IoT Protocols: Finding Value Through The Chaos

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 15, 2017


The Internet of Things [IoT] communication protocols is like a maze, but when implemented in the right direction, it can bring tremendous value to business. IoT evangelist Matt Smith, who also heads the engineering team at Cortet by CEL, believes that new ideas and protocols are becoming available at a rapid pace and some companies are pushing technologies that aren’t yet ready for prime time. This makes it confusing.

One of the most important decisions you may be facing is which communication protocols to choose. This decision impacts the hardware and what devices and functionality are available. Communication protocols need to be grouped together. Like puzzle pieces, only certain protocols can “connect” to each other.

Smith lists out some of the most important protocols one should consider. He based this list on multiple factors, including performance, latency, interoperability, as well as current industry adoption levels. [Read the full article here]

A new report by Beecham Research argues that the Internet of Things solution providers should find a more appropriate way to address the IoT application needs of enterprises, rather than baffling them with overly technical offerings.

Read more: India’s IoT Market Is The Next Big Thing, Say Experts

The report, titiled: ‘An Introduction to LPWA Public Service Categories: Matching Services to IoT Applications’, that’s designed to help enterprises to match their IoT applications to the most appropriate public connectivity services, proposes a new name for this new class of providers that are offering low power wide area (LPWA)-based connectivity services directly to users. They are now referred to as Public LPWA Services Providers or LSPs, whose services are enabled through a Cloud-based service – for example, to provide co-ordinated international coverage – the Cloud-based provider is referred to as an LSE (LPWA Services Enabler).

CEO of Beecham Research, Robin Duke-Wooley admits that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the IoT connectivity conundrum, a recurring trend perhaps given the majority of the more complex IoT deployment rely on an assortment of different protocols. 

Smith believes, if this emerging industry is to meet its potential and get anywhere close to the ambitious predictions made by some commentators, it’s time for greater clarity with more focus on the service attributes that IoT applications need. This includes key parameters such as battery life and coverage, rather than focusing on the underlying technologies and what frequency they operate at, for example.”

As he added: “Most users are not interested in the technical details – they just want something that works in the most cost-effective way for their applications.”

To be of value to end-users, Beecham says that protocols must deliver the on a number of characteristics, such as good battery, low latency, high scalabality and data rate, as well as security, ubiquitous connectivity low device cost.

Read more: 4 Ways To Secure IoT Devices From Cyber Attacks

Moreover, it is important for CIOs to make an informed decision, by being able to understand what is being offered in a way that relates to the applications they want to use. As the research noted, “Today, many companies are moving to mobile networks (or cellular) to give better control over the IIoT experience.” 

Gartner estimates that 4 billion connected things were in use in 2016, and will reach 13.5 billion in 2020, with enterprises accounting for the largest spending. Peter Middleton, a research director at Gartner involved in the firm’s IoT forecasts, says future IoT projections are intended to create “market efficiency,” helping companies make smart choices about whether they should enter a new area and informing venture capitalists as they decide where to place their investments.

The drive toward digital business creates challenges for the incorporation of new IoT devices into existing communications networks. IoT architects should put network design, physical layer technology selection and application communication protocols at the top of the list to meet the challenges, believe researchers.