IoT global round-up: 5G plans to dominate conversation in 2017

6 Jan 2017

Bhumibol Bridge, Thailand. Image: Wiratchai wansamngam/Shutterstock

2017 is here, and with it, the first realisation of actual 5G networks being rolled out across all areas including industry, commercial and consumer tech.

While Ireland is still witnessing the gradual installation of 4G mobile data speeds across a number of networks, last month we heard that Ireland is to be the first to roll out 5G geographically.

However, unlike 4G, 5G plans to do a lot more than just let you stream video content much faster – it will also become a crucial cog in the machine that is internet of things (IoT) and its wider application in the industrial IoT (IIoT).

Now that CES 2017 is underway in Las Vegas, the major tech show’s transformation into an autotech showcase meant it was the scene for the announcement of a number of connected vehicles recently.

With plans for BMW, Intel and Mobileye to release 40 self-driving cars on the road in the coming months, connected cars and the technology that gets them talking with one another – and the internet as a whole – means 5G has an enormous opportunity to step into the fray.

Here are some of the wider IoT stories that you might have missed during the first week of January.

Ericsson, Orange and the PSA Group partner on 5G connected car tech

Auto manufacturers are scrambling to connect their cars online, and the network providers are now providing the infrastructure to do so.

This week Ericsson, Orange and the PSA Group announced that an agreement had been reached to conduct a 5G technology pilot project to improve intelligent transport systems and road safety; and enable new automotive and in-car services.

In a statement, the trio said that the ‘Towards 5G’ connected car initiative is an important opportunity for them to come together to meet the challenges posed by new mobility services and IoT.

As part of the deal, Ericsson will provide the radio and geo-messaging technology, Orange will provide the cellular network, and the PSA Group will ensure the technology is compatible with the vehicles.

Ericsson, Qualcomm and AT&T to accelerate 5G deployment

Sticking with Ericsson and 5G, the company is also collaborating with Qualcomm and AT&T to rapidly expand the number of stationary transmitters as well.

The trio have said they will conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials based on the expected 5G New Radio (NR) specifications being developed by 3GPP, which will form the basis of the global standards.

The trials will support operation in millimetre wave spectrum, aiming to accelerate commercial deployments in the 28GHz and 39GHz bands.

“5G is the greatest opportunity our industry has ever experienced. It will provide a platform for operators to address new markets, such as media, transportation and manufacturing,” said Ulf Ewaldsson, senior vice-president and CTO of Ericsson.

“This important 5G standard-based trial collaboration will demonstrate compliance to 3GPP and support the accelerated commercialisation of the global 3GPP 5G standard.”

Qualcomm has shipped 1bn IoT chips so far

Like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, Qualcomm is another strand in this web of IoT news, with the company revealing it has shipped 1bn IoT chips to date.

The company’s senior vice-president of product management, Raj Talluri, took to the CES stage to proclaim that its chips are now being used in a number of IoT devices, from TVs to sensors, according to Venture Beat.

Snapdragon in particular has proven successful with Android wearables, with almost 80pc of Android Wear watches using the chip, and plans for a luxury Swarovski model coming in the near future.

Unsurprisingly, the automotive industry is also a big target for Qualcomm in 2017 and the years to come, with plans to use its chips in autonomous vehicles and other connected car technology.

The core component in this will be the future Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to provide gigabit connectivity in vehicles.

IDC: IoT spending will hit $1.29trn in 2020

The research firm IDC is throwing some big numbers around when it comes to where IoT is headed in the next three years.

We have heard arguments suggesting that by 2020, nearly 40bn devices will be spread across the world, and counterarguments that estimates are inflated to a huge degree.

But now, IDC is predicting that companies’ expenditure on IoT integration and development will reach as high as $1.29trn by the turn of the decade.

During this time, it will experience a compound annual growth rate of 15.6pc by 2019, a decline on a previous estimate from the same firm.

IDC sees the fastest spending growth within many commercial industries; in particular retail, insurance and healthcare.

As for the biggest spenders, IDC still views manufacturing as the strong front leaders, spending $178bn, followed by transportation ($78bn) and utilities ($69bn).

Norton Core

The Norton Core (right edge of the table). Image: Symantec

Symantec releases Wi-Fi router specifically to protect IoT devices

If the Mirai botnet attack last September taught us anything, it is that the rush to fill our homes with smart devices leaves us vulnerable to cyberattacks like never before.

To help us add an extra layer of protection, cybersecurity firm Symantec has debuted its new Norton Core Wi-Fi router, specifically designed to protect a network of smart devices in the home, or business.

Symantec has said that the Norton Core has an antenna array inside a geodesic dome, inspired by defence and weather radars deployed in the extreme reaches of the globe.

The router will also update regularly for new threats and isolate any infected device from the rest of the network.

Symantec has also added that a new gamification model will be introduced, called Security Score.

This feature is like a ‘credit score’ for home network security to quickly understand how secure their network and devices are in real-time. Users are given tips to strengthen their security settings and improve their score.

The Norton Core is set for release this summer in the US for a retail price of $200, with plans to eventually release it globally.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic