There Are My Keys! By John Haine, u-blox


John Haine, u-blox, shares insight into the latest developments in IoE communications systems to support the increasing demand for low cost, low power devices.


Back in April last year I blogged on why a new radio standard is needed to connect up the Internet of Everything (IoE).  Imagine a radio device that can handle small amounts of data cheaply, run for years on a small low-cost battery, and most importantly provide 2-way communications virtually anywhere, not just in the open but in underground car parks, deep inside buildings, inside meter cupboards, basements, and even in manholes; covering both cities and rural areas.  I wrote that a new specification would be needed to support such devices, to give mobile carriers, expert at operating big networks, the tools to connect up billions of “gadgets” to the IoE.

Well, such systems are emerging, not just in the standards arena but in early trials as well, as described in the first post in “Sandbox”, Vodafone’s new technology blog.  Already we can demonstrate most aspects of the new system’s behaviour, using terminal devices the same size as already used in many M2M products (in future they will be smaller).  This won’t be the complete answer to IoE communications: some applications will need the higher bandwidth that new variants of LTE may provide; some products will operate in conjunction with smartphone apps and can use Bluetooth LE with the phone as a gateway to the Internet.  Where it will play an important role is connecting many devices in applications that need pervasive coverage and low cost, but don’t need wide bandwidth.  Most importantly, to be viable they need to have a “single hop” connection to a managed, highly reliable network.  Examples range from gas and water metering, through security and environmental sensors, wearable health monitors, to gadgets and applications of all kinds, that may be invented by the Maker / Kickstarter community.


(Oh, and it will make a great key-finder.)

u blox

About The Author

John-HaineJohn Haine is RF Technology Innovation Coordinator, u-blox AG and Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at Bristol University, focusing on Radio Systems for the Internet of Things

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