November 3, 2016 —
Hmmm… I must have missed that. Where was I when the IoT or the internet of anything/everything (IoX), as I prefer to call it, arrived?
As I have discussed in the past, I think that coming up with marginal, fringe or incremental technologies and calling them the IoX, or 5G or Smart-X is bad business. Nokia, for example, likes to say they have almost 5G technologies, which is fine, and they give them almost monikers such a 4.5G and 4.9G. but at least they don’t call them 5G, of which there are still no real standards. The same with the IoX.
So why does AT&T say that the IoX is here? Because it has decided that LTE-M (Nokia has an LTE-M solution as well), is the new IoX standard?
In today’s competitive world, market spin is everything. Some companies, especially carriers, have a lot at stake with 5G and the IoX. If they don’t keep their momentum up, with all the emerging technologies, platforms and players, they could easily lose what momentum they have built up.
AT&T’s claim that the IoX is here is based upon the fact that there are many technologies, both currently available and emerging, that will be implemented in the IoX. Some of these include MMwave, various renditions of Wi-Fi, cellular, satellite, low power WANs, small cells and more. Inevitably these will all be part of the IoX. So AT&T is doing its usual thing, just stretching the truth a bit (which it so often does) and hedging its IoX position.
So why LTE-M. Well, LTE-M is a derivation of LTE, specifically for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. It is a fully LTE-compliant platform, just less of one. Essentially it is a simpler LTE platform with optimized operational efficiency. It offers a simplified LTE chipset, to minimize costs. It also is a low-power technology that allows batteries to last 10+ years.
It offers a better coverage factor than LTE because it utilizes multiple technologies such as power boosting of data and reference signals when necessary, repetition/retransmission, and relaxing performance requirements (such as longer acquisition times or higher error rates). It also offers security and supports complex use cases. And it leverages existing LTE networks so AT&T can use it on their cellular frequencies (as opposed to unlicensed technologies – ah now I get it).
LTE-M is just another one of the many technologies we will see as part of the IoX. claiming it is the IoX is a bit of a stretch. Come on AT&T, we all know better.