IoT, otherwise known as the Internet of Things is the network created by devices such as cars, appliances, watches, and various other devices that are connected to the internet. The benefit of having a connected device is they’re able to send and receive information via the internet that can make your life easier and make you safer.
For example, many automobiles are becoming “smarter” because they are connected to the internet. These automobiles can get directions on the fly, call for emergency services if they detect a crash, and stream entertainment for the kids in the backseat. Also, self-driving automobiles are here, and while still experimental, it’s only a matter of time until they’re available to the masses. Self-driving cars and trucks will revolutionize the transportation industry as they can continuously monitor their location and their relation on the road to other vehicles, which in theory makes everyone safer and transportation more efficient.
And it’s all just getting started. It’s estimated that by 2020 there will be over 14 billion network-connected devices according to the International Energy Agency, which is impressive when you consider about 3.2 billion people are accessing the internet. Before this epidemic hits, you’ll definitely want to have a company who is already on top of your network inventory management!
While all of these connected devices are good, and will make life easier for us, the fact is that our current wireless networks are designed for high data transfer with little regard for device power consumption, which is where Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) comes in.
Narrowband IoT is a technology that works within the LTE standard and allows for battery-powered devices to be connected via low bandwidth over the existing cellular network. Why this is important is that it enables companies to deploy mobile equipment that can be connected to a network without using much power. Also, most LTE networks aren’t designed to move small bits of data, which is what most of these connected devices send, and as mentioned, our current LTE networks aren’t optimized for power savings, which is why you always have to charge your phone and other wireless devices every day.
While NB-IoT is still an emerging technology — and there will undoubtedly be barriers to adoption — it’s a good idea for companies to make plans now to employ NB-IoT solutions into their company’s strategies because of the potential for this technology increases consumer satisfaction and benefit the company as well.
How NB-IoT Benefits Your Business
Perhaps the most significant benefit to NB IoT is that it’s not power hungry in the way LTE is. For example, say a company has a few thousand battery powered devices out in the field that is all connected to the network. Now, imagine how much of a hassle it would be if you had to have technicians out changing batteries every time a device went down. The low power consumption of this technology means you could theoretically have a battery powered device last up to 10 years or more.
Companies can also see cost savings benefit when deploying low power consumption devices, which are cheaper to operate than traditional LTE connected devices. Also, this technology is easily scalable, and can quickly meet your company’s needs as you grow or as demand increases.
Another benefit that NB IoT provides to your business is security. This technology is said to be more secure than WiFi and Bluetooth, both of which can be affected by interference.
Lastly, another benefit to your company is that this technology is designed to maximize the coverage area, which means full coverage in and outdoors. What this means is that you have greater flexibility when it comes to deploying connected devices into homes, offices, and anywhere else your business sees an opportunity.
The key to successfully deploying this technology is first to identify a problem that can only be solved or best be solved by a wireless device. Once you’ve detected a problem, you can then best come up with your solution based on what you and your customers need.
Some examples of potential use cases for NB IoT are:
Alarms and security: Connected devices can make your home more secure and can alert homeowners and first responders of an event. For example, a smart, connected smoke detector can alert you if it senses the temperature in the home is rising too high, or an alarm system can warn you wherever you are of a potential intruder.
Tracking: Companies that specialize in shipping can benefit from the logistics tracking of these small, low powered connected devices, and data can be tracked in real time to make transportation more efficient.
Wearables: The connected wearable industry is exploding right now thanks to devices such as the Apple Watch, Jawbone, GoPro, and Nike. This device category is becoming so popular that a recent report released by Research & Markets and Berg Insight estimated that global shipments of these wearable devices would hit 168.2 million by 2019.
As you can see, the potential for connected devices is only going to increase, which is why your business needs to take a serious look at this technology and see if there’s a place for it in your offerings.