Down to Business: 4G LTE for M2M


Think the 4G LTE discussion is suited only for the consumer market? Think again. More and more, enterprise customers are proving the point that a 4G LTE network can make a considerable difference when monitoring and maintaining key assets for business.

Carriers like Verizon continue to talk up the value of the 4G LTE network for M2M (machine-to-machine) across multiple vertical markets. Take smart energy, as one example. Based on bandwidth requirements, utilities today are considering whether to go with 2G or 3G connectivity. But connectivity seems ideal for static devices with low-bandwidth requirements. But in other cases, 4G, which can offer better download and upload rates as opposed to existing networks, can help facilitate data-intensive applications, not to mention future-proof the infrastructure as the needs of the market and the customer continue to evolve.

For a market like smart energy, this need to evolve is absolute as it remains apparent that the market for monitoring and managing energy consumption is still not fully defined. Once consumers get a taste of what can be done with things like smart meters, what else will they want? What implications will that have on the network? Such questions need to be considered today.

But it's also very niche markets that can embrace the network capabilities. For example, earlier this year it was announced that Manley Solutions began working with Verizon in order to deliver its multi-point quality sensors, using wireless telemetry communication. The product is MS110-V Air and it is enabled by 4G LTE technology, and gives healthcare professionals remote visibility into a patient's home for purpose of remote monitoring.

Key to the solution is its cloud-based software that allows patients to securely transmit indoor air quality measurements. Functionality included in the system ranges from temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The ability to record and report such readings—as well as being able to communicate this data with various medical devices—requires a fast and reliable network, and such capabilities can be afforded via the 4G LTE network.

There are cases in which a 4G LTE network is simply not necessary to communicate data. However, more and more, companies are finding the value in preparing for the future now. During a carrier panel discussion at the 2012 Connected World Conference, Janet Schijns, the vice president of vertical solutions and channels for Verizon Enterprise Solution Group, detailed scenarios in which customers should be thinking long-term when it comes to their M2M deployments.

While it may be true that in some instances the 4G LTE network might not be necessary today, it makes sense—as Schijns described—to take a look at the long-term implications of building out on a faster network.

Network considerations have long been at the center of any M2M deployment. Have faster networks made this decision more complicated? Only time will tell, but the success stories are making a strong case for next-generation networks.

Connected World Issue
June/July 2014
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