By Roswell Wolff, President, Asia Pacific for SIGFOX
20-50 Billion connected devices by 2020. These estimates reflect the explosion of devices supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) and highlight the potential for revolutionary impact on technology and everyday lives.Whole industries are emerging to deliver products, networks, platforms, software and services which make up the “value chain” of IoT aimed at capturing & utilizing huge volumes of data.
This is most visible in consumer markets, especially wearables and smart-home appliances. Less visible are the billions of dollars being spent on industrial applications and devices to measure, identify, alert, track, inform, and maintain “things”.
The challenge is in making the technology choices and investments that will enable “the revolution”, as well as deliver new revenue, profits and benefits.
"The challenge is in making the technology choices and investments that will enable “the revolution”, as well as deliver new revenue, profits and benefits"
So what has been stopping IoT from taking off? Foremost, analysis and selection by businesses from the dizzying array of technology offerings landscape of suppliers has hindered the pace of growth. Fundamentally, simple, globally-scalable connectivity is required to secure value from the majority of billions of objects transmitting data.
Eighty to ninety percent of IoT devices will be simply designed for services which will handle high volumes of small bits of diverse data. This data and its use are the main motivations for businesses and governments alike. The other 10-20% of more complex device offerings are supported by equally complex, expensive solutions to capture deliver and manage data.
In order for IoT to become mainstream and realize its potential, four key elements of connectivity must be present: global availability, simplicity, energy
efficiency, and cost effectiveness. Inherent in these is also the need for openness across the IOT ecosystem; including processors, modules, devices, platforms and networks.
Most connectivity solutions are aimed at media-rich devices; including Blue Tooth, Zigbee, WiFi, cellular / LTE(m). Some are cost effective and energy efficient but lack global reach; others have reach but with complex interoperability networks and high energy use. Demand for these offerings will be driven by high-throughput solutions.
Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) solutions have emerged to address connectivity for the broader, high volume IoT Market . Technologists will be interested in the utilization of narrow band or sub-GHz network spectrum. Users are primarily interested by this as an option to deliver data “cheaply”. However, not all LPWAN offerings have been designed to maximize the four key elements, or to work seamlessly with other connectivity offerings.The best of these will deliver:
These connectivity elements should be paired with global commercial arrangements which offer quality-service commitments, a wide range of partners for the selection of hardware components& platforms, and simple connectivity without the need for configuration.
The data collected from billions of devices deployed will have the power to transform industries and lives. Use cases are already seen advancing the services offerings of agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, consumers, cities, and dozens of other industries.
Are you connected and ready for the revolution?