Connected cars, smart grids and private networks: frontiers of the device surge
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Connected cars, smart grids and private networks: frontiers of the device surge

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Dawane Young

Dawane Young, vice president of marketing at Verizon Partner Solutions (VPS), talks to Capacity about the latest trends in IoT and private networks.

What trends do you see in the IoT market in the US and worldwide?

The most prominent trend we're observing is the realisation of digital transformation over the past three years, whereby companies are grasping its implications for their operations. Consequently, technologies such as IoT in which we've been actively engaged are gaining significant traction.

Across many sectors, there's a growing recognition of the integral role played by devices in our daily lives, leading to a proliferation of both IoT devices and connectivity. The widespread adoption of 5G is further fuelling IoT expansion by enhancing connectivity options in the market, resulting in an exponential surge in the number of connections.

In which industry verticals is IoT growing fast?

The automotive sector, particularly the connected-car segment, stands out as a significant driver. At Verizon, we're experiencing increased involvement in the early stages of the manufacturing process with the inclusion of SIM integration, reflecting the growing demand for in-car Wi-Fi. Additionally, the utilisation of automotive diagnostic tools and software updates for vehicles is on the rise.

Smart city initiatives are also gaining momentum, encompassing endeavours ranging from traffic management to the implementation of smart grids. The deployment of sensors and cameras, particularly in areas such as smart lighting and traffic systems, is becoming ubiquitous in major cities worldwide. While we're still some distance away from achieving fully interconnected urban environments, notable efficiency gains and data analytics are being driven by IoT devices, particularly in sectors like water and electricity management.

Another noteworthy trend is the widespread pursuit of efficiency improvements, with robotics and digitisation increasingly taking centre stage, particularly within the manufacturing domain. Moreover, the use of drones, leveraging connectivity for activities such as firefighting and disaster monitoring, is witnessing significant growth.

What’s the main role of Verizon Partner Solutions [VPS] in IoT?

I'd delineate the role of VPS into two primary aspects. First, there's a focus on reselling our connectivity services through domestic US partners, which engage with entities such as cities, municipalities and manufacturers to explore the myriad of opportunities facilitated by IoT.

Secondly, when it comes to international partners, we're collaborating with global mobile network operators to ensure interoperability, thereby facilitating seamless and secure cross-border connections. With decades of experience in fostering interoperability for voice and data, this aspect is deeply ingrained in our organisational DNA.

The evolution of APIs and the robust capabilities of our ThingSpace platform further expedite these processes, while our active participation in various standards bodies worldwide bolsters interoperability efforts.

How much is the acceleration of 5G helping to inspire IoT uptake?

The accelerated rollout of 5G presents a pivotal opportunity for our partners to leverage faster network speeds, accommodating the burgeoning influx of IoT devices. A recent example is the unprecedented data traffic during the Super Bowl, for which our network infrastructure efficiently handled the substantial load.

As the deployment of 5G C-band technology expands across urban centres on our Ultra Wideband network, IoT stands to benefit significantly from the enhanced capacity to support a vast array of devices.

As IoT and 5G take-up grow, what trends are we seeing in private networks?

Several noteworthy trends are emerging in the realm of private networks. For instance, there's a notable surge in private network deployments within stadiums, offering high-speed, low-latency connectivity conducive to applications like coach-to-coach communications. This model, demonstrated in NFL stadiums, holds replicable potential across diverse sporting arenas and event venues.

Additionally, the manufacturing sector is increasingly turning to private networks to support critical applications related to robotics and supply-chain operations, necessitating low-latency capabilities.

Furthermore, there's a growing demand for enhanced connectivity in expansive environments such as golf courses, hotels and large venues, alongside the imperative for secure, low-latency support in healthcare settings like hospitals.

How can security challenges be met as the number of devices proliferates?

We're witnessing an evolution in security practices from addressing specific use cases to adopting a holistic, end-to-end approach. Integral to this evolution is the concept of zero-trust network access, which has become a cornerstone of our security strategy.

Acknowledging the diverse threat landscape, it's imperative for organisations to comprehensively assess threat vectors across their infrastructure and maintain a holistic view of their security landscape.

At Verizon, we're committed to enhancing security education initiatives for our partners. We also leverage insights from our annual Data Breach Investigative Report to fortify our infrastructure and that of our partners, ensuring robust protection against evolving threats.

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