At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, IoT products and services were less prominent than in recent years, as the spotlights this time shone primarily on 5G networks, and to a lesser extent on Microsoft’s second generation Hololens glasses for augmented reality. Nevertheless, IoT was ever-present, blending in like an accepted member of the wireless family. No single IoT service stood out dramatically, but VDC was especially impressed by the collective lineup of IoT-related services on display from Telefónica.
Madrid-based Telefónica is one of the world’s largest providers of telecommunication services, with significant presences in Spain (under the Movistar brand), as well as in Germany and the UK (both via its 2006 acquisition of O2), France (via a joint venture with Bouygues Telecom), and many countries in Central and South America.
Since last year’s MWC, notable IoT-related activities by Telefónica include:
In March of 2018, Telefónica agreed to partner with China Unicom so that both companies could issue global SIM cards enabling IoT device access across the companies’ networks, effectively covering much of China, Europe, and Latin America with a single SIM.
In October 2018, Telefónica launched the IoT Activation Program in conjunction with Wayra, its startup incubator. Participants in the IoT Activation Program will have access to software, services, and laboratory facilities, including Telefónica’s The Thinx (“things experience”) open test labs.
In December 2018, Telefónica announced Movistar Car, a service combining an OBD-II dongle with cellular services and a smartphone app, to provide in-vehicle Wi-Fi, as well as vehicle diagnostics, location tracking and alerts, and automated emergency calling in the event of a severe crash.
Its Kite IoT connectivity platform now has more than 25 million devices. Examples include: predictive maintenance for 100,000 Nespresso commercial coffee machines; and 50,000 devices in the Spotdyna smart retail platform jointly developed by Intel and Telefónica—used, for example, to control digital signage and store lighting, to track store foot traffic, and to create personalized customer experiences.
At MWC19, Telefónica touted numerous additional projects and partnerships, including:
A strategic collaboration with Microsoft to bring Telefónica’s AURA artificial intelligence platform to Azure, to “create new AI-powered, in-home experiences for customers and explore the use of intelligent technologies to transform the network.”
The first prototype of an Open Access flexible network architecture, that among other things will enable edge computing for IoT with latencies as low as 3 to 5 milliseconds. Use case demonstration included autonomous vehicle services, remote television broadcasting, and facial recognition systems.
Installation of a permanent 5G network at Nuo Camp, the football (soccer) stadium for FC Barcelona. Multiple 360 degree cameras will enable live broadcast viewers equipped with VR glasses to select from various viewpoints throughout the stadium.
A project called Internet para Todos (Internet for All) jointly developed with Facebook, IDB Invest and CAF (Development Bank of Latin America) to bring Internet-access to underserved populations, first in Peru, followed by other Latin American and Caribbean countries.
For these and other related activities, VDC is pleased to award Telefónica our Embeddy Award for “Best of Show” for IoT services. Congratulations to Telefónica.
For more on MWC 2019, download our VDC View.