Cellular IoT - Growth and Opportunities

By CIOReview | Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Cellular communication is a strong IoT option. Devices cannot be in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth range every time. Adding a cellular gateway increases cost and maintenance, system and power. Cellular communication might seem like a wrong option for low power, but the Narrow-Band IoT (NB-IoT) standard paves the way. Tools that don’t need to communicate a lot of information, like intelligent parking devices, short and infrequent bursts of communication is ideal placing little demand on even a coin cell battery.   

Cellular IoT connections are expected to grow at a 30 percent CAGR up to 2023 across the globe, with exponential growth in north-east Asia. Majority of the growth will originate from solutions providers with integrated SoC solution requirements. A large number of these businesses have great plans and substantial market potential but very scarce expertise in cellular technology. A great way to add value is GNSS location (multi-satellite constellations include GPS, Beidou, Galileo and Glanoss).

GNSS can improve stationary IoT applications like street light and smart parking meters at the right price-point. In this scenario, programmed location ID is more credible than an installer entering the position of the device. These applications are stationary, and the change in position is only possible when a device is de-commissioned for repair and then reinstalled at a different location. 

There is a possibility that dropping GNSS would further reduce cost and power. Cellular IoT and GNSS integration into a single SoC allows mobile network assistance (A-GPS) that decreases acquisition time and GNSS capability considerably. The prospect of adoption of cellular IoT applications was faint in the beginning, but the demand increased more than expectations. The developers believe that the potential benefits outweigh the small incremental costs. If a company considers cellular certification, they must pass to have their devices permitted to be connected to cell base-stations. This process is determined by the Global Certification Forum (GCF) under 3GPP. A lot of in-house and joint testing is required for interoperability testing and mobile operator certification.

Firstly, a corporation has to make sure that their radio is optimized at the operational level. Assembling an effective radio is difficult. Grouping the radio using IPs from various suppliers might not meet the expectations due to system-level impairments and barriers. If a company is not a cellular expert and then they must choose a complete and pre-certified solution, and they should not assemble on their own.