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Broadcasting over LTE/4G: Can it play a role in IOT & 5G?
March 16, 2017 | By Shaheer Jamal Syed @ Ericsson
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We are pleased to share with you all an interesting article contributed by Shaheer Jamal Syed who is Business Development & Sales for Asia Pacific, covering IoT, M2M, Cloud Solutionss & Video Solutions.


Shaheer Jamal Syed

Business Development & Sales at Ericsson



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I have been working in the Video Broadcasting (MBMS) area since 2008-2009; during the time when Mobile TV Service were showing up over 3G. At that time devices as well as service acceptance was limited and buy in from consumers was a tough ride. Many reasons which sparks another series of articles :-), but bottom line, broadcasting on 3G was eventually given up.


Evolved Video Broadcasting aka eMBMS came back into the focus during the 4G era (2011-2012) and though it has yet to hit a steady/stable mark (and profitability); it is by far one of the excellent technologies that will; in my opinion; can become a big enabler for not only optimization for Video delivery to masses of consumers but is also easily extendable to management of massive number of IoT devices.


As forecasted, IoT devices will account for 24 billion, while traditional computing devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc.) will comprise of 10 billion (Total of 22.5 billion IoT devices in 2021, up from 6.6 billion in 2016). Nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years ($4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021) [Source BI].


One of the biggest advantage of eMBMS technology is that is allows same content to be delivered to an area irrespective of the number of consumers. Video in this sense, then can be pushed in HD over the mobile spectrum in an optimized manner; which is/was not a possibility over Unicast to a big mass of users. This also allows creating a more enriched media delivery via Video Applications connecting to eCommerce, interactivity and social media connections.


This doesn’t really stop here. eMBMS technology can be in same sense applied to any digital content; and thus it paves way for one of the good use case(s) for managing IoT devices when it comes to pushing out upgrades/updates of Software/firmware over the air (OTA) to massive number of devices in a periodic fashion. Same sense, we can push out periodic software updates like apps for iOS and Android to all smart phones, tablets over defined areas over Mobile.


5G is and will be all about IoT and enabling IoT communication over mobile with high speeds. 5G also allows creating a differentiation for both critical and non-critical IOT devices by introducing the concept of “Network Slicing”. Creating Slices in the network for different type of services allows catering to massive number of IOT devices. Broadcasting technology will therefore, can be easily inherited in sending out periodic updates and management of these devices.


Broadcasting over mobile (4G) today is being used mainly for Video Live Events and Stadium cases; mainly sports and extended to concerts. With more IOT devices popping into operation OPEX will be an issue to solve and this is where, broadcasting can be well applied to cater to the increasing OPEX problem.


This is definitely, where Tier 1 operators who believe and have therefore already have invested heavily in Broadcasting will be moving to - applying to Telematics, Smart Cars and even cases like Digital Advertising. The next step in combining Broadcasting with IoT may eventually see the light of day from just theory to practical use, which I am really looking forward to see sometime in the future! :) Fingers crossed!!

Arindam (Jio) via LinkedIn 2017-04-17 10:32:49

In the realm of IoT, there has been a lot of focus in wireless sensor networks, which includes low power short range ( ZigBee, BLE ), low power wide range ( LoRa, Sigfox ), and also cellular technologies ( LTE-M, NB-IoT ). What is missing is a low power, high security actuation network. It would be interesting if eMBMS fits this role. To make such a scheme into a reality, there is a need for a receive only LTE module, that synchronizes to the oVer the air LTE frame and captures that section of the frame that corresponds to the eMBMS signals and then, in leisure, decodes them, extracts the information destined to itself, ignoring the rest of the data, which anyway would be encrypted. Techniques already in use by the DTH satellite broadcast ( DVB-S2 ), can be handy. However, yet to see any such implementation.

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