile World Congress is a premier mobile event. It is poised to keep getting bigger every year as mobile starts to morph into digital. Sometimes hailed the Mobile Walking Congress also includes a Crowd Manager to help guide thousands of delegates from around the world through the exhibitions enormous labyrinth. But above that, at Mobile World Congress there is always a rise in innovative developments that give way to a new revolution. One that fundamentally changes the way we live, work and communicate.

To refresh your memory, we’ve summarized our own observations in three key takeaways:

1. eSIM

Mobile has transformed the telecommunications market (business and retail). Now it is helping to scale the rise of adjacent technologies like the internet of Things (IoT), soon to influence nearly every type of industry. According to Gartner, there will be more than 20 billion connected things by 2020 and the number of companies offering 4G enabled devices such as smart watches, routers and modems, connected cars and drones at MWC18, proves that we are well underway. On top of that, there is an exponential amount of new 5G equipment on the market including equipment around LTE-M and NB-IoT. In fact, iBASIS tested mobile connectivity with our global eSIM in a partner’s LTE-M module at the show.

Connected devices, especially when they travel internationally across borders, are going to require the infrastructure and enabled networks to operate seamlessly. At the heart of that is the new eSIM (otherwise known as embedded SIM) that will essentially eliminate the need to have a physical SIM card (and SIM slot) and the information on it will be compliant and rewritable by all operators. This means a device can change operator with a simple data exchange. A new SIM will not be required, nor should there be any time delay in switching the eSIM to its new purpose. Without the need to include traditional SIM cards in new devices, technology vendors will be able to create devices that are more interconnected than ever, at the smallest size ever seen. For all that technology to work correctly, it’s going to need to stay connected – and eSIM is going to make that connection simple and reliable.

2. Security

The number of connected devices around the world will offer huge opportunities for companies. Connected devices combined with big data will benefit millions of people around the world, however, the IoT opportunity also has its dangers. With the rise of IoT devices, there is also a rise in vulnerabilities for these devices. Recent hacks have proven this point and the acute need for a more complete security initiative. While some risk is inevitable, the industry must ensure that the balance between risk and reward is right to ensure businesses and consumers adopt the new technology and services enabled by IoT.

The GSMA together with the mobile industry has delivered a set of IoT Security Guidelines, backed by an IoT Security Assessment scheme, to provide a proven and robust approach to end-to-end security.

3. 5G

Although 5G may not at first seem much different than 4G LTE, and eSIM solutions may not seem that much an improvement over the already-miniature SIM card, these technologies are on the forefront of the digital age of tomorrow – and business leaders need to be prepared for the opportunities they’ll bring.

As we move into the world of 5G, a new opportunity of data speeds will be available to consumers and businesses, not to mention the amount of data that will be generated by those. 20 billion-plus devices. Telecom providers are prepared, which is why 5G is going to be such a big deal. Some tech leaders believe 5G will be the next technological revolution – and if the estimated download speeds are on point, which could be up to 10 times the download speed of current 4G, it will be a dramatic change in how users and industries handle their data. To put it in perspective, current 4G speeds can download about one gigabit per second – and that’s only if the user is experiencing optimal performance. With 5G, users will be able to download 10 gigabits per second and have improved connectivity and latency.

That speed means Ultra HD videos can be accessed almost instantaneously, photos can be shared in a heartbeat, and files that were previously too big to easily distribute can become effortlessly and reliably shared between peers. More people across the globe will be downloading even more data, faster, with higher reliability. This will strengthen the opportunity for new devices to enter the Internet of Things and become mainstays of businesses and households across the globe.

iBASIS

No one can foresee what technology 5G and eSIM will produce. In any case, iBASIS can help you with keeping them connected worldwide with guaranteed End-2-End security, rooted in GSMA standards. iBASIS Global Access for Things is a global mobile connectivity solution for things worldwide. With our global network capabilities and more than 20 years of experience in the field of empowering connections, we are your global operator of access for the connection of things. Regardless of what new devices 5G and eSIM bring into your organization, iBASIS is prepared to offer the connectivity solutions your business needs to thrive in the age of the Internet of Things.

Why IoT is Crucial in the Manufacturing Sector

Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) projects are widely popular in the manufacturing industry, having spent $178 billion on IOT in 2016 according to the International Data Corporation. Historically, the manufacturing industry has been one of the industries most reliant on IoT, and it is projected to remain so for the foreseeable future, until at least 2020.

The reasons behind the manufacturing industry’s reliance on IoT projects are multiple, but really have much to do with simple history: This is the way the industry has functioned for a while now. It’s just the way things are done. Manufacturing is also projected to continue to grow in size and spending in the near future, so IoT is necessary for an “Industrial Revolution 2.0.” Lastly, IoT´s ability to cater to manufacturing-specific needs only strengthens the relationship between its history and its future.

