IoT round-up: Asavie, Vodafone, IBM and Bosch make moves

21 Oct 2016

Internet of things. Image: Vasin Lee/Shutterstock

In another busy week for internet of things (IoT) developments; Asavie struck a deal, Vodafone signed a roaming partnership, IBM’s business soared, and Bosch and AG teamed up.

IoT is set to put significant amount of pressure on – and demand more from – the likes of microprocessors, drivers, batteries and operating systems, with the industry preparing itself for future developments.

According to a report released this week by Reportlinker, pretty soon microelectromechanical systems will evolve significantly as IoT itself evolves.

Internet of things IoT

“As IoT becomes ubiquitous, and as electronics miniaturisation marches onward, nanoelectromechanical systems will eventually become prevalent, ushering into existence an entirely new universe of connectivity, systems integration, and data ecosystem.”

What are companies doing in this regard?

Asavie’s IIoT move

Earlier this week, Irish-based IoT company Asavie agreed a deal to make its security technology the backbone of industrial internet of things (IIoT) systems around the globe.

The partnership was made between Asavie and the software design firm Merlin CSI for the implementation and support of industrial automation and control systems, using the Asavie PassBridge platform.

Asavie said this collaboration offers the industry expertise in IIoT systems; including sensors and programmable logic controllers, IoT gateways, and back-end analytics platforms in the cloud.

By partnering with Merlin CSI, PassBridge will be made available to companies working in sectors such as automotive, healthcare, and oil and gas utility providers.

Software AG & Bosch

Software AG and Bosch has entered a strategic innovation partnership to develop new IoT joint services and solutions, with collaboration on sales activities adding a surprise twist to the norm.

The duo claim that AG’s digital business platform could easily scale with the Bosch IoT cloud, with modules for real-time data analytics and decision-making.

“The ability to process, analyse and visualise decision-critical data in real time is essential in data-intensive IoT solutions. The availability of predictive analytics tools, which can be realised with Software AG’s digital business platform, is also a core objective of this partnership,” they said.

On the other side of things, Bosch will take AG’s in-memory data storage and processing tools to enhance its real-time assessment technology. The former already uses AG’s universal messaging integration module.

Vodafone on the roam

Vodafone entered into a roaming agreement with Inmarsat, capitalising on the latter’s global satellite network. The idea is that Vodafone can operate with international satellite and cellular roaming connectivity in time for IoT’s shift from nascent industry into accepted norm.

No money exchanged hands for this partnership for some reason, with Inmarsat claiming it was the first time that a mobile phone network had signed up to roam over its global satellite broadband network.

The tie-in makes sense when you consider where Vodafone’s customers operate. When cars eventually become the connected masterpieces they’re heading towards being, dramatically improved communications connectivity will be needed.

Inmarsat says it has ubiquitous coverage and high network availability, “even in extreme environmental conditions”, so the appeal is obvious.

ZTE toeing the wireline

Dr Li Ming, VP of ZTE, was speaking at Broadband World Forum this week, with wireline his topic of choice, claiming it’s the “heart” of network transformation.

Ming said there were three factors behind the successful evolution of the network: ultrafast speeds, elasticity to enable the network to adapt to different applications, and smart systems for successful management.

He also spoke of ‘VOICE’ (Virtuality, Openness, Intelligence, Cloudification, and the Internet of Everything), advising us to keep an eye on these five trends.

“We are entering the most exciting and challenging time that the wireline network has ever faced, but the industry is determined and at ZTE, we see these five trends as being vital and complementing each other as we transition towards a network that is IoT and 5G capable,” he said.

These overlapping trends mean that the key elements for ultrafast were: high bandwidth, high levels of integration, low energy consumption, and low latency.

For elasticity, it’s all about the restructure of the network and the ability to adapt, while for smart systems, he saw efficient O&M services, multilayer self-control and big data analysis as being vital.

Gartner thinking small

Gartner released a list of predictions for the coming years, featuring everything from automation to life-saving connected devices. The most interesting point made by the analyst group related to storage, with the impending influx of devices – large and small – set to put very little strain on our current data centre infrastructure.

IoT has massive potential for data generation by 2020, it said, with 21bn IoT endpoints estimated to be in use – but only a fraction of this data will actually be retained and stored.

“Most of it will be transient data that moves across networks,” according to Gartner.

“Certain industries such as healthcare providers, manufacturing and natural resources, transportation, and utilities have the greatest data storage requirements, due to the data’s business value and retention requirements. For all industries, physical security will generate the greatest amount of data.”

IBM on the up

IBM said that “strategic imperatives” like big bets on artificial intelligence through Watson, IoT and analytics are beginning to offset revenues from slower units.

The 105-year-old tech giant – known in the industry as Big Blue – reported third-quarter earnings of $2.9bn on revenues of $19.2bn.

“IBM’s third-quarter performance, led by continued double-digit growth in our strategic imperatives, is a testament to our leadership in cognitive solutions and cloud,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chair, president and CEO.

“Our ability to apply deep expertise and breakthrough technology, led by Watson and the IBM Cloud, to massive amounts of data is enabling us to build new markets and transform industries.

“Whether it is banks implementing IBM blockchain solutions, hospitals leveraging Watson to fight cancer, or retailers using cognitive apps built on the IBM Cloud to transform the customer experience, clients across all industries are tapping into a new kind of innovation value from IBM,” Rometty said.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic