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Real-World M2M—and a Real-World Mobile Data Challenge

In the months since I attended the Smart Cities event organized by Qualcomm and CommNexus in San Diego, the buzz about “Smart Cities” and the use of machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless technologies has only grown louder and more intense. Which Smart City-relevant innovations are under development inside Qualcomm?

Known primarily for mobile chipset technologies, Qualcomm is working to optimize wireless networks and sensors that support M2M solutions and, ultimately, Smart Cities of the future. An often-overlooked part of this initiative is the company’s work in preparing the wireless industry for the imminent tsunami of data that will come when countless “things” equipped with M2M wireless sensors—part of the “Internet of Everything”—hit wireless networks. Qualcomm calls it the 1000x Challenge, referring to wireless industry predictions about a 1000x increase in mobile data usage between 2010 and 2020.

Last month, Qualcomm Executive Vice President and CTO Matt Grob presented at Meeting of the Minds 2012 in San Francisco. His presentation, “Next Big Innovation: The Mobile Internet Transformation—Meeting Network Capacity Needs of Cities,” showed how wireless connectivity is revolutionizing the way people live and interact with each other in cities.

A few examples of Qualcomm tech in this arena:

  • From Qualcomm’s perspective, a “smarter grid” employs digital wireless technologies that allow utility companies to safely and securely deliver prepaid electric services that save homes and businesses money through real-time monitoring of power usage over existing cell networks, thus reducing deployment costs for the utility and saving energy for the planet. At the same time, smarter grids enable customers to better manage their own energy usage.
  • One recent Smart Grid example is Qualcomm’s work with Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States. The success of this collaboration has enabled Duke Energy to install hundreds of thousands of communications nodes, which interface with electric and gas meters, line sensors, transformers, and other end points, meters, sensors, and distribution automation equipment, and optimize energy usage in five states.
  • Working with ECOtality, a maker of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, Qualcomm participated in The EV Project, the largest deployment of electric vehicles and charge infrastructure in history. The project, now in nine states plus the District of Columbia, leverages cellular technology incorporated into charging stations, enabling EV car drivers to easily find charging stations with their smartphones. Moreover, the solution allows users to reserve stations as well as receive alerts users when the charge is finished or if it the charge has been interrupted.
  • Another exciting development, also involving EVs, is Qualcomm Halo’s teaming with Renault and Delta Motorsport in London. Qualcomm Halo, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, produces wireless charging mats that enable EV drivers to simply drive up and park over the charging mat—no exact alignment necessary (e.g., you have to line up your electric toothbrush perfectly on the charger in order for it to charge). Initially, the benefit is no longer having to deal with tangled charging cables. But looking beyond that, Qualcomm Halo envisions embedded chargers in the roadway. Even further out is the idea that these mats could be built into the road and connected to the overall Smart Grid. Depending on the time of the day, more or less energy resources could be devoted to that specific roadway, effectively channeling energy to where it’s needed most.

Cisco IBSG is also engaged with the Internet of Everything in a variety of ways, such as through the Connected Vehicle.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on how M2M connections—and the Internet of Everything—can enable Smart Cities of the future.

 

 

 

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How the Internet of Everything Will Change the World…for the Better #IoE [Infographic]

As a futurist and technologist, I’m an optimist. I view technology through the lens of how it can help people.

From this perspective, there is no better time to be alive than now. That’s because we are entering an era where the Internet has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of everyone on our planet—from accelerating the discovery of cures for diseases, to understanding climate change, to enhancing the way companies do business, to making every day more enjoyable.

Already, the Internet has benefited many individuals, businesses, and countries by improving education through the democratization of information, allowing for economic growth through electronic commerce, and accelerating business innovation by enabling greater collaboration.

So what will the next decade of the Internet bring?

Read More »

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The World’s Wi-Fi Laboratory

I recently returned from visiting the world’s Wi-Fi laboratory – the United Kingdom. Everywhere you look in the United Kingdom, there is a sign promoting the availability of Wi-Fi, and my mobile device was constantly identifying a long list of available hotspots. The world’s oldest subway system – affectionately known as The Tube – even allows you to connect to the Internet as you await your train hundreds of feet below historical London. Visitors from around the world at the Summer Olympics were greeted with high-speed Wi-Fi access throughout the Olympic venues, allowing them to enhance their experience with instant access to additional information, videos, and communications through their mobile devices.

Our recent Cisco IBSG research, What Britons Want from Wi-Fi and Mobile, reveals that Britain is definitely leading the way in the availability and use of Wi-Fi. Our study confirms that Britons seem to be content with coverage in first-tier locations such as coffee shops, hotels, and restaurants, but are now looking for Wi-Fi to be just as pervasive in other places where they spend their lives. Hospitals, bus stops, retail stores, pubs, and the High Street (or city centers) top the list of additional locations where Britons would like to access Wi-Fi.

The study revealed that mobile devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled “nomadic” devices. Britons own an average of 2.6 mobile devices, almost all of which are Wi-Fi-enabled. Britons spend an average of 2.6 hours per day using their mobile devices in their homes, compared with only 0.6 hours per day in a typical “mobile” on-the-go world. Read More »

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Wi-Fi: A Major “Hotspot” for Service Providers

By Tony Verspecht and Luiz Lima, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)

Growth in mobile network traffic is staggering: Driven by the onslaught of devices that are now connected to the Internet, mobile data traffic is expected to grow three times faster than fixed IP traffic, exceeding 6 exabytes per month by 2015, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index. This presents service providers (SPs) with a tremendous opportunity to invest in Wi-Fi services to create carrier-class Wi-Fi experience and increase revenues.

While specialized providers have operated commercial Wi-Fi hotspots for nearly two decades, most SPs see Wi-Fi as a fairly new business. To understand the implications of Wi-Fi on SP operations, Cisco® IBSG interviewed a number of SP executives. Following are some of the key insights, which are further discussed in “Wi-Fi for Service Providers: Challenges and Opportunities for Carrier-Class Operations”:

  • Basic Wi-Fi service coverage expansion is still the main driver—Even among established Wi-Fi SPs with a large number of hotspots, the average yearly increase in access points is 14 percent.
  • Value-added Wi-Fi services Read More »

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In Amsterdam, a ‘Cloudy’ Forecast for Broadband

By Uwe Lambrette, Director, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group

Amsterdam may be the one place on earth where it rains more than it does in London. So, it was no surprise that I encountered stormy weather on my flight to Broadband World Forum (BBWF) 2012. As things turned out, the conference theme and the weather were clearly aligned, since the BBWF is fiercely embracing evolution to cloud. Here are some core themes that emerged as I shared some of Cisco IBSG’s findings at the conference:

Cloud 2.0: Most service providers (SPs) have already launched an initial cloud offering and are now beginning to measure scaling and growth. The initial offering is often a stand-alone cloud solution, typically focused on infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Once their original implementation goes live, SPs often need to focus on the following improvements: Read More »

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