M2M and IoT Blog by Larry Bellehumeur

Analyzing the current world of IoT: Part 1 of 2

I have been in this space for a while. In addition to having a podcast/blog, I get asked a lot about the current state of IoT. It may come from people in the industry looking for insight, people looking to make investments in this space or to learn more about this booming area.

I have decided to answer some of the questions in more detail and to do it in two parts. In the first part, we look at a few different aspects of the current world of IoT. In part 2, we look at the next decade of IoT.


Question 1 – Has the growth of IoT been as fast as you thought it would be? If not, why not?


There is a common joke among many in the space about how soon enough, we will see the “hockey-stick curve level” growth that we have heard about throughout the years. 

Please don’t get me wrong, IoT has grown considerably over the past decade, but the growth never quite seemed to match the hype.

There have been some areas of growth that have helped push the industry forward. 

Public Safety and Utility companies come to mind. Both of those industries had been significant users of private radio for a while, so the migration towards Internet-based traffic was not a major one. You can also put Oil and Gas exploration into that camp.

One area that I still am a bit surprised not to have seen more growth was the medical space, although they are quickly making up for it in the past few years.



Question 2 – What are some areas where the growth of IoT has underperformed, and what are some areas that have surprised you with how fast they adopted IoT?


In addition to the medical community that I mentioned earlier, another space that is missing in the IoT boom is the Food industry. Sure, there have been some pockets (such as automated planting, some sensor-based farming and others) but not like I would have thought. These industries work on very low margins, and it would have made sense for them to gain any competitive edge that they could have, which IoT would have provided.

In terms of ones that have overperformed, I would say the waste management area. 

Many companies moved towards IoT very early on in the lifecycle of IoT, and the use of weight sensors is far more common than expected.



Question 3 – Is IoT destined to be taken over by large tech companies?


Yes and no. 

You see a massive influx of large companies in particular spaces in the industry. Platforms like AWS and Azure are becoming formidable, but a large number of smaller players make significant strides. In terms of the services side, companies like IBM and Accenture are getting slowly into the data integration and services side, but most turn-key leaders do not fall into the mega-cap size.

I see big companies getting further into other spaces, but mainly areas with the widest appeal to their existing base. Apple and other watch manufacturers are getting more into the health side, to appeal to their older customers, but I don’t see them getting into full-blown medical solutions. Platform providers like Amazon and Microsoft have some compelling IoT solutions and building-blocks. Still, there will always be room for 3rd party players to build on their platforms to deliver their solutions to the market.



Question 4 – will 5G be the end of landlines?


I guess it depends on how you look at the “end.” Will it curb any growth for landlines shortly? I would say that it would, but I would not expect to see millions of landlines disconnected in 2021.

The big argument in favour of 5G is its flexibility and availability. You can have it in a single device or use a 5G connection to power a home or business connectivity needs. It can work at home, in the car or at the cottage (if you have coverage). If your lifestyle is mobile, there is a compelling reason for you to go all-in on 5G. 

However, you will pay a substantial premium for doing so, and I am not sure that flexibility is worth the extra cost for many.



5G in the USA

Many have had great success with 5G, but we still haven't wholly defaulted to 5G- Why is that? In this brief article about 5G, we will explore what it is, who is developing 5G and when it's set to thrive in the USA. 



5G stands for "fifth-generation technology" standard for cellular networks, which mobile phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019. South Korea has the highest number of cities with 5G availability, followed by China, the U.S., and the U.K. In this chart below, we'll take a look at 4 of the USA's largest carriers, and how they're planning to unveil in the coming years for 5G in the market.


Why is 5G better than 4G? 

5G's biggest differentiator to 4G will be as a gateway for the Internet of Things-connected world at scale. Eventually, 5G networking will be revolutionary for data-driven industries, smart cities and infrastructure management because it will be possible to have many more devices working, reliably, securely, and uninterrupted in the same area. While many are excited about the personal benefits of advantages like faster streaming, the business potential for IoT is incredible.


5G's Promise

Much like 4G introduced the world to the gig economy, mobile 5G will jumpstart the next wave of unforeseen innovation.


