The need for low cost, high reach, wide area connectivity for the Internet of Things

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1 Machina Research White Paper for Neul The need for low cost, high reach, wide area connectivity for the Internet of Things A Mobile Network Operator s perspective

2 About this White Paper The Internet of Things is starting to become a reality aided by the widespread availability of smartphones and tablets to provide a suitable user interface. Machina Research forecasts almost 20bn M2M connected devices by These devices will be spread across a wide variety of locations, some of which will be hard to reach either because they are remote and outside the range of most communications networks, or because they are underground or deep inside buildings. M2M devices will be used for an enormous variety of applications with different communications requirements. There isn t one single technology that can connect all of these devices and current applications use a patchwork of different approaches: wireless mesh is used for process control on industrial sites and for connecting smart meters across neighbourhoods. WiFi is used in homes and offices to connect devices to a fixed broadband connection or a WWAN device with a mobile SIM. Home area networks connect devices in basements and meter boxes to connectivity hubs. Cellular Mobile Network Operator (MNO) networks are used for some applications but have failed to reach their full potential because of high device and usage costs, short battery life and the difficulty of siting fixed units where there is guaranteed to be a strong signal. But now, new solutions are emerging that are designed specifically for M2M and are able to reach devices in remote areas, indoors or underground, with a long battery life often over 10 years from a single AA battery. Machina Research terms such technologies Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks and they have the potential to connect up to 60% of devices in Without access to such a connectivity technology, MNOs will be unable to access the full opportunity represented by the Internet of Things, not just in terms of the provision of high QoS connectivity but also in terms of more advanced layers of services at the toolkit, application enablement platform or application layers. Neul is working on a standardised LPWA technology that can easily be deployed within existing MNO networks. This is intended to allow for the connection of large numbers of low-cost devices in a way that not only makes the M2M solution business profitable, but provides a platform to build a huge IoT business.

3 Six key conclusions Machina Research sees LPWA as having the potential to play an important role in supporting Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in participating in M2M markets because: There will be a vast number of new M2M connections in coming years The Internet of Things is starting to gain traction, Machina Research forecasts 20bn connected devices by Current wide area cellular technologies are not able to deliver the full addressable opportunity for MNOs Costs are too high, coverage can be insufficient and battery life is too short so that many potential users of M2M solutions cannot make the business case for deployment. A low cost core network is required MNOs overall OSS/BSS environments can be too complex for billions of low revenue-per-connection devices. The MNO cost of delivering core transport network, data access services and BSS/OSS functions needs to be both low-priced and profitable. Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) solutions can plug the gap LPWA solutions are designed specifically for M2M and typically offer long range, low power consumption and ease of management. Connectivity modules can cost USD5 or less and run for 10 years or more on a single AA battery. MNOs have the opportunity to dominate the Internet of Things With prime base station locations, licensed spectrum, access to LPWA technology, a low cost core network, strong brand and customer trust, MNOs would have access to all the assets to dominate IoT connectivity. Neul represents one possible solution Neul is offering an open standardised solution designed to meet MNO requirements for an LPWA technology that can easily be deployed on their existing infrastructure, supported by a low cost core networking technology.

4 1 The market opportunity for cellular M2M The Internet of Things is starting to become a reality, aided by the widespread use of smartphones and tablets that can act as user control panels for networked devices. There are now many cloud platforms that can collate and manage the huge volume of data from large numbers of networked devices and use data analytics to extract useful information for decision making and systems control. Machina Research forecasts that there will be almost 20bn M2M connected devices by However, connecting all the end devices, wherever they may be, is a significant engineering challenge. There is no single technology that can cover all situations. There are devices in remote locations that are not covered by existing wired and wireless networks. There are devices underground in manholes and basements or deep indoors which are equally hard to connect. Figure 1-1 shows Machina Research forecasts for M2M device connectivity split between short range, cellular, wide-area fixed, MAN and satellite. With the technologies currently available, the vast majority of these connections are expected to leverage short range technologies. Many of the non-cellular connections that we forecast are, in fact, theoretically addressable by mobile solutions, but are not expected to actually be supported by mobile networks. Figure 1-2 shows Machina Research analysis of the enormous potential for WWAN connections that we do not expect to be met by current MNO technology and service offerings.

