Partner interview: Mobile World Live spoke with Chris Heckscher (pictured below), Cisco’s VP for its service provider business in Asia Pacific and Japan, who insists that IoT will be the defining technological trend for the next decade and that virtualised networks with a high level of programmability are vital to keep up with the scale and diversity of future demands.

MWL: How is the mobile internet being designed to handle the scale and diversity of IoT end-points?
Cisco-checkschHeckscher: IoT has reached an inflection point for wide-scale adoption. We will see sectors such as transportation and connected cars having smart sensors and other devices connected to mobile networks.

The number of internet end-points in these IoT networks will be much larger than the current number of smart devices and their primary role will involve the real-time collection and transmission of information. Unlike smartphones, the type of data they send and receive is much more complex and diverse, as is their latency and security requirements. As a result, the mobile internet from wireless connectivity, right up to the core, will need to be designed to handle this scale, complexity and diversity.

Today, many operators are virtualising key mobile network functions in the cloud to gain flexibility, agility and cost saving benefits that IoT solutions will require. Furthermore, new solutions in Fog (or Edge) computing enable the most time sensitive data to be analysed at the network edge, close to where it is generated instead of sending vast amounts of IoT data to the cloud.

shutterstock_281935604 iot iotMWL: Over the past year, we have started to see broad adoption of IoT in certain verticals. What have been the key drivers of this growth and what’s your outlook for the next 1-2 years?
Heckscher: The growth of the IoT will redefine the technology and business landscapes over the next ten years and beyond. It will permeate every sector and evolve most current business processes.

The key drivers for this can be attributed to a series of diverse opportunities including increasing business process efficiency, significant cost savings, adding new products and features, building closer relationships with customers, and developing new business models.

Over the next few years we will see an even greater adoption of IoT and a rapid rush to digitise across every vertical.

MWL: How does Cisco see IoT as a business enabler for various verticals?
Heckscher: IoT will bring about a massive increase in connected devices and a vast amount of valuable data to store, sort and act upon. This explosion of data and data analytics is generating new, more sophisticated ways to redesign processes and create new business opportunities for every vertical.

By integrating IoT into their operations, products and customer interactions, companies will be able to improve their efficiencies, create new business models, enter new markets and enhance their relationship with their customers.

We are already starting to see IoT use cases in the emergence of smart cities, connected utilities, connected railways, connected factories, connected cars and even connected mines. The estimated new economic value created by adopting IoT could be as much as $11 trillion per year by 2025.

5gMWL: How important is the development of 5G networks for mobile operators as well as consumers?
Heckscher: The future networks will be increasingly complex and connected as M2M connections increase and we continue to connect the unconnected. Asia Pacific alone will have 5.7 billion mobile-connected devices by 2020. Service providers will need to grapple with:
• Growing number of devices: In Asia Pacific, the number of smart devices will reach 3.9 billion, while the number of mobile-connected M2M modules will reach 1.3 billion by 2020
• Increased volume: Mobile data traffic in the region will grow nine-fold from 2015 to 2020, reaching 13.7 exabytes per month by 2020
• More video, multimedia: Video will account for 75 per cent of Asia Pacific’s mobile data traffic by 2020, compared with 55 per cent at the end of 2015
• Multiple touch points
• Varying speeds and latencies
• Enhanced security

5G is more than just a new radio access technology – it is a new architecture, designed specifically for the IoT. 5G will herald an era of faster access, more security and much greater coverage. 5G will also see a new protocol called information centric networking, which in some ways encapsulates what 5G is really all about – a flat ‘any-access’ architecture where content distribution, mobility and security are inherent.

MWL: With IoT applications such as autonomous vehicles and remote medicine requiring not only faster connections but extremely low latency as well, how are such use cases helping to accelerate the global development of 5G technologies?
Heckscher: The dramatic rise in IoT devices has spurred a rush to ensure there is sufficient speed, bandwidth and latency in the network to accommodate the devices and opportunities they provide. 5G offers all those elements as well as the improved security a fully connected world will require. It is these demands which are driving the rapid development of 5G.