Internet of Things in Barcelona

At MWC, the Internet of Things was on display though networked wearables, car infotainment, home monitoring and devices of all sorts.

The Internet of Things (Machine2Machine) connects devices over mobile networks, enabling the management of a wide range of new goods and services.

In January Google announced it would pay more than $3 billion for Nest’s smart thermostat technology. It connects using Bluetooth and meshed network 802.15 standards.

Machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity, diagnostic and management applications were available for a variety of vertical markets.

GSMA expects major growth in machine to machine (M2M) technology, with growth from 195 million M2M connections in 2013 to 250 million this year.

Annual expenditures of integrated “smart” building applications, as measured by equipment supplier revenues, will grow globally by 150 percent by 2017, according to a new report released by IHS (NYSE: IHS), a leading global source of critical information and insight.

The global market for integrated equipment in buildings is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 20.3 percent—from $12.6 billion in 2012 to $31.6 billion by 2017.

Companies today are building much more sophisticated models of human behaviour using the Internet of Things. Televisions, refrigerators, thermostats, pacemakers, roads and cars gather data and upload it to the web for analysis.

Global LTE Forecasts

Worldwide LTE-related subscriptions reached 229.7 million in 2013, and will continually grow at a CAGR of 43.6% between 2013 and 2019, to exceed 2 billion, according to ABI’s latest research. By the end of 2013, LTE-TDD subscribers accounted for 5% of the LTE market, with 94.2% using Frequency Division LTE (LTE-FDD).

“Among the LTE subscription growth, Asia-Pacific contributes the most with a 49% market share. The second greatest contributor is North America with an 18% share,” comments Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research.

ABI Research forecasts that LTE-Advanced subscribers will grow to 750 million in 2019 accounting for 37.3% of overall LTE subscribers. North America will be the most aggressive LTE-Advanced market, followed by Asia-Pacific and Western Europe. According to a 2012 forecast by Yankee Group, China, India, Europe, the U.S. will boast more than 134 million TD-LTE connections by 2016. Yankee also said China will have 106 million TD-LTE devices by 2016.

South Korean Operators, SK Telecom and LG U+, commercially launched LTE-Advanced networks in June 2013 and by the end of 2013, SK Telecom gained more than 1 million LTE-Advanced subscribers, or 10% of all its LTE subscribers,” adds Jake Saunders, VP and practice director. Some 800,000 TD-LTE base stations around the world will cover 3 billion people this year with 150 million LTE terminals expected to be sold this year, according to the Global TD-LTE Initiative. GSMA earlier said the combined LTE subscriber base (TD & FD) will pass one billion by 2017.

Global VoLTE subscriptions are expected to surpass 1.09 billion in 2019, of which 34.2% are from Asia-Pacific and 27% from North America.

India: We Need a $100 LTE Phone

The Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) held an International Summit at Mobile World Congress (MWC) this week. The organization advocates cooperation among global operators around TD-LTE and the coexistence of TD-LTE and LTE FDD standards.

TDD spectrum resources are available in many countries, mainly in the 2.3 and 2.6 gigahertz bands.

China Mobile plans to install 500,000 base stations across 340 cities by the end of this year and promote the evolution to LTE-A and increase the data rate from 100M to 200M, 400M or even 1G. China Mobile hopes to commercialize VoLTE by the end of 2014 and joined forces with South Korea’s KT to launch two-way global roaming service allowing interoperability between TD-LTE and FDD-LTE.

Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel India’s largest mobile carrier, said what the world needed was a good $100 LTE phone. India is also using Time Division LTE, but in the 2.3-2.4 GHz band.

During the summit, GTI showcased 5-mode 13-band terminals in collaboration with its industry partners. China Mobile plans to purchase more than 100 million LTE terminals and promote smartphones supporting 5 modes and 12 or more bands.

The GTI awards recognised the successful deployment of ZTE’s Cloud Radio Solution in Chinese TD-LTE commercial networks, and ZTE’s leading position in the global TD-LTE market.

NSN won a GTI Innovation award for its “Liquid Applications”, NSN’s thrust on bringing cloud to networking.

At the heart of Liquid Applications is the NSN Radio Application Cloud Server which deploys cloud technology, running on standard IT middleware. It provides processing and storage capabilities, together with the ability to collect real-time network data.

At MWC 2014, the WiMAX Forum announced a partnership with the Global TD-LTE Initiative aimed to guarantee WiMAX Advanced is compatible with TD-LTE.

GTI has 100 operator members and 73 partners. Under the promotion of GTI, 28 commercial TD-LTE networks have been launched around the world and more than 40 operator members are planning and constructing their commercial TD-LTE networks.

NFC at MWC 2014

The NFC Experience, exhibited a new services and NFC-enabled devices at Mobile World Congress this week. Near Field Communications was featured in many new products including phones, readers and services.

