comcastLack of spectrum or licensed wireless networks will not stop cable operators and satellite TV providers from meaningful participation in the nascent IoT services market, according to a report about satellite and cable IoT opportunities from GlobalData.

The firm says that Cox, Comcast, Dish Networks and similar companies are providing IoT services to businesses or have plans in the works to do so. “While cable companies provide consumer wireless services through ‘mobile virtual network operator’ relationships with mobile operators, they needed a different strategy for offering mobile IoT services to businesses,” said Kathryn Weldon, a technology analyst at GlobalData. “For example, Long range (LoRa) technology can be inexpensively set up (e.g., Comcast) through deployment of gateways from Wi-Fi Access Points.”

Satellite, Cable IoT Opportunities
These providers can offer IoT services to their installed SMB base and may attract new customers looking for cost-effective platforms. Each provider has its own take, of course. Comcast is deploying gateways from its Wi-Fi Access Points, Cox is “network-agnostic” and Dish plans to build its own NB-IoT network on spectrum gained in public auctions.

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The bottom line is that the IoT is a potential goldmine and there will be several paths to take to tap into it. “It is still early days for these alternative IoT providers, but it looks like they will ultimately be able to partake in what we eventually expect will be a ‘massive’ opportunity for connecting devices, products and services to help businesses improve products and processes and generate incremental revenues,” Weldon said. “In the short-term, however, US IoT revenues for the mobile operators are not massive at all, with even the top operators only generating about $1bn apiece. Perhaps the cable companies and satellite providers can find a new angle with which to push the revenue boundary.”

Comcast probably is the most active of the MSOs in IoT initiatives. In June, the MSO announced new customers for its low power wide-area network (LPWAN) machineQ IoT service.  That announcement follows the addition of five companies announced in March and a partnership with semiconductor and wireless company Semtech made public in May.

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