This year at MWC Shanghai, Empirix presented the latest solution in its Customer Experience Assurance (CEA) portfolio: Device Analytics. Designed for use by a service provider to manage the performance of all mobile devices on its network—2G, 3G or 4G—the solution generated interest from not only service providers, but also from network equipment vendors who are in the process of investigating not only the next generation in network technology but, more significantly, user or application devices capable of hosting next-generation services.
From the many discussions that Empirix had at the event, the ability to first identify and then monitor the performance of multiple device types—be they traditional mobile handsets, smart meters or vehicle-based sensors—is very much at the forefront of vendors’ development and rollout strategies.
In fact, the theme of MWC Shanghai, “Mobile is Me,” focused on how mobile technology—from connected cars and wearable tech to the Internet of Things (IoT) and smarter cities—is revolutionizing every aspect of our lives and creating more personalized experiences. In particular, there was much discussion around the push toward driverless vehicles, which may well represent the ultimate use case as the IoT becomes a reality with the evolution to 5G. But, before we are able to make that transition, we need something else: a technology that was referred to as LTE-Vehicle (LTE-V).
Based on a modified version of the current 3GGP LTE standards, LTE-V is seen as the initial bridge between service providers and automobile manufacturers. LTE-V represents a faster, lower-cost approach to delivering on what is being termed the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), as it would reuse much of service providers’ existing network infrastructure. It does, of course, have limitations compared to what is being promised by 5G—especially around latency and proximity—but the business case is still compelling:
- Driver Safety: Connected vehicle technologies will give drivers the tools they need to anticipate and avoid potential traffic accidents.
- Mobility: Connected vehicle mobility applications will enable system users and system operators to make smart choices that reduce travel delays.
- Environment, traffic efficiency: Connected vehicle environmental applications will give motorists the real-time information they need to make “green” transportation choices. For example, upon starting a daily commute, an application may recommend that public transportation is the fastest travel option.
While we look forward to driverless cars and other technological advances, we also need to support existing technology. The latest devices capable of supporting new applications or technologies may all use the network differently; organizations need to be prepared for that. Some devices or sensors will access the network more frequently, but for shorter periods of time, or, in some cases, may take the existing always-on approach of 4G. The key will be having visibility into how these devices behave and ensuring that the network can support either activity pattern.
Both service providers and network equipment vendors will need to understand the behavior of all devices using their networks. New devices capable of supporting new applications or technologies may each use the network differently.Be it more frequently but for short durations or in some cases, taking the existing, always on approach of 4G, the key will be having visibility into how these devices behave and ensure that the network can support either activity pattern.
For more information on Empirix Device Analytics capabilities, as well as other solutions within our CEA portfolio, please contact us.