Sequans’ Monarch Platform Delivers VoLTE on Verizon’s LTE Cat M1 Network

Alibaba A.I. Labs Announces Strategic Collaboration with MediaTek on IoT Initiatives

Sequans' Monarch Platform Delivers VoLTE on Verizon's LTE Cat M1 Network

LTE for IoT chipmaker Sequans Communications S.A. has successfully demonstrated the VoLTE (voice over LTE) capabilities of its Monarch LTE Platform live on Verizon’s LTE Cat M1 network.

There are many M2M and IoT applications in a wide variety of market sectors that can benefit from voice capability, including security and alarm systems for home and business, health monitoring wearables, automatic teller machines, retail kiosks, package drop-off stations, fitness bands, in-car emergency applications, people trackers, call boxes for elevators and roadside assistance, parking kiosks, and vending machines.

Georges Karam, Sequans CEO, said:

“VoLTE is needed for many LTE for IoT applications and this successful test of VoLTE on Verizon shows how the market reach of Verizon’s LTE-M network can be extended to include many more applications.”

“Alarm systems, health wearables, and even feature phones that will run on 4G-only networks will all benefit from VoLTE capability.”

Monarch is Sequans’ LTE Cat M1/NB1 Platform, compliant with the 3GPP Release 13 LTE Advanced Pro standard. The VoLTE capabilities of Sequans’ Monarch LTE Cat M1 Platform are enabled by a fully integrated on-chip IMS stack. The platform supports LTE quality of service for fast call setup and low-latency voice calls. Monarch also supports advanced calling features and several major voice codecs.

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Baidu’s BaaS Platform will ease banking for the customers

Dealing in cryptocurrency standards, Baidu has launched a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform. Also, BaaS will address digital bills, bank credit administration, insurance administration, and financial analysis. This newly launched BaaS platform is said to provide competition to the Chinese adversary Tencent, which has its own BaaS service.

Baidu will deploy blockchain technology in order to handle asset securitization and asset exchange thereby contributing to the first asset-backed securities exchange products. The organization has also been working on blockchain innovations in the field of unmanned vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and distributed computing. Way back in 2013 Baidu reported that it would entertain bitcoin as the sole method of payment from clients for driving its security platform ‘Jiasule’. And in 2015, the firm initiated investigations based upon the blockchain innovation FinTech applications. Apart from Baidu and Tencent, Alibaba is also building up its particular blockchain innovation and has a dedicated team driving the blockchain technology.

Today, the enterprises have been looking at blockchain technology as a pathway to digitally track the ownership of assets across trust boundaries and create different type of models for cross-organisational collaboration. With the recent Baidu’s BaaS platform launched, the three leading tech firms in China have entered the global blockchain race.

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IoT platform collaborations and consolidation are coming

The Internet of Things (IoT) is hotter than ever and in 2018 there will be more collaboration between market leaders, even as the community of 300+ platforms begins inevitable consolidation. According to Matt Smith, CTO at Software AG, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will begin to infiltrate IoT platforms and devices and new business models will flourish.

If you can’t beat them, join them

Realisation dawns that IoT market leaders must embrace collaboration, even with competitors, to achieve innovation.

The trick to working with competitors, without compromising integrity and intellectual property, is standardisation. A set of common standards, developed by practitioners applying their domain knowledge, can benefit everyone. Joint ventures are the name of the new game.

The game is ON

IoT platforms won’t survive without leveraging AI and ML.

Platform vendors will evolve from device connectivity and data collection and push forward into data analysis using AI and machine learning. Data-driven analysis leads to process-driven actions as part of the maturity curve. Highly complex use cases such as predictive maintenance and self-driving cars lower the barriers to adoption.

Honey, I shrunk the community

Shake-out on IoT Platform community is imminent.

There are over 300 IoT platforms on the market, from B2B to B2C to industry-specific, specialising on data connectivity and/or management. Next year we will see the first real shake-out, as closures and takeovers – mainly by large software companies and the newly formed joint ventures from prediction No.1- take place.

Vertical is the new horizontal

Platforms will get more specialised as standards and protocols such as MQTT and OPC/UA gain common ground and simplify adoption.

