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Verizon flaunts affordable, easy-to-use IoT platform

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Verizon? IoT? LTE? 4G? API?

Verizon has announced an Internet of Things (IoT) development platform that promises low-cost and streamlined connectivity in smart cities, sharing platforms, and industries that include healthcare, agriculture and energy. ThingSpace aims to connect billions of things within the company's 4G LTE network space.

"Most of what we're participating in today and a good portion of our revenues come from services and participating in the application layer," said Mike Lanman, SVP of Verizon's enterprise and IoT products.

Until now, developers who wanted to create and connect IoT devices would need to work with five or six companies, Verizon officials said. The web-based ThingSpace platform wants to be an easy on-ramp to IoT with dedicated application programming interfaces (APIs), partner development kits, as well as test and deployment services.

Verizon will also roll out an IoT network core with new connectivity at an undisclosed time. IoT requires an updated network core because connected devices require higher bandwidth but send less data, noted Verizon chief technologist Pramod Kalyanasundaram. Existing chips are mostly optimised for smartphones, which use a lot of data but aim for less bandwidth.

ThingSpace promises cost savings

While the ThingSpace platform has several connectivity protocols including Zigbee, Verizon advocates for wide area networks (WAN) as the communications protocol of choice for IoT. Price is a major barrier to WAN use, Lanman said, and module costs are often double that of Wi-Fi or Zigbee.

To combat such high prices, the cellular company also announced a Sequans chipset that it says halves the price of existing connections into Verizon's 4G LTE network. Verizon officials did not offer chip specs but said the technology is already deployed in the market and, in conjunction with the IoT core, will drop WAN access charges.

"Once we lit up IoT solutions for our customers, many struggled on how to manage the amount of data they're getting," Lanman said, adding that ThingSpace will also have data analytics options.

Verizon can't go it alone and offered up several partner companies to discuss the role of IoT platforms across industries. The company partnered with Renesas, Intel and others to create Verizon-branded IoT platforms and cloud connected devices.

Customers need to connect to the cloud in order to be successful, stated Renesas CEO Ali Sebt. In June, Renesas launched an API platform and a new scalable family of MCUs for IoT and sensors.

"Most of our customers build fixed function machines. The monetisation of IoT is taking information and deriving intelligence from it," Sebt said.

The following are ThingSpace products presented during Verizon's announcement.

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