Tag: Telecoms

The Internet of Things – trends for the telecoms, data centre, and utility industries

I gave the closing keynote at an event in Orlando last week on the topic of The Impact of the Internet of Things on Telcos, Data Centres, and Utilities.

The slides by themselves can be a little hard to grok, so I’ll go through them below. I should note at the outset that while many of my slide decks can be over 90, or even 100 slides, I kept this one to a more terse 66😉

And so, here is my explanation of the slides

  1. Title slide
  2. A little about me
  3. The IoT section start
  4. IoT has been around for a while, but the recent explosion in interest in it is down to the massive price drops for sensors, combined with near ubiquitous connectivity – we’re heading to a world where everything is smart and connected
  5. According to the June 2016 Ericsson Mobility Report [PDF], the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018
  6. Depending on who you believe, Cisco reckons we will have 50bn connected devices by 2020
  7. While IDC puts the number at 212bn connected devices. Whatever the number is, it is going to mean many devices will be creating and transmitting data on the Internet
  8. What kinds of things will be connected? Well, everything from wind turbines (this is an image from GE’s website – they have a suite of IoT apps which can “improve wind turbine efficiency up to 5%” which in a large wind farm is a big deal)
  9. Rio Tinto has rolled out fully autonomous trucks at two of its mines in Australia. They developed the trucks in conjunction with Komatsu. The trucks, which are supervised from a control room 1,000km away in Perth, outperform manned trucks by 12%
  10. A nod to one of my favourite comedy movies (“See the bears game last week? Great game”), while also introducing the next three slides…
  11. Planes – according to Bill Ruh, GE’s CEO of Digital, GE’s jet engines produce 1TB of data per flight. With a typical plane flying 5-10 flights per day, that’s in the region of 10TB per plane per day, and there are 20,00 planes – that’s a lot of data. Plus, GE is currently analysing 50m variables from 10m sensors
  12. Trains – New York Air Brakes has rolled out a sensor solution for trains, which it says is saving its customers $1bn per year
  13. And automobiles – in the 18 months since Tesla starting collecting telemetry data from its customers’ cars, it has collected 780m miles of driving data. It is now collecting another 1 million miles every 10 hours. And the number of miles increases with each new Tesla sold
    And since 2009 Google has collected 1.5m miles of data. This may not sound like much in comparison, but given its data comes from Lidar radars, amongst other sensors, it is likely a far richer data set
  14. With the rollout of smart meters, UK utility Centrica recently announced that it will be going from 75m meter reads a year, to 120bn meter reads per annum
  15. Wearables, like the Fitbit now record our steps, our heartbeat, and even our sleep
  16. This was my heartbeat last November when I presented at the SAP TechEd event in Barcelona – notice the peak at 2:30pm when I went onstage
  17. Lots of in-home devices too, such as smoke alarms, thermostats, lightbulbs, and even security cameras and door locks are becoming smart
  18. Even toy maker Atari has announced that it is getting into the Internet of Things business
  19. Which is leading to an enormous data explosion
  20. In 2012 analyst form IDC predicted that we will have created 40ZB of data by 2020
  21. In 2015 it updated that prediction to 75ZB
  22. Where will this data be created?
  23. Well, according to the 2016 Ericsson Mobility Report, most of the IoT devices will be in Asia Pacific, Western Europe, and North America
  24. When?
  25. That depends, different devices have different data profiles for creation and consumption of data, depending on geography, time of day, and day of year
  26. And why?
  27. Because, as Mary Meeker pointed out in her 2016 State of The Internet report, global data growth has had a +50% CAGR since 2010, while data storage infrastructure costs have had a -20% CAGR in the same timeframe
  28. In 2011 EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes famously said that Data is the new gold
  29. And if that’s true, as is the case with any gold rush, the real money is to be made supplying the prospectors
  30. Now, let’s look at some of the trends and impacts in the telecoms industry
  31. From Ericsson’s 2016 Mobility Report we can see that the big growth for the telecoms is in data traffic
  32. And not content to be merely infrastructure providers, telcos are looking to climb the value chain
  33. To facilitate this data explosion, telecom companies are building fatter pipes with LTE growing significantly in numbers between 2015 and 2021, while 2019 will see 5G kicking off
  34. Telcos are now offering cloud solutions. Their USP being that their cloud is fast, reliable, and end-to-end secure
  35. There are huge opportunities for telcos in this space
  36. In the next few slides I did a bit of a case study of AT&T, and some of the ways it is leveraging the Internet of Things. First off AT&T has partnered with solar company SunPower to connect residential solar panels for remote monitoring of the panels’ performance
  37. In its connected vehicle portfolio, AT&T manage the connections for Tesla, Audi, GM, and Uber. They have 8m connected cars atm, and expect to grow that to 10m by the end of 2017
  38. And, an interesting data point to back that up – in the first quarter of 2016, in the US, 32% of all new cellular connections were for cars. The largest percentage of any segment
  39. 243,000 refrigerated shipping containers connected through AT&T

