Where did cellular IoT originate?
The popularity and ubiquity of IoT devices have led to the rise of low-power, wide-area networks (LP-WAN) options such as SigFox, LoRa, and Weightless. (In case you’re wondering, here’s why LPWAN is important in IoT and a breakdown of the different options).
Traditional cellular options such as 4G and LTE networks consume too much power. Moreover, they don’t fit well with applications where only a small amount of data is transmitted infrequently, for example, meters for reading water levels, gas consumption, or electricity use.
Cellular IoT tries to respond to the unending search for better low-power, long-range applications.
Cat-1 is the only fully-available cellular IoT option at the moment and represents an early push towards connecting IoT devices using existing LTE networks. While the performance is inferior to 3G networks, it’s an excellent option for IoT applications that require a browser interface or voice. The major attraction is that it’s already standardized, and more importantly, it’s simple to transition into the Cat-1 network. Experts predict that as 3G—and eventually 4G—technologies sunset, Cat-1 (and Cat-M1) networks will take its place.It’s important to understand that different cellular IoT options do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive. Click To Tweet
For LTE-based IoT networks to succeed, they need to have the following characteristics: 1) long battery life, 2) low cost, 3) support for a high volume of devices, 4) enhanced coverage (better signal penetration through walls for example), and 5) long-range/wide spectrum.
Cat-0 optimizes for cost as it eliminated features that supported high data rate requirements for Cat-1 (dual receiver chain, duplex filter). While Cat-1 is replacing 3G, Cat-0 is the protocol that set the groundwork for Cat-M replacing 2G as the cheaper option.
Cat-M (officially known as LTE Cat-M1) is often viewed as the second generation of LTE chips built for IoT applications. It completes the cost and power consumption reduction for which Cat-0 originally set the stage. By capping the maximum system bandwidth at 1.4 MHz (as opposed to Cat-0’s 20 MHz), Cat-M has specific use cases for LPWAN applications like smart metering, in which only small amount of data transfer is required.
But the real advantage of Cat-M over other options lies in this: Cat-M is compatible with the existing LTE network. For carriers such as Verizon and AT&T, this is great news as they don’t have to spend money to build new antennas, although meshing Cat-M into LTE networks requires a software patch. The existing customer bases of Verizon and AT&T will most likely conclude that Cat-M is by far the superior option. Lastly, it’s almost certain that 5G and LTE technologies will coexist well into the 2020s, so the backward-compatibility of Cat-M is a bonus.
NB-IoT (also called Cat-M2) has a goal similar to that of Cat-M; however, it uses DSSS modulation instead of LTE radios. Therefore, NB-IoT doesn’t operate in the LTE band, which means that providers have a higher upfront cost to deploy NB-IoT.
Nonetheless, NB-IoT is being touted as the potentially less expensive option, because it eliminates the need for a gateway. Other infrastructures typically have gateways that aggregate sensor data, which then communicate with the primary server. (Here’s a deeper explanation of gateways). With NB-IoT, however, sensor data is sent directly to the primary server. For that reason, Huawei, Ericsson, Qualcomm, and Vodafone are actively investing in commercial applications of NB-IoT. Sierra Wireless predicts that by the end of 2018, NB-IoT and LTE-M will be available in many global regions.
EC-GSM (formerly EC-EGPRS)
EC stands for Extended Coverage. EC-GSM is the IoT-optimized GSM network, the wireless protocol 80 percent of the world’s smartphones use. As the name suggests, EC-GSM can be deployed in existing GSM networks—a huge advantage in terms of practicality and modularity, since a simple piece of software enables EC-GSM connectivity within 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. EC-GSM also has specific use cases in non-Western regions such as Malaysia, and African and Middle-Eastern countries, where 2G remains a popular standard. Ericsson, Intel, and Orange are said to have completed live trials of EC-GSM earlier this year. EC-GSM, however, isn’t generating as much buzz as Cat-M or NB-IoT.
