Technology

The Internet of Things is already bringing about profound changes to the way that we live and work. Billions of devices are equipped with software and hardware and capture or exchange data. Analysts expect that over 20 billion devices will be networked by 2020. Previously unimaginable services and business models are emerging.

With the new narrowband IoT technology set to stimulate this development even further. It provides the basis for a wide variety of new uses. Our technology partner Deutsche Telekom offers one of several LPWAN standards in NB-IoT. NB-IoT is based on LTE technology, although it omits a few features of LTE. Mobile network operators (MNOs) have been gradually rolling out the NB-IoT standard internationally since 2017 and it will be available in the Northern Hemisphere from mid-2019. It is eminently suitable for applications which only need to transmit low data volumes. This is precisely case for many IoT applications.

Currently familiar standards such as GSM, 3G or LTE have adequate network coverage outdoors, but generally provide limited reception deep in building interiors. Many characteristics of these standards inflate hardware costs unnecessarily and are not really needed for IoT applications. Such technologies are also often only able to achieve a comparatively short service life for batteries.

Devices which use NB-IoT require a specific NB-IoT wireless module and a SIM card to benefit from the same reliability that LTE provides. A standardised SIM profile also allows NB-IoT to be used in foreign mobile network operators’ networks.

One of IoT Venture’s products is a tracking solution for bicycles. The market launch is scheduled for Autumn 2018. (Credit: Factory)

Advantages of NB-IoT
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Reduced power consumption due to low data exchange with the back end

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Many years’ battery life (up to ten years) and little maintenance

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Reduced connection costs and low hardware price

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Deep building penetration into basements, for example, provides new areas of use

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The technology uses the existing networks

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Heightened security (time-tested SIM-based security mechanisms as per LTE standard)

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Worldwide standard (3GPP)

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Exceptional network coverage outdoors