  40. AT&T have a partnership with GE for intelligent lighting solutions for cities and public roadways
  41. In the equipment and heavy machinery space, nearly half of all tractors and harvesters in the US are connected through AT&T
  42. While in healthcare, AT&T predicts that wellness tracking and virtual care solutions will reach 60m homes & 74m users by 2019
  43. Then there’s outdoor advertising. AT&T knows data analysis. For years they owned the largest telemarketing organisation in the US. Now, with cellular data, they can completely transform outdoor advertising. Previously for advertising hoardings, the amount of footfall, or vehicular traffic passing a sign could be guesstimated, but no more info than that was available. But now, because AT&T knows where everyone is, their gender, age, and approximate income, they can transform this business.
    Recently they carried out a study with a customer who wanted to advertise to women in the Dallas area who earned over $75,000 per year. They queried the data and found that the customer only needed to buy two billboards in all of Dallas, to adequately cover the target demographic. Needless to say the customer was impressed
  44. Because they don’t have a monopoly on ideas, AT&T have opened up their M2X Internet of Things developer platform to allow outside developers create solutions using AT&T’s infrastructure
  45. They’re far from being alone in this – Verizon have an Internet of Things platform as well called ThingSpace Develop
  46. While t-mobile has announced that it is teaming up with Twilio for its Internet of Things play
  47. And it is not just cellular technologies they are using – there are also other low bandwidth radio protocols such as Lora and Sigfox which the telcos are looking at to broaden their reach
  48. I spoke to a senior exec at a telcom firm recently (who for obvious reasons preferred to remain unnamed) and he told me:
    Telcos want to own everything, everywhere“The internet of things is certainly one way for them to get there
  49. How is all this impacting the data centre industry?
  50. Well, in the next four years data centre capacity will need to increase 750% according to IDC. Also required will be significant ramp-ups in analytics, security and privacy
  51. As Jim Gray pointed out in his book The Fourth Paradigm:

    “As datasets grow ever larger, the most efficient way to perform most of these computations is clearly to move the analysis functions as close to the data as possible”

    In other words, instead of bringing all the data back to the data centre to be processed, more and more of the analysis will need to be performed at the edge

  52. As a graduate biologist, this reminds me of the reflex arc – this arc allows reflex actions to occur relatively quickly by activating spinal motor neurons, without the delay of routing signals through the brain
  53. So there will be a greater need for event stream processing outside the data centre – this will bring about faster responsiveness, and reduce storage requirements
  54. This also explains the rise of companies such as EdgeConnex – companies who provide proximity, and lower latency
  55. And the rise of new designs of racks for hyperscale computing, such as the 150kW Vapor.io Vapor Chamber which, according to a study conducted by Romonet is $3m cheaper per MW and reclaims 25% of floor space
  56. Other initiatives in the industry include Google’s attempting to create a new standard for HDD’s to make them taller, adding more platters, and thus increasing IOPs
  57. Microsoft and Facebook are getting together with Telefonica to build a 160TB transatlantic fibre cable (the largest to-date) to handle the vast streams of data they see coming
  58. While Intel are warning that organisations need to become more security aware, as more devices become connected
  59. I also decided to address a trend in data centres to require renewable energy from their utility providers, and did so by referencing this excellent letter from Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith on the topic (recommended reading)
  60. Finally, what about the utilities sector…
  61. Well, there are many ways the internet of Things will impact the utilities vertical, but one of the least obvious, but most impactful ones will be the ability to move energy demand, to more closely match supply. If you’re curious about this, I’ve given 45 minute keynotes on this topic alone
  62. Another way the Internet of Things will help utilities is renewables management (such as the GE example referenced earlier), and preventative maintenance applications
  63. And finally, energy information services will be a big deal, for everything from remote monitoring for seniors, through to device maintenance, and home management
  64. The conclusions
  65. Thanks
  66. Any questions?

I received extremely positive feedback on the talk from the attendees. If you have any comments/questions, feel free to leave them in the comments, email me (tom@tomraftery.com), or hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

First iPhone photo editor app?

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Pixenate on the iPhone, originally uploaded by pxn8.

Having recently successfully deployed their Pixenate FaceBook app (a photo editor for Facebook), it looks like Sxoop Technologies are now out to be the first company to deploy a photo editor for the iPhone!

How cool is that? There is a beautiful fit between the iPhone, which people will be using to take pictures, and photo editing software.

Go Walter – woo hoo!

Cubic Telecom make the final 40 in TechCrunch40

Paul Boutin is reporting the finalists in the TechCrunch40.

This has been a closely guarded secret for several weeks now but Paul spotted the names on banners in the Palace hotel!

