This report addresses novel communications technologies designed for IoT/M2M. It concentrates on specifics of such communications; and analyzes several technologies that are being developed for these purposes.
Two categories of IoT communications standards may be distinguished:
- Standards that have been developed in the "pre" - IoT communications time (such as ZigBee, traditional cellular, etc.) These standards are being adapted to serve a new class of communications - IoT. Due to specifics of IoT communications such approach is often not optimal.
- Standards that have been developed specifically for IoT communications. They are the subject of this report.
Due to multiplicity of factors that should be considered in the developing IoT networks (applications, battery requirements, and traffic specifics, etc.) there is only a very remote possibility that a single technology will resolve all IoT communications issues. So far, the picture is very fragmented with multiple standards organizations working on sets of standards; and some industry players developing proprietary solutions.
It seems that open standards are prevailing, though there are also successful stories with proprietary technologies.
For the purpose of this report analysis, we distinguished the following groups of standards:
- 1. Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) communications (Sub-1 GHz)
- Weightless (W, N, P)
- 2. 3GPP cellular LPWA (LTE)
- 3. Industry Groups/Standardizations Bodies
LPWA communication is split into two separate sub-categories. On the one hand, there are the current proprietary LPWA technologies, such as SigFox and LoRa, which typically operate on unlicensed sub 1 GHz spectrum (these are examples of technologies that have been commercialized before the 3GPP group of technologies; and they are trying to gain a leading position before the 3GPP is ready). On the other hand, there are the forthcoming 3GPP standardized cellular IoT technologies, which typically operate on licensed spectrum (3GPP Rel. 12 and 13).
Designed specifically for low bandwidth, low-power IoT applications, LPWAs structures are poised to see huge growth over the next few years, with stakeholders across the industry now talking about LPWA technologies as a core enabler of the IoT.
LPWA profile IoT applications include metering, agriculture, vehicle telematics, tracking, healthcare, consumer products, and others. Industry analysts have estimated that 3-5 billion LPWA connections will be in place by 2020, with hardware, network and service revenues reaching $9-$12 billion.
The report also analyzes the related work of such standards bodies as the IEEE, ITU, ETSI and other.
The report aims to provide an overview of global IoT communication protocols market with the detailed analysis of most important from them; and to concentrate on their specifics.
The report goal is also to identify major players in each protocol category; and estimate (5-year forecast) major marketing characteristics of still young IoT communications industry.
The report also contains the survey of 802.11ah - related patents.
The report was developed for a wide audience of managerial and technical staff of organizations that are working on IoT/M2M communications projects.