The Internet of Things (IoT) that some are also calling the “Internet of Targets” is currently one of the hot topics in wireless. One flavor of IoT is Cellular-IoT for devices that for some reason can’t be connected to a local area network and only infrequently transmit small amounts of data.
There is quite an interesting discussion going on in 3GPP of how C-IoT is to be done and according to this article from back in December 2015 on the 3GPP website, it was decided to base the C-IoT specification on LTE technology. Without going into more details on the technology in this post I assume C-IoT specifications are aiming at ultra-cheap CAPEX and OPEX device costs and ultra-low power requirements to enable embedded battery driven devices to communicate with the world when no local connectivity and power is available.
I can imagine a lot of industrial scenarios in which such connected things could be beneficial but I also can imagine a few things I could personally use C-IoT for:
First on my list is a remote control for my block heater in the car. Today, the block heater in my car is connected via a GSM module and if I want to switch-on the heating before leaving the house in the morning I use a traditional circuit switched call and DTMF tones to control the devices. Yes, that is so ‘yesteryear’ but that block heater’s GSM module is already 15 years old. So a new technology rather sooner than later is in order. I probably won’t get it, however, as unlike 15 years ago when one could retrofit a block heater by oneself, they are probably part of the wider car electronics system today. As a consequence car companies would probably insist that they host the platform that is reachable via the Internet to control that block heater via a normal LTE module that is built into many cars today anyway.
Another thing I would can imagine using a C-IoT enabled device in the future is a remote-controlled power socket. Today, I use a GSM enabled power socket at home so I can get an SMS when a power failure occurs and my servers start depending on the battery in my uninterruptible power supply. Also I use that power socket as a last resort in case a server crashes and can’t be revived remotely via IP connectivity. This is a typical example of a device I don’t want to connect to a local network to make it totally independent of local resources.
Unlike the block heater in the car, the power socket is a perfectly good example for a personal Cellular-IoT device I would definitely buy once devices become available. The condition I would have, of course, is that it works like today, which means the device can be accessed directly and not via some cloud platform that wants to ‘manage the device’.