Home / Technology / Gadgets /  Technologies that will make IOT mainstream

New Delhi: While there is no denying that the Internet of Things (IOT) is going to completely change the way we interact with objects around us—-be it changing colour of a light bulb to preparing coffee, or driving a car to taking print out at workplace--the technology is still a work in a progress with several missing pieces. Here are some of the technologies that are likely to fill in those gaps.

Most IOT devices currently rely on WiFi networks for connectivity and to pair to other devices on the network. However, there are many devices that do not have access to WiFi all the time. Many of these devices are currently powered by SIM (subscriber identity module) technology which offers a more extensive coverage than WiFi. However, shipping a separate SIM into every unit of the device is turning out to be logistic issue. That is where eSIM or embedded SIM presents a smarter alternative. For home users, it will be a lot easier to switch their service provider and they can also add new devices to their plans without having to get a new SIM card and then install them manually on each of them.

With eSIM, device bundling will become much easier, with consumers able to conveniently add new devices to their plans without having to go in store or wait for a physical SIM card to arrive in the post.

Businesses which have deployed IOT in their plants, warehouses or manufacturing facilities, eSIM is much more viable option as they don’t require installation. Gemalto, a digital security company has deployed more than 100 eSIM based remote subscription management platforms to telecom operators, mobile virtual network operators, car manufacturers and OEMs. In a press statement, Gemalto spokesperson points out that more than 900 million eSIM-compliant devices are expected to be shipped yearly by 2022.

Coverage is another bottleneck for IOT vendors.

In addition to eSIM, IOT vendors are also exploring new forms of connectivity protocols such as LPWA (low power wide area), LoRA (Long Range) and LPN (low power network). Desigend to operate outdoors and offer wider connectivity, these new protocols are expected to encourage outdoor IOT deployment, in adventure sports, monitoring vessels, vehicles, bicycles or boats.

LPWA is particularly designed for sensors and applications that have to send small amounts of data over long distances at short hourly intervals every day. LoRA is a non cellular version of LPWA and is available in license free spectrum, like 5GHz band, but offers better coverage than WiFi networks.

Sony has a developed a new IOT chip that uses Sony’s LPWA network offering coverage of 60 miles in crowded urban centres for objects moving at high speeds. The fact that LPWA uses low-power wireless technology to transfer low-bit data across a wide area at lower power consumption, makes it ideal for outdoor IOT devices. The new chip transmits signals in the 920MHz band and uses GPS/GNSS sensors to ascertain time and position data.

With so many devices at play and talking to each other at the same time, is likely to use up a lot of bandwidth. While 4G has put faster internet speeds in the hands of users, experts are of the opinion that it won’t be sufficient for a jamboree of IOT devices. That is where 5G with its high speed connectivity and low latency will be more relevant.

“With 4G people experience variance in speed and network congestion. 5G will bring a lot of capacity improvement and will actually release some of that congestion. It will play an important role in IOT space as multiple IOT devices can overwhelm 4G networks," said Brendan Gill, CEO and Co-founder of OpenSignal in a recent interview to Mint.

Another technology that is expected to improve the IOT experiences of future is Digital twin. In a nutshell, Digital twin is a cloud based virtual model of a physical system that is used to run simulations before actual deployment or changes could be made in the actual system. According to Gartner, with estimated 21 billion connected sensors and endpoint sin 2002, Digital twins is expected to exist for billions of things in the future.

When deployed in IOT space, it ensures users don’t have to connect to an actual system. They can simply deploy applications in a secure sandbox, speeding up the process and also keep the data transmission secure. Its application is more likely going to be in manufacturing sector where multiple machines are collecting and transmitting operational data frequently.

Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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