Ericsson forecasts 20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

Ericsson forecasts 20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

Ericsson forecasts 20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report suggests that the number of connected IoT devices should increase at a CAGR of 19 percent up to 2023. More than 20 massive IoT cellular networks have been commercially deployed across several regions.

20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

By 2023, over 30 billion connected devices1 are forecast, of which around 20 billion will be related to the IoT. Connected IoT devices include connected cars, machines, meters, sensors, point-of-sale terminals, consumer electronics2 and wearables. Between 2017 and 2023, connected IoT devices are expected to increase at a CAGR of 19 percent, driven by new use cases and affordability.

Short-range and wide-area segments

In the figure below, IoT is divided into short-range and wide-area segments. The short-range segment largely consists of devices connected by unlicensed radio technologies, with a typical range of up to 100 meters, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee. This category also includes devices connected over fixed-line local area networks and powerline technologies.

Ericsson Mobility Report chart: connected devices 2015-2023

The wide-area segment consists of devices using cellular connections, as well as unlicensed low-power technologies, such as Sigfox and LoRa.

1.8 billion IoT devices with cellular connections by 2023

At the end of 2017, there will be around 0.5 billion IoT devices with cellular connections. This number is projected to reach 1.8 billion in 2023, or around 75 percent of the wide-area category.

Presently, the dominant technology in the wide-area segment is GSM/GPRS. However, by 2023, IoT cellular connectivity will mainly be provided by LTE and 5G. The majority of these connections will be over LTE networks, while 5G technology will continue to support an increase in IoT applications, especially those requiring critical communications. 5G will also provide mechanisms for rapid and cost-effective introduction and provisioning of new IoT services.

Based on technologies like Cat-M1 and NB-IoT3, a growing number of cellular IoT networks are being deployed, with more than 20 networks now commercially launched across several regions.4

1 In our forecast, a connected device is a physical object that has a processor, enabling communication over a network interface
Note: Traditional landline phones are included for legacy reasons
2 Including: Smart TVs, digital media boxes, Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles, audio/video (AV) receivers, etc.
3 Cat-M1 supports a wide range of IoT applications, including content-rich ones, and NB-IoT is streamlined for ultra-low throughput applications. Both of these technologies are deployed on LTE networks
4 GSA (October 2017)

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SNCF on track for driverless high-speed trains by 2023

NCF on track for driverless high-speed trains by 2023

French national railway operator SNCF aims to have driverless high-speed trains running by 2023.

The company is working on a ‘train drone’ project, and is hoping to have a prototype train to test the transport of goods between Paris and the south east of France in 2019, according to a report from FranceTV.

The driverless train will look like a regular train, but will be equipped with external sensors that can anticipate the slightest obstacle on the track, and if necessary, automatically brake. However, it will likely be semi-autonomous – at first at least – with a train driver in the control station, to take control in the event of unforeseeable issues and emergency situations.

Having a driver or someone on board to look after the train at certain situations is not new: in London, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) has run like this for years. However, Matthie Chabanel, of SNCF, suggested that it would be a ‘world’s first’, perhaps because it is a high-speed train that travels at almost 200mph, and because it is aiming to become fully autonomous in the years to come.

Chabanel likened the system SNCF that is working on to a plane’s auto-pilot system.

“On high-speed, we are aiming for automation in the sense of automatic steering as in an aircraft. In aircraft, you always have a driver, fortunately, but you also have an automatic steering system,” he said.

Read more: UK fire engines become smarter with IoT connectivity

The need for speed

Rather than reducing headcount, the aim, according to SNCF, is to increase the speed and frequency of high-speed journeys. It believes that the automated system would increase the number of trips between Paris and Lyon, for example, by 25 percent.

Rob Bamforth, analyst at Quocirca, believes that while autonomous trains are technically feasible, the biggest hurdle is passenger acceptance.

“Is there a risk and even if this is only a perceived risk, are we willing to take it?” he asks.

“The greater the numbers of people travelling in one ‘vehicle’ and the greater the speeds, the greater the fear and risk of a bad accident,” he says.

However, Bamforth suggested that is the number of variables can be reduced, then the simpler it should be to keep these trains both autonomous and safe.

“The more things are monitored and checked [to ensure] that they fit within the expected norm, the more processes are confirmed with explicit actions, and the more the risk is reduced,” he states.

However, he doesn’t believe that computers will be necessary for every aspect of autonomous trains; engineers will be needed to decide how many parameters need to be used and checked to make the vehicle autonomous, as developing the right systems that take into account feedback loops, redundancies and fail-safes  involve substantial design skills.

“The engineering is evolving to make it feasible; the psychology and marketing needs to be there too, in order to make it acceptable,” he concluded.

Read more: Turkish Airlines takes flight with IoT, AI chatbots and tech start-ups

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