Report: No 'one-type-fits-all' connectivity for IoT applications

Beecham Research said there is no "one-type-fits-all" connectivity option for the increasingly wide range of applications covered by the Internet of Things (IoT), and called for a greater focus on the actual connectivity needs of these applications rather than on the underlying technologies such as low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks.

Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO at Beecham Research, warned in a new report that a greater focus on the service attributes that IoT applications need is now required if this emerging industry is to meet the ambitious targets made by some.

"This includes key parameters such as battery life and coverage, rather than focusing on the underlying technologies and what frequency they operate at, for example. Most users are not interested in the technical details -- they just want something that works in the most cost-effective way for their applications," Duke-Woolley said.

A heightened focus on such attributes would in turn enable companies to better match their IoT applications to the most appropriate public connectivity services available.

Duke-Woolley added that the continuing debate around IoT connectivity technologies rather than services "is not helpful for the rapid market development being sought by the IoT industry."

The report from Beecham Research noted that that many IoT applications are well covered by traditional cellular connectivity, WiFi or Bluetooth. At the same time, the growing opportunity for IoT applications that use very small amounts of data cost-effectively is driving the rapid introduction of LPWA networks.

LPWA, as highlighted in FierceWireless:Europe's recent special report, has already become a crowded market. Proprietary technologies such as Sigfox, Ingenu and LoRa have already made clear their ambitions to become globally available standards for public LPWA networks using unlicensed spectrum. They now face increasing competition from so-called cellular IoT technologies such as NB-IoT that fall under the 3GPP standardisation umbrella and will operate in licensed spectrum.

The Beecham Research report suggests that LPWA needs to be segmented further to ensure that the right connectivity service is matched to the right IoT application.

The company has thus proposed that those offering LPWA-based connectivity services directly to users are referred to as Public LPWA services providers or LSPs. Where LSP services are enabled through a cloud-based service, the cloud-based provider is referred to as an LSE (LPWA services enabler).

For more:
- see the Beecham Research report

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