What will 5G look like?

5G will make it easier to download large amounts of data. Imagine that 4G is a normal-sized door: one person can get through quickly, but if you try to push too much through, the door will get clogged. 5G will be like a large hallway that allows lots of people to move at once without getting clogged up.

In practice, 5G will make it easier for Internet-enabled devices, like special refrigerators and coffee pots, to stay connected. Some experts believe that 5G will make robotic surgery possible. Finally, experts believe that 5G will also make self-driving cars and delivery drones more efficient.

Moreover, 5G infrastructure will be different. Because of how 5G is designed, it will need antennas that are significantly closer to the cell towers that we currently have. That means you'll be seeing small antennas everywhere.

5G will also change your phones themselves. 5G enabled phones will need to have different antennas inside them. 5G phones are expected to use less power, meaning you won't have to charge your phone as often.


AT&T 5G 

AT&T will be developing 5G through three "core 5G pillars." Those pillars include mobile 5G, fixed 5G, and edge computing — all of which will play a significant role in 5G development as time goes on.

Where is 5G available?

5G+ is our name for 5G areas expected to provide even faster 5G service in select areas around the country. This will create innovation zones where the most ambitious uses of 5G can come to life. While the initial launch of 5G+ is modest, speeds, coverage, and devices will improve. You can see if your device is compatible with our 5G+ network by checking the wireless specs for your device.

5G+ is now available in select areas of the following cities:

AZ: Phoenix
CA: Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Oakland, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, West Hollywood
FL: Jacksonville, Miami, Miami Gardens, Orlando
GA: Atlanta
IN: Indianapolis
KY: Louisville
LA: New Orleans
MD: Baltimore, Ocean City
MI: Detroit
NC: Charlotte, Raleigh
NV: Las Vegas
NY: New York City
OH: Cleveland
OK: Oklahoma City
PA: King of Prussia, Philadelphia
TN: Nashville
TX: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Waco


Verizon 5G

Verizon's 5G speeds are the fastest in the world right now, with their 5G Ultra Wideband delivering speeds more than 10 times faster than some other 5G networks. Also, the first to truly reach 5G on a consumer level in the US.  Although Verizon "won" the race, America's other top carriers are not far behind. Verizon has many compatible consumer devices ready  for 5G speeds. You can get a full list here.

Where is Verizon 5G available?

Verizon has expanded service to 34 cities, and their 5G services are also available in 24 stadiums and arenas. 


As a result, T-Mobile customers will find themselves on the 600MHz network more often than not. It's currently available in about 5,000 cities and towns, including many rural locations. People in urban areas will increasingly be able to connect to the company's mid-band spectrum. According to Ray, peak speeds of 600Mbps are already being delivered to Philadelphia customers. 

Small pockets of cities (think blocks) will deliver up to 1Gbps 5G speeds. Digital Trends has tested Verizon's mmWave 5G network in Chicago, and the experience should be similar on T-Mobile's mmWave network. In areas covered by T-Mobile's 600MHz 5G network, you should see speeds regularly around 200 to 300Mbps, which for many rural areas, is a massive improvement over LTE. The difference might be less noticeable in suburban areas where cellular networks are more robust.

T-Mobile's low-band 5G network is live "nationwide" on its 600MHz spectrum. It's the first "layer" of what its CTO Neville Ray calls a "5G layer cake" comprised of widespread low-band 600MHz, the company's mid-band 2.5GHz holdings, and high-band mmWave at the top. Compatible devices are already widely available, and more will become available throughout 2020.

Promising dramatically faster speeds, instantaneous communication, and the ability to network everything, 5G has incredible potential. A limited rollout of the service began in select cities in 2018, and 5G started appearing in the towns around the U.S. in 2019, with much more comprehensive launches expected throughout 2020.

T-Mobile 5G 

Where is 5G available?

T-Mobile says it plans to work on it's mid- and high-band deployments in earnest in 2020. While Verizon was first to launch its 5G network, recently, both T-Mobile and AT&T have started to build out their own aggressively. By the end of 2020, a large percentage of the country will have access to 5G in some form. But Verizon is a behemoth and has the capacity (and money) to vie for a piece of the U.S. 5G pie aggressively. 


