Nokia has announced updates to its IoT platform, Impact, with the aim of making it easier for companies to deploy new smart services.
Impact, short for ‘Intelligent Management Platform for All Connected Things’, was first launched by Nokia in June 2016.
The updated version, expected to be available in the second quarter of 2017, comes with new capabilities and pre-integrated applications to assist service providers, enterprise customers and government agencies to build and deploy new IoT services faster, in areas including smart parking, smart lighting and connected cars.
Related: Nokia gets a ‘fix’ on IoT networks
What’s new in Impact?
The first of these new packaged applications is for smart parking. This is designed to enable city authorities to better manage parking spaces and help drivers make use of them, by providing them with real-time information on their location and availability and then streamlining payment processes.
The second is a smart lighting application, which aims to help municipalities use electricity more efficiently and detect issues with faulty lighting.
Nokia is also introducing vehicle applications that take data from connected cars and trucks and use it to detect speeding violations, monitor fuel levels and predict when they might break down.
In addition to these packaged apps, Nokia is also introducing video analytics that can detect anomalies in real-time video feeds, without the need for a human observer, and automatically alert the relevant authorities. That might make it possible for city authorities or police to respond faster to traffic accidents or break-ins at secure locations.
Finally, Nokia has also announced support for LoRa and NB-IoT, two connectivity options that are fast emerging as ways to connect small, battery-powered devices. Both offer low speeds but represent high-efficiency, long-range alternatives to standard mobile networks.
Updates aside, what’s arguably more important here is the integration that a platform like Impact offers. In other words, it’s designed to help organizations sidestep the problem of having to manage multiple networks of different IoT devices which, at the same time, need to work together in the provision of connected services.
Cameras mounted on streetlights, for example, might be used to detect vacant parking spaces on the street below, but it’s much easier for that data to be shared in useful ways if smart lighting and smart parking applications sit on the same platform.
By using a platform like Impact, organizations that wish to implement new IoT services can benefit from shared services and capabilities that enable them to combine and manage device networks, such as data collection, event processing, device management and analytics.
“In addition to delivering industry-leading device management, security and analytics capabilities, IMPACT uniquely provides a single, horizontal platform allowing customers to manage and analyze data across multiple IoT applications. This makes each application richer and the insights more valuable,” said Frank Ploumen, CTO of IoT platform and applications at Nokia.
Nokia isn’t the only company thinking this way, however. Other examples of IoT platforms designed to support ‘ecosystems’ of connected sensors, meters and devices include ThingWorx from PTC and Predix from industrial giant GE.
A race to differentiate
All this means that, while Impact is making good progress, Nokia must work hard to make it stand out in a crowded field, according to Analysys Mason analyst Tom Rebbeck.
“There are lot of companies offering IoT platforms now and it’s really difficult for anybody who wants to buy one of these platforms to understand what their differences are, what their individual strengths are. I think that’s Nokia’s challenge and, with this update, the company’s clearly working to give itself some differentiation,” he said.
In its favor, Impact is built on a number of proven technologies, he added. These include Nokia’s Motive Connected Device Platform, which already provides lifecycle management for over 80,000 different IoT, broadband and home devices, and Nokia Netguard Endpoint Security (NES), for anti-malware protection.
Nokia’s acquisition of Withings, announced in April 2016, meanwhile, may give it traction in the healthcare market. While France-based Withings may be best known for consumer-focused connected fitness gadgets, it also offers wireless blood pressure monitors, connected thermometers and smart baby scales for use by medical professionals.
That, said Rebbeck, might point to a more concerted play for the healthcare industry in future releases of Nokia Impact.