Connectivity has always been at the core of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Whether tapping a local ethernet connection for Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) monitoring or deploying gateways and backhauling data over a cellular network, connectivity starts the IoT solution journey.
Fortunately, the choices are increasing for connecting the machines and equipment that drive industrial and business processes. Over the last few years, wireless connectivity has seen the most advancement, evolving to offer more choices that are fit-for-purpose in the IoT and providing more flexibility to the IoT solution designer.
These include several of the Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) technologies from both the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and proprietary versions. It also includes 5G, which offers options for enterprises to improve connectivity reliability, capacity, and latency all within a single network and technology stack.
Even the tried and true Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies have evolved from being purely consumer-focused to enterprise-ready. The IoT market has evolved to a new stage of advanced connectivity combined with more network choice.
But enterprises need to think carefully about their choices. It is not just choosing the technology that best suits the needs of the application. It also includes understanding the services for managing that connectivity, as well as other services layered on top, such as device management and security services.
Connectivity choice also needs to consider the device life cycle from commissioning and onboarding devices, as well as reverse logistics services with more and more devices having multiple uses and stakeholders.