Telia Company, a Sweden-based service provider, noted it’s seen a steady increase in the amount of cellular connected IoT devices on its networks across the Nordic and Baltic countries, Ericsson wrote in a summary of its recent mobility report. There was a 44 percent increase in IoT devices on Telia’s networks compared to 2020. The companies attributed the growth to large-scale smart meter deployments, based on the low-power wide-area (LPWA) IoT technologies, NB-IoT and Cat-M.
Additionally, Telia noted adopting embedded universal integrated circuit cards (eUICC) simplified the global deployment of connected, by allowing remote SIM provisioning of multiple network profiles.
“NB-IoT and Cat-M technologies are ideal for connecting massive volumes of low-cost, low-complexity IoT devices with long battery life and limited data throughput demand,” Ericsson wrote. “These technologies, which form part of the 5G standard, are the successors to 2G and 3G networks that are being replaced as the industry moves to adopt broadband and critical IoT, powered by 4G and 5G.”
IoT devices make move to new networks
Both 2G and 3G networks are being phased out around the world, allowing 4G and 5G deployments to use valuable radio spectrum, according to Ericsson. New business opportunities and potential energy savings are made possible through modernizing networks with the latest tech and replacing old equipment.
About 30 percent of all cellular IoT devices are still connecting through 2G and 3G networks, according to Ericsson’s report. More enterprises are moving their IoT devices and services to Cat-M and NB-IoT networks, however. Both are more energy efficient, reliable and have higher capacities. Meanwhile, the amount of IoT devices connected through 2G and 3G globally had been slowly decreasing since 2019.
The combination of Cellular LPWA, broadband and critical IoT (4G and 5G) began to outpace 2G and 3G’s IoT connection numbers for the first time in 2020. Ericsson’s mobility report forecasts that LPWA IoT technologies should make up about 50 percent of all cellular IoT connections in 2027.
Cellular LPWA extends the IoT connectivity reach
LPWA can support tech solutions that are cost efficient, have a long battery life and can operate in remote locations. The tech’s energy efficiency is a result of it transmitting smaller amounts of data at specific time intervals and then quickly powering down the transmitter between sessions. LPWA IoT network technologies are also more secure and have a greater reach the prior generations.
“The extended reach and high-penetration capabilities make it possible to cost-efficiently connect sensors in cities, remote rural, coastal, and maritime areas, and even deep inside buildings or underground,” Ericsson wrote. “In several tests throughout its development, Telia has shown that NB-IoT can connect devices placed as deep as 80m underground.”
How enterprises can benefit from digitalization
Companies that embrace the new digitalization era are enjoying benefits such as increased efficiency and lower costs, due to more predictability and control, according to Ericsson. Digitization is transforming organizations into software businesses as they create proprietary data.
“They are no longer an isolated part in a vertical market, but a data-driven, interconnected element of a wider, digital ecosystem of services,” Ericsson said.
For example, an agriculture machinery manufacturer can put more than 300 IoT sensors on a tractor and process more than 150,000 measurements per second, changing the business and its value creation. That tractor becomes a data-generating unit that’s part of an ecosystem of related services like weather forecasting and commodity pricing.
Meanwhile, car manufacturers that use IoT connectivity aren’t just selling vehicles anymore, they’re creating carpooling services and shared ownership alternatives. The IoT devices also allow the car manufacturers to collect and handle information about the driver, roads, traveling habits and the weather.
“Providers of consumer IoT services improve the health and lifestyle of consumers thanks to health monitoring, lifestyle optimization and entertainment apps,” Ericsson said. “Enterprises can be transformed and their new capabilities turned into new customer values and chargeable services. Internal processes and cost control become more effective too, as every decision can be based on real-time data.”
The monitoring capabilities also allow for less repeating and reactive maintenance. There does not have to be as many trips or manual efforts, resulting in increased sustainability and less carbon dioxide and pollution from fossil-fueled cars.
“4G and 5G networks will continue to evolve, further enhancing IoT connectivity capabilities with higher data speeds, lower latency, improved security, and extreme reliability,” Ericsson said. “Supported by 4G networks, businesses can achieve better efficiencies and performance with cellular IoT technologies, and Telia’s 5G network presently supports use cases such as remotely controlled high-lift wheel loaders, autonomous field robots for mechanical weed control and automated port operations.
Service providers are uniquely positioned to support the digital transformation of a wide range of industries with evolving cellular IoT technologies, as they enable industries to become truly data driven, efficient and sustainable to further contribute to a better society.”
Click here to see Ericsson’s full Mobility Report.