Arkessa focus: NB-IoT

In our most recent blog, we focused on LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) solutions NB-IoT and LTE-M – cellular IoT technologies supporting low data application models which require long battery life, easy deployment and lower costs.

Read on for a more in-depth focus on NB-IoT – best for lower-data, lower-cost, high-density sensor applications.

NB-IoT is best suited to static applications transmitting periodic short bursts of data such as metering, wearables, predictive maintenance, agriculture and smart city applications such as building automation and lighting.

Smart Metering

As NB-IoT is particularly suited to static applications, it lends itself well to AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure).  In late 2018 roll-out started in Sweden with meters offering power saving mode and discontinuous reception. The meters enter sleep mode when there is no data to send and ‘wake up’ periodically to send small data to the network and then go back to sleep.  Battery life is excellent at over 10 years meaning meters can be placed underground or in hard to reach areas without concern for regular access. NB-IoT is popular with gas and water metering, however, take up in electric metering is slower; these meters are more bandwidth intensive.

Wearables

NB-IoT is also an excellent connectivity option for use in the field of wearables.  LPWAN connectivity is perfect for small tech taken on the move; excellent battery life, and remote updates using the two-way data capability removes the need for hub connections.

TDC Group, together with Leikr (makers of GPS sports watches) and MedHub, a local health startup, have been piloting use cases for NB-IoT in Denmark including a wrist watch that monitors vital signs, shares data with healthcare professionals.

South Korean telecoms giant KT Corporation have been experimenting with NB-IoT connected safety jackets.  Used by hikers, they monitor vital signs and relay data to mountain rescue centres. The excellent coverage the technology offers is ideal in this situation.

Predictive Maintenance

Smart tech has seriously disrupted the world of maintenance.  The days of submitting a fault report or repair request are numbered.  Only days ago, Arrow Electronics announced a new version of the Shiratech iCOMX intelligent condition monitoring box.  The device contains an LTE-M/NB-IoT/EGPRS modem which shares sensor data, status and analysis over an Arkessa-provided LPWA cellular connection.  Battery powered, small and easy to mount, it is able to predict when equipment may require maintenance or replacement which reduces unexpected downtime, cutting costs and saving energy.

Agriculture

Another industry that will benefit from NB-IoT is farming. Labour shortages are an issue across this sector.  Norway, in particular, suffers in this way. It goes without saying that farmers want to ensure the safety of their livestock, but, beyond this, they struggle against harsh weather conditions and a legal obligation to track and recapture lost livestock.  Shiip is a remote tracking device which benefits from the LPWA technology.  With a battery life of up to 14 years from one charge, low-cost production and purchase costs, it is a no brainer.

Of course, the farming sector encompasses more than animals.  Various sensors are emerging across this field such as the Bosch Greenhouse Plantation monitoring and Control Sensor System.  This sensor monitors humidity, temperature and light. Importantly, the device makes sure that the correct soil moisture levels are maintained.

Building Automation

Connectivity in buildings provides a wonderful way for people to do more, with less; less effort, less bulky hardware and less cost.   NB-IoT is again, of great use. Being able to connect large buildings, structures and spaces with ease, whether it be 50 floors up or in a basement, is a boon.  All the excellent IoT tech we see emerging in this area can work so much better in conjunction with NB-Iot, security, heating, lighting all include use cases that can benefit from NB-IoT. See our previous blogs for more in depth information on smart cities and buildings.

Anywhere else?!

There are so many uses for different connected sensors.  Sometimes, a technology exists but is held back by unrealistic costs.  Many councils, with very strict budgets, are looking for ways to make bin collections cheaper, for example.  A sensor which reports when a bin is full would mean emptying only occurs when capacity is reached.  However, with tens of thousands of bins provided by councils, this has been impractical. NB-IoT could light up these use cases by driving costs down.  It brings far more achievable options for security, parking systems, lighting and more. In short, there could be no limit to the kinds of use case boosted by NB-IoT, and Arkessa is delighted to be able to offer NB-IoT connectivity to our customers, right now.

Get in touch – connect@arkessa.com to order an NB-IoT trial pack.

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