Editor's Corner—Which networks will serve the IoT?

IoT (Pixabay)
colin gibbs

The coming world of ubiquitous connectivity is giving rise to a wide variety of connected devices, from consumer sprinkler systems to industrial machines to soil sensors in agricultural fields. And all those scenarios have very different needs than the traditional smartphone-using consumer upon which the modern wireless industry has been built.

Many of these use cases, for instance, require transmissions of very small amounts of data, and they may only need to be connected every few days, or weeks, or even months.

So it should come as no surprise that that the emergence of the IoT has given rise to proprietary networks dedicated to the new wave of connected devices. Sigfox and Ingenu have each set aggressive build-out targets for their Low Power, Wide Area Network (LPWAN) systems in 2017, for instance. And LoRa is gaining traction among both cable companies and wireless carriers focused on the IoT.

Of course, the carriers are scrambling to cement standards for cellular-based technologies to serve the IoT. Multiple flavors of LTE are being developed aimed at using established cellular networks for IoT purposes.

“As for the likes of Sigfox and LoRa, are seeing them out in the marketplace yet? No, because we don’t really play in that market space; that’s kind of the lower end of the market, short messaging and that type of thing,” Andrew Morawski, chief of Vodafone’s IoT business in the Americas, told FierceWireless last summer. “This is where the numbers in the billions come into play, in the number-of-devices-to-connect perspective. It’s a massive opportunity.”

These are some of the issues we’ll discuss during a FierceWireless luncheon at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. I’ll be moderating an event titled “The New IoT Battleground: Low-Power, Wide-Area Networks,” and our speakers will include:

  • Allen Proithis, President of North America, Sigfox
  • David Allen, Director, Advanced Product Development, AT&T Internet of Things Solutions
  • Arnaud Vamparys, Senior VP, Seamless Wireless Access, Orange
  • Craig Miller, VP of Worldwide Marketing, Sequans

During the discussion and an audience question-and-answer period, we’ll explore questions such as: Which networks and technologies are best suited for particular IoT use-case scenarios? What do IoT businesses need to know about the different kinds of connectivity being brought to market? And what are the pros and cons of standards-based technologies?

I encourage you to join me at this MWC event on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fira Congress Hotel, right across the street from the show. We’ll start with a lunch buffet before delving into the issues that will become the foundation of the IoT. Click here to register. I hope to see you there. - Colin | @colin_gibbs