5 M2M Connections (billion) Connections (billions) Figure 1-1: Share of connections by connectivity type, 2022 [Source: Machina Research, 2014] Short range Cellular (2G, 3G, 4G) Wide area fixed MAN Satellite Figure 1-2: Share of currently forecast connections suitable for mobile, 2022 [Source: Machina Research, 2014] Not addressable by MNOs MNO potential 5 - Mobile

6 However, many of the non-mobile connectivity types have their own limitations, as shown in Figure 1-3. These include: Battery Life Firewall restrictions Authentication Coverage Unmanaged LANs Figure 1-3: Problems arising with M2M connectivity [Source: Neul 2014] If a high reach, low cost, low power WAN (i.e. LPWA) technology was available, it could solve these issues and be capable of addressing a vast share of the total market.

7 2 What is holding back MNOs from achieving this full potential? MNO cellular networks offer a number of advantages over medium and short range technologies such as wireless mesh and WiFi. Cellular networks have the advantage of already offering good coverage, being thoroughly standardized, supporting full mobility and providing location information. They already offer more bandwidth than most M2M applications require and, with the arrival of 4G, they will be capable of supporting the most demanding broadband requirements. Nonetheless, many M2M application developers have turned to other forms of connectivity. In the past, existing public cellular wireless networks operated by MNOs were regarded as too expensive for many M2M applications, because of the high hardware costs and the way traffic costs add up over time. That is changing as the MNOs see the opportunity to offer managed M2M services and start to bundle these with reduced price connectivity. However, there are other problems that make MNO networks far from ideal for M2M: Cellular networks are designed for human to human communication, and have the advantage of supporting full mobility. Coverage follows people so there is good coverage in areas of high population density and on main transport routes but there are gaps in areas of low population density. Network coverage is typically quoted as outdoor coverage of the percentage of the human population, but for many M2M applications, human coverage is not the most relevant. The figures underestimate the number of square kilometers of open countryside left without any signal. Indoor coverage is also a significant issue. Although MNOs often quote and achieve high (>90%) coverage to individual addresses this does not take into account indoor propagation losses. It is much harder to reliably reach something that is absolutely fixed such as an

8 M2M unit fixed to a wall, often tucked into an out-of-the-way corner of the building. Cellular enabled devices require significant amounts of power, and battery life is measured in days rather than years. Many cellular M2M connections using GPRS are still set with regular paging intervals, shrinking battery lives, or rely on sending SMS messages to schedule traffic, with commensurate high traffic overheads. A 3G M2M module typically sends and receives a significant number of messages with the basestation simply to establish a data communications channel from cold start, even if the message being sent is just a few bytes. Where cellular has been used for M2M in the past, often 2G connectivity has been chosen, because it has been the cheapest option for the provision of wide area wireless coverage and the data carriage capabilities of 2G are more than adequate for most M2M applications. But there is now the threat of 2G networks, including GPRS, being switched off. Hardware is relatively expensive, Machina Research estimates that the current price floor for GPRS modules is around USD10, whilst for LTE (only) modules it is around USD 40. Cellular is often used as the backhaul for other types of M2M connectivity such as wireless mesh or powerline, carrying aggregated data from the local access point to the Internet. There are a number of applications currently available in which the end devices are connected to a hub using wireless mesh technologies such as Zigbee or in-building WiFi and then using GPRS backhaul. This approach leaves the systems integrator or end user with the complex task of designing and managing the network. For example, mobile operators offering home security and automation services have found that they have to use professional installers because of the difficulty of ensuring that the hub unit is sited where there is mobile signal.