Rural High-speed Cellular Coverage & Infrastructure Planning

A large crowd gathers, often dressed in a combination of suits and construction worker gear. A giant red ribbon is cut with a ridiculously large pair of scissors. The media is there, and even political rivals are faking smiles and offering handshakes (at least pre-COVID). 

Everyone is thinking of the future as they build the next <fill in the blank>. It may be a bridge, hospital or highway.

Nothing seems to inspire the future as a large infrastructure project. While there is often a decent return on investment for a bridge, it pales in comparison to spending money in other areas that are far less “media-friendly.” Fixing legacy sewer pipes and repairing ageing bridges likely offers a better return on your tax dollar, but no one wants to put on a suit to talk about that. The same goes for upgrading Internet connectivity for rural areas; what is sexy about something you cannot even see?

However, upgrading the Internet connection speed for rural residents may be the single most significant investment that a government can make. It helps with so many aspects of their lives that a single dollar spent may translate into more than 10 dollars of return for the community, and it is also great for business.

First, before we get to the benefits, let’s answer a fundamental question:


Why should the upgrade be cellular (and not landline connections)?


Sure, it is technically feasible that money is spent on upgrading landline-based connections in rural areas. But, while it is technically possible, it is not economically viable. The sheer distance between homes in many areas makes it way too expensive to trench landlines between properties. In this case, cellular-based technology makes a lot of sense.

One may ask, “would we just put in 5G?” In an ideal world, you would, but 5G, also suffer from an inability to handle long distances cost-effectively. For many areas, a 4G Network would be a great choice. With the limited amount of traffic being sent, the speeds would be in the upper part of the range, more than enough to handle video-based traffic. Also, since the coverage would be better, commuters could also be used while driving through the area, increasing public safety.

As for the benefits of better Internet connectivity in rural areas:


Better education for children


With few exceptions, the education system in most rural areas falls below the standard offered in most cities. When you look at how larger school districts are starting to use technology, the gap grows even further. Many are now using smart boards and asking children to access video-based content as part of their homework assignments. When you can barely get dial-up speed for connectivity at home, this puts you way behind.

Higher speed connectivity allows children to access information in a way that puts them on-par with the students in big cities. It also provides for remote learning for children who are unable to attend regular school.


Better opportunities for business


I have stated on many occasions that no company, regardless of their size or industry they are in, can function normally without a reliable form of Internet access. This has limited many companies for opening or thriving in rural communities. It has also limited a type of business that rural locations could easily compete in: e-commerce.

By having access to the Internet, many rural businesses can access the world of Amazon and Etsy. Also, they can interact with customers online and in social media outlets better.


Better access to health care


When your primary doctor is 2 hours away by car, you may not get things checked out nearly as often. It gets even worse when you have to travel a full day by car to see a medical specialist. 

It is for this reason that life expectancy is often lower in many rural areas than their urban counterpart.

Virtual medicine is just starting to take hold, but it requires a relatively quick and stable Internet connection to be viable. By providing this, we can reduce medical costs and significantly improve the level of health care.

Naturally, it will not be sexy to provide better coverage for rural residents. I doubt anyone will make one of those cool time-lapse videos for people to watch. But, it does offer the best bang for the buck, and we need to do it now.


5 real-life examples 5G will change life forever


Ok, we have all heard the hype. 5G is blazing fast, it will allow you to do things that we never thought capable over a cellular network. But, what does that mean to your day to day life?


As a bit of a primer, 5G brings three things to the network that make it different from previous networks, namely the current 4G (LTE) that we have now:

- Its gain in speed is simply incredible. It offers upload and download speeds that easily beat most available landline connections.

- The latency (the amount of time it takes to send a bit of information back and forth) is so low, it opens up the possibility of truly real-time applications like never before.

- The network offers a mind-boggling number of users in a set geographical area

This all sounds great, but what does this mean for life for the average person? Glad you asked, here you go:


Reduced Internet inequality around the world

For many of us, it is hard to believe that everyone in the world does not have access to high-speed Internet. And, this is not just in third world countries, but also in major North American cities. Many still use dial-up as their main access method or have no access at all.


