Ericsson has unveiled the next steps in the evolution of cellular IoT with the addition of two new defined markets, Industrial Automation IoT and Broadband IoT, to join the company’s existing cellular IoT market segments of Massive IoT and Critical IoT.
Industrial Automation IoT encompasses advanced industrial automation applications with demanding connectivity requirements such as collaborative robotics in manufacturing, and Broadband IoT adopts higher bandwidth capabilities for IoT to cater for applications including AR/VR, car infotainment, drones, and advanced wearables. The existing Massive IoT segment targets more basic use cases such as asset tracking and smart metering, while at the other end, Critical IoT covers the type of instantaneous communication and high reliability required by applications such as autonomous vehicles.
This segmentation, says Ericsson, will make it easier for service providers to match cellular IoT capabilities with current and future use cases by continuing to enhance LTE networks while preparing for 5G. With effective use of techniques such as network slicing, service providers can support all four segments in a single network, allowing them to optimize their assets and tap into revenue opportunities within industries. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, the number of cellular IoT connections is expected to increase at an annual growth rate of 27 percent and reach 4.1 billion in 2024.
In line with its cellular IoT vision, Ericsson is launching enhanced functionalities for Massive IoT and new solutions for Broadband IoT. One example of Massive IoT enhancement is the NB-IoT Extended Cell Range 100 km, which stretches the standards-based limit from around 40 km to 100 km through software updates without changes to existing NB-IoT devices. This opens huge opportunities in IoT connectivity in rural and remote areas, particularly for logistics, agriculture and environment monitoring. Ericsson has deployed NB-IoT data connections up to 100 km with Telstra and DISH.
The Broadband IoT solutions being launched include drone detection and link control, radio access network (RAN) slicing, Advanced Subscriber Group Handling, and Multi-Gigabit LTE for 2 Gbps data throughput and around 10 millisecond latency. The new solutions will enable a wide range of use cases in automotive, drones, AR/VR, advanced wearables, smart manufacturing, and smart utilities.