Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Triple launch from Ericsson targets smart homes and cities

Steve Rogerson
January 12, 2016
Swedish company Ericsson has introduced three IoT services targeting the smart homes and cities markets.
They are: smart metering as a service to put consumers in control and enable utility companies to offer smart services to consumers in the future; user and IoT data analytics to enable controlled access and exposure of data from cellular and non-cellular devices and create value through cross-industry offerings; and Networks Software 17A to diversify cellular for massive IoT use, supporting millions of IoT devices in one cell site.
In the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, 28 billion connected devices are forecasted by the year 2021, more than half of which are M2M and IoT connections. Numerous studies have identified the potential and value of IoT to society, with smart cities and connected homes, including consumer devices, making up as much that value.
Smart metering as a service enables end-to-end business process outsourcing drawing on Ericsson's experience of enabling more than 42 million smart meters worldwide. The benefits of smart metering as a service can include reduced time-to-market, better meter management and operations, as well as cost savings. Utility providers could enjoy lower total cost of ownership, reduced complexity as Ericsson acts as a single point of contact with IT service providers, telecoms operators and field services companies; and improved quality of service.
The user and IoT data analytics allow operators to provide a real-time analytics engine embedded in the subscriber database. This extends Ericsson's UDC user data consolidation offering, and works for both cellular- and non-cellular devices. It can also fetch data from other vendors' network databases and aggregate them in the analysis.
Additional data from external sources can be included and, with the use of secure exposure, cross-industry IoT insights and applications also become a possibility. As a result, operators can improve internal operational efficiency and expand business towards both consumers and industries. In parallel, they can extend their roles in the IoT ecosystem beyond simply providing connectivity and climb up the value chain.
In September 2015, Ericsson announced a suite of software upgrades to accelerate the uptake of the IoT removing roadblocks to mass-market adoption. To meet the challenges of supporting the coming massive numbers of IoT devices with a wide range of use cases and requirements, Ericsson is launching Networks Software 17A that supports millions of IoT device connections per cell site. The software-only upgrades introduce the newest device category for LTE connections, narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT), to existing network infrastructure, for fast rollout of reliable, secure mobile connectivity at a low cost of ownership.
NB-IoT is well suited to IoT applications such as metering and sensor monitoring and flexibly scales to support millions of connections per cell site. It also reduces module costs by 90 per cent and provides seven times better coverage. Combined with power-saving improvements, it delivers more than ten-year device battery life while maintaining downlink reachability.
These enhancements complement features available in the previous software release to address the diversity of IoT requirements while making use of the global footprint of existing networks. The upgrades to LTE and GSM networks provide a platform for IoT growth.
Ericsson Networks Software 17A will become commercially available towards the end of this year.