E-Handbook: How best to address connectivity for IoT issues Article 1 of 3

Connectivity for IoT is rarely a one-size-fits-all choice

By 2025, billions of devices will be internet-connected, offering organizations a bevy of insights to optimize operations, cut costs and improve decision-making.

But it's not magic. You can't just add a sensor to a machine and create a new revenue model. You need the proper sensors to collect the proper data, and the proper analytics to garner insights. The right connectivity is key to this process.

When it comes to connectivity for IoT, one size doesn't fit all. While there are wired options and satellites, most IoT systems will use short- or long-range wireless, depending on the use case. But the decisions don't stop there.

An array of options exists for short-range connectivity for IoT, from Bluetooth to near-field communications to Wi-Fi and more. For long-range, there are even more choices to make, including licensed (such as LTE Cat M1, Narrowband IoT or 5G) or unlicensed (LoRaWAN, Sigfox or Random Phase Multiple Access).

Each IoT connectivity option has its own benefits and tradeoffs around data transmission (e.g., amount of data and frequency), latency, power consumption, cost and security, to name a few. High-volume, fast data transfers generally use more power. Looking for low power consumption? The tradeoffs are generally shorter range and less bandwidth.

Does your organization collect water meter readings across a city? Maybe LoRa is a good option to send small amounts of data at regular intervals. In an industrial setting that needs to connect billions of small, non-real-time sensors or requires ultra-reliable, low-latency connectivity? 5G may be best. For agriculture businesses that want to capitalize on IoT, cellular isn't an option -- low-power, long-range WAN may be the best bet.

Before you perform predictive maintenance, build digital twins or enable machine learning, choose the proper connectivity for IoT to get your data where it's going efficiently, cost-effectively and safely.