Technology background and introduction
Internet of Things (or IoT) is one of the major trends in the industry that has the goal to interconnect, over the Internet, devices of any kind enabling them to interact, exchange data and be remotely monitored and controlled. A few interesting examples are –
- Home devices for controlling and monitoring lights, heating/cooling, intrusion alarms, smoke/gas/flooding sensors and reporting, etc.
- Health and Wearable devices including sport devices, health monitor, sleep sensors, etc.
- Smart Meters for electricity, gas, water etc.
- Agriculture sensors for the monitoring plantations, crops, bee-hives over large tracts of land etc.
IoT technology is the interconnection of a huge number of (intelligent) devices / sensors / actuators connected through the Internet. Data from these devices are pulled to the Cloud by appropriate applications. These devices are also managed and controlled remotely via applications in the Cloud.
Given this definition, it is easy to agree with the market analysts that forecast a near future in which the Internet will be dominated by applications involving billions of connected devices.
The kind of traffic generated by these “things” will be very different from the traffic generated by humans. Humans typically look for high bandwidth data transfer, video streaming, file upload, online gaming, etc. whereas due to the “always connected” nature of the IoT devices, the traffic generated will be more likely characterized by modest data-rates and throughputs, but will require very high reliability, 24×7 connectivity, low latency and long -lasting batteries.
The wireless cellular communication technologies will play a big role in the IoT equation because, it allows connectivity and mobility at the same time.
Cellular communication technologies will play a key role in the widespread adoption of IoT devices since both device connectivity and mobility can be facilitated. New 3GPP standards (Release 13) are now available for this purpose.
In particular, NB-IoT and LTE-M are new narrowband radio interfaces that have been standardized to address the need of the IoT market and will be an evolution of the present LTE interface optimized for IoT. In fact, according to 3GPP, the new technology will provide improved indoor coverage, support of massive number of low throughput devices, low delay sensitivity, ultra-low device cost, low device power consumption and optimized network architecture. Moreover, these new interfaces will enable GSM re-farming. Re-use of 200 kHz GSM carriers (NB-IoT) is now possible. The alternative is a wider 1.4 MHz band (LTE-M) option facilitating two forms of deployment.
AZCOM and IoT
Azcom is a long-time partner of some of the biggest OEMs in the IoT arena and is currently focused on making its IoT vision a reality through Azcom products, solutions and turn-key design services.
Towards this end, Azcom Technology has developed the new AZI series of small cell products for the NB-IoT market. Customers can rapidly deploy IoT connectivity solutions with this product family. For legacy customers who are using the AZS series of LTE small cells, NB-IoT can be enabled seamlessly with a simple software upgrade.
Azcom Technology has actively contributed to various research projects in the field of IoT.
A few key projects include –
- The Home of IoT project aims develop technologies to monitor of vital signs for the elderly elder and fragile people. Major outcome of the project will be an open laboratory for IoT providing a collaboration platform.
- SIMPSS (which stands for Intelligent System for Infrastructure Monitoring) envisions a dense network of connected smart sensors that, through deep learning algorithms running in the cloud, will monitor the structural status of a host of different buildings and infrastructures in steady state after some catastrophic events like earthquake, hurricane, floods etc.
- The C-Roads project realizes the connection between the infrastructure and the vehicles through wireless technologies both short and long range (namely ITS-G5 and LTE), to receive timely information useful for driving safety and traffic control.