The IoT has digitally transformed enterprises and consumers making them more productive, connected and efficient. According to statistics, the number of IoT connected devices worldwide will increase up to 75.44 billion by 2025, spreading across industrial, enterprise, consumer, and healthcare applications. However, network infrastructure limitations prevent many IoT solutions from reaching their full potential.
With the need of a large number of connections and bandwidth, low-power-wide-area (LPWA) networks will help gain exceptional visibility into operations, supply chain, and deliver better user experience. For the next-generation connectivity, there is a growing need for LTE technologies to address the critical IoT components, including security, low cost, reduced complexity, and long battery life. LTE-M (Long-Term Evolution for Machines) is a mobile IoT technology that delivers cost-effective and secure LPWA capability and are catalysts for future growth.
Major IoT Concerns
Many enterprises are interested in IoT as it offers a diverse set of applications. However, along with the benefits, there are trade-offs in coverage, power consumption, and cost. A few businesses are concerned about how things will connect to a network from an outside source to make accurate predictions. It is a major concern since the time taken to send important data measurements and metrics determines the usefulness of IoT enabled devices. It greatly affects the exceptional service of an industry relying on data accuracy.
10 advantages of LTE-M
LTE-M is a bi-directional low-power-wide-area (LPWA) protocol introduced by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project). It provides a solution to the major IoT concerns and brings new standards to IoT networking. The numerous benefits provided by LTE-M includes;
- Compatibility – LTE-M doesn’t need a new infrastructure since it’s compatible with the existing LTE network infrastructure providing limited amount of data needed.
- Reduced device complexity – The use of half-duplex architecture greatly reduces device complexity and enables efficient connectivity.
- Better throughput – LTE-M can handle a wide range of data sending and receiving since it operates on a 1.4MHz bandwidth at a data rate of 150 Kbps.
- Extended coverage – It offers long distance coverage that’s useful for industries with moving operations and tracking.
- Mobility – LTE-M is capable of sending uninterrupted streams of data with real time data transmission without latency and the need of a fixed location.
- Prolonged battery life – Device batteries can last longer with LTE-M since they use power savings mode that wake them up periodically while connected, allowing companies to use devices for a longer period.
- Lower costs - Compared to LTE modules, the costs of LTE-M modules are reduced by 50%, and there are no additional costs to support services and infrastructure since it uses the existing LTE infrastructure.
- Enhanced security – It restricts device communication access and prevents device data leakage, enabling strong protection for IoT with security standards.
- Improved signal penetration – LTE-M operates on lower MHz channels that provide better signal penetration and is suitable for indoor environments.
- Enormous applicability – LTE-M supports almost all devices, including track and trace modules, smart meters, medical equipment, vending machines, etc.
Real-world applications: Electronics, healthcare and transportation
The implementation of potential IoT devices with the functionality of LTE-M can bring a paradigm shift resulting in improved profit margins and customer experience. By incorporating IoT devices in the infrastructure, some businesses will progress at a fast pace.
With the increasing awareness of smart home solutions and IoT devices, such as kitchen appliances, home thermostats and door locks; the demand for consumer electronics is continuously growing and is becoming a challenge for manufacturers to expand into more possibilities.
In the healthcare sector, patients as well as medical facilities and healthcare providers are moving from traditional methods to a more innovative approach. This approach involves the adoption of IoT devices in healthcare organizations. Medical providers are incorporating IoT-enabled devices and machine learning for medical monitoring and predicting health risks for patients. The deployment of these large-scale solutions can prevent further health issues and address health epidemics.
For transportation companies, fleet safety, compliance and productivity are essential, and they achieve it with remote monitoring. These remote monitoring devices provide robust data and analytics that help companies create safer roadways and find cost-saving areas. Cameras and sensors are deployed in public transportation by governmental agencies to help improve the required maintenance and make vehicles safer.