Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT): Another Internet of Things buzzword?
Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) is a method of enabling communication for all these ‘things’ that are definitely – maybe – going to change our lives in the near future. For all its hype, the Internet of Things has still not really arrived in any significant way.
So, what makes Narrowband IoT interesting?
NB-IoT is a Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology designed for devices that use small amounts of data, over long time periods, and in hard to reach places. It’s a simple, secure and reliable way to connect devices through existing GSM and LTE spectrum networks, to handle small amounts of two-way data. With low power consumption, good coverage and low component costs, it makes a good case for use in smart cities projects and wider connectivity circles.
Potential Uses for Narrowband IoT
- Smart gas and water meters – commercial and residential meters can be installed in all kinds of places. The coverage and penetration properties of NB-IoT can effectively mitigate this.
- Municipal infrastructure – here, potential uses range from monitoring parking, waste bins and environmental conditions, to controlling street lighting or even keeping a look out for pot-holes!
- Connecting sensors to a main monitoring system using NB-IoT over an LPWA network is potentially harder for intruders to disable
- Building maintenance – sensors can send status alerts for maintenance issues, along with performing automated tasks, e.g. heating and lighting control
- Health – one significant benefit this new technology may bring beyond current wearable offerings is the ability to monitor such devices over a much longer range, which could lead to more flexible arrangements for patient monitoring
- Tracking – again, NB-IoT’s increased range could allow for better tracking options, with herd and animal tracking in farming being an obvious beneficiary
It remains to be seen just how this new branch of the Internet of Things will manifest itself, but it’s easy to see the potential benefits it could bring to the party as it rides along on the connectivity rollercoaster.
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