Internet of Things and M2M – hot topics at MWC

Mar 7

Internet of Things and M2M – hot topics at MWC

The Internet of Things (IoT) was one of five hot topics being talked about at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. The MWC event was one of the best yet with around 1900 exhibitors. The exhibition was spread across more than 8 halls and I took a walk around the expo to find out the latest news in IoT. I was amazed at the variety of new innovations being shown not only by the major players like Samsung (with their latest Galaxy S6 Edge), Alcatel, Ford, HP, and Intel but also the smaller companies like IOLAN, i3 DESIGN, 6Winds and Reach-in. Everyone had something new to show.

IoT is a huge topic and includes everything from smart meters to connected cars and eHealth. For example, monitoring office confidential waste bins might surprise you as an M2M device application, until you realise just how much time and effort can be saved by having ‘smart bins’ which inform the service company when they need emptying or even when they are being tampered with, saving on unnecessary maintenance trips. The devices connect wirelessly through mobile access technology and are designed to manage their battery power to conserve energy, waking up to send data only when required. This was one neat application that AT&T were showing at their Innovation Foundry where they had a number of other great case studies on show. See http://about.att.com/innovation/foundry.

The AllSeen Alliance who are a nonprofit consortium dedicated to enabling and driving the widespread adoption of products, systems and services that support the Internet of Everything (IoE) were present with their alliance partner program theatre. Topics included ‘Creating an Internet of Everything’ and the role of mobile in IoT. See https://allseenalliance.org/. The AllSeen Alliance has more than 140 members and is developing the first truly collaborative, open ecosystem for interoperable products and services for the IoT.

Vodafone and IBM were showing their live demo of the Connected City, where all the elements of the city are inter-connected together with end-end, real-time communications technology. The demo shows how a smart city uses digital technologies to enhance performance and wellbeing, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. See the short video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJcs-yWPgM8

One clever internet application I really liked was a remotely controllable robotics solution from Reach-in. This allows real-time physical web interactions between the user and remote sites such as robotic manipulators, drones, submarines, camera rigs etc. Key to this technology is having a fast and efficient real-time HD video link with a very responsive command and control system so the user gains an almost ‘hands-on’ experience from a remote location. Applications include education and training, medicine/health care, health and safety, surveying and exploration. See http://reach-in.com/

I spoke with Guilherme Frenhani, Business Manager at iCaro Technologies who specialise in advanced dashboards and data analytics systems for business service management applications. Their dashboards provide easy to use, instant access to data on multiple device formats such as smart phones, tablets and laptops. Solutions include IT service management, network and systems management, and Asset Management. Secure, remote access to key information on portable devices, when and where you need it is becoming an important aspect of business management at all levels, particularly for network operators.

Talking of asset management, IOLAN have a great new solution for secure physical storage, charging and tracking of portable devices containing highly confidential information such as mobile phones and tablets. Applications include in-house security of confidential data such as medical records and patient case notes in hospitals. IOLAN has been developing, producing and engineering complete security solutions since 1992. These include system solutions for security management, access control and key management. See http://iolan.com/en/

With robots that make eye contact, cars that can drive themselves and vending machines that ask to be restocked when they run low on Snickers, it’s a world full of possibilities for the Internet of Things – only human imagination is the limiting factor! Thumbs up again for MWC – I’m already looking forward to next year’s event to find out more about what the future of mobile and IoT technologies have in store!

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