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With millions of new and exciting devices connecting to the Internet every day, the Internet of Things is an IT trend that has the potential to dramatically improve society. Yet, the most significant change brought about by the IoT may actually come from devices that aren’t really that exciting.
Even though sexy devices like smartphones, smart cars, and smart homes are getting all the press when it comes to IoT, it’s the forgotten-about, behind-the-scenes devices which drive the IoT forward, like gas meters, water gauges, trash cans, soil moisture sensors, and more. Instead of having these devices be used to download the latest apps and post to social media, they’re primarily tasked with a singular purpose, like collecting and transmitting data so that work can get done more efficiently.
Devices like these actually present a unique technical challenge: how does one connect these devices to the Internet in such a way that little (if any) maintenance is required (like swapping out a device’s battery), and in locations without a reliable Internet connection? Having these devices achieve such requirements is necessary in order to enjoy the desired benefits. Otherwise, implementing small IoT devices on a wide scale wouldn’t be worth it, due to the expense of providing power, device maintenance, and Internet coverage to remote places. For example, installing an Internet-connected gas meter to a log cabin in the middle of the woods would prove most difficult due to poor 3G coverage, and it would be inconvenient to send a technician to service the meter. How then does one equip important IoT devices to hard-to-reach areas?
The answer lies in narrowband Internet of Things technology (NB-IoT), a development that allows for billions of obscure devices to be connected to the Internet, earning it the reputation by experts as “the glue that holds the IoT together.” NetworkComputing explains:
NB-IoT, originally called the cellular Internet of Things, is an emerging industry solution designed to enhance the global deployment of low-power wide area (LPWA) networks. Through licensed operator spectrum, in-band, guard band and standalone deployments, NB-IoT can provide connectivity to devices in hard to reach places without requiring much power to do so.
The ways that NB-IoT technology expands the IoT breaks down barriers and opens up a whole new world of Internet connectivity. Think for a moment about IoT devices in basements deep underground, or even attached to buried pipes, or about those on islands that lie beyond the services of normal infrastructure. NetworkComputing cites further examples:
This is where NB-IoT and LPWA technology come in, because they can provide a long-range mobile connection with low power consumption. This combination of connectivity and low-power needs means a utility company can install connected flow meters around a water distribution network to automatically detect leaks without worrying about whether or not the sensor will work.
This is just one example of how technology can provide organizations with new possibilities of productivity. At NTConnections, we’re excited about how the IoT has the potential to dramatically change things, and with more than five million devices being added to the Internet every day, you’re going to want to fully leverage the IoT for your business. The best way to do this is to have a technology professional in your corner who has the know-how you need to succeed. Give us a call at (703) 288-9767 and let’s discuss ways that technology can expand your business to new horizons.