Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Ericsson, Sony and SK Telecom conduct joint trial of LTE-enabled wearables

Steve Rogerson
September 22, 2015
Ericsson started laboratory trials this month in Sweden of LTE-enabled IoT wearables for lifestyle and wellness applications to be followed by field trials with Sony Mobile on SK Telecom’s network in South Korea.
To address growing consumer demand and the proliferation of new IoT applications, the three companies are testing and trialling device and network innovations to support secure and ubiquitous LTE network connectivity for lower cost, lower power IoT devices.
"We are working with Ericsson and Sony Mobile to trial both mobile network technologies and new IoT devices that improve our customer's lives, at home and work,” said Park Jin-hyo, senior vice president at SK Telecom. “These latest tests and trials reflect our commitment to establish a stronger IoT ecosystem globally."
They have already conducted laboratory testing of the key functionalities of LTE device category 0 and category M (machine type communications) in Ericsson radio laboratories in Kista, Sweden, early this month. Field trials in South Korea will be later this year.
LTE cat-0 has been standardised in 3GPP LTE release 12 and is the first device category specifically targeting reduced complexity and thus reduced cost for the IoT. LTE category M is a key theme in LTE release 13, representing further cost savings and improved battery lifetime.
"Sony Mobile regards the push into the realm of IoT and our strategies for diving into this market are critically important,” said Izumi Kawanishi, EVP at Sony Mobile. “There can be little doubt that the market for network-connected devices – of every shape, size and type – will explode at breakneck pace going forwards. We believe that the trials with Ericsson and SK Telecom are important steps towards the IoT world, realising solutions that will strengthen user experiences."
Wearable devices and related applications were selected for the user scenarios being tested and trialled. The wearable device test use cases are focused on consumer lifestyle and wellness applications enabled through multiple sensors providing accelerometer, identification, pulse meter and GPS functionality. IoT wearables are miniaturised, low-cost, low-power IoT devices with specific network and device performance criteria. In testing, LTE has proven to support the ubiquitous and secure uplink and downlink connections that wearable lifestyle and wellness applications require.
"We are working with our leading ecosystem partners, including SK Telecom and Sony Mobile, to accelerate the adoption of new IoT applications for both consumers and industry,” said Arun Bansal, senior vice president at Ericsson. “The test and trials that we have undertaken, leveraging new Sony Mobile devices and the mobile network technology in our radio labs and in SK Telecom's live commercial network, focus on lifestyle and wellness applications that really benefit from the secure, ubiquitous mobile connectivity that cellular technologies support."
Ericsson recently announced new Networks Software 16B features focused on accelerating IoT adoption by leveraging the footprint, high reliability, security and broad eco-system support of LTE and GSM networks to provide a platform for IoT growth. Features include support for lower cost IoT devices, extending device battery life to more than ten years, and improving coverage for indoor and remote IoT applications.