On Wednesday Verizon launched ThingSpace, a development platform for companies of all sizes to create Internet of Things applications more efficiently and then later manage those apps.
The carrier also announced it is creating a new dedicated network core for IoT connections that can scale far beyond the ability of its existing networks with the intent to reach billions of sensors and devices.
"Continued innovation in smart cities, connected cars and wearables demonstrates that IoT is the future for how we will live and work," said Mike Lanman, senior vice president of enterprise products at Verizon during an event held at Verizon's San Francisco Innovation Center. He said Verizon is taking a "holistic approach" to help expand the IoT market from millions of connections to billions. The event was webcast.
Other major wireless carriers, including AT&T, are developing programs to offer a range of services to industries and cities for connecting IoT sensors to wireless networks and then to cloud services for data analysis.
At Verizon, Lanman said the company is working to lower the cost of connecting billions of existing devices that companies have used for years to Verizon's network. Holding up a new computer chip made by Sequans Communications, an LTE chip maker, he said the chip will provide a "significant reduction in cost...that changes the game." It will provide 4G LTE connectivity in modules connected to IoT devices to "make the wide-area network more accessible to developers."
Also, next year Verizon will launch a new IoT core network within its LTE network to provide a "much lower cost" than with Verizon's existing wired and wireless networks.
"The cost for an IoT module and the cost to connect will both drop dramatically," Lanman added. "Whether you are connecting your dog or water meters and any other low-payload devices, we'll handle it through a new IoT core."
He said that many developers want to avoid the high cost of using LTE connections for IoT, and instead will rely on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or ZigBee. But LTE is built with greater security in mind and should be the choice of developers, he contended.
The new ThingSpace platform, he said, will allow developers to deploy IoT devices in 92 countries, a number expected to double in 2016. It relies on a Web-based interface that provides developers with tools to create, test, deploy, manage and market IoT apps. "It provides a single pane of glass for the tools developers need to bring to market products much faster than in the past," Lanman said.
Verizon didn't announce the cost of ThingSpace, but launched a website dedicated to it. A developer's hackathon using the new tools will be held Dec. 3 at Verizon's Innovation Center in Waltham, Mass.
Lanman also said Verizon will deploy its internal data analytics engine to companies for interpreting data from billions of devices. It will be provided as part of the ThingSpace platform, he said. Currently, the analytics engine handles more than 1.5 trillion data transactions each month.