The Internet of Things (IoT) has moved from fiction to reality, disrupting and transforming businesses, governments and consumers as they go about their business in the world. The IoT dramatically widens the internet’s scope from people-operated computers towards autonomous smart devices.
One of the components of this new reality is the Narrow-Band-IoT network (NB-IoT) that was developed in 2015 to increase the scope of IoT devices and services.
What is NB-IoT?
Narrow-Band-IoT is a new standards-based low power wide area (LPWA) technology, specifically developed to enable a wide range of IoT devices and services that require a small amount of data over long periods. Being low power consumption technology makes it very suitable for a variety of IoT applications such as parking sensors, smart metering, healthcare appliances, tracking devices, to name just a few.
Currently, NB-IoT is deemed to find applications in M2M and Industrial IoT (IIoT). In fact, LPWA communications technologies are predicted to account for a quarter of all wireless IIoT connections by 2025. However, we have seen some recent developments in consumer communication. In particular, last month Samsung announced a new smart tag that connects to NB-IoT networks and is designed to clip onto pet collars, luggage, or even children to help parents keep track of them.
Developing the next generation of NB-IoT modules
We have partnered with the leading supplier of NB-IoT networks – Huawei , to develop the next generation of modules that combine an extra level of security and consume very low power. Huawei, via its semiconductor arm HiSilicon, will provide an NB-IoT chipset which will allow us to develop NB-IoT modules, providing security solutions and beyond.
The idea is to create NB-IoT modules that meet manufacturers’ demands and help them reduce the cost and size of their devices, as well as lighten the lifespan of battery-powered devices to up to 10 years.
ABI research from July 2016 suggests that NB-IoT modules connecting objects to networks are forecast to represent more than a third of all cellular IoT shipments. NB-IoT has also been a big topic at MWC Shanghai this year, highlighting the developments by telecoms around the world in this area. NB-IoT and LPWAN technologies will make it possible to embed connectivity at attractive price solutions where this would not have been economically feasible before.
We’ll keep you updated on our partnership with Huawei and the progress of the NB-IoT modules. If you’re interested in learning more, visit our dedicated NB-IoT technology page .