9 3 M2M optimised wide area solutions The mobile standards bodies are working on addressing some of the problems cellular networks have for M2M by defining LTE-MTC (Long-Term Evolution - Machine Type Communication) within 3GPP Release 12. This is designed to make 4G LTE-based solutions better adapted to M2M communication. For instance, it includes provision for devices to be flagged as low priority and barred from the network in times of congestion. Under LTE-MTC, there is work underway on lower cost modules for use in end devices that will operate within an LTE network, whilst offering a reduced data bandwidth compared to existing LTE, and only half duplex operation. However, even if these should materialize, the system will struggle to realize the ultra-low cost end-point s required by the Internet of Things market. The idea of deploying low power wide area (LPWA) public wireless technologies specifically for M2M has recently come to prominence in the M2M space. These technologies generally aim to provide high reach, very low cost connectivity and long battery life for devices that only need to send and receive occasional messages. For some applications, one-way communication may be enough, but the lack of acknowledgement messages can be problematic for other applications. Those so far proposed generally use wireless technology in license-exempt bands. LPWA is particularly attractive for the many applications that require the connection of widely scattered devices that only need to send occasional status updates. For example, fire alarms which send still alive messages or water meters sending the latest volume reading. They can be designed with very low power requirements that can often be met by a low cost battery with a life of ten years or more. The aim is to get end-point module costs significantly below the costs of existing cellular solutions so that devices can be freely deployed wherever required and for these modules to offer strong authentication and security.

10 LPWA can be rolled-out in the form of whole-country or regional networks thus providing many of the benefits of existing cellular networks including homogenous deployment over a wide geographic area, direct connection to end devices and operator managed networks. The geographical coverage provided by LPWA means that only a modest number of base stations are needed to cover a wide area, probably a similar number to the number of macro base stations used today for providing GSM900 coverage, but potentially providing much better coverage within buildings in those cells, and better rural coverage. The relatively low deployment costs enabled by LPWA will make it feasible for new service providers to enter the market. Machina Research has identified where LPWA can substitute for existing technologies, distinguishing between two different scenarios: Applications that are already Suitable for LPWA with very low requirements for data traffic and that are tolerant of latency. Examples include smart metering and security alarms. Applications that are Adaptable to use LPWA. An example is connected car insurance. A cellular (3GPP/2) based solution could include real-time reporting of vehicle and situational parameters, whilst an alternative LPWA-compatible implementation could simply report the number of miles driven on a weekly basis, for a pay-asyou-drive car insurance policy. Figure 3-1, shows Machina Research estimates of the potential for LPWA as a substitute technology for the connections in our existing forecasts. Of the slightly over 10bn connection potential by 2022, approximately 80% of potential connections are Suitable, whilst the remaining 20% are Adaptable.

11 M2M Connections (bn) Figure 3-1: LPWA opportunity - as a substitute technology, 2022 [Source: Machina Research, 2014] Total M2M connections (current technologies) LPWA: Suitable connections LPWA: Adaptable connections LPWA: Unsuitable connections LPWA: Total opportunity as a substitute technology Machina Research has also looked at ways in which LPWA could extend the market for M2M connections. LPWA has the potential to make M2M connected solutions more attractive, and thus drive higher take-up, through: Extending the reach, e.g. 20dB better link budget than GPRS Lowering the cost of connectivity Supporting an out of the box connected experience Enabling an increased battery life Providing backup connectivity (or simply more robust connectivity) We have also identified applications where LPWA has the potential to drive additional connected devices as components of already forecast solutions: Security alarms, where additional LPWA sensors may be incorporated into individual sensors. Parking space management, where potentially a LPWA sensor could be installed to monitor each individual parking space.

