War Over Internet Of Things Heats Up With New Players Looking To Challenge Verizon, AT&T
A recent report from the Wall Street Journal details how the battle for supremacy in the Internet of Things have intensified as of late. Indeed, upstart service providers such as Silver Spring Networks, as well as SigFox, are now looking to give industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T a run for their money, especially in the area of developing new services that allow easy connectivity between all kinds of devices (not only smartphones and tablets) and networks. These players envision a world in which everything from vending machines to household appliances to parking meters are all connected and wired to empower consumers in their daily routines.
In order to fulfill the potential of the concept of the Internet of Things, it will take more than just the typical resources of wireless carriers. Considerations such as signal strength of devices and power efficiency of gadgets now come into play, and today’s wireless carriers and service providers must now explore ways in which they can optimize available technologies in these aspects in order to sell services related to the Internet of Things.
It is true that the potential of the Internet of Things is endless, but because the concept and the technology is still in its infancy, service providers are still scrambling to gain a solid foothold. But one has to admire the zeal of companies such as Silver Spring, which announced plans to reach mobile users via its international network called Starfish. The company’s first Starfish installations aim to allow everyday objects to be connected to a network and to each other.
Yet another company, France based SigFox, is joining forces with the city of San Francisco in establishing a fully functioning Internet of Things network. Then there is processor manufacturing company Semtech Corp, which developed a technology called LoRa, now backed by a consortium of corporations.
Such efforts by Silver Spring and SigFox are predicated on the assumption that short range wireless protocols, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, are not that feasible with many Internet of Things applications like connecting tractors to sensors being utilized by farmers, or industrial machineries laid out over large geographical locations.
Then there is also the assumption that long range cellular networks are just not that cost effective nor power efficient for Internet of Things devices. Smartphones and tablets often require high speed networks especially when there is music or video content streaming involved, but for Internet of Things gadgets, less data transfers are the norm. Furthermore, those who are behind the new proposed Internet of Things networks quote battery life of 10 years or so for connected gadgets.