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Continued IoT Scalability Requires More Devices with Intermittent Connectivity


As our world becomes increasingly connected, IoT devices are appearing everywhere. Experts predict that the total number of IoT connections will reach 83 billion by 2024, prompting the need to discuss the technological changes necessary to accommodate continued IoT scalability and growth.

Currently, most IoT devices require stable and constant internet connections to sync their data to the cloud. However, this level of connectivity is not always feasible and comes with cyber risks such as hardware failures and bandwidth overloads which can wreak havoc on continuously connected devices.

Reimagining Device Design and Security

For continued IoT scalability and integration into the digital mainstream, it’s essential to rethink the way devices are designed and secured. According to Earl Perkins, a VP at Gartner, “The pace of innovation has generated requirements for millions of devices, most network (primarily wireless) connected in some capacity. Unfortunately, most of these devices have little or no protection at the software and infrastructure levels.”

Engineering intermittent connectivity into IoT devices is a technical solution that is bound to drive increased adoption and solve some of the current challenges IoT devices face.

Better power management for Continued IoT Scalability

While IoT technology is impressive, IoT devices are often limited by factors such as a finite power supply. Constantly connected IoT devices require a stable power source and are not practical for use over long distances or in hostile conditions.

Utilizing Lithium-Ion Batteries

In many cases, a practical power source for IoT devices is a lithium-ion battery. However, once the battery runs out, data transmission ceases, rendering the IoT device useless. This is not an issue for consumer-facing IoT devices, as they are built into the device and use the connected power source. However, industrial use cases require reducing power consumption by eliminating the need for constant data transmission.

The Role of 5G

5G New Radio (NR) is expected to be far more energy-efficient than LTE networks, enabling base stations to sleep for longer durations between transmissions, leading to lower-power sleep modes.

The rise of push paradigm IoT devices, where data is sent only when necessary, along with XML and JSON payloads ensuring data remains on track between transmissions, results in low battery use and minimal energy wastage.

Reducing Network Strain

From a business perspective, there is often not a need for constant transmission of data in most IoT use cases. Sending a constant stream of data back to central servers increases network strain and the likelihood of network failures or interception at critical junctures.

Providing Less Network Strain

The logistics industry is a prime example of how intermittent connectivity can ensure safer product delivery. In air freight situations, traditional RFID condition monitoring tags relying on radio waves are insufficient for shipping the COVID-19 vaccine stored at extremely low temperatures. Consequently, the strain placed on the network by always-on IoT devices jeopardizes product condition monitoring.

In such scenarios, solutions such as QR code-based data loggers result in less network strain, fewer network outages, and enhanced product condition monitoring.

Efficient Data Retrieval

Constantly connected IoT devices transmit large amounts of data to servers, causing server-side strain. By combining data mart storage with intermittent transmission, relevant data can be captured without risking network overload.

Mitigating Data Retrieval Issues

Data marts, containing relevant data related to specific activities, combined with intermittent transmission, offer a simplified way to search for and organize data. This approach ensures that IoT use cases across all businesses can grow exponentially.

New Approaches for Continued IoT Scalability

As IoT devices continue to become ubiquitous, rethinking their design to prevent infrastructure failures is paramount. Embracing intermittent connectivity is essential to realizing greater IoT scalability and addressing key issues.

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