5G will help to alleviate this for both urban and rural users around the world. For urban ones (where 5G may be readily available), they can now access key things like online government forms, e-learning and more. Although 5G may not reach many rural customers right away, the expansion of 4G still offers a great experience for many of these things.


Improved Rural life

This point is linked to the first point … people in many rural areas will see a greater quality of life. They will have better access to healthcare (through advanced e-health), to education and to open businesses. This will help to raise the level of health, income and to open up many opportunities for advancement.


Increased urban capacity should equal lower data rates

Try browsing a video or making a real-time video conference call in most downtown cores during rush hour … yeah, it might not always work like you want. Network operators have done a great job in building out capacity, but there is always a finite amount of capacity. 5G will help to alleviate this and will in fact possibly create excessive capacity (if you can believe it).

This extra capacity should help to reduce the costs of cellular data, allowing for competitive data rates and the likelihood of much bigger data plans (even unlimited) becoming available.


Reduce the needs for office space (by changing how remote work is done)

The past month has seen millions of workers being forced to work remote, affecting the availability of tools like Zoom. It has also caught the attention of those who own and operate commercial real estate properties. Many companies have found that although it has taken some adjustments, many are operating well with employees working from home in their pajamas. It brings up a question … do companies need so much office space going forward?


5G will help to expedite this trend. When workers find out how great of an experience 5G brings, they will want to work from home more than ever. Employers will also love the ability to lock down corporate traffic and keep it off of the public Internet. This may reduce the demand for office space in most urban areas.


We will monitor and track everything

There is a huge trend towards making things “smart” in our lives … watches, scales and heating units are just a few of the examples. This works great when the device is expected to be used inside of a home or office as there is usually an available Wi-Fi network to connect to. However, this becomes a bit of an issue when the devices are used in multiple areas or while mobile.


Today, many have used cellular-based devices to track key shipments, but the cost was often difficult to justify for many applications. Technologies like CAT-M and NB-IoT will lower both the upfront costs and on-going costs, while the aforementioned uptick in network capacity will ensure that devices always have available resources to connect.


5G is here: let the cord cutting begin!

Hello and thanks for reading.


In many ways, North America is leading the charge on technology.  However, one area that we might have been a little slow is in the use of cellular-based connectivity for the home.  Most of us have a wired Internet connection for all of our kids to play Fortnite and browse YouTube on.


That may change, and faster than you think …


Verizon announced this week that parts of 4 US cities can now use 5G technology to replace their existing landline connections.  The service is reasonably priced and offers speeds that would allow most people to easily make the switch (and in fact, it may be faster than what is offered today by cable/DSL in their area).


To expedite this deployment, the FCC has started to make it harder for local governments to drag their feet on 5G by placing mandates to force faster approvals and even to force access to government-owned equipment for 5G equipment.  Not to be outdone, AT&T is trying to leapfrog over Verizon by offering 5G connectivity for mobile devices in as many as 12 cities before the end of the year.


What does this mean for landline providers?

For now, not much, but you have to know there are some nervous executives in many companies now.  Internet connectivity is often the main reason why people stay connected for other services, such as home phone and cable.  By moving those customers over to wireless, landline providers risk the chance of losing more than just the revenue from your monthly Internet connection.


However, I think this is just a natural progress.  As little as 10 years ago, Wi-Fi was not common in most homes and was not widely available in most public areas.  Now, just about every mall, airport and office waiting room offers free Wi-Fi access to customers.  People have just grown used to the idea of not being locked down by cables …


Do keep in mind two important things:

  • 5G really is about mobile, so the likelihood is that most of the gains in traffic will be from devices that were likely already using cellular connectivity, or in the case of self-driving cars, ones that could never use a fixed connection.
  • 5G won’t be everywhere that quickly. They will focus most on the urban cores, so don’t expect it in the suburbs for a while.


However, expect to see more announcements about 5G over the next 12-24 months …. It is coming.

