Connectivity is just one part of an IoT project

Published on 28/11/2019 in Inspire

Connectivity is just one part of an IoT project

IoT is on the agenda at a lot of companies. This raises questions about the different connection technologies that are used. Manuella T’Joen, Product Manager LPWan Enterprise Business Unit at Proximus, sheds some light on the matter.

How important is good connectivity with an IoT project?

Manuella T’Joen, Product Manager LPWan Enterprise Business Unit at Proximus: “It’s pretty important, of course, but at the same time it’s just one part of the whole project. For us it’s clear: the scope of the project dictates what connection technology we use and not the other way around. We also make a point of providing total solutions, so not just the connectivity, but preliminary studies, the sensors, the related applications and the services as well.”

There are many ways of getting an IoT project off the ground. The main question is: what is important for you?

Manuella T’Joen, Product Manager LPWan Enterprise Business Unit at Proximus

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So connectivity is just part of the solution?

Manuella: “Precisely. There are many ways of getting an IoT project off the ground: 2G, 3G, 4G, LoRa®, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NB-IoT, LTE-M and so on. The main question is: what is important for the customer? For example, does he want good coverage at all costs, or would he prefer the sensor battery to last a long time? Choices have to be made and they will affect the kind of technology or combination of technologies we use. The cost plays a role as well. Every technology has a different price tag.”

And of course, IoT is more than just LP-Wan (Low Power Wide Area Network).

Manuella: “Definitely. LoRa and NB-IoT (which we now group under LP-WAN) are ideal for connecting a lot of sensors and for sending small data packages requiring low power consumption and deep coverage. But we also offer 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies.”

“There is no such thing as one technology that covers all IoT applications. Hence, we also use our Internet Explore network to transport data. To find out exactly what works best for a particular customer, we visit them on site, so that we can assess all the parameters correctly. We can also learn from practical experience and make adjustments where necessary.”

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5G will be arriving soon. What will change?

Manuella: “The technologies that we use at the moment (from LoRa, 2G, 4G and NB-IoT to LTE-M) can more or less be seen as the predecessors of 5G. 5G is really a collective name for various things, as regards both broadband and narrowband communication. With 5G we will be able to use large numbers of devices simultaneously on a small surface. That will bring its own challenges, such as battery consumption. That’s why 5G and some existing technologies will be used together and complement each other for a long time to come.”

In the long term, 5G may be the key that opens every door, but we are still a long way from that.

Manuella T’Joen, Product Manager LPWan Enterprise Business Unit at Proximus

Finally, where does security come into play?

Manuella: “Security is crucial for the success of IoT. Not just in terms of connectivity, but also concerning devices and applications. We can offer an answer to all these questions. It’s mainly about how far the customer wishes to go. Some companies request a private network on their site to guarantee the absolute security of their project. So a lot is possible.”

Would you like to know more about IoT and security? In a similar interview we take a closer look at the security aspect of the Internet of Things.

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