This blog is by Martti Mustajärvi Principal Technologist, T&I Technology Strategy & Operations at Nokia Networks.
We have a lot of rabbits living (and loving) in my neighborhood. As a dog owner, I was worried the dog would bark at the rabbits all day and disturb our neighbors. So I purchased a camera service from our local telecom operator and self-installed the solution in our house to monitor our little watchdog. Turns out she pretty much sleeps all day… This is just one example of what can be accomplished when we can connect things (in this case an installed camera) to a service (a recording service in the network) and monitored by me (on my smartphone).
Looking to the US we see General Motors’ recent release of their new On-Star service, which turns GM cars into WiFi hotspots backhauled by AT&T’s 4G network. Remote control access to the car via smartphone is an additional service, as are emergency services. This kind of connected car brings the vision of an autonomously driven car ever closer to reality – and hey, if car does the driving, might as well have some entertainment available for the passengers, too.
These available and soon-to-be-ready services are just the tip of the iceberg when we speak of the connected world. In the future we can imagine that many, or perhaps most, of our familiar objects would be connected and enriched with cloud based services. Cellular technologies play a critical role in that connectivity. For any mobile or portable object cellular is the most practical means of connection. It also applies to many stationary objects, which can be wirelessly connected via cellular coverage. It’s easy to believe that this trend would result in billions of objects being connected around us to the cellular networks.
So what would this then require from the cellular infrastructure? Here are some of the anticipated requirements we’ve been studying at Nokia Networks:
• Coverage: Many machine to machine (M2M) objects (“users”) require very good coverage in order to accessible everywhere. Consider a water meter down in the corner of a concrete cellar, for example. This differs from human users who can seek better coverage when necessary. Enhanced coverage of 20 dB would be feasible, meaning that walls and other attenuating obstacles would not prevent the operation of M2M objects.
• Power Consumption: Some use cases require very low power consumption, operated by normal cell batteries. In these cases, any device without a permanent power source could be online. We’re targeting a device lifetime of +10 year with two AA-size batteries.
• Cost: In order to make connectivity feasible, the cost of the necessary electronics module inside the connected object should be affordable. This will help facilitate the connection of lower cost objects around us. It is possible to simplify LTE chipset complexity to only 1/4 of the baseline Category 8 LTE device.
These special requirements of the Connected World will be addressed in the new LTE releases.The 3GPP Release 12 and subsequent releases are being specified to enable building of very cost efficient, low power devices with good coverage and connection to the widely available LTE networks.
The Connected World is emerging right now. There’s no reason to project far into the future. Let’s put our ideas on the table today!
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