Jan 16


While 2016 saw significant developments in the world of Internet of Everything (IoE), 2017 is predicted to grow even faster as IoE verticals mature and more companies join the ecosystem. Smart energy, digital health and connected vehicle all scored highly in a recent survey we carried out in October for the TM Forum.

2016 was also the year that the internet took a hammering from hackers. We heard about some fairly shocking examples of internet security breaches when hackers brought down several well-known social media sites through DDoS attacks launched from IoE smart home devices and broadband routers. Will 2017 be the year of IoE security?

2017 also looks to be the turning point for many new technologies including network virtualization and LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Networks). So what will 2017 hold in store for the world of IoE? Here is a brief look at some of the trends being touted as strong contenders for IoE in the year ahead.


Connected vehicle will be one of the most promising IoE verticals this year with developments and new offerings in both internet connected cars and autonomous vehicles. The recent 2017 CES consumer and technology show held in Las Vegas this month showcased a whole raft of new technologies and partnerships for automotive. One example was Microsoft who have teamed up with Renault-Nissan and BMW to incorporate their new connected vehicle platform into some vehicle infotainment systems. Based on its Azure cloud platform it incorporates Cortana, their voice-based digital assistant. This makes a lot of sense as it provides hands free, autonomous assistance to help drivers use apps on the move, reducing driver distraction (such as searching for phone contacts or music files). This is one example of where technology will significantly improve road safety.

Smart City

Smart cities engage and connect with their citizens. They offer an urban vision that sets out to combine information technology with IoE to improve the quality of life for citizens and to monetize business services. According to analyst firm Market and Markets the smart cities market is estimated to grow from USD 312 Billion in 2015 to USD 758 Billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 19.4%.

Several smart city joint partnership projects were announced last year. Many are already in a trial phase such as the city of Milton Keynes which is the UK’s fastest growing city with an economy set to grow 67 percent by 2026. The city recently joined forces with several partners including BT, Connected Digital Economy Catapult, IoE specialist Neul, the Open University and others to create a smart city collaboration. The MK Data Hub sits at the heart of the new project and supports the acquisition and management of vast amounts of data relevant to the city’s systems. BT developed the hub and has been testing and evolving it as part of a TM Forum Catalyst project.

Key infrastructure networks including energy, transport, water, weather, pollution and other sensor networks provide the data streams gathered by the hub. Data traded between providers and consumers allows cloud-based applications, such as data analytics, to add value to it. It is being used to develop solutions for improving the management of supply and demand across the city’s transport and utilities, as well as supporting business growth. We expect to see more smart city projects evolve this year including Barcelona, Vancouver, Nanjing and Seattle to name just a few.

Low Power Wide Area Networks

Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) are used for connecting low power IoT (Internet of Things) devices such as remote sensors used in car parks and environmental monitors, to their management systems. LPWAN provides a cost effective access network for connecting low speed devices with tiny payloads over a long distance. These types of device typically only send very small bursts of data when some kind of state change has occurred such as a car arriving or leaving a car park space. LPWAN technologies have been around for several years but it is only now that several competing technologies are being more widely deployed. Applications include connecting devices with low bandwidth requirements where they need to conserve battery power, running unattended for several years.

LPWAN networks fall into two broad categories, either licensed or unlicensed frequency spectrums. Both have their pros and cons. Unlicensed technologies such as LoRaWAN (from the LoRa Alliance) and Sigfox have already been widely adopted, requiring dedicated ultra-narrow band radio infrastructure to be deployed. Because they utilize lower frequency signals (than 3G/4G) they can penetrate buildings more easily than conventional cellular networks making them more suitable for reaching indoor devices. Radio range can extend to hundreds of kilometres.

A new emerging standard called NB-IoT (Narrow Band IoT) uses licensed spectrum and can share existing cellular radio infrastructure such as towers and cell sites, making it more easily deployable for existing mobile operators (who already own or share the cell sites) especially in urban environments. NB-IoT trials have already taken place and the first commercial deployments are expected in early 2017.

Blockchain for IoE

In order to monetize the IoE it will need to support millions of very small transactions which can be securely recorded and maintained. Blockchain is a highly distributed database technology which was first developed for the on-line cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Blockchain uses a distributed ledger which can handle huge quantities of tamper-proof records in a continuously growing list. Transactions are peer-to-peer and do not require intermediaries to support them or a trusted central authority to manage the ledger.

A record keeping service called Mining keeps the blockchain consistent. New groups of broadcasted transactions are stored in blocks which are added to the blockchain and continually verified and recorded by every network node running the blockchain software. These nodes act like a community of witnesses and makes database records very difficult to replicate. Mining is carried out by very high performance computers which compete across the community to be the first to verify and create the next new block. A reward (Bitcoins) is provided to successful miners. Blockchain could also be applied to all kinds of high-volume IoE data transactions that require privacy and security – for example, individual transfers of collision-avoidance data for autonomous vehicles that must remain anonymous and untraceable.

We expect to see 2017 opening a lot more doors for new IoE services and technologies so are waiting in anticipation to see what exciting new opportunities will be revealed in the year ahead.


CES 2017: http://www.ces.tech/

Roadmap of options: Monetizing and managing IoE services, TM Forum report summary: https://www.tmforum.org/resources/research-and-analysis/roadmap-options-monetizing-managing-ioe-services/


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