Identifying the leading solutions in the IoT market today

Innovation is defined as simply the introduction of something new or a new idea, method, or device. A product, for instance, can be innovative. Merriam-Webster suggests that the words innovation and invention overlap some, as both can refer to something which has not previously been in existence before.

However, here is the key difference. Innovation can be something new or it can be a change made to an existing process. Merriam-Webster even suggests this: the first telephone was an invention, the first cellular telephone either an invention or an innovation, and the first smartphone an innovation. See the difference? Central to innovation is change. Something needs to change—a technology or a process—and change is critical today.

To help identify the IoT (Internet of Things) products that are driving the biggest change, each year, Connected World honors new innovations and recognizes a handful of products that are helping to move the needle forward in a number of vertical segments. The innovations represent the some of the hottest and in some cases even the newest products for the fast-paced, ever-emerging IoT market—and they are certainly the best of the best in the IoT for 2019.

Each year, industry vendors directly submit nominations. The editorial advisory board of judges at Connected World evaluate the most transformative innovations to hit the market, looking for what makes the technology unique, what type of solution the product is, how the company worked with others on the innovation, and more.

Each of the entries are then evaluated by each judge on a number of criteria including creativity of innovation, market competition, partners, go-to market strategy, price point, market need, addressing a painpoint, and more. The judges also consult with outside industry experts and do follow up with the candidates throughout the research process.

This year of those that nominated only five made the cut and stood out as truly innovative by today’s IoT standards. With that, here are the winners of the Connected World IoT Innovations for 2019.

Product: Cel-Fi GO

Company: Nextivity

Cellular IoT solutions are advancing M2M communication. To accomplish this, cellular coverage must be ubiquitous and cover those areas where IoT solutions are installed and operate. By 2021, two billion cellular IoT devices will be in market, making cellular a major communication technology for the IoT. The challenge is for those solutions to be reliable and effective, cellular coverage must also be available and consistent in the environment.

Enter Cel-Fi GO by Nextivity, which is an indoor and outdoor cellular coverage solution with modes to support both mobile and stationary IoT solutions. It provides coverage for spaces up to 15,000-sq.ft. per system and can be placed indoors or outdoors. The donor antenna can be positioned inside or outside, depending on the use case and location of the best available signal.

What makes this product so unique is it features 65 dB system gain in mobile mode and 100 dB in stationary mode for 3G, 4G, and LTE, including LTE Cat-M networks. It boosts signals for all devices in the area simultaneously and is designed with advanced echo-cancellation techniques to overcome most RF challenges seen in the field that typically interfere with cellular signals, making it ideal for a number of use cases. Use cases for the technology include construction sites, solar farms, vending machines, oil and gas, law enforcement, agriculture, manufacturing, and public safety, just to name a few.

As new networks dedicated to supporting IoT applications continue to grow, there will likely be an increased demand for cellular connectivity. Cel-Fi GO by Nextivity addresses this for both indoor and outdoor environments.

“We know all too well the struggles many industries face to tap into connectivity. Nextivity addresses this with its Cel-Fi GO, which is well positioned to provide the coverage needed to support cellular IoT.” —Peggy Smedley

Product: CT 3000 Series

Company: ORBCOMM

Companies leveraging refrigerated container-management solutions need to be able to have visibility and management of their fleet, which can be done through remote monitoring of container location and status, in order to efficiently allocate assets and eliminate unnecessary moves. This is where CT 3000 Series, which includes the CT 3000 (permanent) and CT 3100 (temporary and trip-based) devices, from ORBCOMM can help.

The series integrates a comprehensive solution with sensors and applications to provide remote monitoring and control of refrigerated containers traveling on land, rail, or sea, and at terminals and depots. It is also designed to protect the cargo, as the technology helps to make sure that each container is the right temperature.

Uniquely, the CT 3100 variant is a new deployment for an industry that answers a persistent market need by providing trip-based and temporary telematics. It also installs temporarily to monitor assets while on a trip, on a vessel, or at a terminal. It features an integrated antenna and magnetic clip to enable installation and removal in minutes, with no downtime, tools, or installation team.

The series helps drive more profitable operations, as it can minimize spoilage. It enables realtime tracking and two-way control of refrigerated containers and cargo and helps shipping lines, terminal operators, carriers, cargo owners, and other users. Another added benefit is the series can help reduce claims, as the technology can help respond to any issues quickly.

