Swedish networking and telecoms equipment and services provider, Ericsson, has launched a new range of network services to enable operators to easily introduce IoT applications onto their networks.
As the first commercial IoT networks are introduced, Ericsson says it is seeking to address the deployment and operations of the massive number of devices being introduced to LTE networks.
Assessing the situation, Peter Laurin, head of business area managed services, Ericsson, said: “We anticipate IoT devices will surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices as early as 2018 and, according to Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report, there will be 18 billion connected IoT devices in 2022. This massive uptake requires a different approach to network planning, design, operations and capabilities than traditional mobile broadband networks.”
Making IoT easy for operators
To address this, Ericsson has announced a package of network services for cellular IoT connectivity, including Cat-M1 and Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT). These services should provide mobile network operators with IoT network design and optimization, deployment, operation and management capabilities, the company says.
Once an operator chooses to partner with Ericsson, the company’s network planning and design team will leverage the existing LTE installed base to make it an IoT platform. The team will then go about integrating Ericsson’s Massive IoT software into the network, to improve control and management of the network.
Jamie Moss, principal analyst, Consumer Technology and IoT at Ovum, suggests that operators need these kind of partnerships to help them introduce IoT more easily.
“This is especially true in the case of LTE-M and NB-IoT,” Moss said. “As enhancements to LTE, they appear to represent the operators’ core competency. But LTE-M and NB-IoT will be used, and will be required to perform, in ways that are completely new. Their rollout, the handling of the traffic they generate and the management of the services they exist to enable require network services that offer a comprehensive portfolio of abilities.
Ericsson planning for the future
Alongside its operation and management capabilities, Ericsson is introducing automated machine learning to its Network Operations Centers (NOCs) to help operators manage delivery cost and take a proactive approach to event and incident management. Supposedly, the company recently completed a trial in which 80 percent of all incidents were identified by machine learning only with no human intervention, with the root cause identified correctly in 77 percent of cases.
“Machine learning and artificial intelligence are not just buzzwords, but are vital and exciting tools being employed by Ericsson for use within a network to help operators manage the many new devices they will need to serve in the future,” Moss concludes.