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IoT's low-cost massive-reach communication revolution has arrived


IoT Blog | December 15 2016

person-IoT low-cost massive-reach communication revolution

Tony Guerion

Global Head of Sales, Vodafone Internet of Things (IoT)

Just last month, I spoke at the IoT Solutions World Congress about a new technology that will drive us towards an innovative hyper-connected world of increased profitability and sustainability.

Some weeks ago, that technology became a reality.

inbodyimage-IoT low-cost massive-reach communication revolution

The Spanish cities of Malaga and Seville will be among the first in the world to adopt what is called NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT): a low power wide area wireless (LPWA) technology that will open up the Internet of Things to millions of devices and objects previously too inaccessible, remote or numerous to connect.

Requiring just a tiny fraction of the bandwidth of conventional celular technology, NB-IoT can operate on existing mobile networks, using autonomous sensors that cost less than the price of a magazine and with a battery life of over 10 years.

Vodafone and partners Huawei are installing the technology to help both municipal governments to connect previously inaccessible water meters without access to power. Patterns of usage and other data will be analysed to vastly improve water conservation, sustainablility and cost efficiency.

But water management is just the first phase of the NB-IoT implementation in Malaga and Seville. A second phase will involve the technology being used to support entire smart city infrastructures from traffic and street lighting, to waste management and parking.

By connecting devices directly to the cloud where data can analysed, NB-IoT will allow municipalities and companies to get on with their core business while outsourcing the enabling communication infrastructure.

Globaly speaking the benefits are considerable. It is estimated that, worldwide, water companies using smarter solutions could save up to 11 billion euros each year. And with the annual cost of traffic gridlock in Europe and the US set to increase by 50% to around 260 billion euros by 2030, the advantage of NB-IoT-enabled Smart traffic control and parking systems are self evident.

For these reasons, Vodafone is already planning similar launches in Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands in the first three months of 2017 with full coverage of Vodafone’s global network by 2020.

As we launch in Spain, I have never been more convinced that the impact of this low-event, battery-driven massive-reach communication revolution will be enormous. In less than a decade, both the value and the scale of the Internet of Things is forecast to quadruple with 27 billion connections generating value of around US$3 trillion. And almost two-thirds of those connections will use some form of low power, long range wireless technology.

For companies and public authorities alike, NB-IoT will transform their business models and create opportunities that we can only imagine today.

By Tony Guerion

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