Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Ericsson unveils cellular IoT range

Steve Rogerson
February 7, 2019

Ericsson says it has unveiled the next steps in the evolution of cellular IoT with products that will let service providers address a larger part of the IoT market with diverse use cases across verticals including automotive, manufacturing and utilities.
The Swedish company has outlined cellular IoT evolution in four market segments: massive IoT, broadband IoT, critical IoT and industrial automation. Two of these segments are new – broadband and industrial automation. Broadband IoT adopts mobile broadband capabilities for IoT and supports higher data rates and lower latencies than massive IoT. Industrial automation IoT should enable industrial automation applications with demanding connectivity requirements.
In line with its cellular IoT vision, Ericsson is launching enhanced functionalities for massive IoT and products for broadband IoT. One example of massive IoT enhancement is the NB-IoT extended 100km cell range, which stretches the standards-based limit from around 40km to 100km through software updates without changes to existing NB-IoT devices. This opens 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 100km with Telstra and Dish.
The broadband IoT products being launched include drone detection and link control, radio access network slicing, subscriber group handling, and multi-gigabit LTE for 2Gbit/s data throughput and around 10ms latency. These should enable a wide range of use cases in automotive, drones, AR, VR, wearables, smart manufacturing and smart utilities.
“Cellular IoT is moving from early adoption with massive IoT to global rollout,” said Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president at Ericsson. “We are now describing what’s next for our customers and how they can make the most out of their 4G and 5G investments on the same network and address more advanced IoT use cases across industries.”
Ericsson’s evolution concept describes how cellular IoT can move from the more basic use cases of massive IoT such as asset tracking and smart metering to increasingly sophisticated use cases enabled by broadband IoT for example infotainment in cars, AR, VR, drones and wearables, and then by critical IoT for example in autonomous vehicles and industrial automation IoT in, for example, collaborative robotics in manufacturing.
This stepwise approach should 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 optimise their assets and tap into revenue opportunities within industries.
According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, the number of cellular IoT connections is expected to reach 4.1 billion in 2024, increasing with an annual growth rate of 27 per cent.
“Ericsson has come up with a uniquely clear vision for cellular IoT with well-defined segments for service providers to address new business growth opportunities from industry digitalisation,” said Patrick Filkins, senior research analyst at IDC. “Ericsson’s cellular IoT evolution concept will support service providers to incrementally allow add-on use cases even within a single vertical.”