NB-IoT – the tracking technology that causes euphoria

It is the technology that is currently causes euphoria for everyone involved in tracking: Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT). The Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology attracts with low energy consumption as well as high building and solid penetration and range. Narrowband IoT is a technology in the starting blocks that offers undeniable advantages in the area of location-based services, especially for asset tracking in closed rooms. It could herald the end of beacons in logistics and revolutionize the location-based services industry.

One reason for this is that the assets with NB-IoT tags can communicate directly with a server via eSIM and do not require a detour via a gateway. NB-IoT is based on an area-wide mobile network coverage. The promised building penetration also makes people listen attentively. This would make the combination of GPS and BLE – with which GPS is virtually simulated indoors – superfluous: Thus one would finally only have one tracking technology for both inside and outside. The installation of a special sensor infrastructure for closed rooms is therefore no longer necessary – also as a cost factor. For a technology overview please click here.

Among other things, NB-IoT enables addressing of up to 50,000 subscribers per radio cell and thus specifically meets the requirements of a rapidly growing Internet of things. NB-IoT requires only 200kH bandwidth and can therefore already run in parallel with existing LTE radio networks. NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) is now available in over 600 locations in Germany, including the conurbations of Berlin/Potsdam, Cologne/Bonn, the Ruhr area, Mannheim/Heidelberg and Stuttgart. According to Telekom, more than 200 companies from various industries already use NB-IoT.

Nevertheless, under a “data storm” of up to 50,000 subscribers per radio cell, the existing networks would collapse faster than a Republican senator under pressure from the NRA. The basis for the new offers is therefore the upcoming 5G radio standard. The transmission speed should then be about 10 times the LTE speed and improve the connectivity of machines and devices with latency times of less than one millisecond – at data rates of up to 50 Gbps.

Location-based services providers currently operating primarily in the unlicensed frequency spectrum (WLAN, BLE) have little time left to adapt their products to the new standards and, if necessary, develop completely new solutions. Deutsche Telekom has already made its first mobile phone masts NB-IoT-enabled through a simple software update. By the end of 2018, a nationwide connection is to be established – as already in the Netherlands. By 2020, the new 5G communication standard is to be launched across the board. Favendo is already working on translating the new technology into solutions for its customers.