Big news for the Internet of Things (IoT) industry. Sprint and Ericsson have announced their plans to develop a virtualized core IoT network and operating system. This will be one of the only networks and operating systems that is specifically for IoT. Sprint and Ericsson intend to support the most demanding applications, including AI, edge computing, robotics, and autonomous vehicles.
The Big IoT Announcement
Internet of Things refers to the network of devices including appliances, smart vehicles, and other physical items, combined with connectivity components that allows data to be exchanged or manipulated.
Sprint and Ericsson’s announcement was made on September 4th, and the platform was officially presented on September 12th at the Mobile World Congress Americas Press Conference in Los Angeles. Ivo Rook, a senior vice president of IoT for Sprint, said this in his announcement:
“We are combining our IoT strategy with Ericsson’s expertise to build a platform primed for the most demanding applications like artificial intelligence, edge computing, robotics, autonomous vehicles and more with ultra-low-latency, the highest availability and an unmatched level of security at the chip level. This is a network built for software and it’s ready for 5G. Our IoT platform is for those companies, large and small, that are creating the immediate economy.”
Rook’s statement that the network will be ready for 5G is huge.
Asa Tamsons, senior vice president and head of business area technology & emerging business at Ericsson, describes the partnership as “a truly disruptive IoT business.”
The core network is made with the intent of providing high availability and low latency, combined with improved security, privacy, and technical aspects.
T-Mobile’s Role and IP Sprint
The news of Sprint and T-Mobile merger plans led to a great deal of excitement and speculation. Take a look at some of the “big promises” Sprint and T-Mobile have made if they are allowed to merge in our blog post.
Last July, T-Mobile launched their own narrowband IoT network across the United States. A narrowband IoT is Low-Power Wide Area Network radio tech with the purpose of many different cellular devices and programs. It was developed by 3GPP with a focus on inexpensive indoor coverage.
One may wonder how this affects the Intellectual Property of Sprint and the market as a whole. Let us take a look at the relationship between IoT and the intellectual property industry.
The IoT Patent Landscape
The IoT Patent Landscape is currently experiencing immense multi-layered growth. The number of connected devices is increasing, as well as their differentiators and patentable components. A slight null exists in the IoT market right now, however, as we are in a “wait stage” between 4G technology and 5G technology which is expected in 2020. Smaller changes will still occur, but don’t expect any huge game-changers.
There are many complexities that go into supporting the connection between devices. Power consumption, limited signaling, and translatable languages are a few of the challenges that wireless communication experts are battling. Battery power especially, is just not ready for these kind of advanced mass connections—the technology is merely not there yet.
This means that some companies will enter the IoT industry with growth-minded expectations, while some will accept the technological constraints and attempt to work around them. If you are interested in Intellectual Property Strategy, it is important to understand your competition.
One competitor may use a standardized component and basic technology, while another may make modifications to specific parts to create a unique aspect. IoT-related technologies are managed by a mix of standardizations forum and industry initiatives. Understanding the legal framework of the standardizations and how the industry-specific patent and IPR is structured, will give you an enormous step up on your competition.
Looking beyond the Spring and Ericsson Partnership
As you can see, the intriguing IoT patent landscape has seen an uptick in complexity, especially due to the Sprint and Ericsson partnership announcement. It is recommended that you know how to operate in this ever-changing market, or at least know someone who can help. For more information about the consequences of this partnership, or the IoT patent landscape, please contact GHB Intellect.
GHB Intellect is a full-service intellectual property consulting and engineering services firm. With a growing cadre of hundreds of industry-seasoned experts & professionals, as well as access to full suites of design and testing equipment, we specialize in high-tech, science, and innovation.