• IT equipment vendors/software vendors/systems integrators largely focused on broader issues such as CSP cloud migration and digital transformation, with IoT woven in within those larger themes.
• IBM significantly broadened its IoT ecosystem but waited until its own InterConnect event later in March to announce Watson would power AT&T’s new IoT Analytics solution expanded. Meanwhile, Tata’s massive rollout of a LoRa-based network, supported by HPE’s Universal IoT platform, probably didn’t get the attention it deserved.
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 Mobile World Congress 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 IT equipment vendors, software vendors and systems integrators, including Accenture, HPE, IBM, Oracle and Tech Mahindra at (or leading up to) MWC. Taking a look at their breadth, a number of clear themes emerge.
• IoT Security Credentials are Crucial. Given the multiple threat planes that emerge in IoT deployments thanks to the sheer number of connected devices, multiple interface technologies and gateways to be traversed, the ability to lock down security end-to-end is a crucial feature for any IoT platform. Special consideration needs to be taken in regard to sensitive user-specific data potentially traversing IoT networks. One company in particular, HPE, significantly beefed up its IoT security profile leading up to MWC17 by acquiring Niara, which specializes in using machine learning and behavior analytics to dramatically increase the time it takes to identify security threats. In reality, Niara’s primary benefit is in preventing WiFi network breaches; however, HPE plans to integrate the technology into its IoT platform as well. HPE also introduced “SecureData for Hadoop and IoT,” which establishes a secure way to transmit and receive sensitive information such as personally identifiable information (PII), payment card information (PCI) and protected health information (PHI), and insert encryption closer to the network edge.
• IBM Going Big on Watson IoT. Following the opening of the Watson IoT Center in Munich in February, IBM significantly expanded its push to build a robust Watson IoT ecosystem leading up to MWC17. IBM announced a significant roster of co-innovation partners and customers taking residence at the new Watson IoT Center, including Capgemini (focused on Industry 4.0 solutions), Tech Mahindra (Industry 4.0 and manufacturing, precision farming, healthcare, insurance, banking and automotive), Avnet (smart buildings, smart homes, industry, transportation, medical and consumer), BNP Paribas (consumer banking) and EEBus, an IoT alliance formed by the German government whose 60 members include Bosch, ABB, Schneider and all of the major European automotive manufacturers. In the industrial Internet, IBM and Bosch announced that the Bosch IoT system would be powered by IBM Bluemix and Watson IoT, enabling massively scalable device management and software upgrades. Net, while competitors are actively building up their cognitive computing capabilities, IBM sees its growing ecosystem as a way to stay one step ahead.
• Tata LoRa Deployment a Game Changer for HPE? HPE scored a small coup at MWC17 by announcing it will work with Tata Communications as it gears up to build a massive LoRa-based network in India. That deal had been announced in November 2015, but Tata is now close to starting actual deployment following network trials in three cities and conducting 35 IoT proofs-of-concept (PoCs). The first phase of the roll-out targets deploying networks covering 400 million people in India’s largest cities. HPE’s Universal Platform will be responsible for managing devices and applications for smart buildings, campus, utilities, fleet management, security, and healthcare services in nearly 2,000 communities. For HPE, the Tata engagement represents an ideal vehicle to showcase the scalability and flexibility of its IoT platform, as well as its “agnosticism” when it comes to supporting non-cellular/unlicensed in addition to cellular/licensed IoT networks.