Low power wide area (LPWA) is the primary network solution for IoT systems that transmit small amounts of data, but require a robust coverage area and a large number of connected devices. The recent advent of Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) has set a new standard for LPWA networking by prioritizing low cost, low power, minimal infrastructures, robust reach over massive distances, and scalability to cover a large number of devices.
One significant use case for NB-IoT is in the transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals. According to The Internet of Business, “35 percent of distributed vaccines and medicines become exposed to temperatures outside of the proper range at some point in the supply chain, reducing their effectiveness.” Exposure to improper temperatures can be reduced by embedding IoT sensors in the pharmaceuticals’ packaging and transportation vehicles. Sensors and M2M temperature control help maintain appropriate temperatures by continuously monitoring storage environments while in transport. LPWA networks are an excellent option for this use case because of the high number of IoT sensors involved that transmit small amounts of data and require a continuous connectivity while traversing expansive distances in their distribution.
So why NB-IoT in particular? LTE is a sophisticated network type that prioritized wireless, high-speed transmission of data and requires the use of advanced infrastructure that varies depending upon location and country. Other forms of LPWA still are largely dependent on LTE for connectivity support and, therefore, require more power and infrastructure to operate than NB-IoT. Furthermore, because NB-IoT does not rely on the frequencies used in LTE infrastructure that often vary by region or country, it maintains consistent connections in border-crossing transport where little-to-no LTE infrastructure exists.
New Advancements in NB-IoT Roaming
GSMA recently announced the completion of Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Group’s roaming NB-IoT trial. The trial’s success has proven the effectiveness of NB-IoT networks in international roaming applications, “[…ensuring] seamless coverage and service continuity for millions of connections using LPWA networks” almost anywhere in the world. With the results of the Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Group trials, information on the proper implementation of roaming NB-IoT in cross-border transport is now available for future uses.
Soon, roaming NB-IoT can be implemented as the most cost-effective, low-powered licensed network for tracking cold-chain assets, such as temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, with IoT. With NB-IoT’s consistent, low-power connectivity throughout the transport lifecycle, connected devices will be able to monitor cargo, as well as people, during every step of the supply chain, leading to maintained standards of quality, proper and timely delivery of valuable assets over long distances, and less waste.
Aeris Solutions for Roaming NB-IoT Deployment
Aeris provides customized LPWA networks for clients with almost any data requirement. We can work with you to plan and set up your network anywhere in the world. With advancements in secure, licensed roaming NB-IoT networks, we look forward to partnering with clients who aim to invest in next-level IoT asset tracking technology that ensures the safe delivery of your goods, no matter how far the distance.