Savings are easily quantifiable in use cases such as smart street lighting so it comes as no surprise that this has become commonplace in many municipalities across the globe. Smart parking, environmental monitoring and traffic management are but a few more examples of highly sought after solutions to manage urban growth economically.
Public buildings are turned into “smart buildings” to save and manage consumption costs better. Waste management helps with route planning and resource management and water management eliminates wastage and increases quality.
Additionally, using this data to provide useful information to authorities and citizens in real time is growing in popularity.
Connectivity options are becoming more diverse so that IoT use requirements can be met adequately, both in terms of economics and technical capabilities. Cooperation between connectivity and IoT is the key element that will depict the efficiency of smart systems.
If we look at smart vehicles, for instance, mobility and access to high-bandwidth services are crucial, making a 3G/4G network favourable. In other instances, however, where data is transmitted when triggered less often (e.g. CO2 monitors), a low throughput network is a more ideal connectivity option, making large wireless modules an impractical waste.
Wireless access technologies can be fundamentally categorized along two dimensions—range and throughput— as depicted here:
Allocating the preferable connectivity option can be an intricate practice however and cannot simply be done by checking range and throughput attributes. Many IoT use cases are characterized by a low average revenue per unit (ARPU). Examples include soil quality sensors for agriculture and smart building monitoring where a large number of sensors are typically spread across a large area, which predictably delivers a low ARPU.
Technical challenges are often met such as the need for long battery life due to the difficulties or cost of maintenance. A good example of this is traffic sensors embedded in roadways – for this, low-power consumption is crucial and thus the traditional 2G/3G/4G cellular network connectivity and SIM-based devices are not feasible.
Take, for example, a smoke detector. It would be extremely impractical to connect this type of device to a high-bandwidth cellular network since it transmits very little data and does not require frequent traffic.
Taking all of that into account, a new type of connectivity option is required. A type of connectivity that increases efficiency and return on investment (ROI) of such use cases. Examples include Low Throughput Networks (LTNs) such as INGENU, SIGFOX or LoRa as well as emerging cellular standards, including LTE-M and the new Narrow Band IoT recently introduce by 3GPP, which is in the process of standardization.
A smart city’s IoT infrastructure needs to be able to handle devices and objects connected via any connectivity method. The Pylot portal reduces the total cost to service in that it enables smart cities to manage their IoT services via one single platform. This also provides a user-friendly method of handling all the various use cases and the data thereof.