5G will push cellular gateway sales into the stratosphere

Having sold cellular gateways for the better part of the last two decades, I have been in a position to see the growth as well as anyone.  The initial products were based on very slow cellular technology, making them ideal for only transferring small bits of data.  As such, they were usually used by those who really needed to connect remote assets badly enough ... police cars, oil wells and more.


As we hit the world of 3G, there started to be enough bandwidth to expand the appeal (and the increase in the network coverage didn’t hurt either).  We started to see cellular gateways used in applications such as retail, hospitality, mobile office and more.  We even started to see people “cut the cord” (meaning that they were using cellular-based communication even in places where traditional landlines were readily available).


The launch of 4G helped to continue this trend, right up until today.  Speeds are now capable of transmitting large amounts of data and the latency of the networks has decreased to the point that real-time applications like video are feasible and often comparable to landline speeds in some areas.


Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet- wait until 5G hits.


First, why is 5G different?  I mean 4G offered enough speed that many never even used all of the available bandwidth, so why do we need 5G?  In some cases, you don’t, and I have written about that a lot in the past.  But this will not stop 5G from sending the cellular gateway business into a “hockey stick” growth starting next year ... here is why:


The speeds and latency really are that much better

4G speeds were great, but when you started to load up users onto the connection, it started to show that it was not as fast or capable as your available DSL connection.  5G has got you covered ... most people will see as fast (or faster) speeds than they have now, meaning that it truly is a viable option to cut the cord at most small and medium businesses as well as in all homes.


People will value the portability of cellular more than they know

Ok, most of us (based on what I see at my kid’s sports practices) have found out the value of having a live Internet connection in their hands.  However, think of what it can do for your business ... you can move outside, such as in the case of a store wanting to sell their wares in the parking lot ... you can have the same connection as you move from site to site, such as in the case of a construction company ... you have a truly functional disaster recovery solution, in the event that you have to evacuate your building ... you don’t have to worry about construction accidents damaging your line when they are working outside.


The capacity of the network is staggering

One of the concerns that many had about 4G (and networks before it) was network capacity and its effects on speed.  Namely, if a network gets congested, will my connection speeds really suffer?  While no network has endless capacity, 5G offers the ability to support more connections than ever before, making this less of an issue.


It takes mobile gaming to a new level

Ok, this might not fall under the category of “corporate reasoning,” but one cannot deny the incredible amount of money spent by gamers each year.  5G provides a speed and latency environment that just screams out gaming, and I can see many of them looking for a common experience at home and on the road.


The cellular carriers won’t resist selling this by the ton

The final reason comes down to something simple ... cellular carriers will see this as a huge potential area of growth.  While the amount of data traffic will continue to grow exponentially over the next decade, not sure about the number of smartphone users.  Sure, they will add some here and there, but do you know anyone who wants a smartphone and does not have one?  Replacing DSL and cable lines in the home, especially for cellular carriers who do not have a landline counterpart in their company, is just too much of an exciting prospect.


While we like to avoid making these blogs too much of a sales pitch, Novotech looks forward to helping you make the leap towards using cellular gateways to power your business.  We have the best lines (list lines) and all of the expertise that you need to get started!




5G can bridge the Digital Infrastructure gap in the US

Regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum in the US, there is one thing that most people cannot deny ... some states have done much better than others, financially, over the past 30 years.  Now, each side will have their own arguments as to why and how to fix it, perhaps even with a bit of merit, but there is one wide discrepancy between have and have-not states that most agree needs to be fixed:


High-Speed Internet access is vital in 2019 (and beyond) for a community to grow and providing it to a community can often be a key to their achieving success.  It is sad that 24 million Americans do not have access in 2019.


Now, a lot of questions come up, even if everyone were to agree ... who pays for it?  Which communities would get it first?  Is it government-run or Industry run?  I don’t know the best answers to those, but I do have one answer ... A combination of 4G/5G infrastructure is likely the best technology to get it done, regardless of who may pay for it.


