The coming 12 months are expected to be an active period for mobile IoT technologies, with further network rollouts and the ongoing construction of a “vibrant” ecosystem to drive growth.
According to Cheng Zhu, president of the Huawei cellular IoT product line, 2018 will see a “big bang” moment for networks based on narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT), with the number increasing to 100 from 28 in 2017, connections rising from 10 million to 150 million, and the number of ecosystem partners tripling to more than 3,000.
The mobile IoT journey is well underway, proclaimed Mohammad Chowdhury, partner at PwC Australia, with the number of commercial network launches based on both NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies now standing at 41 (32 NB-IoT and nine LTE-M).
Yet panellists at the 6th Mobile IoT Summit agreed that much more still has to be done to ensure than existing challenges with regard to cost, roaming, scalability, the simplification of services and devices, and security aspects are overcome.
Lory Thorpe, head of innovation & prototyping at Vodafone Group Enterprise, stressed that what has been made clear with mobile IoT is that collaboration has been and will continue to be key.
Shen Hong Qun, deputy general manager in the marketing department at China Mobile, agreed, saying that cooperation and a win-win ecosystem will drive the future prospects for mobile IoT.
Johannes Kaumanns, vice president IoT – strategy & business development at Deutsche Telekom, added that an important approach will be to develop services with the customer in mind from the beginning.
The panel agreed that NB-IoT and LTE-M are not in competition with other and are both required because they serve different use cases – such as lower power requirements with NB-IoT.
“We don’t see them converging,” added Vodafone’s Thorpe. “There is still a lot of work to be done in understanding how these technologies can work in the most optimised manner.