Today, I found myself pondering what a diverse and exciting telecommunications industry I work in. Just this morning I was discussing with colleagues what a game changer Kordia’s new 100G North Island DWDM fibre network is.
This very same afternoon I found myself using similar words to describe to a customer the new Internet of Things (IoT) network Kordia is deploying with Thinxtra and Sigfox. The difference being this network operates using a per message payload of just 12Bytes over a 100kbps connection.
It’s too hard to do the maths but let me put it this way; with 100G you could download an entire 4.5GB DVD in less than a half second. DWDM is all about huge capacity and low latency. IoT is all about low cost, coverage and low power consumption (battery life). 12Bytes is enough to relay change in status or positioning information. Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum.
Over the years the telecommunications industry has been consumed by the pursuit of bandwidth; speed was the name of the game. To be fair, access to fast and reliable bandwidth has changed our lives; in a few short years we have got used to consuming all manner of content whenever and wherever we wanted. Video content and cloud based applications were all enabled by these high speed access networks; the ensuing bandwidth tsunami gave providers like Kordia the confidence to invest in our own DWDM network to aggregate and backhaul this content. We already have a number of 10G customers and pretty soon will see many of these customers move to 100G. In fact we have 100G ready to go right now.
This interconnected world got people thinking about what would happen if we could connect and talk to all manner of other devices, not just computer networks and mobile phones. The term IoT or Internet of Things was coined and in a short space of time people were talking huge numbers; Cisco talked about 50 billion connected devices by 2020, Gartner predicted a $300+ billion revenue stream and $1.9 billion in productivity gains.
Sounds like Kordia should be excited by the opportunity afforded by connecting all these devices and backhauling them over our high capacity DWDM network at 100Gbps – right!
Maybe, maybe not; you see while the market opportunity for IoT is huge (how big is yet to be seen). The IoT network Kordia is rolling out with Thinxtra is based on SigFox technology; and is also based on the belief that much of the demand for connected devices will come from those applications that rely on very low cost devices, cheap reliable connectivity and also from the advantage afforded by not having to be connected to a mains power supply. GPS inventory or asset tracking and telemetry information are great examples. These applications are enabled and made viable by a battery powered, low cost device that will work for years, almost anywhere. This market does not rely on the requirement for large amounts of bandwidth. Large file size payloads and high speed connectivity are better suited to mains powered applications such as provided by cellular networks for example.
IoT might fuel a connectivity revolution, but it may not be a game changer in terms of driving the demand for bandwidth. The fact that Kordia is helping build an IoT network AND has a 100G DWDM network means we have a foot in both camps; and I think this proves my point about what an exciting and diverse industry I work in.