12 M2M Connections (bn) Crop monitoring, where LPWA devices could be scattered over an entire farm to provide feedback on local soil conditions (e.g. the need for fertilizer or water). Clearly, at this stage of market development we can t arrive at firm numbers but Figure 3-2 shows the results of our analysis indicating a very significant potential market for providers of LPWA solutions. Figure 3-2: LPWA opportunity - unlocking M2M market potential, Total LPWA opportunity, 2022 [Source: Machina Research, 2014] LPWA: Suitable connections LPWA: Adaptable connections LPWA: Unlocked market potential: Accelerated adoption (connections) LPWA: Unlocked market potential: Increased capilliarity (connections) LPWA: Total opportunity (connections) Figure 3-3 shows the number of M2M connections that MNOs are able to target with their existing and planned mobile networks compared with the number of connections they would be able to address if they deployed a complementary LPWA network alongside their 3G and 4G networks specifically to meet the needs of low-cost sensor networks. Low-cost sensor networks are an intrinsic element of the Internet of Things. It s imperative that MNOs address this fast-growing market as an essential part of their managed M2M solutions portfolio.

13 M2M Connections (billion) Figure 3-3: M2M connections addressable by MNOs with and without LPWA, 2022 [Source: Machina Research, 2014] Unlocked market potential Not addressable by MNOs MNO potential 10-5 Addressable by LPWA Mobile

14 4 Applications suitable for LPWA The kind of application for which LPWA-type solutions are particularly well suited include: Water, gas and electricity metering and monitoring. Some smart meter implementations incorporate multiple connectivity options, raising the price of the units, where LPWA can provide near universal coverage from a single radio module. In addition, pipelines and electricity grids have vital equipment in remote locations where GSM may not reach but LPWA solutions could potentially provide detailed monitoring. Fire alarms, which are activated rarely but need to be monitored to check that they are still live and working. This can be achieved with occasional status messages, at a much lower price point than equivalent solutions that use GSM technology. Intruder alarms could have each individual sensor directly connected by LPWA, rather than having all the data aggregated at a hub for wireline or GSM transmission. This would make it much harder for a burglar to disable the alarms and make installation and ongoing maintenance easier. Facilities management services which can see huge benefits in operational efficiency. LPWA sensors can be used to detect when city bins are full, when rodent traps have been activated or when soap dispensers need to be filled, thus optimising operator workloads and delivering a better quality of service. Parking space monitoring 30% of congestion in cities is caused by motorists looking for somewhere to park. Monitoring individual parking spaces allows drivers to be directed to space. Such solutions are far easier to deploy when supported by a LPWA network. Machinery on hire only the largest and most expensive equipment justifies the cost of GSM monitoring but any downtime is costly for both construction companies and the rental firms. LPWA would allow predictive maintenance for lower cost equipment.

15 Sutton and East Surrey Water is trialling Weightless LPWA Jeremy Heath, network manager at Sutton and East Surrey Water is keen to increase monitoring. We are measuring all over the network but there s a lot more information we d love to collect: individual customers flow and pressure over time; temperature in the pipes we d be able to predict when bursts are likely. But I just can t justify the cost of deploying so many GPRS data loggers dialling in every hour. The company is working with Laurie Reynolds of Aquamatix who explains With Sutton and East Surrey Water we are establishing a smart zone using Neul technology. It covers water extraction, storage, pumping and intermediate network monitoring. It will include a few smart customer meters as well as dumb customer meters ones that just send a pulse per cubic meter. (As shown in Figure 4-1 overleaf) The reason for choosing Weightless is that The problem with anything in water is that if it s in a pit in the ground you don t get good horizontal transmissivity. The competitive solution is proprietary data loggers with SMS and GPRS sampling every 15 minutes to conserve battery power. If you get a car parked over the manhole you block the RF. Weightless should give us a better connection and at a price that allows us to collect far more data. Reynolds sees many benefits from increased monitoring. For example, Only sampling every 15 minutes you miss a lot of vital information about transients every time a pump starts or stops or valve opens and closes it creates transient changes in the distribution network and people are blissfully unaware of the effects, which research suggests are significant. Reynolds also sees benefits for flood prevention. Currently there is roughly one sensor per km on water distribution networks but only one every 10 km on sewers that are a vital part of our flood protection infrastructure. If you were able to monitor flows in sewers and optimise pumping and capacity, you could hold flows back when parts of the network are overloaded. Using Weightless we d be able to collect a lot more data so we could do much more detailed modelling and have much more accurate forecasts and manage the whole of the water infrastructure a lot better.

