Tailoring NB-IoT for Mass Market Applications
Today, about 6.5 billion “things” are connected to the public space. While this sounds like a lot, still less than 1% of all the things that are surrounding us and could be connected are actually utilizing this opportunity. Hence, the question is why all these devices are not equipped with wireless connectivity? In some cases, they are either too remote, too inaccessible, or there are simply too many of them to make it economically viable. To mitigate this gap, a promising solution emerges, which has the potential to become an enabler for true mass market IoT. In this paper, we discuss a professional point of view expressed by Vodafone Czech Republic a.s. As Vodafone has been one of the first in Europe to complete a commercial Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network roll-out, we build upon this long-term cooperation. First, we discuss the potential of NB-IoT for mass market applications. Then, we offer unique expert findings that reflect the operator’s considerations during implementation, testing, measuring, and evaluating this new 3GPP-ratified communications technology. Moreover, we outline our prototype design of the NB-IoT device and discuss the architecture challenges. Also, the configuration required on the side of a mobile operator is detailed to have NB-IoT communications ready to take off. Finally, we summarize the results obtained in our lab along with numerous field tests that we run during a long-term cooperation between the research partners.