Human-machine interaction, asset management, and performance optimization are all crucial to manufacturing operations. So, IoT is recognized as a powerful and necessary tool to link the various, interconnected facets for smooth transactions. The network that allows these subcategories to communicate with one another is vast and it is only going to increase in size, popularity, and necessity as time goes on.  In fact, this where most IoT spending takes place (57 percent of total IoT spending according to IDC numbers).

Service providers are also a substantial IoT spending category for the manufacturing industry. Both of these fields are very important due to their ability to create growth in the industry. IDC foresaw the manufacturing industry spending $183 billion in 2017 — an increase of almost 3 percent from the previous year. Manufacturing asset maintenance is also an extremely large IoT use case for this industry. In this category businesses oversee potential breakdowns, performance, and quality control with the goal of optimizing these parameters.

Workers in manufacturing are also an integral part to the industry’s success. This means that their safety and security should always be a top priority. When workers´ safety is linked with their transport and supply management, this connection becomes a huge opportunity for expanding the scope of IoT in day-to-day operations.

There is an obvious, cohesive, link between production, quality control, shipping, transportation, and the role an end customer plays in each transaction. Within each use case, there is a chain of data sharing that begins with the manufacturer and extends all the way to the customer. For a manufacturer to know how its product is viewed by its customers, there has to be a constant flow of feedback between the both parties.  This is where IoT comes in.

IoT bridges the gap from the manufacturer to the warehouse, the warehouse to the extended supply chain, and finally the extended supply chain to the customer. The singular purpose of this astoundingly large data flow: Optimization.

Data that travels via the IoT bridge allows every party to know how it can improve its performance each step of the way.  This is key to the industry’s success. Of course, in an age when almost all data is in “the cloud,” digitization cannot be ignored. Manufacturers rely on this data to keep open all lines of communication between a production factory and the services it supplies to its customers. 

In 2015, IDC released some numbers that give a better sense about where the bulk of the effort associated with integrating IoT into the manufacturing industry is concentrated.  The top contender was efficiency operations and the runner up was “the linkage between the islands of automation.”

In an attempt to demonstrate the measurable benefit of the use of IoT in the manufacturing industry, here are a few optimistic numbers provided by BI Intelligence:

When it comes to the hardware, software, services, and connectivity associated with IoT alone, BI intelligence estimates that global manufacturers will spend $70 Billion by 2020.

BI also proves that IoT solutions have a history of increasing revenue.  Between 2013 and 2014 an average revenue increase of 28.6 percent was recorded by this type of manufacturer.

The Internet of Things has already shown us how it can positively impact the manufacturing industry and its foreseeable impact in the future is sure to be even greater than its current hold based on the proliferation of technology and big data in a myriad of industries.

Our Top 4 Key Takeaways from the IoT Tech Expo

iBasis Key Takeaways from the IoT Tech Expo

Last week, the iBasis Global Access for Things team spent time in Silicon Valley gaining further insight about the future of connectivity at the IoT Tech Expo North America. The conference, which hosted over 9,000 attendees across 15 tracks of learning including blockchain and AI, and featured over 300 industry leading speakers, took a deep-dive into the future of IoT and the opportunities business leaders can expect in a global field.

 

IoT is Here to Stay (and Continues to Grow)

Even just a few short years ago, the term IoT may have caused confused looks during non-industry conversations. Today, the field has started to gain significant traction in the enterprise and consumer markets, and IoT is a household name.

And with over 9,000 people in attendance at the expo, that wasnt hard to believe.

IoT isnt just a buzzword, its profitable too. Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31% from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. Total spending on endpoints and services will reach almost $2 trillion in 2017. As more companies began to invest in more interconnected devices – and device manufacturers continue to innovate their devices capabilities – the IoT market is going to continue booming.

 

Adoption and Investment

The expo hosted over 300 exhibitors in house showing their latest tech, ranging from personal consumer items to business-ready enterprise options. Even experts from NASA were on the scene, explaining how IoT technologies, while paired with AI, will help track natural disasters across the globe. Industry leaders like Oracle and IBM were paired next to niche boutique organizations, giving attendees the chance to get an organic feeling for the opportunities IoT presents – and they are extensive.

 

Its Creating Innovation

10 years ago, the idea of a smart home was science fiction – today its becoming a commonplace reality. These advances come from the hard work of smart leaders innovating in a new field. Creating products and software for an emerging focus isnt the easiest feat, and the expo even had an entire track dedicated for it called Developing for the IoT.

If theres one major takeaway to be had from the IoT Tech Expo, its that the face of technology – and of interconnect-ability – is going to continue to evolve thanks to the endless innovation from hundreds of companies across the globe. Its only a matter of time until sci-fi tech become household objects.