One of the names is Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom – the only Irish finalist out of over 700 entries – well done Pat.

There are some other great names in the list. Pat really has his work cut out for him but I have no fear he will do us proud.

Update: Robert Scoble is predicting Pat to win outright!

Cork-based telecoms firm raises â‚¬5m

Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom have released details of €5m worth of investment they have received. Cubic Telecom is the parent company of the Roam4free and Yak4ever brands.

From the release Cubic has raised a

EUR3.5M investment from private backers in order to develop a suite of innovative global mobile and home phone products under the Cubic Telecom brand, together with its own international virtual carrier network. A further EUR1.5M has been raised to fund a series of international launches of products and services in the coming six months.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, Cubic Telecom are also the only Irish company to make it to the final 100 of the uber prestigious TechCrunch 20.

iPhone EU launch limited to 3 countries

I spotted an article in the Financial Times last night which said Apple has succeeded in persuading 3 mobile operators to sell the iPhone in Europe using the same revenue share as AT&T in the US.

The three mobile operators mentioned are T-Mobile of Germany, Orange of France and O2 in the UK. According to the article:

The operators are set officially to announce the partnerships at the IFA trade fair in Berlin at the end of August

The article goes on to say that

[Apple] will continue the roll-out elsewhere in Europe next year, when it will also launch in Asia

Damn! I realise it is unlikely but is there any chance the UK O2 launch will include Ireland?

Did you kill Skype last week?

I did!

Skype are claiming that with their outage last week was due to massive numbers of people re-starting their computers after downloading Microsoft’s monthly software update!

I am sure they are correct, despite how implausible it sounds.

I am just curious about how Skype managed to keep the service running every other month that Microsoft has released patches.

UPDATE: – Skype have published a more detailed explanation of the outage.

Skype offline

In case you hadn’t noticed (or read about it elsewhere) Skype has been offline since around 11am this morning. It is now 5pm.

This is the first time I can remember Skype being unavailable since I started using it 3-4 years ago.

Is anyone using it as their only means of telephony? Up to now, that would have been quite tempting.

3 Ireland's Mobile broadband offering – slow and unstable?

Getting broadband from your mobile operator is a very tempting proposition as I have mentioned previously. It allows you to finally get rid of that landline you so rarely use (and pay a fortune in monthly charges for) and mobile broadband means you can take it with you when you travel – no more looking for wifi hotspots.

However, reading FrankP’s experience with 3 Ireland’s mobile broadband offering I think I’ll hold off on going the 3 Ireland route for mobile broadband for now.

I spoke to Frank this morning after reading his post and I asked him about the speed of the connection – he said:

1288 kbps right now

yesterday it was 504 kbps when I checked

10th it was 612 kbps / 1141

9th 334 kbps

8th from 30 to 70kbps

This is quite a bit different from the promise on the 3 Ireland Broadband page:

speeds of up to 3.6Mbps – smooth surfing guaranteed

Is Frank’s experience with 3 Ireland unique or have others had similar issues?

Paul Giltenan of Choice Communications has promised me a review O2 broadband modem to trial so I’m looking forward to seeing how that works. I wonder are O2 customers having similar problems – they are, after all, using the same Huawei usb modem.

And if this is a more general problem than 3 Ireland Mobile, should Comreg be getting involved? Of course we all know the telcos find Comreg about as intimidating as Bambi.

You wait for ages then along come three!

iPhone

I have read a lot about how great the iPhone is but I hadn’t seen any until last Friday; and then I saw three!

I was at a lunch in Cork with Britt Blaser and Sean O’Mahoney (amongst others). Both had iPhones.

I had a chance to try the phone out for myself and see just why people rave about it. It is spectacular.

Later that day I met Patrick Collison. Patrick also had an iPhone.

He was meeting Damien and myself. During the meeting he had to leave us briefly to collect someone. He left his iPhone for us to play with. It really is an incredible phone (although Patrick, after about 25 minutes the sound deteriorates on calls to the speaking clock in Hong Kong😉 ).

There is no question but that Apple have re-defined the mobile phone.

Congrats Pat

Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom company has been selected to be one of the finalists in TechCrunch 20 for their Roam4free product. What is TechCrunch 20? From the site:

Twenty of the hottest new startups from around the world will announce and demo their products over a two day period at TechCrunch20. And they don’t pay a cent to do this. They will be selected to participate based on merit alone. In fact, we’re even offering a $50,000 cash award and lining up other in-kind services and awards from a generous group of corporate sponsors.

There were over 700 submissions from 26 countries so making it to the last 100 finalists was a considerable achievement. In fact, as far as I know Pat’s is the only Irish company in the final 100. Well done Pat – go for it boy!

I have spoken to Pat at length about their new Roam4free product set due out in the coming weeks and if they deliver half of what Pat is promising, it will set the mobile world on its head.