LTE-M technology could be the low power, long range network that gets the world connected to ioT, says Sierra Wireless CTO
For many companies, 2015 was the year that the Internet of Things (IoT) became a mainstream idea, as products such as connected cars, smart home appliances and industry applications captured the imagination and showed how technology can make businesses more efficient.
But now that the IoT has landed in the public eye, what’s the next step? Sierra Wireless thinks a progress depends on having strong, reliable networks coupled with good power consumption and long battery life, ensuring a long-lasting, reliable experience.
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and proprietary technologies like SIGFOX are all competing to connect the billions of ‘things’ that will form the IoT, but Sierra thinks the advent of LTE-M will help make the difference.
“2015 was definitely the year of IoT enablement,” Philippe Guillemette, CTO at Sierra Wireless, says. “Before that was the year of talking about things and not knowing how we are going to make it happen – but in 2015 the industry decided what will be needed.
“I think 2016 and 2017 will see the wider deployment.”
The IoT industry has made huge strides over the last 12 months, Guillemette (pictured left) says, with his team now able to develop faster and more reliable connections between devices than ever before, opening up more possibilities for the new technology.
“We now have a technology that has the capability of low enough power, wide enough coverage, and cheap enough cost…I don’t even know the possibilities,” he says.
“I don’t know what is going to be the best or the killer application – but I do know that having platforms to quickly prototype and try new apps is key.”
Having fast and reliable network connections is key to enabling widespread IoT connectivity, and help could soon be at hand from the first widespread deployments of LTE-M networks.
Specifically designed to benefit connected M2M and IoT devices, LTE-M, promises to greatly expand the range of products that can be connected and communicate with each other, opening up more industries to the IoT than ever before.
Standards for LTE-M are set to be finalised by next month, with Sierra Wireless already developing chipsets with the technology implemented. Trials of the technology will also begin later this year, with Guillemette predicting that commercial deployment will begin in 2017, which will offer even more possibilities to connect to the IoT.
So it seems that, now the wider world has woken up to the potential of the IoT, the future looks bright for connected technology at Sierra Wireless.
“Two years ago I had to convince customers of the benefits (of IoT connectivity) – and now they are all demanding it…they are looking for a simple end-to-end solution,” says Guillemette, who is now hoping that 2016 will see Sierra Wireless push forward.
“2016 is about making all the work we’ve done over the past three years work together and get deployed.”
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