This is the third post of our three-part takeaway series from MWCA 2018. In Part I, we discussed The Connected Future and what 5G will bring; including how it will provide a lift for both AI and VR technologies. In Part II, we covered the impact 5G, AI & social data will have on mobile retail sales. Here in Part III, we’ll cover how IoT fits into the 5G landscape as discussed during The IoT Landscape conference.

This conference-within-a-conference was hosted by Graham Trickey, Head of IoT, GSMA and he spoke with representatives from AT&T, Ericsson, Intel, Sprint and Synchronoss.

Overview of IoT by 2025:

  • 25 billion connected devices
  • $1.1 trillion IoT revenue opportunity
  • 3.6 billion cellular connections

An IoT connection is any device that has an IP address for internet connectivity. A part of what is helping IoT rise to the forefront of business, is that manufacturers are now producing IoT devices in small form factors with much lower costs than ever before. One of the more popular examples is Tile—a small, square bluetooth device that you can, for example, put in your child’s backpack so you can track where that backpack is at all times; or, a retailer could use them on pallets to create smart pallets.

The high speeds and low latency that 5G provides is built around IoT, meaning the ecosystem is coming together. As discussed in Part II of our three-part takeaway series from MWCA, when a business can develop a means to collect data and intelligence from the consumer through some sort of voluntary sign in, that’s when social profiles can be developed and decisions can be made. A successful business will use that data, crunch it, and then take action to help make customer lives better.

For retailers, the combination of 5G, AI, IoT and robotics can help transform brick and mortar stores. Think about it: the IoT devices (cameras, sensors, robots) will collect the data; the 5G will transmit the data; the AI will crunch the data; and a human will make an informed decision on things such as restocking inventory or pulling an item from a shelf. The ideas and possibilities are endless on how to implement the technology. As Jan Geldmacher, President of Sprint puts it, “Curiosity is the beginning of everything.” Sprint is currently building a network for software that can handle 5G, AI and IoT and should be ready for deployment in 2019.

Says Vice President at Intel, Dipti Vachani: “The challenge of IoT is not in coming up with ideas, but how to put it in the store and then scale.” Vachani also says that the retail industry is one of the top three verticals where IoT can play the biggest roles (industrial and autonomous transportation are the other two verticals). She envisions brick and mortar stores with few, or even no employees; where cameras, sensors and robots take over mundane tasks such as inventory management. For example, if you walk into an apparel store and they don’t have your correct size, you’ll turn around and leave and shop elsewhere. But if you have the social graphs available showing which sizes consumers wear, then an AI management inventory system can help keep popular sizes and fashion in stock; and in turn you keep your customer happy by improving their lives.

This is the third post of a three-part takeaway series from MWCA ‘18. Part I covered 5G and The Connected Future and Part II covered Mobile Retail Sales, 5G, AI & Social Data.