In an attempt to take leadership of the Internet of Things (IoT) market and spark development, telecommunications company Verizon Communications Inc. has announced a new global strategy to simplify IoT and accelerate market adoption. With almost a half a billion in revenue from connected devices in 2015 so far,
Verizon is generating one of the largest amounts of revenue from IoT of any company in the United States. Verizon outlined its IoT strategy at a recent event in San Francisco, during which the communications giant explained its plan make IoT more accessible to everyone. IoT, which connects physical objects — from household appliances to medical devices to industrial machines — to the Internet, is projected to reach billions of connected devices over the next few years.
Market research firm IDC predicts that the global IoT market will grow to $1.7 trillion in 2020 from $656 billion in 2014. “Continued innovation in smart cities, connected cars and wearables demonstrates that IoT is the future for how we will live and work,” said Mike Lanman, senior vice president of enterprise products at Verizon.
“Despite the exciting potential, IoT is still too complex, too fragmented, too expensive to connect and too hard to scale," Lanman said. "Success in that future relies on a leader that can cut through the complexity and change the IoT model. That’s where Verizon comes in. With our experience in networks, devices, platforms and applications, we are taking a holistic approach to simplifying adoption to expand the IoT market from millions to billions of connections.”
The company’s strategy is largely centered on ThingSpace, a new IoT platform designed to allow developers to create applications, customers to manage devices, partners to market their services, and Verizon to launch integrated vertical solutions simply, in an open environment.
The platform overcomes a number of current barriers to the innovation of IoT solutions, including the cumbersome process for launching applications. Verizon has simplified the process with ThingSpace’s new self-service web interface.
Verizon said ThingSpace will allow users to manage their IoT environments and related data, end-to-end, from device to network to application. The company also said developers can build IoT solutions using Verizon’s extensive capabilities and innovation resources.
The platform is open, with even non-Verizon customers able to code and test on ThingSpace. Verizon plans to hold a developer’s conference in December to allow a wide variety of potential clients to gain access to an expanded set of API’s, a process which will continue through 2016.
“As of today, all developers – even if they are not a Verizon customer – can code and test on the ThingSpace platform,” Lanman said. “The company will hold a developers conference in Boston in December at which a wide-range of coders including — academia, startups, business and public sector organizations — will gain access to an expanded set of APIs and application enablement capabilities on ThingSpace. Verizon will roll out hundreds more APIs on the platform throughout 2016.”
Another barrier to IoT deployment is the cost to connect to a wide-area network. In an effort to meet the economic requirements of the next generation of IoT use Verizon indicates that non-cellular-enabled IoT devices typically connect to a network through a hub or router, which complicates the set-up for customers and increases the potential for failure.
To make IoT more simple and reliable, Verizon has created a core IoT network within its LTE architecture optimized for Cat1 devices and worked with partners to “embed LTE chipsets in a wide-range of connected machines to automate the provisioning process and make it faster to deploy IoT devices on its wide-area network.”
Furthermore, Verizon plans to address the rising demand for smart city solutions, which they project will grow by more than 20 percent annually over the next five years. Traffic congestion, critical infrastructure decay, and the inefficient use of resources all are issues which plague modern cities. Verizon has already engaged in this field, but seeks to expand its footprint with the use of its Intelligent Video and Intelligent Lighting and Intelligent Traffic Management programs to address these issues.
At the San Francisco event, the company also showcased how it’s putting its IoT capabilities to work for customers in the marketplace today through ongoing collaboration. Projects underway include:
- Collaborating with Intel, the largest chipset maker in the world, to pilot Verizon’s agricultural platform at Hahn Family Wines, a family-owned winery based in the Santa Lucia Highlands, located in California’s Monterey County. With more than 1,000 acres of vineyards, the pilot uses sensor data and analytics that can be used effectively to conserve and add precision to resources like water and energy, prevent disease and lower operating costs — resulting in increased and consistently predictable crop yields.
- Teaming up with Renesas, one of the largest suppliers of microcontrollers in the world, to enable manufacturers of connected machines in IoT and industrial segments to embed Verizon IoT’s technology early in the design process and scale quickly.
- Helping to monitor pharmaceutical products in the supply chain and improve safety utilizing Verizon Intelligent Track and Trace. Verizon’s strategic relationship with rfXcel uses IoT technology and leverages the Verizon network, to provide near real-time monitoring of product environments. The commercial launch of Verizon’s Intelligent Track and Trace Solution is expected spring 2016.
- Helping colleges and universities across the US reduce their carbon footprint by up to 20 percent by powering the Innova EV Car Share fleet of all-electric vehicles with Verizon Share, an app designed for today’s sharing economy. As millennials place more emphasis on sharing than on owning vehicles, Verizon’s partnership with Innova EV Car Share is aimed to expand its reach beyond the existing pilot program to other campuses. Pilot sites include the University of Pittsburgh, Colorado State University, the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Washington State University.
“We are thrilled to be working with Hahn Family Wines, Innova, Intel, Renesas and rfXcel among many others, to help them scale and create new business models," Lanman added, saying, "These projects show the tremendous range of issues that we can attack in new ways with IoT solutions. We look forward to engaging other customers, partners and developers through our new ThingSpace platform and helping them bring transformational ideas to market."