Most cities in the poorer states have a relatively strong infrastructure to support a 5G deployment, and based on a business case, the cellular carriers would likely have put in the upgrade anyways.  I am talking about cities like Louisville, Jackson and Charleston.  Where government and other funding may be needed is in the areas around these cities, where 5G may not have been planned.  Upgrading these areas to 5G would allow businesses to be set up, ranging from factories to E-commerce based businesses.  A small tax break or incentive by the government may be enough to convince the Verizon’s and AT&T’s to upgrade.


In the more extremely remote areas, even with government assistance, it may be tough to justify a 5G installation.  However, an uncongested 4G network is quite quick, with speeds that are more than fast enough for real-time applications that a business would need.  It would also improve healthcare, education and more for all communities.  It would offer one of the best returns on investments, even if it was all subsidized ... which it would not have to be.


One has to think that there are a lot of other companies, since they may benefit, who would be interested in possible subsidies/grants.  Take a company like Google, who would now see a new area of growth for YouTube, as an example.


One can hope that with all of the fighting going on in Washington, this would be something that all agree is a project worth spending money on, as it is such a glaring need ...

10 Good Things To Know About 5G

Date: January 18th, 2017


5G is coming, but few know much about it.  Not to worry, here are 10 things that will help you sound as if you are “in the know.”


It is fast …like really fast.

When you hear about cellular network speeds, think of it like your car speedometer.  Just because your car says it can go 200Km/hr (130mph), that doesn’t mean that you will ever drive it that fast, due to things like traffic, laws, etc.  The same is true for network speeds.  However, expect speeds at least 10x what you have now on LTE networks.


It avoids any extra delays

There is a term called latency, which is the time is takes for a piece of data to go back and forth on a network (think, “my latency to get ice cream and be back on the couch is equal to one TV commercial”).  LTE networks have pretty low latency for most applications.  However, 5G reduces it by 95%, making it possible to do things like surgical procedures remotely.


It uses a different type of “tower”

Most people visualize a cell tower as being a big tall object by the highway.  However, 5G will start off by using a ton of little towers that are placed closer together.  Some of them will be as small as a pizza box!


It can handle your phone, your home, your car…

5G is able to handle many times more devices than today’s networks, meaning that you will not experience slowdowns in network speed like you do now.  This also leads to the next point ….


It will power the growth of IoT

With the ability to handle many times more devices, 5G will reduce the cost of network connectivity.  This is expected to power the move towards using cellular to connect IoT devices, such as cars, appliances and smartwatches.


It arrives sooner than you think

While some of the equipment may be ready soon, it takes time to not only install the network equipment but to set up the infrastructure for a network.  So, while there may be some limited connectivity in 2019, expect it to start to become widely available in 2020 … which is only 2 years away!


It requires new equipment

Sorry, in order to gain the benefits of using 5G, you will need to use 5G-ready equipment, which is not available for a while.  The first devices available will almost certainly be smartphones.


It will change many industries

The availability of super high-speed connectivity at prices comparable to DSL/Cable will change just about every business … this ranges from transportation to retail to how you watch live events using VR technology!


Most things you own will have a “rate plan”

As mentioned, more of the devices in your home and office will use the cellular network, so they will have a monthly rate plan.  The good news is that most of those plans will be pennies per month and the cost will likely be included in the price you pay.


It will further enhance “cord-cutting”

If you can get DSL/Cable like speeds just about anywhere, why would you have a landline connection at home?  Expect the wide availability of 5G to further erode the base of those using landline services at home.

5G Infrastructure

What Are 5G Cell Towers and How Do They Work?

5G cell towers are completely different than previous technologies. They are not only more advanced, but they use much higher and more intense frequencies. (Which is why people are so concerned about the health risks, read more here.) 

The millimetre wave frequencies that 5G towers use are able to carry much more significant amounts of data but struggle going through obstacles such as trees, walls and weather events. 


How Do 5G Cell Towers Work?


 Thankfully, telecommunications companies will not have to start from scratch. Although 4th generation cell towers will not transmit 5G signals, 5G transmitters can be placed on old 3G and 4G cell towers.

