IoT News Roundup

Forrester survey finds firms focused on IoT to boost customer service; Songdo "smart city" to host SparkLab IoT accelerator program; ETSI announces spec for embedded M2M modules.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Nov 20, 2014

Forrester Report Probes Business Interest, Expectations from IoT Technology

Market research firm Forrester conducted an online survey last month to learn whether IT professionals and business decision-makers from nearly 600 companies around the world—in retail, manufacturing, consumer products, transportation, health care, government, oil and gas, and hospitality—plan to implement Internet of Things technologies and, if so, what they consider its most promising business benefits. Auto-ID technology vendor Zebra Technologies commissioned the study. For the purposes of the survey, Forrester used the following definition of "Internet of Things": smart interconnected devices that businesses use to get more visibility into the identification, location and condition of products, assets, transactions or people, to drive more effective and timely business decisions or to improve customer interactions.

The study found that approximately a third of the respondents across industries are currently in the process of deploying IoT solutions (except respondents from government organizations, only 14 percent of which are in the process of doing so). Another 22 percent to 32 percent said they are planning IoT deployments during the coming year. Among respondents who already have an IoT system in place, 29 percent are in retail and 28 percent are in government. When the results are broken out according to region, around 70 percent of firms based in Asia said they have already implemented or are in the process of deploying an IoT-related solution (often as part of urban-development projects). Sixty percent of respondents in North America and 52 percent of those in Europe indicated they have deployed or are deploying IoT technologies.

Across the entire respondent pool, improved customer experiences and supply chain optimization, followed by loss prevention and cost efficiencies, were the chief business benefits cited for implementing IoT technologies. The full report is available here.

SparkLabs to Launch IoT Accelerator Program in Songdo

SparkLabs, a technology startup accelerator based in South Korea that offers entrepreneurs three-month apprenticeships, access to mentors, funding and office space, is partnering with the Songdo International Business District (IBD) to create a test bed for startups focused on Internet of Things technologies. At just over 2 square miles, the Songdo IBD is a purpose-built technology-focused "smart city," constructed in partnership with several Korean and U.S. companies, including Cisco Systems and LG Group subsidiary LG CNS.

Songdo was created as a living laboratory for technologies and services being implemented as a model for an extremely energy-efficient, high-density and sensor-rich urban infrastructure. SparkLabs intends to open its Internet of Things accelerator program—which will be based both in Songdo and Seoul—to any startup around the world.

ETSI Releases Specification for Embedded Communication Modules

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has released its group specification for embedded communication modules used in electronic devices for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The specification, dubbed GS SMT 001, describes requirements for devices made with the manufacturing technique known as surface-mount technology, whereby components are attached to the surface of a printed circuit board.

According to ETSI, surface-mount technology offers manufacturers flexibility when integrating communications functionality into a device or system. ETSI's goal in developing the specification is to encourage the adoption of common form factors for these devices, and to help drive the creation of electronic modules that can withstand harsh environments.

"Any Machine to Machine application, whether it be a tablet, eReader, personal health monitoring device or a smart utility meter, relies on a hardware module that provides 2G, 3G or 4G connectivity," said Johan Zuidweg, ISG SMT's chairman, in a prepared statement. "These modules must be very small and must withstand extreme temperatures, vibrations or other physical conditions. As wireless devices proliferate, the market for such modules expands and a specification was needed."

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