“ORBCOMM is once again demonstrating its leadership position in the fleet/telematics space with the CT 3000 Series combining advanced hardware with an application that meets a real need for refrigerated container-management solutions.” —Peggy Smedley

Product: Machfu Gateway

Company: Machfu

Trillions of dollars in industrial assets have been deployed in the past several decades. In order to modernize operations, companies need scalable and secure IP connectivity, multiprotocol support and translation, and the ability to target customized applications and business logic to mesh both legacy and emerging devices into the modern IT paradigm.

To help, Machfu has built a gateway platform that has the hardware interfaces, device protocol libraries, cloud protocol libraries, and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system connections to enable connecting any industrial device to any backend system easily. The flexible platform can be adapted for the future without the constant reinvestment needed for next generation of products and services.

The unique value of the product comes from the gateway OS (operating system) software that uses the Android user space to create a sandboxed application environment. This enables new applications to be easily deployed and services added during the life of the system. Since these systems are long lived, many changes occur in communication technologies, application protocols, security threats, and realizable business opportunities during the system’s lifecycle.

The edge gateway makes it easy to develop applications without having to worry about the plumbing underneath and brings a common data model, reducing the industrial IoT complexity.

“Complexity has always been a barrier to scaling in the industrial space. The new gateway from Machfu simplifies this by offering a flexible platform that can be adapted for the future.” —Peggy Smedley

Product: Monarch SiP

Company: Sequans

Connectivity is the heart of all IoT implementations, driving success across all industries and applications—and Monarch SiP from Sequans is an all-in-one connectivity solution that can operate on any LTE band.

Monarch SiP combines Skyworks’ LTE universal, multi-band RF front-end module with Sequans’ Monarch LTE-M/NB-IoT Platform in a single, ultra-compact SiP that enables worldwide deployment and roaming capability in a Single-SKU.

Monarch SiP achieves a very high level of integration whereby baseband, RF (radio frequency) transceiver, power management, RF front-end, and RAM memory are integrated.

This also meets the needs of IoT device makers of ultra-small solutions, as it fits into tiny IoT devices such as wearables, sensors, and consumer trackers. It is a small, thin LTE-M/NB-IoT connectivity solution, measuring 8.8 x 10.8 x 0.95 mm, making it a tiny connectivity solution that includes everything needed to connect IoT devices to the LTE network.

It also brings together Sequans’ operator certified Monarch platform and Skyworks RF frontend for a total solution that offers IoT device makers a simpler design, accelerated carrier certification, and faster time to market.

The Monarch SiP is being offered for sale either from Sequans or Skyworks, with pricing based on volume. It is also being offered through certain carriers as part of their IoT accelerator and on-boarding program with subsidies that apply. In April of this year, for example, it announced that Monarch SiP is now available via Verizon’s ThingSpace IoT Accelerator Program.

“Monarch SiP represents the next generation of connectivity. It packs a powerful punch in a very tiny form.” —Peggy Smedley

Product: Parameter Plus

Company: Volvo Trucks

For truck drivers, being able to switch between operating modes remotely, while balancing fuel usage and performance, is critical to ensure profitability. To help, Volvo Trucks offers a new series of parameter updates to its Parameter Plus subscription packages, offering greater breadth and control of OTA (over-the-air) updates. The new Parameter Plus package with OTA powertrain software updates can be completed in under 20 minutes and parameter updates in under 10 minutes.

Originally introduced in March 2019, the newest release of the parameter updates increases the potential of the nearly 17,000 Volvo trucks benefiting from OTA update capabilities.

The new packages include over 250 updates in categories including road speed, cruise control, transmission, idle shutdown, and fuel economy.

Comfort shift is included, which is a software package that provides smoother launches when load shifting must be minimized. This gives drivers a smoother start, changed gear shift strategy, and gentler drive. Another area of control being offered is idle shutdown, which gives authority over minimum and maximum time allotted for idleness.

The technology delivers a higher level of accuracy and efficiency and offers increased flexibility and optimization.

“Move over, Parameter Plus by Volvo Trucks is determined to pass everyone as it sets the stage with quick and efficient OTA updates giving drivers truck drivers the tools they need when they are on the go.” —Peggy Smedley