IoT - Busting the Myth

Jason Collins, VP of IoT Marketing, Nokia [NYSE:NOK]
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The ubiquitous wireless sensor-enabled tools that cover many areas of our modern-day living equip us with Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technologies. But to really capture value, M2M needs to evolve to become a true Internet of Things (IoT). The sensors must merge in a seamless way with the environment around us and will need to share information across platforms to create a common operating picture. With the evolution of IoT, we will be better equipped to calculate, infer and delve deep into rich natural and urban environments.

Metcalfe’s Law and the Internet of Things

According to Metcalfe’s law, the number of possible cross-connections in a network grows as the square of the number of devices on the network increases. Following Metcalfe’s law, the value of IoT based on the devices should have increased exponentially in the last few years. In fact, several projections have foreseen the IoT space to explode with the flurry of IoT technologies and devices in the near future, setting off a projected two trillion dollar market. Yet, according to the latest data, IoT has yet to proliferate and create as much value as expected.

The problem lies in the fact that, although the spectrum of the industry is engaged in a number of M2M conversations, it lacks the necessary interconnections among them. Imagine a world where we didn’t have an Internet and instead connected each computer for each application using Ethernet cables. The situation is similar in IoT today. It remains as a horde of point-to-point M2M use cases. Today, for various reasons, people are connecting devices with a single application in mind and that poses a problem for the industry. It is important to move from single-use M2M to a platform where we can build an Internet of Things that allows various types of devices to talk to multiple types of applications.

  We’re building platforms to manage multiple types of IoT devices and evolving protocols in a rapidly evolving IoT market so that customers get maximum value today and don't get stuck in technology cul-de-sacs   

At Nokia, we’ve developed a platform that can manage multiple types of devices and protocols, as they evolve and interconnect and change, by putting together a layered architecture that allows different devices and applications to talk to each other and grow in usefulness—very different from making a single-use application. This is extremely important for an enterprise to capture value better.

Real World Example

Nokia successfully built a layered IoT platform called IMPACT that can take the necessary information from devices and present the information through various layers in a standard way. An example of this can be found in the case of the city of Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand. In 2015, Dunedin experienced massive flooding because of blockages in their storm drains, causing over 100 million dollars in damages to the community. They could have sent out trucks to clean the drains continuously, but that was an expensive and inefficient option, as most of the time the drains would not be blocked. The city was in dire need of a cost-effective solution and a New Zealand-based company came to its aid, developing a sensor to be placed in the city’s drains to continually measure water levels.

The company had to rely on several different types of connectivity solutions to monitor the sensors, including LoRa and NB-IoT and even 2G/3G connections, because not every type of solution would work cost-effectively in every situation. Nokia’s IMPACT IoT platform was used to track and analyze data from the sensors, automatically notifying city authorities to dispatch cleaning crews to avoid flooding. This system can provide citizens with the comfort of knowing that blockages are cleared and their houses and business are safe, while simultaneously saving on monitoring and maintenance costs.

As technology evolves, the expansion of IoT depends on the augmentation of many types of devices and connectivity networks. Nokia will support the interoperation of many standards and proprietary protocols, so that businesses can continue to increase the value of existing and new IoT applications, as their networks and devices evolve. As a company, Nokia’s aim will always be to provide software and connectivity to communication service providers, so that they can deliver new, innovative services to their customers.

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