Comcast executive: ‘We really hope IoT is our fifth major line of business'

Utility van with the word "Comcast on the side"
Comcast executives shares some broad strokes about the work of its machineQ unit, in the areas of IoT and Low Power Wide Area Network tech.

While Comcast has been quiet regarding the work of its machineQ unit, in the areas of IoT and Low Power Wide Area Network tech, company executives did share some of the broad strokes at a trade event it produced in Philadelphia last week.

"This is really an exciting greenfield. We at Comcast like to think of having four fundamental lines of business: voice, video, data, home security. We really hope to make IoT that fifth major line of business," said Bill Ver Steeg, chief architect of machineQ, speaking at Smart City Summit, an event covered by Light Reading and EE Times, among other media outlets. 

RELATED: Comcast gets into the low-power IoT networking business with Semtech LoRa agreement

In October of last year, Comcast partnered with IoT vendor Semtech to create machineQ, an endeavor meant to provide LoRa-based IoT solutions to the enterprise market. 

For its part, Comcast is pretty far out ahead of the curve, noted machineQ Founder and General Manager Alex Khorram.

“You can get to a prototype quickly, but it’s tough to find hardware, network and software engineering resources all in the same company,” he said.

“The top of the funnel is huge where people are interested in creating proof-of-concepts, but [the trouble is in] getting to the next 10,000 [units]—the industry is working on foundry or OEM partnerships, [but deployments] are very individualized,” Khorram added. 

So what specific LoRa-based IoT services will Comcast ultimately provide?

“We don’t know the answer just yet…even a year from now I may not have the answer—it’s a bit of all the above. First we provide the connectivity and then help people on the device and app sides flourish and see what that means for our business,” Khorram said.