Tune In: Mobile World Congress panel on the real value of cellular IoT

Red Hat’s Sanjay Aiyagari, solutions architect of telecommunications & NFV, joined Mobeen Khan, IoT strategy & product management executive at AT&T, and Lawrence Latham, COO of everynet for a panel discussion on the real value of cellular Internet of Things (IoT) at the recent Mobile World Congress. The group spoke with TelecomTV’s Guy Daniels about connectivity options, IoT deployment scenarios and the future promise of 5G.

In the interview, the panelists explored connectivity options for businesses considering IoT. According to AT&T’s Khan, all of the different connectivity options, such as cellular, Wi-Fi and satellite, are often explored depending on the customer’s implementation needs. “Customers are not typically buying a connectivity technology, they’re buying and end-to-end solution,” he said.

Red Hat’s Aiyagari agreed, pointing to the recently-announced IoT program Red Hat is co-sponsoring with Eurotech, the Eclipse Kapua, as an example. The new, open source Eclipse Foundation project offers IoT developers and end users an open platform for end-to-end IoT implementations.

Everynet’s Latham sees open source as “extremely important” for IoT installations. “I have a saying ‘IoT: it really doesn’t stand for Internet of Things, it stands for interoperability of things,’ because you need to be able to plug and replace,” he says.

The group discussed a variety of use cases where one connectivity option might work better than others, positing that use cases will start to drive the kinds of solutions we’ll see in the market. They also discussed quality of service, cost, and licensed vs. unlicensed technology, as well as how to better enable the developer community to support IoT.

And all of these specifics feed a larger solution for customers. A solution that requires a long-range approach. For example, Mobeen says AT&T sees customers looking to deploy solutions for 5 or 10 years rather than a matter of months. And, “they’re looking for reliability, scalability, and the ability for someone to manage those pieces for them on their behalf,” he says.

Red Hat’s Aiyagari also pointed to management as key to a big-picture view of IoT installations. “Devices and gateways will be there for 10 years,” he said. “Who’s going to support it 10 years from now when I still need to maintain it? Customers and operators need to think through that in their selection.”

And the impact of 5G on IoT momentum? All of the panelists agreed that customers have business problems that IoT can solve today, and they just want the applications to run regardless of the connectivity specifics. In other words, businesses aren’t waiting for 5G to move forward with IoT solutions.

You can check out the full conversation here for more insight on IoT from the panelists.

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