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A year of change, excitement and FAN-tastic news – and so to 2019!

Last November, Gartner announced a story on the key strategic trends in IoT that will drive innovation in digital business by 2023. Of its 10 most strategic IoT technologies and trends that will be important for building new revenue streams and creating new business models, one caught my eye – ‘new wireless network technologies for IoT’.

According to Gartner this involves “balancing a set of competing requirements such as bandwidth, latency, connection density, operational cost, quality of service and connection frequency range.” We would add open standards, interoperability and security as key components for IoT applications and developments.

As we look ahead to an exciting new year in 2019, we are well on the way to seeing Wi-SUN technology as a major enabler of large-scale IoT applications. Looking back over the last 12 months, it has been an incredibly exciting and important time for the Wi-SUN Alliance as we continue to be at the forefront of IoT innovation. One of our biggest accomplishments last year was the launch of our Field Area Network (FAN) Certification Program, an enabler for very large-scale IoT deployments. The FAN program has been developed to certify devices for use by utilities, city developers and other service providers to simplify the roll-out of smart cities, smart utilities and other IoT developments.

The availability of the program is testament to our members who had the vision and dedication to bring a ‘best in class’ certification program to fruition, and we fully believe it will stand the test of time, with future-proofing one of the cornerstones of our philosophy as a global industry association.

Not only was 2018 a year of FAN-tastic achievements, but also of growth and of opportunity. We were delighted to welcome both new members and existing members upgrading their membership to take advantage of enhanced benefits, leading to a record-breaking 60% growth in global membership and bringing us to more than 200 members, representing 25 countries.

We were also out and about more than ever, with a strong visible presence at around 20 global events, including highlights at DistribuTECH in the US, India Smart Grid Week, Wireless Japan, Asia Utility Week and European Utility Week in Vienna.

In the coming months, we will see the first wave of Wi-SUN FAN certified products and many of these products will be on display on our booth at DistribuTECH 2019 in New Orleans (Feb. 4-7). Our Wi-SUN community will be in full force with more than 20 members exhibiting on the show floor.  It will be one of the first opportunities to see real IoT innovation in progress.

As an organisation, we are proud of the work of our members and have made huge strides in the last year to make our presence felt. As we start a New Year, we reflect on some incredible achievements, but we also look ahead to 2019 with excitement.

Although there will be wild speculation and blue-sky thinking about the growth of smart cities – including the ‘smart citizen’, smart energy and intelligent transport and traffic systems – it’s important to remember that for any new advancements in this rapidly changing ‘smart’ world the fundamentals of standardization, interoperability and security remain at the heart of it all.