Horizontal, agnostic IoT platforms are maturing and have gained market share. As standardisation continues, differentiation through specialisation is the way going forward. New and existing vendors will want to add value and distinguish themselves by offering tailored solutions to certain markets, or even certain industry verticals.

Are you Ready to Rumble?

New business models will influence and inspire new business opportunities such as assets-as-a-service.

As efficiency use cases such as predictive maintenance begin to lower costs and provide a deeper understanding of assets, organisations will be able to leverage new concepts. Offering things as a service, tighter SLAs, optimising spare parts inventories or improving service excellence and maintenance are all new models which will be implemented by manufacturers.

Smart Devices are sooo 2017

Never mind smart devices with analytics on the edge, analytical devices will be the next great trend.

Hardware vendors will come up with out-of-the-box solutions where IoT and advanced analysis capabilities are pre-installed on the devices and ready to use. For example, control capabilities will increase with the advances made in real-time Ethernet (TSN) and the emergence of 5G, allowing for virtualisation of the controller.

Analytical devices could be how we define robots going forward. Intelligence does not have to reside in a walking, talking human facsimile. Intelligence can live inside a pill that we swallow, which finds and kills a cancer and then keep an eye on whether it returns.

The author of this blog is Matt Smith, CTO at Software AG

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow

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Avnet Introduces IoTConnect Software Platform and Smart Connectivity Solutions

Avnet Introduces IoTConnect Software Platform and Smart Connectivity Solutions

Avnet Introduces IoTConnect Software Platform and Smart Connectivity Solutions

Microsoft Azure cloud architecture supports secure, scalable IoT infrastructure.

Avnet today announced its IoTConnect™ cloud-based software platform and a portfolio of smart, market-ready connectivity solutions built around the platform to help organizations jump-start development of IoT-enabled systems and services.

Avnet will showcase the IoTConnect platform and a selection of innovative smart solutions at CES 2018, in Las Vegas.

The highly scalable IoTConnect platform utilizes Microsoft’s enterprise-grade Azure hybrid cloud computing service to enable the seamless distribution and analysis of data across cloud and on-premise systems. Azure’s powerful security and connectivity protocols give IoTConnect users the flexibility to develop and deploy apps and solutions using their choice of tools, applications and frameworks.

In collaboration with 14 leading suppliers across its comprehensive IoT partner ecosystem, Avnet has also developed a broad selection of smart, market-ready connectivity solutions that leverage the IoTConnect platform to tackle business challenges common to many industry verticals, including manufacturing, medical, environmental, construction, retail, food processing and smart city.

These digital solutions – Smart Factory, Smart Asset Monitoring, Smart Connected Worker, Smart Building, Smart Healthcare, Smart Retail, Smart Office, Smart Fleet Management and Smart Warehouse – can be deployed out of the box or tailored to meet segment-specific requirements. Avnet’s smart solutions combine advanced software capability with state-of-the-art silicon component technologies to transform real-time operational data into insightful information enabling more informed, strategic decision-making.

Avnet IoTConnect diagram

Lou Lutostanski, Avnet vice president, Internet of Things, said:

“Avnet recognizes that concerns such as security risk, unexpected downtime, low efficiency and information latency frequently hinder organizations’ ability to capture the full potential of digitization. IoTConnect, supported by Microsoft Azure, not only helps mitigate these risks, but enables enterprises to generate intelligence that will make their organizations more productive, secure and competitive in the digital age.”

“Built on Azure services, Avnet’s versatile IoTConnect platform and its new Smart Industry solutions include powerful analytics, cognitive services, artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Rodney Clark, vice president, IoT, Microsoft. “With these repeatable Edge to Cloud solutions both partners and customers will be able to take full advantage of the digital transformation opportunities IoT represents.”

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The smart home platform war pits logistics against context

Alexa takes on Google Assistant in the fight to control the next computing platform.

It’s been a decade since the iPhone launched, beginning the race to win at the mobile web. Somewhere around 2012 the big internet and computing companies looked up and realized that the next wave of disruption was heading their way with the smart home. In response, we saw Google spend an insane amount of money buying Nest in 2013, Apple launch but fail to deliver HomeKit in mid-2014 and Amazon debut the Echo at the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, Microsoft was still transitioning to a cloud-based services model and failing to win over mobile users with Windows Phone. IBM was doubling down with its Watson platform and Facebook was proving that it could sell ads on mobile phones, buying WhatsApp and also investing in AI. It also started research into internet access that may prove prescient as net neutrality rules fade away.