IoT Content Hubs
7. IoT Council
The IoT Council is a think tank for the internet of things and a global community of IoT leaders, practitioners, and thinkers. They’re a great resource to go to for high-level thought leadership, IoT news, and both formal and informal IoT events.
What makes them such a powerful resource is that they offer in-depth reports and articles completely for free. There is a membership option, but it’s hardly required to get lots of value from the Council.
8. IoT One
IoT One is an odd little web property.
They cover mostly the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and are squarely aimed at helping senior executives.
Here’s the thing though: a huge amount of their content, reviews, and more are all available for free.
If you’re in the market for vendors (hardware or software), use cases, case studies, or just want to know what other companies are doing/where you stand, then IoT One is the place to go.
Connected World is one of the few thoroughbred internets of things content companies out there.
Run by the tech futurist Peggy Smedley (who also runs the Peggy Smedley Institute), it’s constantly asking (and answering) the question: ‘what’s next for the internet of things?’
10.IoT For All
IoT For All is the internet at it’s best. Founded by developers to create a central resource for all things IoT-related, it’s full of useful content (including audio) for consumption. Topics range from how to guides for designing the internet of things to technical deep-dives that get under the hood of what makes the internet of things run.
In general, IoT For All is true to its name and is more accessible than other resources, so is a great place to get started.
11. IoT Institute
The IoT Institute is what it says on the tin: an institute that looks at all things Internet of Things-y.
What’s especially useful about the IoT Institute is that in addition to looking at the usual IoT topics like healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain, infrastructure, and building, they also look at things like IoT strategy, analytics, and what the internet of things means for actual people, not just industries and businesses.
They also run and advertise lots of IoT events all over the world.
Stacey Higginbotham is a long-time tech journalist and editor, who now runs a podcast all about the internet of things (as well as a newsletter). Because of her 18 years covering technology, she has the incredible knack to get fantastic guests onto her show and interview them in an accessible and engaging way.
Plus, she generates all sorts of blog posts, articles, about the internet of things. She’s always worth a read/listen.
TechTarget is a B2B marketing firm that produces tech content then sells its user’s behaviour to tech companies who want to target them.
It’s pretty brilliant.
Of course, for this to work they have to produce valuable content that people want to read. And when it comes to the internet of things, that’s spawned the TechTarget IoT Agenda.
Generally, they focus on industry news, and trends/thought leadership pieces, but also build out plenty of downloadable, high-value content and IoT guides.
14. IoT Analytics
IoT Analytics is a market research company specifically for the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, and the M2M world. Its goal is to help IoT decision makers access the data they need to make informed decisions, and to that end, they produce extremely detailed, useful, and (unfortunately) expensive reports.
But they also produce lots of content that readily available on their site. They freely distribute industry company information, trends, predictions, and more — all backed by their diligently collected data and research.
15. IoT Now
IoT Now is a dedicated product resource for you and your team.
They combine a huge amount of IoT content on a single domain, including industry news, thought-provoking blogs, white papers and other high-value content, events, webinars — they even have a regular magazine.
Of course, so much content can be a little overwhelming. We especially liked their blog and their webinar work (despite the fact you can’t watch them on double speed).
16. The IoT Magazine
The IoT Magazine says its:
The number 1 place to learn about IoT.
We’re not sure if that’s true, but regardless it is a superb tool.
They have a breadth of content that’s almost unmatched, offering fast, fun reads like the future of work alongside much more in-depth pieces about stuff like the intersection between blockchain technology and the internet of things.
Plus, they’re hosted on Medium, so they offer a cleaner, less cluttered reading experience than other IoT resources out there.
Other IoT Resources
It’s not surprising that there’s a subreddit totally dedicated to the internet of things.
There are of course lots of different ones but /r/IOT is great balance of content aggregation, informed discussion, and common IoT pitfalls.
While lots of other resources we recommend for a specific user or industry, we’d say this is essential for everyone.
Because like its parent Reddit, /r/IOT covers the internet of things from all angles.There’s a world of questions about IoT for cities, companies, DIYers, and more.