NFC enables contactless financial transactions and data exchange over a very short range. Communication is also possible between an NFC device and an unpowered NFC chip, called a “tag”.

Some 65 NFC-enabled digital Tap-n-Go Points were located around Fira Gran Via by Korean operator KT. The NFC Media Poles deliver a range of information services to visitors at the tap of an NFC phone, including films, coupons, tickets, music and advertisements.

The NFC Badge was available for Android 4.0+ and Windows Phone 8 operating systems, and iPhones using the Incipio Cashwrap NFC-enabled case.

Ten thousand attendees utilised the NFC Badge and nearly 51,000 NFC transactions were made across Fira Gran Via. Building on the success of the NFC Badge in 2013, customers of Bouygues Telecom, Bharti Airtel, Dialog, Etisalat, KT Corp., Orange, Tata and Telstra were able to further streamline their entry to Mobile World Congress by participating in a trial using their mobile operator credentials to confirm their identity.

The GSMA today reported that more than 85,000 visitors from 201 countries attended the 2014 Mobile World Congress, up by 18% over 2013, setting another new record for the mobile industry’s premier event.

Mountain View Gets Google WiFi Upgrade

Google’s WiFi network in Mountain View, California is set to be replaced with one that is smaller but more capable, reports the Mercury News.

The Google Wi-Fi network was first launched in August 2006 and became one of the first free, public Wi-Fi networks in the U.S. Some 380 access points, all supplied by Tropos were installed that featured meshed networked 802.11g nodes.

No word on what technology Google plans to install, but San José uses Ruckus Wireless in their Downtown hotzone.

The San Jose network uses Ruckus 802.11n radios with multiple antennas and beam-forming. It was implemented by system integrator SmartWave Technologies.

On Tuesday night, the Mountain View City Council approved a new five-year agreement that will see Google turn the downtown corridor into a free outdoor wireless hotspot.

Council members also accepted a $500,000 grant from the Mountain View-based company to install and maintain Wi-Fi networks at the community center, library, teen center, senior center and Rengstorff Park.

The agreement and grant follow Google’s announcement that it has invited Mountain View and 33 other cities to begin talks on joining its Google Fiber program.

Google will dismantle the existing wireless system using WiFi hotspots that cover 80 to 90 percent of the city. The system is now plagued with reliability and performance issues.

An app that automatically connects municipal WiFi to Starbucks, seems likely as Google continues to replace AT&T as the official WiFi network at the coffee chain. Google started replacing AT&T at Starbucks in August, and should be in all 7,000 stores nationwide by early 2015.

Although it’s just speculation, newer technology that could be considered for Mountain View might include Hotspot 2.0, for seamless roaming to Starbucks WiFi or commercial LTE providers, 802.11ac (with beamforming on the 5 GHz band), unlicensed 3.5 GHz backhaul, connection to the Internet of Things, or Bluetooth beaconing.

A Cloud-based Radio Access Network, where a cellular/WiFi basestation is run on software in a data center would be the most interesting path. It may seem unlikely, but with Dish, Intel and Google’s expanded fiber plans in the mix, it’s anybody’s ballgame.

If T-Mobile and Sprint don’t want to join the C-RAN party, Google might blow them off. They can get all the 600 MHz they want next year and Dish is on some 12 million rooftops today.

Firefox: The $25 Smartphone is Real

Spreadtrum Communications, China’s leading mobile chip supplier, and Mozilla, the Firefox’s OS designer, have teamed up to create a $25 smartphone — its startling low cost enabled by web technologies.

Spreadtrum unveiled the SC6821 WCDMA smartphone chipset at Mobile World Congress that, they say, will enable $25 smartphones. The two companies have completed the integration of Firefox OS with several of Spreadtrum’s WCDMA and EDGE smartphone chipsets.

Firefox OS smartphones now include Alcatel’s Fire E, LG’s FireWeb, Huawei’s Y300 and ZTE’s Open. They are made available primarily through operator channels. Firefox OS is expanding into new markets in 2014. Telefónica will join the list of countries where it’s selling Firefox OS phones with 21 operators across the globe now supporting the open Web device initiative.

But Scott Bicheno, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, points out that Firefox OS handsets make up “less than 1% of total global smartphone shipments.”

Mozilla’s $25 Firefox phone is a direct threat that Nokia never saw coming, says Venture Beat. Nokia’s launch of three Android smartphones, is also targeted at emerging markets.

The Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL are priced to capture the fast-growing affordable smartphone market and provide an on-ramp to Microsoft services like Skype, OneDrive and outlook.com.

The Nokia 220 is an Internet-ready mobile phone with social apps, priced at only EUR 29. The Nokia Asha 230 is the most affordable Asha touch device ever. Available in single and Dual SIM variants, it will start rolling out immediately across Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

The Verge edits Nokia’s launch down to four minutes.