IoT Sensors for IoT Systems – What You Need to Know
InterDigital's Senior Principal Engineer Ravi Pragada details in Architecture and Governance Magazine all you need to know about IoT systems as 5G networks unlock a new wave of opportunity for IoT.
Ravi explains that the introduction of 5G networks has fostered three key waves of opportunities and applications for IoT, as well as their own unique deployment challenges. The first applies to the ‘massive IoT’ market, which relies on the small data payloads of numerous deployments of low-cost devices in use cases like connected agriculture, smart utilities, and smart cities. The second wave, or ‘critical IoT,’ involves systems that support real-time control of machinery, robot interactions, and intelligent transport systems. The third wave, encompassing ‘Broadband IoT’, supports higher throughput applications associated with larger data volumes and lower latency requirements, like wearable devices, industrial sensors, and surveillance videos.
The expanding range of applications, capabilities, and challenges for IoT sensors has been addressed in 3GPP standards like NB-IoT and LTE-M, New Radio Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (NR URLLC), and New Radio Reduced Capability (NR RedCap). Aside from the critical solutions codified in standards, Ravi argues that business decision-makers must consider other aspects when designing and deploying IoT systems.
For example, even though they are constrained by limited processing and data storage capabilities, the affordability of low-cost IoT devices lowers barriers to their adoption. Many low-cost IoT devices will remain in the field for as long as ten years, requiring new solutions for long service lives, remote operations, and energy and communication efficiency in the form of sleep-mode and energy-harvesting technologies.
Moreover, network operations must consider the necessary support for large populations of IoT sensors. The requirements should include rules of operation between sensors and networks to ensure network intelligence can offload its operational overhead activities, treating an IoT device as a system that works with other systems.
As the density of IoT sensors increases in the future, we will require a technical framework that simplifies the ability for IoT applications to discover and access IoT sensors and enables the interoperability of different sensors – key challenges addressed by the international standards development organization for end-to-end IoT systems, oneM2M.
Simply put, the design intention of the oneM2M standard is to allow any IoT application to connect to any IoT device, as long as both conform to the oneM2M standard. The process of including oneM2M software in devices and applications solves the basic connectivity challenge, allowing entities to communicate with one another through syntactic and semantic interoperability.
The advent of 6G IoT will demand support for highly constrained heterogeneous devices such as true wireless sensors that can be embedded for instance in walls, bridges, and other structures at the point of construction. To enable these deployments, it is critical to understand battery life, alternative energy sources like radio frequency (RF)-based energy harvesting and zero-energy air interfaces in IoT devices, as they may hold a key to supporting our future of nearly 1 trillion connected devices worldwide.
Read Ravi’s full editorial on Architecture and Governance Magazine here.