In our first installment, we took a look at the emergence of rich data transmission of 4G networks and the expected excitement around what 5G may become in the coming year. On the other extreme, expect to see greater adoption of Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) in 2017. NB-IoT holds a great deal of promise for applications that transmit less complex, less frequent data to automate and simplify existing tasks and create brand new applications, altogether.
NB-IoT offers immediate connections with providers already in place, with miles-long connection ranges and a much more affordable price point than traditional IoT connectivity. The key to NB-IoT’s emergence and sustained presence is maintainability through the lifecycle of the network and of the devices, combined with scalability of usage and security of the data transmissions. There are quite a lot of questions around low power, but it is going to have an undoubtedly a profound effect on IoT, and it’s critical to know how NB-IoT fits through the eyes of enterprise, as opposed to us looking at it as simply a cool piece of technology.
The following NB-IoT applications could experience very real headway in 2017:
- Smart cars: Vehicles, specifically, take advantage of low-power networks for warnings that are tripped on a relatively infrequent basis. Connected cars will be in increasing demand, and will be one of the factors that drives greater NB-IoT services in the coming year.
- Utility infrastructure: Low power networks make smart metering a reality.
- Physical structure monitoring: Remote monitoring of private homes and businesses provides an added layer of security.
- Agriculture: NB-IoT applications monitor weather conditions and activate irrigation to conserve water costs.
If we extrapolate this prediction over the next ten years, NB-IoT could prove to be more impactful than LTE. But for that to happen, it needs to be adopted on a wider scale within the next 12-18 months. Otherwise, there is enough fresh air for innovators to deliver smaller proof concepts to a larger scale.