Affirmed Networks Combines Virtualization With IoT

Affirmed Networks, which is known for its early work in the mobile packet core, is now bringing virtualization to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The company today announced a fully virtualized IoT platform that supports narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and is interoperable with third party platforms such as Tech Mahindra’s platform, which is currently being used to connect enterprise devices and applications.

Angela Whiteford, vice president of product management and marketing at Affirmed Networks, says that Affirmed’s IoT platform uses a cloud-native architecture that supports advanced capabilities like network slicing. It also uses a control and user plane (CUPS) architecture, which means that operators can split the core network into user-plane nodes that can be located closer to the network edge. At the same time, the control plane nodes are centralized.

“This helps with low latency and high-bandwidth applications,” Whiteford says.

Affirmed’s IoT product competes with similar IoT platforms from companies like Cisco Jasper, Ericsson, and Huawei. However, the business model is different. With Affirmed’s offering, operators can deploy, deliver, and manage their own IoT products.

That’s different from Cisco Jasper and others that describe themselves as an MVNO for IoT. Those types of companies tend to run the operator’s IoT network as well as manage the operator’s IoT traffic. The operator pays those types of companies a percentage of the IoT revenues.

Whiteford says that some operators want to move away from that type of model and manage the IoT platform themselves.

Nevertheless, Cisco Jasper has been raking in the deals. The company last November struck a deal with Indian conglomerate Reliance Group to deliver IoT services to customers across India. And earlier this year it inked a deal with Hong Kong’s SmarTone to launch IoT services in that market.

In the U.S. market, Cisco Jasper powers much of AT&T’s IoT business, including its connected cars.