What is ‘ambient commerce’ and why is it valued at $5.3bn?

26 Oct 2018

Image: © bernardbodo/Stock.adobe.com

This week in IoT, a report finds a surge in ‘ambient commerce’ and a number of deals were signed to further satellite technology in space.

It was reported this week that the rapid growth of the internet of things (IoT) is forcing the telecoms industry to come to terms with even greater widespread fraud.

Costing the industry $17bn in lost revenues each year, the threat is likely to gain fresh legs as the telecoms industry moves from the voice world to a world where billions of IoT devices could be hacked and hijacked to divert revenue to the wrong coffers.

So, what else happened this week?

Ambient commerce to boost IoT tech spend to $5.3bn

IoT is starting to make its way into the world of retail but, in the near future, it is set to become a major contributor to industry spending. A new report published by the analytics firm GlobalData has said ‘ambient commerce’ in particular will result in the retail industry spending $5.3bn on IoT technology by 2020.

Ambient commerce describes a new form of shopping that makes use of sensors, coupled with artificial intelligence, to help customers select and pay for their goods, without the need for keyboards or cash registers.

Over the next two years, the report said, the retail sector will emerge as the fifth-largest spender on IoT software and services after the government, transportation, utilities and manufacturing sectors.

This will result in two competing models: one championed by the Amazon Go stores using in-store sensors to follow what items are selected by customers; with the other being developed in China by Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com, integrating shopping with smartphones and QR codes.

Sigfox signs IoT deal with satellite provider Eutelsat

Low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) giant Sigfox plans to advance its presence in Earth’s orbit after signing a deal with satellite provider Eutelsat. According to Mobile World Live, Sigfox will use Eutelsat’s satellites to connect to a range of IoT devices, starting in 2020.

A small test satellite will be launched in July of next year, followed by a second trial to test connectivity between the satellite and IoT networks.

Speaking of the deal, Sigfox CEO Ludovic Le Moan said: “The universe is too small for us. We have to take it out of the world, and we need to cover the whole world with satellites.

“First, we thought we could use Eutelsat for backhaul but, to deliver the full vision of Sigfox, we had to go beyond. We have antennas but it’s tough to cover the seas and deserts with base stations.”

Mynaric provides tech for satellite constellation

Another deal for the future of space was made between laser communications company Mynaric and an undisclosed company to build a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation.

Its technology will be deployed as part of a demonstration mission prior to rolling out the full constellation, which will eventually make up almost 1,000 satellites.

Mynaric’s wireless laser data transmission products include ground stations and flight terminals, which allow very large quantities of data to be sent wirelessly over long distances between aircrafts, autonomous drones, high-altitude platforms, satellites and the ground at high data rates.

“We are well on track to becoming the go-to supplier for laser communications for the entire aerospace industry,” said the company’s co-founder, Dr Markus Knapek.

350 cellular IoT deployments account for 214m units

Market analyst Berg Insight has created a database of the 350 largest cellular IoT deployments across all types of vertical markets, including aftermarket automotive, healthcare, retail applications, smart homes, utilities and wearables.

The report found that all of these deployments account for approximately 214m IoT subscriptions, or 33pc of the total number of connections worldwide at the end of 2017. The 350 projects on the list are forecasted to grow to 521m units by 2022, corresponding to an overall compound annual growth rate of 19.5pc.

“More than 40 deployments on the list have surpassed 1m subscriptions and the top 10 projects alone account for over 80m units,” said Rickard Andersson, principal analyst at Berg Insight.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic