Industry is going LTE

(Including an embedded article from IOT Entreprise Insight’s James Blackman)

The question about Industry going to LTE is not about why, but when.  The question of the day for industrial C-level, Business Unit Lead, and Investors is not about when to start going LTE, but choosing to start with a public LTE offering or jump-in and built its Private LTE infrastructures from the start, where it makes sense.  Industry needs to go LTE.

The referred article here is a good read for anyone in the industrial space.  James makes valid points and quotes some respected sources.  Whatever Industry operates indoor, outdoor, onshore, offshore, on surface or underground, Industry is going LTE. 

The biggest challenge with Industry going LTE is not about the technology but each industrial companies self-assessment. The industrial company self-assessment must include: needs analysis, needs going-forward, current and foreseeable competitive landscape, in-house knowledge, understanding, timing, funding, etc.  also critical for Industry is to find the proper  3rd party assistance, to make sense of what is needed and also all the marketing and claims posted by various vendors.  Industry Going LTE is not just about the wireless protocol, but the LTE ecosystem and its vast benefits such as standard bases (interoperability and lower price), a comprehensive ecosystem of devices, applications, services, vendors and immediate access to geolocation, mobility, real Quality of Services Analytics and more. 

Industry going LTE is the foundation of the transformation in a standards-based fashion.  Once with LTE, Industry can also implement IoT-Analytics and further improve Quality of Experience, efficiency, reliability, capacity, and safety.

Have a read at James’s article at the bottom of this post.

***James’s article***

Energy sector urged to get behind LTE – first with carriers, then with licences

5G drones – use cases for industry, including the oil and gas sector, could drive $700bn of value for operators, reckons Ericsson (Image: Ericsson)

The energy industry should consider the LTE family of cellular technologies, including NB-IoT, LTE-M, and 4G and 5G, to spur their longer-term Industry 4.0 ambitions, according to analyst house Guidehouse Insights. The energy market must start experimenting with cellular right away, it says, with or without participation from carriers, and make bets on private spectrum “for the most secure, long-term approach”.

LTE-based technologies have a key role to play, suggests Guidehouse Insights, for utilities, oil and gas companies, and mining operations to stay sharp, and make gains in terms of efficiency, productivity, and safety. The sector has a tangled history with communications technologies, it argues, where they have been commissioned a mish-mash of networking types for siloed spot work and not as part of a thought-out and comprehensive digital-change strategy.

The firm has just released a report, under the banner, Wireless networking and energy: LTE standards set stage for the 5G era. It notes that LTE is a direct forebear of industrial-grade 5G, when ultra-reliable, low-latency, massive-scale enterprise networking gets serious. LTE is available now, and the energy sector should urgently embark upon the donkey work to devise their Industry 4.0 strategy and design their Industry 4.0 architecture.

Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst with Guidehouse Insights, said: “Most [of these] companies have taken a scattershot approach, building ad hoc, application-centric networks to perform just a few tasks. They may be operating dozens of incompatible networks per site, with a mix of wired and wireless, public and private solutions performing disparate functions.”

He adds: “Looking ahead, a strategic, holistic, long-term plan should be created for full-territory and sitewide connectivity.”

Recent analyst reports – notably twin reports from ABI Research – suggest decisive momentum behind cellular-based IoT technologies, most specifically NB-IoT and LTE-M. More than 80 percent of original equipment manufacturers in the asset tracking space are releasing products for cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) network connectivity, with high growth in LTE-M trackers as mobile operators rollout LTE-M networks. Shipments of asset trackers will increase by more than 50 percent annually through 2024, driven by growth in LPWA networks and smaller, smarter, cheaper IoT devices.

In tandem, Frost & Sullivan has said 90 percent of industrial enterprises will use edge computing by 2022, as cloud workloads shift closer to the ‘coal face’ of industry in pursuit of lower latency and higher security. This spiralling interest in close-range industrial analytics functions will drive the value of multi-access edge computing (MEC) upwards at a rate of 157 percent per year. Telecoms operators are well positioned to capitalise, but must pull their socks up, it noted.

