Choosing Your IIoT Approach
With advancements in cellular and wireless technologies, industries have plenty of choices to make when linking their sensors and devices.
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The market prospect for industrial IoT has been broadly forecast to be vast due to the different benefits of allowing wireless connectivity of devices. Much of the prospect will come from allowing low cost, long range data interactions through devices and sensors that can run in the field for years without management.
As mobile providers start standardizing on narrow band LTE techniques to hold up IoT interactions, they will contend more directly with current non-cellular M2M hardware and software providers. Users will now have more options, but it is also perplexing.
In short, it comes down to figuring out four essential factors: the need for localized intelligence, access to cell coverage, the number of sensor points being maintained, and the price. For example, it may be too expensive and unproductive to place a cellular unit on 200 sprinklers in a field. But it may be the best method for checking a few high-value oil benefits in a restricted area that gets powerful cell coverage.
Examining the Use Cases
We can take a closer look at the considerations you need to make by examining some use cases out there right now.
Wireless sensors in current agricultural setups are used to check seed and feed management schemes, levels of irrigation and soil moisture, and a variety of other operations. Whereas farms can cover big areas, the sensor data gathered is being used to make restricted decisions about operations within the area of the farm.
At different points along an oil pipeline, there are filters, pumps, and linked sensors in place to help check and make sure all systems are working as planned. Where there is mobile phone coverage, a mobile phone solution will make the most sense.
Oil pipeline monitoring is not the only situation where both mobile phone, and LP-WAN can work together as a cross deployment. For instance, in a group of 50 street lights, a LAN RF technology can be placed on each light to make a wireless mesh network. In every subnet of lights, one light has both an LP-WAN and cellular module set-up.
As cellular data plans become less costly, there will be more overlap taking place. For instance, a likely scenario is that in place of developing a mesh network, every street light will have its own IP address and link directly to the Internet. The IoT/SMS services combination is a pretty profitable possibility.
This begs the question of what the prospect holds for non-cellular solutions. But, even here, there is no clear answer — not in the near future.
Cellular will probably go beyond some areas where LP-WAN are now leading; however, mesh networks will carry on thriving in several environments, such as the profitable solar space.
Finally, organizations need to assess these criteria and find out the approach that works effectively for them. For IoT cloud platform providers, it means helping customers know the benefits of every approach, and working with them to make a flexible roadmap with solutions that can develop with their requirement, and the market prospect.
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