Comcast, the US telecommunications provider, is to expand its enterprise IoT service MachineQ to 12 major US markets.
MachineQ is an IoT network service and platform that uses Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology based on the LoRaWAN protocol. Comcast works with its commercial partners to offer organizations from both the public and private sector a platform that gathers, transmits and analyses data from IoT devices that have been distributed throughout their areas.
The company claims that the data gleaned from IoT devices can help these organizations to make better-informed decisions on how they can improve services for customers, tenants and citizens.
After trialling the service from October 2016 in Philadelphia and in the San Francisco Bay Area, the telecoms company expanded MachineQ to Chicago in November. Now, it plans to roll out the service to Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington D.C.
New revenue streams
The company said that interest in MachineQ has come from organizations in healthcare, public utilities, automotive and smart cities, with use cases including patient monitoring, remote utility metering, asset tracking, outdoor lighting and waste management.
“We believe that Comcast has a unique opportunity to leverage our existing network assets and Semtech’s LoRa technology, to fuel IoT innovation with disruptive new business models and smarter cities,” said Alex Khorram, general manager of MachineQ.
“We’ve seen excitement about a Comcast solution that is opening a whole new world of use cases that were previously not commercially viable due to the cost of connectivity and end devices, limited battery life, and inability to get coverage,” he continued.
Telcos must invest or lose out
Telecoms companies across the world are on the hunt for new revenue streams, and IoT is a key differentiator for them.
According to Ian Hughes, IoT analyst at IT advisory company 451 Research, telecoms companies including Comcast are also investing in new areas in response to disruption from smaller start-ups.
“We are heading towards a future where IoT devices use whichever is the most appropriate and available connection method to meet a defined quality of service for their data at any point in time, so other enterprises will wish to just benefit from this as a utility rather than set up their own short lived, complicated to manage, networks,” he said.