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Internet of Things

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The craziness that is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is
and always will be the blur to jump start my recovery from the holidays. It
remains one of the busiest weeks on the calendar for any attendee, much less an
automotive industry analyst. At the event, I formally met with more than 30
automotive suppliers and manufacturers (not including all the informal
introductions, run-ins, and booth/coffee chats), all eager to provide updates
on their latest announcements, partnerships, and investments. If time and
travel wouldn’t have been a constraint, that number would have been much
higher.

Following a variety of small scale 5G
rollouts in 2019
, the rubber is hitting the road in terms of making the
next-gen cellular technology available to the masses with the recent low-band
spectrum 5G launches from AT&T and T-Mobile. For the past month, I have
been putting those recent deployments through their paces and came away with a
few impressions on low-band 5G’s impact on today’s user experience.

Earlier this summer, my friend’s daughter began a new job, her first one right out of college. Amidst all the usual starting-a-new-job hubbub of picking health insurance and setting up her direct deposit, she was also faced with getting her hardware – laptop, tablet, and smartphone – selected and set up. It’s a task many of us are usually faced with, and don’t spend too much time thinking about. However, not long after starting her job, she called me at work with a question:

“Ramon, which wearable should I get?”

By now you’ve probably heard about this next generation of cellular connectivity thing known as 5G. Nationwide advertising campaigns tout the ability to play multiplayer games on the move and logos are already changing on our phones. You might even think you have it via the 5G (GHz) channel on your WiFi router. Mobile operators began announcing launches of one form of 5G service or another beginning late last year and are continuing through 2019. Leading academics and engineers have already moved on and started talking about 6G and 7G. The 5G era is signed, sealed and delivered, right?

The Internet of Things (IoT) market is a tricky thing; customers aren’t necessarily looking to buy “IoT technology” but are instead searching for solutions that can help them achieve a specific business goal, such as supply chain efficiency or cost savings. That’s why IoT vendors need to not only have a good handle on the other players in their space, but on the ways they and their competition are framing their individual IoT solutions. It’s not enough to talk about the IoT market; vendors must frame their solution in a business value context in order to connect with their customer base.