Why the history lesson? Because after years of positioning, it has become clear how the next consumer computing paradigm will play out. The race this time isn’t around a computer or mobile OS, it’s around a digital assistant. Or more specifically, an AI that will travel on top of devices, specifically a phone, a home, a car and likely wearables.

Once you choose one, you’ll have Alexa, Siri, Google, Bixby or whatever platform in all corners of your life. It will assist you with mundane tasks, answering questions and maybe even driving your car. The device underneath won’t necessarily matter. Each assistant should eventually be something you can buy and enable in the form of software. And it’s possible that because the data gathered from your relationship with the digital assistant will be so valuable, you may not have to buy your smart helper. You may just download it.

Today this market is defined by the so-called smart speaker. Amazon is winning this race so far with estimated sales of roughly 20 million Echo devices through September of 2017 according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners data. That same analyst firm estimates Google has sold 7 million Google Home speakers. Meanwhile, Apple delayed the launch of its HomePod smart speaker from December to early in 2018.

Microsoft has an assistant named Cortana which is embedded in Windows 10 and a third-party speaker made by Harman Kardon. Cortana is also available on iOS and Android through an app. Yet, this is basically a race between Google and Amazon. And while it won’t be a winner-take-all situation like Android and Apple have managed to divide the mobile world, only a few companies will win.

Any AI layer sitting on top of myriad devices that communicate using different radio standards and don’t have a universal device schema to define the device will require developers to build hooks into the AI. Even though Amazon and Google have provided skills for developers to easily hook into their platforms, developers aren’t going to want to support many platforms.

Which then leads us to think about what will make a great AI assistant. If I carry the mobile OS war analogy forward, what will be the means by which the AI platforms deliver the most innovation and value? With the mobile OS war, it was the App Store. Apple’s decision to let developers play on its phone and build startling new functionality helped drive adoption of the platform. Do you remember how awed you were when someone showed you the Star Walk app on the iPhone?

Today Amazon is winning the digital assistant market because it was first to hit the market with a form factor that’s accessible and useful, playing music and handling digital tasks like setting a timer or checking your calendar on command. If you think of a digital assistant whose expertise is in affecting change in the real world, either by taking care of household tasks like changing dials on thermostats or channels on the television and restocking the pantry, then Alexa is going to win.

No tech firm can compete with the logistics and distribution system Amazon has, and the smart home first-mover advantage helps tremendously.

But if we view a digital assistant less as something to fetch and carry for us and more as a butler who can anticipate our needs and smooth our lives ahead of us, then Google is going to win. Thanks to its massive knowledge graph, Google can already answer more questions, more fully than Alexa, and Google is adding smart home features that mimic Alexa at her best and even offer new functionality based on context.

For example, in Night mode, the Google Home can determine that people are likely to be asleep and will automatically lower the volume when it responds to a question. If your digital assistant needs to be a butler, context and deriving intent from that context will be king. There Google will win.

Both Google and Amazon have understood a huge lesson from the mobile OS war that will be essential in building digital assistants. They need to play with a large ecosystem of developers, device makers and service providers.

As for Apple, it’s pretty clear that it is following along where it sees the platform war going, but it so far has proven difficult to work with by companies trying to integrate with the HomeKit platform, thus alienating its ecosystem. Siri, its assistant, isn’t very good at understanding what people want to do or even the questions they ask, making it frustrating by comparison to use for basic questions and for completing home tasks.

With the launch of the HomePod, it feels like Apple missed the overarching strategic play in the future of computing. Instead of intelligence, it’s emphasizing the sound quality of the HomePod. Instead of making the device in a variety of form factors so people can strew them around the home, it’s putting out a single, expensive home for its speaker. In a battle for the soul of our future computer, Apple is emphasizing the form factor and audio output.

The real question is what we want from this new digital soul. Do we want it to act as our agent in the real world as Alexa does, or to anticipate our needs and then change the world around us to fit them as Google is trying to do?

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