“The race is on for the carriage standard for the IoT’s (Internet of Things). WiFi, 3G, LTE, Weightless are all candidates. Then there’s the short range stuff like Bluetooth LE, NFC, the list goes on.
Interesting to see some of the alternates emerging to WiFi. A company Nuel in the UK have just released an ‘industrial’ carriage network solution that operates over any licensed or unlicensed spectrum can communicate from deep within buildings up to 5 Km’s and has receivers that can run for up to 15 years on 2 AA batteries.
The Telcos and regulators are going to have a difficult time policing and keeping network revenues contained for the IoT.”
As Simon says, wireless carriage is potentially a massive game-changer for the communications industry, or more specifically to:
- The telcos that rely on the pseudo-monopolies created by spectrum exclusivity, thus limiting the number of competitors in mobile communications markets
- The governments that grant spectrum exclusivity in return for license fees
If / when Nuel or others prove successful with their technologies, both of the privileges above would be voided unless there is a counter-play (eg regulatory reforms to protect massive spectrum licensing revenues). Similarly, I can only assume that if there is no counter-play, the number of competitors will significantly increase and standard mobile services will commoditise.
The ramifications to the OSS industry could include:
- Increased competition in mobile communications is likely to drive relative profits down for the incumbents, meaning less money available for OSS, which possibly forces OSS to a lower price point
- Increased competition means that there would be more organisations to sell OSS to
- If competition forces lower prices for standard services, then mobile service providers will seek innovation to improve margins (eg unique services / apps / content, bundling, handset exclusivity, etc). OSS will need to keep up with any of these service innovations, so OSS frameworks will need to be highly flexible
These points represent opportunities as much as threats to OSS vendors.
Aside: When Simon first highlighted Nuel’s innovation as a comment to an earlier blog post, I wondered whether the innovation of Nuell was a play on Charles H. Duell’s (Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents) famous quote from 1899 that “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” But as it turns out, neul is just a Scottish Gaelic word meaning ‘cloud.’ 😀