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Comcast IoT Unit Heads Into a Dozen More Markets

Following a set of market trials, machineQ, a unit of Comcast focused on enterprise Internet of Things services, said it has entered the early stages of its commercial rollout by expanding its reach into a dozen more U.S. markets.

RELATED: Comcast Launches IoT Trial Venture Called machineQ

machineQ, which uses Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology based on the LoRaWAN protocol, is building and deploying in the following Comcast markets -- Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington D.C. Those rollouts follow trials in Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago that got underway last fall.

RELATED: Comcast Joins LoRA Alliance 

“We’re opening shop with commercial services,” Alex Khorram, general manager of machineQ, said.

Early on, machineQ said it has been gathering interest from businesses and organizations across several markets and industries, including healthcare (patient monitoring, laboratory sciences tracking), public utilities (remote utility metering), automotive (asset tracking, telemetry), and smart cities (outdoor lighting, waste management, utility grid monitoring). machineQ is expected to announce more details about those partnerships down the road.

“The big takeaway [from the initial trials] is how creative people are when they are given a tool...and can connect something [they’ve] never connected before,” Khorram said.

He said machineQ achieved a set of goals in its trial work – understanding the market demand for enterprise IoT services, how to build out those services, and to get a fix on the kind of services and business models that would support the underlying offering.

Khorram also acknowledged that the IoT market being pursued by machineQ is at its early stages, but stressed that it makes sense to enter the fray now and to get ahead of the curve at this this phase of the market’s development.

“We're perhaps at the first pitch of the first inning still,” he said, noting that while most Fortune 500 companies have an IoT strategy underway, nearly all of them are in the proof of concept and trial phases. Startups are also part of the mix.

Though machineQ’s main focus is on connectivity (via Comcast’s own network footprint and a look toward bring-your-own-broadband models that can be managed by machineQ) to a new range of devices, it has wider ambitions.

“Our end game is to work at the platform layer and the application layer to make sure that the whole ecosystem benefits from it,” Khorram said.