Improving NB-IoT/LTE-M Adoption
With Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) focused on future technology roll-outs in the form of 5G speeds and support of Mass IoT, often the use case and application development are overlooked. Leaving 5G aside for different purposes, most IoT applications are small data or could be allowing for the use of cost effective rate plans and modules for NB-IoT/LTE-M. One of the greatest issue for MNOs to capitalize on these networks is educating the developer community on how to effectively utilize these networks to maximize their network capacity and spectral efficiency. Including moving off older networks (2G/3G) and only utilize the full capacity of 4G/5G networks when the use case dictates it.
What do developers need to know to update their existing IoT applications from legacy networks or trial NB and Cat-M networks? How do they push their data across these new networks efficiently? These are some of cases being seen for them to understand how NB-IoT/LTE-M can work for them tend to focus on:
- Live NB-IoT/LTE-M Module Testing: The basic commands to drive NB-IoT and LTE-M real-world modules on real networks. Testing commands on different modules before buying them saves money on various module purchases to see what works or is supported by MNOs and saves time on delivery and simple connection and develops understanding of best practices already available. Understanding how these methods impact data plan utilization. These base commands are the backbone of NB-IoT/LTE-M network application utilization.
- Prototyping: Many IoT device prototypes are similar in concept to an Arduino (for discussion simplicity only, everyone has their own flavor of test-bed devices). Application developers need to get their code onto a device and test. Once it has been validated, they could proceed to the full prototype procurement means. Closing the gap on concept to prototype is key to NB-IoT/LTE-M network adoptions. These devices are typically low-cost sensor applications for specific task requirements sending small packets of information back to a centralized server.
- Advanced computing. Using more processor driven applications such as video recognition, complex sensor computations, or user bio-metrics with java, python, swift (or other)-based applications requiring items like raspberry pi’s to test libraries, concepts, and various connection methods. This might also include full application data use monitoring to understand full NB-IoT/LTE-M data plan management.
To speed up development, service upgrades, and better utilize MNO approved modules, service providers need to provide developers an NB-IoT/LTE-M sandbox to validate their work. A means to log in from anywhere and test modules, networks, and devices anytime, anywhere. The current process of order a developer kit, get a sim, hope you bought the right one for your application, develop and then scale is a very long process. People need help along the way. Eliminating hurdles will open the floodgates of the trillion device NB-IoT networks MNOs envision.
Overcoming MNOs self-imposed restrictions on module white-listing, methods, sims et all will always exist, and compliments need to be made to API based development such as Twilio and wide availability of module add-ons by like RAK-Wireless, and worldwide SIMs such as Hologram to ease application deployment in other areas. To improve the speed to market of NB-IoT/LTE-M applications, MNOs bear some responsibility to give application developers an instantaneous type access to their networks and modules, and best practices.
TTS-Wireless helps MNOs develop, test, and visualize IoT applications and networks through our software services, IMNOS data unification platform, and application libraries. Contact us to see how we can help you realize your IoT goals.