 

Our Own Leaders Are Leaders in the Field

IoT experts spoke on subjects ranging from Bluetooth to making IoT energy efficient – and everything in between. Attendees were able to glimpse into all facets of IoT research and development, and come away with a better understanding of how the market is shifting the face of modern technology.

iBasis’ very own CTO, Ajay Joseph, was one of the expert speakers at the event. Ajay shared his expertise on the pain points of IoT service providers in his session The Solution for Global Mobile Access for Things: A Dramatic Simplification in Global Logistics, which described how next generation mobile technology allows for simplified and future proof global connectivity of IoT devices.

To learn more about Ajay’s presentation, please feel free to reach out to the team. And to learn more about iBasis Global Access for Things offerings in the IoT market, please visit the website here.

eSIM Standardization Efforts

The GSMA Association and the eSIM
The GSM Association is a trade body that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide. Approximately 800 mobile operators are full GSMA members and a further 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem are associate members.  Starting 2014, GSMA had begun to work on an ecosystem related to embedded SIM (eSIM), or eUICC, to address mobile networks and market needs for connecting non-consumer, also referred to as M2M, devices to mobile networks for all sort of B2B applications, such as meter reading, connected cars, intelligent remote controlling, among others.

The Remote SIM Provisioning Initiative
It first came up with the Remote SIM Provisioning initiative and formed several working groups. The working groups focused on standardizing a suite of specifications to ensure the whole ecosystem, including eSIM vendors, device manufactures, mobile operators, and other related service providers, follow the same standards and unified framework for all related processes. This has helped the mobile industry to address more than 10 billion devices connecting to mobile networks by 2020, as predicted. By February 2016, the complete version of specifications were released. Since December 2015, it also has begun to work on similar specifications targeting consumer devices.

The Three Major Working Groups
There are three major working groups working the specifications. One group is called the RSP Task Force (RSPTF), consisting of major mobile operators and works on specifications served as requirements for both M2M and consumer devices. The RSPTF group has more than twenty major mobile operators actively contributing to the requirements. The specifications produced from RSPTF are SGP.01 and SGP.21.

Another group, called the RSP Technical (RSPTEC), is working on implementation specification based on the requirement specifications from RSPTF. RSPTEC is composed of eSIM vendors, OEMs, and all related service providers. iBasis is an active member of this group.

Finally, the third main group, called “RSP Certification and Compliance” (RSPCERT), is working on Security Accreditation Scheme, Test, and Profile Protection specifications.

For those of interested in the detail of all the specifications, the full array of documents can be found on the GSMA Public Website.

Solving The IoT Challenges of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are the owners of a key asset required to connect wide area high bandwidth Internet of Things (IoT) devices – the Mobile Network. In these still early days of the Internet of Things, many MNOs are developing their business plans on how to address the IoT opportunity, while others have been working on their plans and services for more than seven years. For all, the Internet of Things represents an opportunity and a challenge.

The Opportunity

MNOs have the opportunity to bring new revenue generating devices to their networks in multiple ways. Some have matured to the point of offering full IoT solutions such as vehicle solutions, asset management, and smarter cites, among others. Others have taken a different approach and offer web based ordering of IoT SIMs to allow developers and manufacturers to purchase mobile data access for their “things”. Still others will work with systems integrators and innovative access partners to bring IoT devices to their network. Regardless of the approach, if the Fourth Industrial Revolution has anything to say about it, one would expect all MNOs will have IoT devices on their network before long – at least the ones they know about!

The Challenge

Today, MNOs face many challenges both in allowing IoT devices of their roaming partners to roam on their network and in offering their own IoT services. To be sure, when MNOs allow IoT devices on their networks, they prefer to allow them on their own terms. Currently, this is not the case, and many MNOs have IoT devices roaming on their networks they don’t even know about.

Challenges with IoT Roaming Devices

Roaming agreements between mobile operators are negotiated based on the device profile for a consumer mobile handset. Since the device profile for an IoT device is very different, with most devices using very little data, the MNO is not sufficiently compensated for the device roaming on their network. To make matters worse, the device is usually a “globally deployed” device from an IoT manufacturer in a different region or country and the device is actually a “permanently roaming” device.
To solve this problem, MNOs would like to have partners that could at least identify the IMSI ranges of IoT devices entering their network and have agreements in place to be properly compensated for the network usage (e.g. when it is not in the form of data). As the next generation SIM technology, the embedded SIM (eSIM) or eUICC, gains wider use, MNOs could work with innovative access partners to easily identify IoT devices on their network and have the correct agreements in place to be compensated for them. With such a solution, MNOs will have better control over IoT devices entering their networks and prevent those devices from permanently roaming.

