LIVE FROM FUTURE OF WIRELESS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, CAMBRIDGE: The benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) are already being felt, with current technology able to support it, according to Dale Taylor, partner markets EMEA solutions architect for Vodafone Global Enterprise (pictured).
With technology such as the European eCall initiative (where road vehicles alert emergency services when an accident occurs), telemedicine, security systems and smart meters, IoT services are showing their potential, Taylor suggested.
He gave the example of a mining company as one IoT application that Vodafone has already implemented.
With mines located in an isolated area, broken equipment can hold up production while replacements are brought in. The addition of sensors to equipment which are monitored by cloud technology means the company can order components when they are about to fail, meaning they arrive at the location when they are needed.
“All this massive amount of information is actually becoming useful. It’s not that it’s not available — it’s about joining it all together,” Taylor said.
Taylor explained Vodafone sees its role as an enabler for IoT services, rather than thinking in terms of connectivity, and is working with partners whose technology makes use of the operator’s services.
“It’s not where Vodafone has to own the customer, but enable the customer. We see this very much as a B2B2C relationship,” he added.
As for whether networks can cope with the rise of IoT approaches, Taylor was confident: “Actually IoT applications tend to be low bandwidth and they’re not always connected so from what we’ve seen so far, we don’t see this as a major issue.”
It’s clear that Vodafone is able to see beyond cellular connectivity, with WiFi, mesh, low-powered radios and fixed networks all part of the IoT mix.
Cellular enabled technology such as Bluetooth and Zigbee will also play a role, according to Taylor, who said that rather than spend time and resources developing new technology, the industry should adapt and make use of solutions already out there. “It’s there if you want to make use of it,” he said.
Another issue that needs to be addressed when discussing IoT is importance and sensitivity of data, especially with telemedicine. “We need to think about the criticality of data and whether some of the networks being looked at for IoT are actually capable of delivering that criticality,” suggested Taylor.