We Can Expect To See Plenty of Innovative Disruption Caused by IoT In 2018

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2017 brought the dawn of 5G technology, emerging solutions for the smart home, smart terminals and smart city applications, such as the widespread adoption of connected city bikes, smart trash, and the application of drones and sensors. The past year has also seen the beginning of the true emergence of connected cars delivering the promise of public safety.  We asked a few key Taoglas people across IT, Engineering, Finance and Marketing to describe how the IoT landscape is evolving and what we expect to see in the coming year. What we can expect is disruption across the board due to  IoT innovations within the various sectors.

Innovative disruption, coined by Clayton M. Christensen, is the “The process, or technology change which is ‘constructive’ in improving the current method of manufacturing, yet disruptively impact the whole of the business case model, resulting in a significant reduction of waste, energy, materials, labor, or legacy costs to the user.” Disruptive technology is fast-changing the world in a positive way for many of its users as the markets adapt to cater for a growing demand for change.

For Dermot O’Shea, Joint CEO, IoT will become more mainstream due to the increase in global coverage as well as the reduction of costs – factors that inhibited potential business growth in the past.
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“IoT will begin to penetrate every organization. Installation will become quicker and more painless with evolving tools and platforms to further drive demonstrable savings. That increase in adoption will bring more awareness and understanding while also leveraging economies of scale to bring costs of deployment down. Every carrier globally is planning for dedicated LTE technologies to support IoT which means that not just heavy devices will use it, but everything from connected heating oil tanks to rat traps.”

In the same way, Tim Dolan, VP of NA Sales, anticipates that consolidation will also take place amidst the broader demand for IoT.

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“There are a growing number of cellular module suppliers in the IoT market. This is causing constant price pressure and margin erosion. I expect to see consolidation in this space in 2018.”

It’s not only utility and communication companies that will feel the effects of the market disruption. Autonomous driving will bring the biggest change in our society. Although we don’t expect to see the rollout of autonomous driving in 2018, we will see that many companies will be preparing for the challenges ahead.  Chief Financial Officer, Patrick McHale foresees challenges for the insurance industry.

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“As autonomous driving will be inherently safer, some say 94% fewer crashes, this will shake up the industry. Even today we are seeing that insurance companies are tailoring their premiums using telematics to assess driver behavior, and linking that data with health-related products.”

More connectivity means more data and with the increasing emergence of IoT, companies will have to heed their actions. Particularly when it comes to processing and storing data. The Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) poses a number of challenges for companies. Challenges faced by the connected care sector and others will become apparent in due course. Dan Ruane, Head of Group IT at Taoglas alludes;

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“The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will bring fines to companies of 4% global turnover or twenty million Euro, whichever is greater in one of the largest shakeups to data protection laws for the past 20 years. On the 25th of May 2018, this new law will be enforced on companies that hold data on EU citizens, irrespective of the companies location. This new regulation aims to reduce the amount of identifiable information held by companies on EU citizens and addresses the citizens rights to have control over that data. Data Breaches, originating from some of the worlds largest companies have become far too commonplace. This new law aims to tackle and bring about many changes when it comes to data and cybersecurity company policies. It is estimated that 28,000 Data Protection Officers (DPO) will be hired over the next 2 years in the EU alone, and each DPO needs to report directly to the highest authority in the company, thus moving data security and GDPR directly into the executive boardroom for many global businesses going forward.”

For David Connolly, Product Design Manager the major change he expects to see pertains to the size and cost of new antennas on the market. Already, GNSS used in surveying reduces the subscription costs to base stations.

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“High precision GNSS, UWB and NB-IoT applications will require a move to lower cost antennas and smaller designs such as PCB trace and LDS antennas.”

High precision location measurement will be seen across a multitude of sectors for its ability to capture precise data for management applications. On the marine sector, Neil Woodhouse RF Engineer said,

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“We will see an increased demand for high precision GNSS in the management of marine applications such as tracking lost containers at sea and in-port, for navigation of autonomous vessels in ports and the piloting of these vessels using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). High precision will also be used in research of marine environmental conditions using centimeter level GNSS data.”

The LDS technology addresses customer needs for smaller, higher performance products with integrated LDS antennas in the Automotive and the Wearables Markets. LDS technology allows an antenna design to be directly placed on the surface of a molded plastic part which can become part of the planner enclosure for the finished product or sub-assembly. This process allows higher levels of product integration with fewer components and lower costs. The antenna no longer needs to be a separate component to perform well and effectively requires no dedicated space.

Taoglas’ own LDS machine in operation in Taiwan

Engineer Mike Gilmartin envisions that 2018 will see a massive ramp-up of disruptive technologies such as disposable IoT tags, acceding to the fact that the demand for smaller and cheaper antennas will become more commonplace. Mike states:

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“The price point looks like it will be in the low 10’s of cents, possibly $0.20 including a printed battery. Initial applications will include tracking individual envelopes, parcels and packages. For example, reporting via SMS when a package was opened. Basic location data could be provided to within a few kilometers utilizing a type of triangulation based on signal strength received from multiple base-stations. Other applications could include disposable sensors that detect forest fires, flood sensors, motion/movement sensors, healthcare and pharmaceutical sensors and general-purpose compliance type applications. Currently, low cost, low power, long range technologies within the LPWAN [Low Power Wide Area Network] space are Sigfox and LoRa. Both have networks across multiple countries and are launching single event, disposable tags in early 2018.”

The connected car will also get smaller and slicker in its design according to Vladimir Furlan, Senior Antenna Engineer who says;

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“Today ‘shark fins’ on the car roof will be replaced with flat systems only 10-20 mm high or even antenna systems completely hidden under the car roofline.”

Landon Garner, Chief Marketing Officer notes a big shift for the larger IoT space as pricing structures in the market begin to divide between those using lower throughput, narrow-band technologies and those requiring higher throughput LTE technologies:

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“Having recently completed the transition from 2G, 2018 will bring in another sunset with 3G finding its way to the bench in some parts of the world.  This shift will allow 2018 to bring forward the most efficient network technologies that the world has ever seen. Using LTE as a backbone, NB-IoT and LTE-M will start to open tremendous new commercial opportunities due to strong coverage footprints and extremely competitive pricing – in many cases less than 10% of the cost seen with traditional LTE service offerings. On the other end of the throughput spectrum, 3GPP very recently announced that the 5G spec has crossed the finish line. 2018 will start to create a distinct division between low throughput and high throughput applications – with both finding tremendous use cases in 2018.”

All in all, 2018 is shaping up to be a tremendous year to bring a connected solution to life. Never before has the IoT space seen such a mature and developed ecosystem that is ripe for scale. The innovation that IoT will bring to every aspect of our lives promises an exciting year as we look at the use cases that come to life through our Taoglas Antennas.