MNO Challenges in offering their own IoT Services

When offering or considering offering their own IoT services, MNOs have a different set of challenges:

• Providing proper coverage assurance
• Roaming bill shock when sending traffic to roaming partners
• Inability to guarantee connectivity and user experience of traffic from a partner network
• Competition for the same customer (the IoT Service Provider)

While some IoT devices only communicate sporadically (e.g. luggage tracker), others may send significant amounts of data frequently (e.g. video surveillance drone, connected car). When relying completely on roaming agreements for devices that leave an MNO’s network, it may be difficult to assure the necessary cost, coverage technology (3G or 4G) or application/user experience most suitable for a particular IoT device. Using eSIM and next generation network selection technology, a local network can be selected according to the cost, network coverage and quality required by a particular device – functionality that is not available in traditional steering of roaming solutions. Providing high quality mobile data access for their customers globally deployed or travelling “things”, will allow MNOs to compete for, and retain, IoT Service Provider customers.

Solving the Challenges of IoT Service Providers

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a technological and business revolution. We are still in the early adoption and adaptation stages of this revolution while standards and methodologies continue to evolve. Only a small percentage of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and even fewer businesses have achieved the progress and successes planned in this new business revolution.

Many strides in technology, including the specialization and reduction in size and cost of wireless and sensor technologies, have allowed manufacturers to make ordinary “things” smart connected devices. The promise of the Internet of Things is also to provide companies the opportunity to undergo a digital transformation from equipment/device manufacturers to service providers (IoT SPs) – providing a thing + a thing service.

As we have discussed in a recent post, one of the strides in technology is the reduction in size and standardization of the mobile subscriber identity module (SIM) – to the embedded SIM or eSIM. Just this week we have seen the launch of the Apple Watch Series 3 with embedded programmable SIM technology allowing for fully untethered operation following earlier mobile connected and untethered watch models from Samsung and LG.

 

 

For smart connected devices that require connectivity in global locations, the eSIM solves many challenges for IoT Service Providers:

• The logistics behind shipping, testing and activating millions of SIMs around the world requires significant orchestration and resources. With standard SIM technology, an IoTSP needs to order and stock SIMs from multiple MNO partners around the globe. When shipping their connected devices to customers, the IoTSP must be cognizant of the delivery destination and insert into the device the correct SIM card for the desired regional mobile operator. With eSIM technology, the SIM is a single programmable SIM that can be incorporated as an integrated circuit chip on a device circuit board or can be a commercial pluggable (e.g. 3FF or 4FF) or ruggedized (e.g. MFF1 or MFF2). With the eSIM, the IoTSP can insert the same eSIM card in every device delivered and program the card, or embedded chip in the device, to the correct regional mobile operator when the device is turned on in the delivered country.

• Negotiating with mobile operators across the world for IoT rates and coverage is typically not a core competence of IoT Service Providers. IoTSPs would rather be creating new, innovative, smart, connected “things” than allocating resources to become experts on the mobile connectivity market. In order to cover the globe, IoTSPs must become knowledgeable about the mobile network operator ecosystem and choose the right partners with the right technology and the right roaming agreements for their smart connected device service… Whew! This is difficult enough for companies that are in the mobile business. There has to be a better way for IoTSPs to navigate this landscape.

• IoTSPs must select and negotiate among the mobile data plans offered by the MNO when MNO agreements are made. Unless the MNO offers flexible plans and their OSS/BSS systems can support those, IoTSPs may end up paying many times the data used for big buckets of data use vs. actual use. IoTSPs are most often nimble, innovative companies that would like to see the same flexibility their MNO partner.

• With standard SIMs having a single set of mobile operator credentials, IoTSPs do not have the ability to choose which MNO is used even if there are multiple MNO’s providing coverage in the area. There are providers that offer fixed multi-IMSI technology that can help alleviate this problem, however, the industry standard programmable eSIM technology provides the most flexibility, interoperability, and future proofing in this area. With an eSIM solution and a suitable number of MNO partners, an IoTSP can define selection criteria to select, download, and enable the best operator credentials that meet the smart device’s needs for data rate, quality, and coverage among other parameters.

• IoTSPs will often deploy their globally delivered or traveling smart devices with a standard or “roaming-only” global SIM capability. With a roaming-only global SIM, data must originate and terminate from the network of the “home” mobile network operator. This is the mobile network operator who’s network credentials are currently being used to connect to the foreign mobile network. As a result, data that is generated by a connected device can be routed across very long distances before it is consumed for use. This can result in poor user experience. With the next generation eSIM capability, the credentials of a mobile network operator, in the country or region, can be dynamically downloaded and enabled on the smart device, allowing for data access in the local area, providing a lower latency and therefore improved user experience.

Next week we’ll discuss these challenges from the point of view of the MNOs. Stay tuned!