16 Aquamatix s solution for Sutton and East Surrey Water (described in the case study above) is shown in Figure 4-1 below. It integrates sensors connected using Neul s Weightless implementation alongside the existing telemetry. Figure 4-1: Aquamatix solution for Sutton and East Surrey Water [ Aquamatix Limited, 2013]

17 5 How MNOs are best placed to implement LPWA MNOs are now starting to target managed M2M solutions as a way to grow revenue in maturing markets but as yet they are not really able to deliver a full service to the customer across all device and application types. To provide a complete solution for many applications, they need a way to connect large numbers of low-cost sensors as part of an application that would include device management, analytics and access to dashboards, and reports from smartphones and tablets. To do this solely with GPRS or even LTE-MTC may be unnecessarily expensive. One potential answer to this problem for MNOs is to deploy a LPWA technology alongside existing cellular networks, using the spectrum and the cell sites that they already have. Such an approach would enable an operator to leverage their brand and channels-to-market in order to develop an M2M solution business without compromising their existing 2G, 3G and 4G offerings to consumers and businesses for human communications. Figure 6-1 shows a range of connections required for a supply chain monitoring application, the bandwidth required and how some of the connections must be mobile while others are only really suitable for LPWA. The area of overlap indicates the situations where the end-devices could be connected by either technology depending on how the application is designed.

18 Tolerance of Latency Figure 6-1: Supply Chain monitoring connections suitability for LPWA and mobile [Source: Machina Research, 2014] Potential for mobile Potential for LPWA Potential for optimisation Required Bandwidth If MNOs were able to integrate LPWA into their solution they would be able to optimize the connections to all of the devices in order to minimize costs, minimize the impact on their existing networks and to offer the most comprehensive and effective solution to their customers. For MNOs to deploy LPWA as an overlay on their existing infrastructure a standardised technology that fits seamlessly alongside legacy 2G, 3G and 4G networks is required. This issue is being addressed by Neul leveraging the established Weightless technology using agile, multi-protocol, software defined radios as base-stations. The aim is to standardize a system which can be rolled out without the need for new infrastructure to be deployed or changes to the existing physical infrastructure. Creating an open standard is intended to result in a vibrant eco-system of developers generating innovative applications.

19 6 About Neul Neul is a Cambridge, UK, based company focussed on providing network operators with scalable, secure, resilient and economical network technology, enabling them to capitalize on the Internet of Things opportunity. With a solution derived from the emerging Weightless air interface for the Internet of Things, Neul develops and supplies the technology to allow network operators to provide a scaleable network service to connect small low power devices to their online digital presence in the Cloud. Designed to be an excellent neighbour to and to offer a 20dB coverage advantage over GPRS, Neul technology can operate in virtually any spectrum below 1GHz. A Neul Weightless network can be deployed in any 180kHz slice of spectrum, such as a 200kHz GSM subcarrier, in MNO s existing LTE spectrum, or in spectrum made available after GSM refarming for LTE. With modifications, Weightless can also be deployed in license exempt spectrum. Neul provides network operators and end-users with four critical ingredients for this new service type: Small, high performance wireless endpoint modules that attach to each Thing, initially in the form of Development Kits with high volume production supported by Neul s partners. NeulNet base stations which operate in license exempt spectrum, or software support for multi-standard Software Defined Radio enodeb infrastructure vendors. Neul Service Manager, a state-of-the-art cloud-based device management platform, delivering strong device authentication, in secure cloud data centres using an architecture scaleable to billions of devices at the cost of cents per connection, per month. Neul s Service Manager also delivers core OSS and BSS functions for MNOs, delivering CDR interfaces back to operating companies systems.

