IoT technology is evolving fast, but there are still concerns, among some, about adopting it.
The adoption of IoT technologies has, for some organizations, been hindered by their current limitations. But the technology is rapidly evolving, creating ever-lower barriers to entry.
The primary objective of evolving wireless technologies from 2G to 4G was link capacity, driven by access to the internet for mobile devices. But for many IoT applications, link capacity is not so important: if telemetry data amounts to only a few bytes per hour, link capacity can be tiny.
The more important consideration for radio modems is low energy consumption, because telemetric sensors often cannot be connected to the grid.
This defines a new class of solution in wide area networking, called low-power wireless access (LPWA). There are few technologies classified as LPWA, such as 3GPP NB-IoT, Weightless, Sigfox and IEEE. They differ in the delivery business models, costs and technical parameters. Each will suit specific IoT applications.
One factor that often accompanies LPWA connectivity is the constrained computing power of IoT devices. There are significant efforts to make devices autonomous, with built-in machine learning and AI processing units, which probably indicates that augmented processing by a central unit is currently more trusted by developers.
Yet when a device has almost no data, it does not need high computing power — and limiting computing resources cuts costs.