Indeed, industrial workplaces represent a new battleground for mobile operators, particularly around the broader role of 5G. Germany, in arguably the most decisive regulatory shift for the global telecoms industry in an age, has issued 67 local spectrum licences for private LTE and 5G to enterprises since November 2019. Applicants in Germany, the home of Industrie 4.0, are testing the water still, but the flood is expected to come, and the operator set has a job to convince industrial companies to piggyback on its spectrum and services.

Dean Bubley, founder of Disruptive Analysis, describes the conundrum well. “Mobile operators can’t do proper 5G slicing yet, at industrial scale, as they have also had to wait for Release 16,” he says. “But what capacity do they really have for custom builds? Can an operator do 10, 50, 100 projects a year, if each one is ‘special’? What happens if 1,000 companies want one? ‘Take a ticket and take a seat’. Expected wait time: 15 years.”

Guidehouse Insights, promoting its own research, appears to suggest the carrier community affords a useful entry-point for utilities, oil and gas majors, and mining companies to get a grip on the challenge and opportunity from industrial cellular, before they shore up their intent with their own network operations – and possibly their own spectrum, as regulators increasingly liberate airtime usage for enterprise sectors.

A press statement reads: “Utilities [should] partner with public carriers for infrastructure sharing, reduced costs, and revenue opportunities. They should trial LTE-based network applications with a carrier or in a pilot using shared spectrum, and then consider investment in private spectrum for the most secure, long-term approach. The report also recommends coordination among smaller entities to bring market influence and tailored offerings from carriers and infrastructure vendors.”

The report, available here, covers the options energy and utility vertical participants have for spectrum needs, and includes a list of industrial IoT use cases enabled by LTE protocols. Elberg remarked: “A strategic, holistic, long-term plan should be created for full-territory and sitewide connectivity. A strategy built around the family of LTE technologies, based on global 3GPP standards, presents an efficacious solution poised to evolve as 5G technology matures.”

James Blackman

James Blackman has been writing about the technology and telecoms sectors for over a decade. He has edited and contributed to a number of European news outlets and trade titles. He has also worked at telecoms company Huawei, leading media activity for its devices business in Western Europe. He is based in London.

*** Other good read on this Blog from the blog owner***

Regardless of your current environment, needs, funding, and capabilities, you should seriously consider the following.

  • Private or public LTE network. One can get confused by all the marketing information.  The fact is that it is simple at the end to know if you are on a private or public LTE network. Is your name on the sim card?  Click for more details.
  • Private Industrial LTE VS public commercial LTE – Ask yourself if you are ok sharing a public LTE network or if you need a Private Industrial LTE network.   Click here for more information
  • LTE without mobility – ask yourself if you really want to have a Private LTE network and not be ready for mobility.  Click here for more information
  • LTE IoT Analytics – Remember that with Standards based LTE you benefit from a huge ecosystem of product, services, and applications that all rely on LTE. With LTE you now can also deploy off-the-shelve IoT analytics such as PulseView™ from Cheetah Networks,  and many other applications to address various needs.
  • You need to do what is right for your company at this time, and hopefully, you can do what is also correct for the medium and long-term.  There is no one solution for every network, especially once one considers needs, environment, timing, resources, and funding.

If you are in the USA and plan to use the CBRS band for your P-LTE deployment, you may also be interested in these.

  • CBRS – To LTE or Not – Like many, you have likely been following CBRS, but have yet to dip your toes in the water.  You are wondering about the CBRS spectrum, how it works, and the different use cases for this new spectrum gift from the FCC.  You may also be confused by the various marketing messages. Click here for more
  • 3GPP BC48 – Remember that although CBRS is a new spectrum in the USA, that spectrum meets 3GPP LTE Band class 48 specifications.  3GPP BC48 already offers an impressive ecosystem of devices for indoor, outdoor installations in the commercial and industrial IoT space.  Click for the OnGo™ Certified Devices and other valuable information.
  • CBRS PAL, GAA, or Both – Carefully evaluate if you need to rent spectrum from a PAL auction winner or just skip the PAL spectrum insurance policy and only proceed with your GAA grants.  Click for more information.
  • The famous 5-minute question – Some of the vendors not offering any CBRS solution may try to intimidate you a bit about the famous 5-minute rule.  You will not lose your grant after 5 minutes.  Click here for more information.

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