Transforma’s Matt Hatton and co-author William Web, in their book The Internet of Things Myth, explain IoT’s inability to reach its potential in part by stating the following:
“Technology immaturity and fragmentation continued to create problems, not least a lack of a single standard for IoT connectivity for commercial and industrial applications.”
Webb then adds, “Connectivity is the most important underpinning technology area for IoT; if you can’t get connected, there is no IoT…”
To a great extent, we agree with their thesis. Connectivity is foundational. In some ways, how we get to tens of billions of devices resembles the chicken-and-egg dilemma. You can’t have billions of devices until three things happen:
- 1. You have a true, global, standardized connectivity solution supporting the business case behind deploying billions of devices;
2. You have a sufficiently rich solution ecosystem addressing technical challenges inspiring confidence;
3. Business leaders get a better grasp of the opportunity and start re-aligning, refining, and redrawing priorities.
NB-IoT appears to be the first global connectivity standard suited to IoT with a thriving ecosystem. To grasp what this means, let’s look closer, starting with the title below.
Global Connectivity Standard
Organizations will be able to build and deploy a single solution any of the 94 active NB-IoT networks worldwide.
Any organization considering IoT, or subject to IoT business disruptions, must account for this in their strategy.
Mr. Hatton and Mr. Web have already explained connectivity’s necessity, but we could bring attention to NB-IoT’s particular characteristics:
- Data Characteristics:
Data payloads and data-transfer rates are well-suited to operated massive IoT applications. Three examples where NB-IoT is well-suited:
- 1. Smart Meters: average-sized payloads every hour
2. Smart Lighting: small, bi-directional payloads sent every 5 minutes
3. Asset management: micro payloads every minute.
- Technology Lifespan:
NB-IoT bridges from the 2G, 3G, 4G world of today to the 5G world of tomorrow, and due to IoT economics, will likely be with us for a long-time.
- Security Capabilities:
Already more secure than competing non-global solutions, NB-IoT networks, data payloads, and transfer rates will support the enhanced security features critical to consumers and businesses. Contrarily, insecure IoT solutions are not solutions, but more like a virus in their ability to destroy value.
NB-IoT Ecosystem Maturity
If connectivity is foundational, several other critical blocks are coming of age.
Our customers are increasingly satisfied with the vibrant ecosystem of IoT devices. Modems that can support different generations of NB-IoT networks natively and batteries able to maintain operations for years are available today.
NB-IoT is a world where total solution efficiency quickly impacts the bottom line. To achieve meaningful success, organizations must deal with both technical constraints and operational challenges. That being said, market forces are mobilizing. Network operators have put in place subscription pricing models tied to devices and data consumption. Concurrently, the modem industry is working hard to create differentiated, cost-effective devices that meet NB-IoT needs.
Decreasing costs are vital to increasing IoT’s rate of adoption.
NB-IoT is the first credible technology to provide connectivity for a large portion of IoT solutions on a global scale, but for IoT to reach its full transformative potential, more still needs to be done. For safety and efficiency reasons, we must be able to update devices safely in the field, taking advantage of new technologies and processes. The good news? These capabilities exist. The Open Mobile Alliance’s LwM2M standard provides for over-the-air firmware updates and many other services needed to manage IoT solutions efficiently. IoTerop, in collaboration with others, has worked tirelessly to assure the world has a common IoT device management standard to solve common IoT challenges.
Ready to Learn More
Get registered for IoTerop’s webinar NB-IoT: Ready for Mass Market on June 23rd, 2020, at 5:30 pm CET and get the latest research and learn how the NB-IoT ecosystem continues to mature at IoTerop’s. Panelists include ABI Research, Deutsche Telekom, Itron, and IoTerop.