The Internet of Things, or IoT, is driving new use cases for wearables, including lifestyle and wellness apps, requiring more diverse device support on mobile networks. With cellular networks already covering 90 percent of the world's population, consumers expect their wearables to benefit from the same ubiquitous connectivity as their feature phones and smartphones. To address growing consumer demand and the proliferation of such new IoT applications, Ericsson, Sony Mobile and SK Telecom are testing and trialing new device and network innovations to support secure and ubiquitous LTE network connectivity for new lower cost, lower power IoT devices.
Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network R&D Center, SK Telecom, says: "We are working with Ericsson and Sony Mobile to trial both mobile network technologies and new IoT devices that improve our customer's lives, at home and work. These latest tests and trials reflect our commitment to establish a stronger IoT ecosystem globally."
Ericsson, Sony Mobile and SK Telecom conducted lab testing of the key functionalities of LTE device Category 0 and Category M (Machine Type Communication) in Ericsson radio labs in Kista, Sweden at the early of September. Field trials are planned in SK Telecom's network in Korea later this year. LTE Cat-0 has been standardized in 3GPP LTE Release 12 and is the first device category specifically targeting reduced complexity and thus reduced cost for IoT. LTE Category M is a key theme in LTE Release 13, representing further cost savings and improving battery lifetime.
Izumi Kawanishi, EVP, Product Business Group, Sony Mobile, says: "Sony Mobile regards the push into the realm of IoT and our strategies for diving into this market are critically important. There can be little doubt that the market for network-connected devices - of every shape, size and type - will explode at breakneck pace going forwards. We believe that the trials with Ericsson and SK Telecom are important steps towards the IoT world, realizing solutions that will strengthen user experiences."
Wearable devices and related applications were selected for the user scenarios being tested and trialed. The wearable device test use cases are focused on consumer lifestyle and wellness applications enabled through multiple sensors providing accelerometer, identification, pulse meter and GPS functionality. IoT wearables are miniaturized, low-cost, low-power IoT devices with specific network and device performance criteria. In testing, LTE has proven to support the ubiquitous and secure uplink and downlink connections that wearable lifestyle and wellness applications require.
Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Radio, Ericsson, says: "We are working with our leading ecosystem partners, including SK Telecom and Sony Mobile, to accelerate the adoption of new IoT applications for both consumers and industry. The test and trials that we have undertaken, leveraging new Sony Mobile devices and the mobile network technology in our radio labs and in SK Telecom's live commercial network, focus on lifestyle and wellness applications that really benefit from the secure, ubiquitous mobile connectivity that cellular technologies support."
Ericsson recently announced new Networks Software 16B features focused on accelerating IoT adoption by leveraging the extensive footprint, high reliability, security and broad eco-system support of LTE and GSM networks to provide a platform for IoT growth. Features include support for lower cost IoT devices, extending device battery life to more than 10 years and improving coverage for both indoor and remote IoT applications.