The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most hyped technology of 2014 and 2015 promises even more innovative IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology will surface.
Building on the growth of IoT in 2014, the IoT will see even more explosive growth and innovation in 2015. Although I have several predictions of what will happen in the IoT world this year, I have one big item on my wish list: for cellular carriers to expand their machine-to-machine (M2M) initiatives making it easier and more affordable for manufacturers to get devices onto the cellular network.
Right now there are too many hoops to jump through to get devices approved on cellular networks, which is obstructing innovation and progress in the growing IoT and M2M industries. Device manufacturers have two options: build in a pre-approved modem, which can be expensive and drives up device prices, or design your own modem and devote substantial resources to have devices certified for each network. Adding a cellular modem to a device can cost five times more than adding a Wi-Fi modem, in addition to the cost of certification, which runs upwards of $50,000 per device, per network.
If carriers want to be competitive, they must find a way to open up their networks to allow more devices to connect to it without the high cost and difficult process that currently exists. Connecting devices to the cloud via cellular networks opens up new markets to cellular companies, manufacturers and consumers alike, which benefits all parties.
One solution for U.S. cellular companies is to look to the booming industry in Europe. In Europe, M2M device manufacturers can buy inexpensive SIM cards to build into devices. These cards are loaded with data and can be refreshed as needed. A cellular contract is not needed and the certification process is minimal for manufacturers. This reduces development costs and speeds time-to-market for new products.
Until cellular companies in the United States can make connecting devices to the cloud via cellular networks easy and affordable, the IoT and M2M worlds are missing out on expanding their capabilities to new markets and that’s why this is on my wish list for 2015.