IoT seeks 5G Advanced possibilities with world’s first ambient IoT visibility platform

Claiming that the ambient internet of things (IoT) represents the mobile market’s biggest disruption since the smartphone, and that it could scale from over 100 million units in 2023 to billions by 2026, IoT pioneer Wiliot is to offer an enhanced version of its Wiliot Cloud and IoT Pixels solutions.

Debuting to the mobile market at MWC Las Vegas 2023, the platform now includes the ability to sense and analyse humidity levels of individual products – and cases of products – in real time, throughout the supply chain.

With the launch, Wiliot engineers have introduced to IoT Pixels a tiny membrane that detects humidity in the air. When IoT Pixels are exposed to different humidity levels, information is relayed wirelessly to the Wiliot Cloud, where it is combined with temperature and location data to generate insights and analysis that can better inform supply chain operations.

In terms of practical applications, with this humidity data and insights, produce can stay fresher for longer, reducing the amount wasted due to rot and spoil; medicines, which must be stored at specific temperatures and humidity levels, stay safe; and vaccines, which require precise handling and environmental conditions to deliver their intended health benefits, remain effective.

“Over 100 million ambient IoT devices came online in 2023, and the market is predicted to grow to billions of devices by 2026,” commented Wiliot CTO Alon Yehezkely. “This breakneck adoption and exponential scale are indicative of only the types of technologies that disrupt industries and change the world – and no market is better suited to capitalise on this than mobile and telecommunications.”

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By adding humidity sensing to its core Visibility Platform – on top of its existing temperature and location sensing and carbon emissions measurement – Wiliot claimed it was possible for companies to better ensure the safety, integrity, freshness and sustainability of moisture-sensitive products, end-to-end and at what it calls an “unprecedented” scale. Previously, item and case-level sensing for consumable products over carrier networks has not been possible at scale.

The company added that its Visibility Platform marks the earliest example of ambient IoT at scale, combining Wiliot’s self-powered IoT Pixels and Wiliot Cloud-based analytics to create “unparalleled” visibility into supply chains, distribution and retail operations, among other features. It said this capability would revolutionise the telecommunications industry when it becomes standardised in 5G Advanced and 6G.

Wiliot is a member of 3GPP and a participant in 5G and 6G working groups. Using its experience in IoT technology development, Wiliot insisted it had contributed, alongside the giants of the industry, to defining the requirements of ambient IoT in emerging applications.

Furthermore, it said its inclusion in 5G Advanced and 6G opened the door for wireless carriers and others to deliver interoperable services that will connect billions of wireless devices to trillions of ambient IoT-enabled products, packages, places, food items, plants, livestock, clothes, pharmaceuticals, and more.

It also noted that ambient IoT represented a lucrative source of subscription-based and recurring revenue streams in return for the value that carriers can add to managing networks with trillions of connected devices.

The company lists some of the world’s largest companies as adopters of its platform, deploying large numbers of IoT Pixels across their supply chains for real-time visibility into everything from distribution, to inventory management, to sales.

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Wiliot’s IoT Pixels attach to any product or packaging and connect to the internet through telecommunications networking devices. They include compute power, secure communications and sensor technology, which the firm said is needed to create the ambient IoT, yet costs just pennies per device. New use cases include tracking the temperature and fill-level of individual vaccine vials and the individual temperature of crates of produce on their way to stores.

“The ambient IoT scales the internet of things from billions to trillions of connected products to help the world’s largest companies – and their mobile and telecommunications providers – solve their most pressing challenges,” Yehezkely added. “MWC Las Vegas represents an important opportunity for Wiliot and the ambient IoT ecosystem to help prepare the mobile market for this disruption and communicate strategies for effective, scalable and profitable adoption.”

Wiliot is backed by telecoms industry firms such as Verizon, NTT Docomo, Samsung, Softbank’s Vision Fund 2 and Qualcomm. 

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