Verizon Formally Introduces Internet Of Things Strategy To Partners, End Customers

Verizon plans to leverage its channel partner ecosystem, a new Internet of Things (IoT) platform, and a big data analytics engine to accelerate IoT adoption, the carrier said during an IoT strategy event at its San Francisco Innovation Center this week.

Thanks in part to channel partners and its existing IoT solutions including smart cities, connected cars and wearables, Verizon is generating one of the largest amounts of revenue from IoT of any company in the U.S., the carrier said. Verizon has been tight-lipped about its own IoT strategy, but execs said that the carrier wants to lower the barrier of entry to IoT for more partners and customers.

Verizon unveiled its ThingSpace platform, a Web-based, self-service interface that lets developers create IoT applications and partners market their services, at its event this week.

[Related: AT&T To Partners: We Need Your Help With IoT]

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"This platform has been designed to give developers an easy on-ramp into IoT. It provides [developers] with a single pane of glass to design, test, deploy, manage and market the solutions they are bringing to IoT at a much faster pace than they've had in the past," said Mike Lanman, senior vice president of Enterprise Products at Verizon, who leads the carrier's IoT team.

Available now, the ThingSpace platform includes a set of APIs that are the most demanded set of APIs in the carrier's history, Lanman said.

"We've stripped away a lot of the complexity in the entrance of IoT and we've done that through the launch of ThingSpace," he said.

Verizon also said it is extending its internal data analytics engine for customers and partners to use. This engine is now part of the ThingSpace platform and will allow for data, as well as devices, to be managed, Lanman said.

"Once we lit up IoT solutions for customers, many of them struggled with how they were going to manage the amount of data they were getting from the solutions we helped them deploy. Some of them just couldn’t handle it," he explained.

Verizon's data analytics engine handles 1.5 trillion transactions a month. Partners and end customers can use the tool on the ThingSpace platform to help find the relevant, contextual information they are looking for within their own deployments or within their customer's deployments, Lanman said.

Lanman also said that theThingSpace platform is globally enabled. Companies developing solutions will be able to use the platform and connect across 92 countries. Companies deploying IoT solutions have always faced challenges when trying to get their solutions to work internationally because they've had to negotiate across boundaries and countries, he said.

2016 will see the addition of more countries. "Basically, we'll have the globe blanketed by the end of [2016]," Lanman said.

As part of its IoT strategy, Verizon also readied its 4G LTE network to handle IoT endpoints by creating a core IoT network within its LTE architecture, which will be launched in Q1 2016. Additionally, the carrier revealed the availability of its new chipset, which reduces the cost of developing a device for IoT. The chipset halves the cost of connecting to the LTE network, and Verizon will slash the cost again in 2016 with new modules slated to be introduced, Lanman said.

"Think of it as a way to make the WAN network and our LTE network more accessible to IoT developers," he said.

Verizon's two Innovation Centers, in San Francisco and Waltham, Mass., have allowed the carrier to take a "partner-friendly" approach to IoT, Lanman said. The carrier has helped partners develop more than 400 IoT solutions at the centers.

"Today, we have over 1,000 partners that we are actively selling through our distribution channels. [We provide the ThingSpace] platform, compress the cost to connect, provide the network that has the ability to connect billions of devices and an analytics engine to help move through that data, and then partner to bring their IoT solutions to market. That's how you bring it all together," Lanman said.