Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) is a low-powered wide-area (LPWA) radio network that’s been hailed as the best solution to support the massive growth of new IoT devices, estimated to top 75 billons by 2025. With the wide-ranging global proliferation, NB-IoT is proving itself to be more reliable, cost-effective and efficient.
Advantages of NB-IoT
NB-IoT is the standard of the future. It features longer battery life, lower-cost chipsets, and premium coverage. The power and flexibility of the evolving network of IoT devices are perfectly positioned to enable the deployment of new solutions previously unsupportable (and even unimagined). The real-world use-case scenarios for new IoT devices are virtually endless.
- Smart Cities: It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, brought to life in ways that are designed to improve lives. From smart lights and parking sensors to environmental controls, smart city sensor functionalities allow automated services and safety features to improve city life.
- Smart Buildings: The city-wide possibilities narrow down to a smaller, building scale, which supports better security options and automated utility coverage, with real-time monitoring and alerts for facilities management. That includes environmental control features, but the sensor technology also supports safety (fire and other hazards) considerations, as well as immersive space solutions.
- Individuals: Wearable devices are already commonplace; so, we already measure health and wellness. Now, the goal of NB-IoT application and service providers is to make the devices more cost-effective and sustainable for consumers and businesses alike. The widespread proliferation of these devices is part of why IoT devices outnumber the world’s population. Further inroads need to be made into making sure all IoT devices are cost-effective and available (economies of scale).
Beyond our homes and cities, NB-IoT improved tracking, safety, and efficiency across every IoT-integrated industry including healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain logistics, automotive, agriculture, IT and other innovations. The better connectivity and wide-spread sensor deployment also support ease in the remote management of devices.
Disadvantages of NB-IoT
The NB-IoT use cases are compelling and appear to offer even more possibilities for the seamless integration of IoT devices in the future, but there are a few drawbacks. Compared with LTE, NB-IoT offers lower data rates. It works well for stationary devices, but not so well for other use-case scenarios that require better/higher data rates. NB-IoT also does not support Voice Over LTE (VoLTE), which rules out speech transmission.
The Next Industrial Revolution
Despite the disadvantages, NB-IoT part of what has been described as the next industrial revolution. We’ve already become so immersed in the sensor-driver, dynamic and immersive technology that the possibilities barely seem to faze us. So, where are we going from here? What can we expect, and how will the NB-IoT continue to affect the proliferation of IoT devices across industries and markets?
The easy answer is that wide-spread availability will continue to roll out around the globe with connection via T-Mobile, Orange, Vodacom, and Telstra. It’s the wave of the future, happening now with interoperable and scalable solutions across dedicated and secure networks. With the continued roll-out, it’s not a matter of when it is happening. Instead, companies, big and small, are discussing how they can tap into the cost savings, reliability and efficiency to streamline business practices and ensure long-term growth.
As the technology becomes more mainstream and standardized, consumers and businesses alike are exploring fast and cost-effective ways to renovate their businesses and their lives. With so much uncertainty in the marketplace right now and increasing international volatility, improvements to the bottom line and assurances of continued growth potential are vital considerations.