MWCA: Sprint and SoftBank's Packet team up for Curiosity IoT platform

SoftBank and Sprint's Curiosity IoT platform will enable enterprises to manage devices and connections over the air, with security provided from the chip to the cloud.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Sprint has announced the launch of its Curiosity Internet of Things (IoT) platform, developed in partnership with fellow SoftBank-owned company Packet.

Announced during Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) on Wednesday, the Curiosity IoT platform is "a new standard in how IoT is managed and secured", according to the companies.

"Enterprises will now be able to manage IoT devices and connectivity over the air across multiple SIM profiles," they explained.

"Intelligence from device data will be generated instantly through the dedicated, distributed, and virtualised core, built together with the new operating system. And the ultimate level of security will be provided from the chip to the cloud."

The operating system makes use of Arm's Platform Security Architecture, which includes open-source firmware and security analysis; Arm Pelion Data Management for IoT data and analytics; Arm Pelion Connectivity Management and Arm Kigen SIM solutions for managing and provisioning SIM connectivity across any device deployed on any network, including cell, satellite, and LoRa; and Arm Pelion Device Management for baked-in security, over-the-air firmware updates, and management for IoT devices on-premises and in the cloud.

Thanks to Packet's bare metal servers, the virtualised and distributed IoT core then reduces the distance from 1,000 miles down to less than 50 miles between the device generating data and the IoT application processing the data.

"Sprint's unique IoT platform design called for a distributed core to bring the network to the data, rather than the data to the network," Packet CEO Zachary Smith said.

"They didn't have to look any further than within the SoftBank family, with Packet distributing the core and enabling automation in a matter of minutes, as opposed to months."

The announcement follows Sprint last week announcing that it will build a virtualised core IoT network and operating system in partnership with networking giant Ericsson.

According to Sprint senior vice president of IoT Ivo Rook, the network will be ready for 5G, with the network and OS to utilise Ericsson's IoT Accelerator platform.

"We are combining our IoT strategy with Ericsson's expertise to build a platform primed for the most demanding applications like artificial intelligence, edge computing, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and more with ultra-low-latency, the highest availability, and an unmatched level of security at the chip level," Rook said last week.

The IoT core network is designed to have low latency and high availability, the companies said, and by being distributed and virtualised they said it "reduces distance between the device generating the data and the IoT application processing it".

The IoT OS then combines connectivity management, device management, data management, and managed services while "delivering immediate intelligence" on the data being collected.

"Configuration and updates of firmware and software are managed for each device. All data is managed securely with world-class security on the chip level. The IoT OS provides full subscription lifecycle management and monitoring of billing and usage data," Sprint and Ericsson said.

Across managed services, the companies are providing service assurance for all IoT devices and locations, such as "network operations centre monitoring, service resource fulfilment, cloud orchestration management, and application management".

Sprint also used MWCA to announce an upgrade of its Magic Box, with an improved antenna for 25 percent faster speeds than the previous device.

The Sprint Magic Box Generation 3, which will become available later this year, also has a faster start-up process and is smaller, utilising 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (4x4 MIMO) and 256 quadrature amplitude moderation (256 QAM) technologies for faster speeds and higher reliability, along with three-carrier aggregation across Sprint's licensed spectrum.

"The newest Sprint Magic Box is a free-standing unit that dramatically improves data coverage and increases download speeds on average by 250 percent to provide nearby Sprint customers a better data and customer experience overall," the company said earlier on Wednesday.

"A single device covers an average-sized small business, extends data coverage to benefit Sprint customers in nearby buildings, and improves street-level network performance."

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