Check it out. You’re bound to learn something!
Most of these resources are databases or content producers.
Basically, lots of interesting stuff.
But sometimes, a single piece of content is so good that it gets a mention on it’s own.
High Mobility’s beginners guide to the internet of things is one of those rare pieces of content that combines technical proficiency, comprehension, and third-party data in a simple, accessible way. For anyone trying to get their head around IoT, then this is a must-read resource.
The Internet of Things is essentially an exercise in integration. If our devices talking to each other is the shiny end result, then integration at every level is the blood, sweat, and tears to get there.
But it’s also the technology piece that is so often misunderstood, underestimated, or overlooked completely. And while services Like Zapier, IFTTT, and Stringify are all excellent examples of user-driven integration efforts, none of them address how enterprises need to get their systems talking.
Enterprise Integration Patterns (especially this chapter) delves into this world so even non-developers can understand the basics.
20. Smart Industry
While not a dedicated IoT resource, they talk about smart industry… which basically means the internet of things.
For trending news and thought pieces, Smart Industry is the way to go. They also cover IoT and smart technology news from a business/enterprise angle without going overboard on their partner promotion.
LinkLabs helps organizations connect their disparate smart devices in a way that allows rapid data processing and top-of-the-line security.
But for us, it’s all about the content they produce. Their blog, white papers, and other resources offer fairly technical commentary on the internet of things. For people looking for more technical content like how real-time location systems can be used in healthcare settings, and “Costs in IoT: LTE-M vs. NB-IOT vs. SigFox vs. LoRa” then LinkLabs is the place for you.
For up-to-the-minute IoT ideas, products, and concepts, Postscapes is hard to look past.
They cover the typical IoT news but also delve into new startups, new funding, and acquisitions.
It’s the best place on the internet to stay up to date with what’s going on in internet of things universe.
What’s more, they produce a staggering number of niche IoT guides, covering everything from IoT platforms to DIY IoT.
an IoT-enablement platform and paradigm.
Which essentially means they connect complicated stuff to other complicated stuff.
But beyond that, they have in-depth white papers, blog posts, and thought-leading webinars perfect for senior leaders leading or championing IoT transformation projects.
24. IoT Directory
Sometimes when you’re looking for a vendor, it’s nice to just see all of your options in a single place.
IoT Directory does that for IoT providers.
Of course, there is never going to be a truly 100% comprehensive list, but we think that IoT directory gets pretty close.
What’s more, they split it out into software, hardware, end-to-end providers, and connectivity providers, enabling rapid exploration of the product/service you need.
You’re probably tired of reading by now.
Which is why we’ve included the IBM Big Data Hub’s IoT section. They have hundreds of podcast, videos, infographics, and more all about the internet of things. They talk to experts, look at trends, and actually bring some numbers into their conversations. It’s a superb resource that focuses a little more on the reality of IoT for enterprises, rather than the concept of an interconnected world.
Sidewalk Labs is Google company whose goal/purpose is to reimagine how cities work in the 21st century. They’re currently working on building a “smart city” on some under-used land on Toronto’s waterfront.
Generally, they blog about a range of urban problems. But as one of the only organizations actively working through the challenges of building a “smart city”, they also have tons of interesting stuff on what the internet of things means for municipalities.
For the urban enthusiasts out there curious about what the future holds for cities, Sidewalk Labs is a great place to start.
There you have it. 26 resources that will get and keep you up to speed on what’s going on in the interconnected world of interconnected devices.
Plugged in, so to speak, to the internet of things network (see what we did there)?
Because the internet of things is coming. Maybe not as fast as we first predicted, and maybe not as pervasive as Black Mirror usually predicts, but it’s definitely on its way.
The way we engage with products, from the second they enter the supply chain to when we take them off the shelf will be an interconnected experience, complete with feedback loops and automated processes. We’re building a world that will, eventually, empower AI to make our lives easier.
And it all starts with building an interconnected network of smart devices.
Don’t know about you, but we’re pretty excited.
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