There is a raft of new radio technologies coming out. There usually is but this time they are coalescing around Internet of Things and it appears to be adding a bit of energy and excitement into the sector. Internet of Things isn’t new. Here we have been selling the idea since 1998. Things really took off in 2001 with wide scale adoption of GPRS and 56kbp/s became a reality!
One of the things that struck me with this new found focus on IoT is that there are a host of technologies either coming to the fore for the first time, or being dusted off because now they will have their time. At last people will recognise the advantages that this or that radio standard brings.
Whatever the radio system- PMR, 4G or proprietary short range radio there are some simple factors that come into play- How much data needs to be transmitted, how far does it need to go and how long do the batteries need to last?
Cost is a function of these parameters plus volume- the more people who buy into this, the quicker the costs are driven down. Does it need a supporting mast network? If so who maintains them, does it need a licence, do you need national coverage or will it be site by site and so on?
The idea of building a private network where you are in control, where you don’t need to pay someone else for every data byte transmitted and you don’t have to worry about what other people are doing that could bring the whole network down are very attractive. When you couple that with the frustration generally felt with existing Mobile Networks regarding billing, downtime, latency and support. It starts to feel like anything would be better.
But building a national network is expensive. Siting masts can be difficult, ensuring 24 hour access and maintenance, support, fault finding, power, security upgrades and expansion has a real cost. By the time you have implemented this you end up looking like a Mobile Network Operator. Even a strong technology like MESH is dependent on the quality and density of the network on implementation and then on support and upkeep afterwards. Quality costs.
However as we have seen in the right hands (Mobius), Mobile can deliver 99.996% availability on street in industrial applications. It can provide a very cost effective backbone to any IoT system with international reach, low hardware costs and broadly understood principles. Does that mean that Mobile is right for every application? The answer is probably not. The rise of the Mobile Platforms from Apple and Android have changed the world of data gathering and information delivery. Adoption of architectures such as Swarm, Mesh and Fog have stretched the art what is possible well beyond putting a SIM in every device.
It seems likely then that local data collection will be built using a broad variety of radio technologies depending on power consumption, distance and throughput. When it comes to collecting that data from anywhere in the world and delivering it to your cloud try Mobius, it’s built, it costs less than you might think and it delivers.
Written by Douglas Gilmour