Verizon Is Teaming With Qualcomm to Push Smart Devices

September 6, 2016, 6:15 PM UTC
Image courtesy of NWP.

Verizon Communications got a boost for its software platform for connected smart devices, announcing a new partnership with chipmaker Qualcomm.

The carrier has been rolling out a new wireless service, known as CAT-M1, for connecting smart devices such as water meters, vending machine,s and health monitors along with a software platform to help programmers write apps for the devices.

On Tuesday, Verizon said Qualcomm (QCOMM) would integrate the software platform, called ThingSpace, into low-power modems designed to connect to the CAT-M1 service. The target market is devices with relatively light connectivity needs, only occasionally needing to send data over the wireless network or only in small amounts.

The goal is to capture a growing share of the market from the Internet of things movement. Verizon faces competition not just from other major carriers like AT&T (T), but also startups like SigFox that are aiming to provide wireless connectivity for smart devices at a lower cost. Verizon hopes its top-to-bottom offerings integrating software tools, apps, and connectivity will be more compelling than solutions requiring multiple suppliers. But it still needs to work with leading hardware vendors, like Qualcomm.

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“Simplicity is a necessary starting point,” said Mike Lanman, senior vice president at Verizon, in a statement. “And working across the ecosystem—at the network, platform and application levels—is also needed in order to capture the real market opportunity of the internet of things.”

Verizon (VZ) is looking to the Internet of things as a key new opportunity to offset shrinking revenue from its traditional telephone business and slowing growth in the wireless telephone market. Last month, the carrier agreed to pay $2.4 billion for Fleetmatics Group, a cloud-based service for the trucking industry.

Still, Verizon’s sub-$1 billion of revenue from its Internet of things unit, less than 1% of its total revenue, isn’t making a big impact yet.

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