20 7 About Machina Research Machina Research is the world's leading provider of strategic advice on the newly emerging opportunities in M2M, IoT and Big Data. We are staffed by mobile industry veterans with the knowledge and understanding of these new market opportunities to help your company, whatever its requirements in this space. The company is staffed by industry veterans including: Jim Morrish (Director) is a respected telecommunications industry expert, with over 20 years experience of strategy consulting, operations management and telecoms research. He has worked on-site in in excess of 25 countries worldwide, including in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and North America. He holds an MA in mathematics from Oxford University. Matt Hatton (Director) is a hugely respected wireless industry expert with 15 years experience at the cutting edge of telecoms research. At analyst firm Yankee Group he was Program Manager and most recently at Analysys Mason he was Research Director managing all research on the telco services market. Matt holds an MSc in Telecommunications from University College London. Emil Berthelsen (Principal Analyst) has over 20 years' experience in management, strategic and research consulting for a number of leading consulting organisations including KPMG, BT Consulting and Analysys Mason. More recently, Emil has focused on analysis of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications industries. Andy Castonguay (Principal Analyst) has worked as an analyst, advisor and consultant to the mobile industry for over 15 years. With local experience in Latin America and North America, Andy has worked extensively with service providers, device manufacturers, technology vendors, and financial institutions in both mature and growth markets. Emma Buckland (Principal Analyst) has worked in the telecoms sector for over 15 years. Prior to joining Machina Research she spent most of her career at Analysys Mason where she was first a consultant and later the lead analyst of two telecoms market forecasting and operator tracking research programmes.

21 Machina Research Services Machina Research supports a blue-chip client base with an Advisory Service consisting of the following elements: Forecast Database On-going access to this constantly updated forecast of the M2M and mobile broadband opportunity worldwide. Sector Reports Based on the same 13 sectors covered in the Forecast Database, these reports provide qualitative and quantitative (i.e. 10 year forecasts) analysis of each sector. Strategy Reports These reports analyse a specific issue within M2M markets in some detail. We will publish six Strategy Reports during Topics will include: wearables; SLAs and M2M service metrics; security & privacy in M2M; analytic complexity of M2M applications; channels to market for M2M, and; an update of our CSP Benchmarking report. Research Notes 3 shorter reports per month examining key issues in the world of M2M such as network rationalisation, module costs, IMSI swapping/remote provisioning, alliances, and case studies of successful implementations. Strategy Sessions On site presentations from our expert analysts to provide more detailed and tailored analysis of a particular topic. Analyst Inquiry Direct access to our analyst team to ask the burning questions that you have about the M2M market. Library of previous publications subscription clients enjoy access to our full library of previous publications. The Consulting side of our business has multiple strands, including: Market opportunity assessment Helping our clients to understand the opportunities presented by M2M, and defining how to engage with different functional, vertical and geographic markets. M2M procurement assistance Helping our clients to procure the M2M services that they need to turn their connected business ideas into a successful reality. Business case development and due diligence drawing on our extensive experience of the M2M industry, and our benchmark forecast data, we can assist clients with key strategic decisions.

22 Machina Research Forecasts Machina Research s Forecast Database provides comprehensive forecasts of the M2M market across each of thirteen Sectors as illustrated in Figure 7-1. Figure 7-1: Machina Research s thirteen Sectors The forecasts cover 201 individual countries and 6 regions and include granular 10 year market forecasts for multiple Application Groups within each sector (e.g. within the healthcare sector it includes a breakdown by each of eight Application Groups each based on analysis of multiple Applications). Another example is the Utilities Sector which is broken down into three Application Groups: smart meters, electric vehicle charging and transport & distribution management. Currently Machina Research s Forecast Database covers a total of 61 Application Groups individually, based on analysis of hundreds of Applications. The Forecast Database includes several million datapoints. For each Application Group the forecast includes numbers of devices and numbers of connections and traffic with splits by technology (2G, 3G, 4G,

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