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Qualcomm secures design wins for IoT modem with launches due early 2017

Steve Rogerson
October 19, 2016
At this week’s 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong, Qualcomm Technologies announced that it had secured design wins among the industry's leading module OEMs based on its MDM9206 LTE modem for IoT applications.
These designs are an addition to the more than 100 designs announced last June using the California company's MDM9x07 LTE IoT modems. Designed for global connectivity in applications such as battery-powered sensors, the MDM9206 modem has a purpose-built design for IoT and offers lower power consumption and longer range connectivity than the company's previous LTE generations.
"The global IoT opportunity is rapidly expanding," said Serge Willenegger, senior vice president at Qualcomm Technologies. "IoT will be much more than about connecting people to things; they will be extending information management systems all the way to the edge, allowing machines and devices to work with one another and support increasing service opportunities and operational efficiencies across most industries.”
The modem is designed to support LTE category M1 (eMTC), upgradeable to dual category M1/NB-1 mode with an anticipated upcoming software update. This allows IoT products to function in a diverse set of operator deployments worldwide, increasing the products' global reach and scalability. The simpler narrowband LTE categories help the modem support low-cost, low-power, low-bandwidth and greater coverage for the next-generation of IoT products and services, while also enhancing battery life as compared with previous LTE generations.
With the modem, Qualcomm is continuing to expand the capabilities of LTE to accelerate the progress in IoT. Compared with its previous LTE generations, this modem is designed to address cellular connectivity cost-effectively for low data rate IoT applications more efficiently addressed by a narrowband modem, across a wide range of new business opportunities within the IoT, including smart energy and metering, building security, infrastructure, industrial control and automation, retail point of sale, asset tracking, medical, lighting, and aftermarket telematics.
"AT&T and Qualcomm Technologies have a successful and long-standing relationship that is deepening with the IoT," said Chris Penrose, president for the IoT at AT&T. "Qualcomm Technologies will join our pilot of LTE-M network and module technology that will enable a new generation of industries and applications for IoT. The MDM9206 modem will help deliver new, intelligent and cost-effective IoT services, and use cases to our industrial, commercial and smart cities customers,”
The category M1 and NB-1 LTE modes designed in the modem bring enhancements and optimisations to LTE that will help reduce IoT device complexity, support, multi-year battery life, and provide deeper coverage than the company's previous LTE generations, to reach challenging locations such as deep inside buildings and remote rural areas. The technologies also can use existing LTE infrastructure and spectrum, coexisting with today's mobile broadband services, while providing an alternative to proprietary technologies for low-power wide area networks.
“Momentum around our MDM9206 modem for Cat M1 and NB-1 demonstrates demand today for reliable, optimised LTE cellular connectivity to support the new range of IoT applications and services," said Willenegger.
Additionally, backed by 3GPP global standards with a roadmap to 5G, LTE IoT technologies will continue to evolve beyond 3GPP release 13 with features such as support for multicast and positioning, establishing the foundation for narrowband 5G IoT.
"With the rapid progression of the IoT, there is a growing need for things to operate more efficiently," said Wendy Wang, general manager of Simcom. "As we continue to implement connectivity, the MDM9206 modem from Qualcomm Technologies makes it possible to provide more cost-efficient LTE modules and smart meters with a shorter time-to-launch."
Module OEMs are expected to launch MDM9206-based Cat M1 capable modules in early 2017. A software upgrade for Cat NB-1 is expected to be available shortly thereafter.
"Qualcomm Technologies' MDM9206 modem helps assure continued success for Telit's trademark application software cross-compatibility among our IoT modules products," said Sandro Spanghero, senior vice president at Telit. "By utilising this modem, we have been able to address operator requirements quickly, allowing our customers to easily re-use applications and launch new products into different markets."
Dave Carey, senior vice president at U-Blox, added: "We aim to advance our portfolio of products and technologies targeted specifically to a wide range of applications for the IoT. Qualcomm Technologies' LTE for IoT modem technology is aligned with our company's goals of delivering the best cellular connectivity technology for the IoT space."