VDC Research Blog

The Warehouse of the Future

by Shahroze Husain | 01/20/2016

Warehouses and distribution centers are increasingly playing a critical role in generating supply chain efficiencies across industries like pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, retail, and fashion, leading to companies such as Amazon and DHL to look for new ways to support their growing warehouse operations through solutions such as robotic picking systems and augmented reality. As such material handling, data capture, order fulfillment, and software technologies are evolving to align with organizations’ vision of the warehouse of the future. Read more

FirstNet RFP Marks Move to Modern Public Safety System

by Matthew Hopkins | 01/14/2016

On Wednesday, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) released a much anticipated request for proposals (RFP) for the nationwide public safety LTE network. The Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract with a limit of $100 billion for a performance period of 25 years marks what FirstNet’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth describes as a “first of its kind public-private partnership”. 

Proposals for the project are due by April 29th and many telecommunications carriers will likely enter the competition, which could prove profitable as any of the unused 20 MHz of 700MHz broadband spectrum will be left under the operator’s control. Moreover, the RFP highlights 16 key objectives requiring additional investments in a number of other auxiliary technologies to ensure network functionality. Read more

CES 2016, Part 3: Wireless IoT Technologies Proliferate

by Steve Hoffenberg | 01/13/2016

Another of the trends that stood out most to VDC at this year’s CES was the ubiquity of wireless technologies. It was rare that any connected product on display did not include wireless, the most prevalent types being Bluetooth Smart, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee.

Bluetooth Smart, also known as Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), is ideal for many wearable devices that will communicate with the user’s nearby smartphone. Wi-Fi is best for IoT devices in a home or small business environment, leveraging existing routers and networking for other PC and Internet communications. ZigBee is a short range mesh network with a communications protocol adopted by numerous device makers, primarily in the smart home market. But none of these technologies is suited to longer range communications required in many industrial, commercial, and government IoT applications. Fortunately, there is no shortage of alternatives that are well-suited, the two most widely known being the Low-Power Wide-Area Networking (LPWAN) technologies Sigfox and LoRa. Read more

Predictions for 2016 Part II

by Cameron Roche | 01/13/2016

Companies in just about every industry have the opportunity to benefit from a mobile strategy that improves productivity and engagement. However, mobile penetration among industries varies significantly due to a number of factors including, regulatory drivers/inhibitors, security barriers, killer applications, competitive pressures, work force demographics, etc. Despite these drivers/inhibitors, VDC expects software and hardware mobile investments to increase in 2016 as companies adjust to a world that continues to move towards mobile computing.

Specific impetuses and impediments to mobile investments by sector will undoubtedly dictate the pace of mobile adoption, but all companies will nonetheless feel pressure to expand their mobile initiatives. Whether employed to improve business processes or engage customers, mobility’s ability to provide employees and consumers with critical information just about anywhere will continue to transform the enterprise. Read more

Predictions for 2016 Part I

by Cameron Roche | 01/12/2016

Microsoft’s Windows operating system currently accounts for less than five percent of the smartphone market despite many efforts—most notably its acquisition of Nokia—to revitalize its mobile portfolio. However, 2016 will mark the first full year of Windows 10. This new operating system enables applications to work across all Microsoft devices; thus countering an argument that critical mobile mass is necessary for robust application development. The Windows Continuum allows developers to develop for all devices in the Microsoft ecosystem, thus ensuring an extensive marketplace of enterprise and consumer apps. Moreover, smartphones have largelybecome commoditized, and with differentiation fading, Microsoft has a new opportunity to enter a static market with new, sophisticated, and affordable mobile devices. A window of opportunity is opening for Microsoft in the mobile space as the previous barriers to success are fast eroding. Read more

CES 2016, Part 2: Automotive Technologies Move Forward

by Steve Hoffenberg | 01/12/2016

At this year’s CES, booths were brimming with IoT products such as home automation devices, connected audio and video gear, pet trackers, and fitness monitors. But one of the trends that stood out most to VDC was the prevalence of automotive technology, which came to the forefront as never before.

Two of the keynote speeches at CES featured heads of major carmakers. One of the keynotes was by Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, although more than half of her presentation was essentially a live infomercial for the 2017 Chevy Bolt all-electric vehicle, including a bit of a cheap-shot at Tesla—without mentioning that company by name—due to its lack of “neighborhood dealerships.” (Many consumers consider Tesla’s direct sales model to be a benefit over the traditional dealership business model.) Read more

CES 2016, Part 1: Drills, Holes, and Holemakers

by Steve Hoffenberg | 01/11/2016

Since long before the turn of the millennium, every January has brought to Las Vegas the humongous trade show and conference known as CES. Those three letters no longer officially stand for Consumer Electronics Show, but that’s how many people in the industry still refer to it. The very term “consumer electronics” is usually considered a category of devices, as in a department in retail stores where consumers buy their boxes of TVs, audio and video players, cameras, etc. But as the industry has evolved, more and more of the products have included (or in some cases wholly become) intangibles and/or services. In recognition of such trends, two months before this year’s show the organization behind CES, the Consumer Electronics Association, officially changed its name to the Consumer Technology Association. Although CTA says it has no plans to change the CES show name, the industry shift is evident. Read more

IoT Forcing Embedded Boards and Systems Vendors to Adapt to Survive

by Daniel Mandell | 01/05/2016

Emerging embedded hardware requirements are stirring up competition for motherboards and integrated systems while driving demand for more IoT-related systems integration services.

The global markets for embedded boards and integrated computer systems will see growing competition over the next five years, according to a new report by VDC Research (click here to learn more). The embedded hardware space is vast, continually evolving, and extremely fragmented with larger organizations often supplying several different board and/or system form factors as well as potentially a variety of SKUs featuring different configurations thereof. Systems integration services, in turn, are benefiting from the growing complexity of modern (connected) embedded systems and are seeing greater use for IoT designs. Read more