IoT starts with being multifaceted and interconnected in terms of its practical usability. Nevertheless, the internet of things is a vast realm of wireless communication solutions and diverse technologies coming together, so it’s hard to pick one.
It’s definitely not a one size fits all scenario and rightly so we have a list of top 6 wireless technologies use cases in IoT product development.
Each of these top 6 use cases has its respective strengths and weaknesses based on diverse network criteria and is best suited for versatility in different IoT product development solutions.
The top 6 IoT wireless technologies use cases in IoT product development are:
Or low power wide area networks are the new phenomenal innovation in the field of IoT. Providing a long range communication solution via small and inexpensive batteries lasting years, this purpose built family of technology is made to support large IoT networks sprawling and growing in vast industrial areas, campuses, and other commercial spaces.
LPWANS can connect to all types of IoT sensors out there quite literally. It easily facilitates numerous applications like environmental monitoring, assets trackers, facility management, and vacancy detection to consumables estimations. But sadly, LPWANS can only send small data blocks at a low speed rate and hence are better suited for use cases that don’t imply using a higher data bandwidth or are time-sensitive.
All the more, not all LPWANS are created the same way. We have technologies today operating in both the licensed (NB-IoT, LTE-M) and unlicensed (Mythings, LoRa, Sigfox) fields with a variable degree of performance in different network factors. For example, energy consumption is a major concern for licensed cellular based LPWANS. While quality and scalability is the main focal point of consideration when deploying unlicensed LPWANS technologies. Standardization is another variable to consider for prolonged reliability, ensuring security and interoperability in the long term. Selecting the right technology for your wireless IoT use case requires a pre-assessment of bandwidth strength, QoS, security, energy consumption, and good network management.
Zigbee and other mesh protocols
Zigbee is a short range, low powered wireless technology (IEEE 802.15.4) commonly designed in mesh topology for extensive data coverage by relaying sensor data over multiple sensor nodes. In comparison to LPWANS, Zigbee provides high data rates but with less power efficiency due to its mesh configuration. Its physical short range (<100m) is similar to other mesh protocols like Z-Wave and Thread etc. And they seem to be best suited for medium range IoT applications having an even distribution of nodes in close proximity. A compliment to Wi-Fi, Zigbee is perfect for home automation like smart lights, HVAC controls, security, smart fire alarms, energy management, etc, leveraging home sensor networks.
Until LPWANS, mesh networks were also implemented in industrial IoT supporting remote monitoring solutions. But they were far from ideal for industrial facilities that were geographically far away with its scalability often inhibited by complex network setup and management costs.
Cellular (3G, 4G, 5G)
Quite established in the consumer mobile market, the cellular network is the hub of reliable broadband connection packages and services. They often support high data transferability, voice calls, and video streaming apps and platforms. On the flip side they charge exceptionally high operational monthly cost rates and need constant power requirements. Cellular networks seem not much viable for most battery operated IoT applications using sensor networks, yet they fit quite well in specific use cases such as connected cars for transportation or shipping fleet management in logistics. Examples of in-car infotainment screens, driver and traffic routing, onboard diagnostics, ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), fleet telematics, and trackers can all rely on the well distributed cellular high bandwidth connectivity.
Next generation 5G with high speed cellular mobility support and ultra low latency is better to be the future of autonomous self-driving vehicles and AR (augmented reality). 5G is also powered to provide real-time video surveillance for public safety services, offer real-time time mobile delivery of medical data for connected healthcare services, and ace several time-sensitive critical industrial operations automation in the near future.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Is a well known short range communication technology that we are all familiar with in the consumer marketplace. Classic Bluetooth was originally made for point to point or point-to multipoint data exchange in consumer devices supporting up to 7 slave nodes. With optimization of power consumption BLE or Bluetooth low energy was introduced to cater small scale consumer IoT devices. BLE is mostly conjunct with electronics like smartphones as a hub for cloud file transfers.
Nowadays BLE is integrated into wearables and fitness bands like smart watches, glucose meters, and oximeters alongside smart home devices like smart TVs and smart locks. Conveniently communicating data for visualization in smartphones. The Bluetooth Mesh specification aims at deploying scalable BLE devices in retail. With versatile indoor feature localization. BLE Beacons are used to unlock new service innovations like in-store navigation, promotions, and service content delivery.
Needs no introduction with its critical role in high throughput data transferability for both enterprise and home environments. In the IoT space, its limited coverage, power needs, and scalability make it a limitation. With high energy needs, WiFi is not viable for large networks or battery operated sensors in IIoT and smart buildings. It caters to more connecting devices that access a nearby close power outlet like smart home appliances, digital signages, or security camera hubs.
Wi-Fi 6 the newest generation of WiFi is powered with greatly enhanced bandwidth <9.6 Gbps to improve data throughput per user in active environments. Leveling up public Wi-Fi infrastructure and consumer experience comes next.
Radio Frequency Identification uses radio waves to transmit small data sets from a nearby RFID tag to a reader at a very short distance. Facilitating a revolution in retail and logistics.
Attaching RFID tags to all products and equipment can track inventory and asset movements in real-time. Generating better stocks, production planning, and optimized supply chain management. Increasing IoT adoption makes RFID enter the retail sector enabling IoT innovations like smart shelves, self checkout, and smart mirrors.
Judging the IoT verticals and applications with their unique network requirement is crucial. Choosing the best wireless technologies for your IoT use case calls for accuracy and weighing criteria like range, bandwidth, QoS, service, security, power consumption, and network management costs.
IoT technologies have come a long way in terms of changing interfaces, platforms, usability, and network requirements, and with rapid innovations underway in IoT infrastructure development, the best is yet to arrive.
Technosphere is an IoT product design and development company that focuses on providing innovative smart product designs and engineering services with end to end IoT solutions. With expertise in IIoT fields including smart product engineering, industry specific IoT, smart city solutions, enterprise IoT, smart farming, wearables, and wireless communication solutions.
With offices based in Bangalore, India and Dallas, TX USA, Technosphere offers the best available in IoT product development services – with reliable and secure data aggregation with seamless cloud automation using various IoT platforms. The list includes IoT product engineering solutions, product design, industrial IoT, machine learning, AI, business automation solutions, smart factories, industry automation solutions, data analytics, smart logistics and smart retail.