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How LTE-M empowers the new era of IoT

How LTE-M empowers the new era of IoT

LTE-M technology lowers your IoT device costs, improves battery life while providing enhanced coverage

The Internet-of-Things (IoT) gives you insights into your operations so you can boost efficiency and cost savings. In fact, businesses will spend $1.4 trillion on IoT hardware by 2020 in an effort to achieve these benefits.

81% of medium and large-sized Canadian organizations are using IoT solutions today, up from 70% last year.

State of IoT Adoption in Canada, 2018: How IoT Is Used
Nigel Wallis, Research Vice President, IoT and Industry
International Data Corporation (IDC)

Organizations – from municipalities to building management companies – are using sophisticated IoT solutions to monitor and connect their systems. For example, they are installing IoT devices in remote locations, such as field sites and underground parking garages, to gain real-time data about their assets. However, obstacles such as thick concrete walls can impact coverage in these areas. In addition, it’s inconvenient to go to remote locations to service devices. These factors limit your ability to get the most value from your IoT data.

Luckily, there is a new type of network that gives these IoT devices reliable coverage.

What is LTE-M?

LTE-M, also known as Long Term Evolution for Machines, is a new network technology designed to support IoT devices. It provides wireless network connectivity to devices, such as sensors and monitors, that don’t require a lot of bandwidth.

LTE-M does not support devices that process large amounts of data, such as smartphones and computers.

What are the benefits of LTE-M?

Here are five ways that LTE-M can simplify your IoT management:

  • Enhanced coverage: LTE-M provides deeper coverage than traditional LTE networks. You can put LTE-M devices in hard-to-reach locations, such as underground or basements, and maintain connectivity.
  • Low device cost: Because they require a less complicated make-up, LTE-M devices are less expensive than the devices that are in the market today. They can also greatly reduce your power consumption, as they do not require as much energy as standard LTE devices.
  • Extended battery life: The batteries in LTE-M devices last up to 10 years (depending on the application). This saves you the cost of replacing them on a regular basis. You also can reduce the amount of time that technicians must spend accessing remote devices and changing their batteries.
  • Mobility capability: LTE-M supports mobility (hand-off from Wi-Fi to Cellular). This is helpful for mobile asset tracking applications to monitor shipping containers, fleet vehicles or people.
  • Voice capability: LTE-M supports communication, which is important for alarms and security applications.

Is an LTE-M solution something my company should consider?

Innovative companies are always finding new ways to use technology to achieve their business goals. LTE-M can help improve your operations, customer service and bottom line if you are deploying low bandwidth applications that will benefit from less expensive devices, longer battery life, and increased range and coverage. The technology can extend your IoT deployment to places that may previously have had limited connectivity, such as deep within buildings or basements.

LTE-M is also suitable for low bandwidth applications that may require mobility or voice capability. It is an excellent alternative to legacy, 2G wireless technology.

Examples of potential LTE-M applications include:

  • Smart metering (e.g., water or gas)
  • Asset tracking and monitoring
  • Industrial assets such as tools, tanks, pallets and factory equipment
  • Logistic tracking for shipping containers, consumer goods and fleet vehicles
  • Wearables for patient monitoring, children and pets
  • Smart Cities
  • Waste bin monitoring
  • Parking spot monitoring
  • Street lighting and environmental sensing
  • Home security and building automation
  • Security and alarm monitoring
  • Building equipment monitoring (e.g., HVAC)

How should I prepare for LTE-M?

Start by taking stock of your existing applications. Do you use 2G or LTE devices with low data requirements to monitor your assets? Has the cost and administration of a large-volume deployment kept you from exploring IoT in places where you think it might help? If yes, considering LTE-M devices could reduce your costs and simplify your IoT management.

Also consider whether you want to install IoT devices in areas that lack reliable connectivity. LTE-M’s enhanced coverage can give you new insights into your operations.

Interested in working with Rogers to develop LTE-M solutions? Click here to learn more.