The Internet of Things (IoT) is proliferating at an incredible pace, and IoT market growth will be a dominant force across the spectrum of technology-related industries. A primary driver behind the strength of this growth is the vast number of connections being established between multiple combinations of people, devices, services and information.
According to reliable sources, the IoT market will capture an even bigger slice of the market in the coming future.
This vast market can be broken down to modules/sensors, connectivity, services and others with two-thirds of the market share driven by the first three market segment. Among them, connectivity will come in second following modules/sensors.
As seen above, one of the most important aspects of IoT is "how" everything will be connected. Up to now, the majority of IoT devices were being deployed in short-range networks such as smart homes and offices -- primarily indoor cases. However the market is now requiring wider coverage networks which can be used for both indoor and outdoor deployments.
Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) describes a set of technologies used for places where only small amounts of data need to be transferred but spread across a wide area. LPWA technologies can be divided between licensed and unlicensed spectrum : LoRa and SIGFOX work in unlicensed bands, while cellular IoT, such as NB-IoT and LTE-M are typically used in licensed spectrum.
LPWA devices generally boast a long battery life with over 10 years of operation depending on traffic and coverage needs. This greatly reduces operational costs, as well as the number of maintenance related site visits required to replace batteries in IoT devices or sensors in the field.
Non-cellular technologies such as LoRa and SIGFOX have been developed for the sole purpose of enabling Machine Type Communication (MTC) and can connect sensors with ultra-low data transfer requirements. These technologies are already being used in many countries for various services. NB-IoT and LTE-M have been standardized and are part of the 3GPP Release 13.
Samsung’s LTE Radio Access Solution supports NB-IoT with a simple software upgrade. In regions where LTE has already been deployed, this software update can provide operators with a fully functioning IoT network without degrading existing mobile network performance. This helps to eliminate the burden and expense of deploying a separate overlay network since there is no need for additional hardware investment.
However, in some areas, an independent IoT network may be needed with a completely new cell planning after consideration of IoT service requirements of the region. In this case, Samsung’s standalone type IoT base station can provide suitable coverage for an IoT-dedicated network at a fraction of the expense of deploying a typical LTE macro site.
Together, these two products allow operators to flexibly plan and deploy their IoT network based on an analysis of network requirements and existing infrastructure. For instance, building smart factories in industrial regions, or deploying a disaster control solution in rural areas or border safety solution for border areas represent scenarios where high capacity LTE networks are often an unnecessary luxury, but a customized LTE network for such IoT services is needed.
In such cases, the ability to deliver and manage mission critical services benefit greatly from the deployment of an independent LTE network layer.
Apart from LTE-M and NB-IoT technologies that are based on 3GPP standards, Samsung also supports LoRAWAN technology. The LoRaWAN technology is a great example of Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies that uses unlicensed spectrum and with the purpose of IoT service; it uses the Industrial Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency band. The LoRaWAN technology is already commercially available that has the benefit of low module cost and enables various IoT services. Samsung will provide LoRaWAN technology base stations for Korea’s IoT city construction project in line with Korean government and major telecommunication operator. This project will serve as a testbed for next-generation IoT services.
Samsung is also ready to offer an IoT product for short range communication; the IoT gateway.
The IoT gateway is an all-in-one product that short range communication technologies such as Zigbee, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) are integrated into indoor WiFi Gateway.
As the gateway is embedded with a BLE Beacon Hub, the BLE Beacon Hub is able to control multiple devices that are connected to the AP. Therefore, the IoT gateway can be used in different places including office, school and shopping mall providing versatile IoT services. Also, with the Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS) sensor, the AP monitors the user status of the gateway in real time, preventing unwarranted connections to enhance security.
Korea has rapidly become a forerunner in Public Safety LTE (PS-LTE), and the Korean government is strongly mandating the rollout of a PS-LTE network. Not stopping here, the government also plans to build an LTE-Railroad network, the world's first LTE-based network for railroad and subway operational support and an LTE-Maritime (LTE-M) network for coastal communications and navigational coordination.
In the coming future, such networks will need to accommodate the Internet of Things. Sensors such as smoke alarms, motion detectors, wearables for emergency personnel and other devices will all need to be connected to the network. When these types of devices gain connectivity through the IoT network, real-time monitoring becomes possible during emergency situations and faster, more appropriate response can be taken.
IoT will change our lives in many ways. A world of interoperable and interconnected objects surrounding us will be capable of self-managing their functionality and augmenting their ability to help us. This will be an incredible source for technological and industrial advancement, driven in large part by the mobile connectivity that enables it.