IoT @ MWC17: What the Incumbent Telecom Vendors Were Up To

John Byrne

John Byrne – Service Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• Incumbent telecom vendors used MWC17 to crystallize their focus on a few key markets like smart city and smart manufacturing, and – for most – expand their IoT portfolios.

• There was a light focus on discussing new IoT technologies and their use cases. With NB-IoT and Cat-M1 buildouts just underway, IoT technology wars played a much less prominent role than at MWC16.

IoT is a big topic, dominating many discussions around the future of wireless networks and telecom service providers.

It wasn’t surprising, then, that it was a major topic of discussion at MWC this year. Likewise, given the broad reach of IoT use cases and the broad set of players in the IoT ecosystem, it wasn’t surprising to see different parts of the market show up with their own stories. A look at the announcements from various segments of the market – silicon vendors, LPWAN network providers, incumbent telecom vendors, specialist telecom and IT players – helps to illustrate the stories they showed up to tell.

The table below recaps announcements released by incumbent telecom vendors Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE at (or leading up to) MWC. Taking a look at their breadth, a number of clear themes emerge.

Network Equipment Vendors Going Direct. As network equipment vendors make their strategic investments in IoT, the focus for many is converging in key opportunities around smart cities, smart factories and smart utilities. The announcements at MWC17 clarified that in areas with “telecom-like” networking requirements, these vendors are moving forward directly and not through their traditional network operator customers. Ericsson in particular, which has spent the most time amongst its peers in pursuing vertical opportunities, showed success, announcing smart city deals with Istanbul and Dubai government authorities and several smart manufacturing-related deals. The willingness to cut operators out of the deal in key IoT vertical markets will only intensify as other vendors like Nokia and Huawei take an increasingly “platform”-oriented and services-led approach to vertical opportunities. Read more of this post