And because the 5G frequencies are much higher than in previous generations, the wavelengths are a lot shorter. These shorter (millimetre length) waves carry more data but can't move very well through obstacles such as weather, concrete and plants. Experts estimate they will have to have 5G mini cell towers every 2 to 8 houses or, depending on the frequencies being transmitted and the obstacles potentially in the way.


How Does 5G Work


The Radio Access Network - consists of various types of facilities, including small cells, towers, masts and dedicated in-building and home systems that connect mobile users and wireless devices to the central core network.

Small cells will be a significant feature of 5G networks, particularly at the new millimetre wave (mmWave) frequencies, where the connection range is very short. To provide a continuous connection, small cells will be distributed in clusters depending on where users require a connection, which will complement the macro network that provides wide-area coverage.

5G Macro Cells will use MIMO (multiple inputs, multiple outputs) antennas with various elements or connections to send and receive more data simultaneously. The benefit to users is that more people can simultaneously connect to the network and maintain high throughput. Where MIMO antennas use huge numbers of antenna elements, they are often referred to as 'massive MIMO.' However, the physical size is similar to existing 3G and 4G base station antennas.


The Core Network 


This is the data network that manages all of the mobile voice, data and internet connections. The 'core network' for 5G is being redesigned to better integrate with the internet as well as cloud-based services. This includes distributed servers across the network, which will improve response times and reduce latency. Many of the advantages of 5G, including network slicing and network function virtualization for different applications and services, will be managed in the core. 


Who Decides Where 5G Towers Go?


As mentioned, 5G towers will use existing 3G/4G towers to their advantage. However, New towers will also be explored, meaning homeowners and farmers will be receiving requests to build new towers to help extend coverage. Many telecommunications companies are racing to be the first to expand small cell towers in major cities. When small cells throughout highly-populated urban areas are added, coverage gaps may be eliminated. Traffic lights, light poles, and public buildings would be ideal sites for small cells.

Many communities have worries concerning the health, privacy and security risks, and aesthetic concerns of a neighbourhood's appearance. Some city officials and residents are resisting proposed towers to protect the city landscape and any other negative consequences that could pop up associated with the growth of 5G.





Cities should add IoT solutions now while things are quieter

The other day, I noticed that the city had shut down 2 out of 3 lanes (in each direction) of a major artery and were paving the roads. With the reduction in traffic caused by the virus, traffic flowed just about at the same speed as usual. It was great to see streets paved in times of low traffic.

What are some of the IoT-related initiatives that it may make sense for a government to do while things are a bit quieter (or even closed)?


Smart recreational facilities

Most community pools, gyms and arenas are closed at this time. Many sensor-based solutions could be installed to reduce operational costs, lower energy use and to improve security. Sensors could be placed in pools to streamline heating and chlorine use; automatic lighting systems could be installed to prevent expensive floodlights from working when no one is there. Automated sprinkler systems could be installed in fields and on golf courses to avoid overwatering from occurring, and, smart street lights could be connected to reduce crime and more efficiently light up neighbourhoods.


Smart parking and traffic solutions

This one makes a ton of sense as you could take away 90% of the meters in most areas, and no one would notice now. Upgrading to smart parking meters is an investment for the city, but they do have a high return on investment. They are often linked with smartphone apps that allow people to reserve spots in advance and “feed the meter” from anywhere. It also does not have to be a city-owned lot, as this investment makes sense for most private parking facilities.
Traffic solutions involve things like improving the monitoring of traffic through sensors and cameras. They can notify people of an accident and even recommend a better route—kind of like “Waze,” except for everyone.


Infrastructure monitoring

Whenever I hear it, one shocking stat that floors me is how tens of thousands of bridges in North America are in use decades after their intended “lifespan.” Unfortunately, we cannot just replace them all tomorrow, so we need to do a better job monitoring which ones may be in danger. The same is true for many other parts of the city, such as sewer and water pipes.

IoT uses various sensors (ranging from water to harmonics) to determine which are the most likely issues, which better directs your teams to fix the problems before they become major.



The last one may be the only one that can increase revenue for a government. The number of passengers on board trains and buses has plummeted to unheard-of low numbers. It will require more than just an uptick in the economy to get people back on the bus.

IoT solutions can first help by keeping people safe. They may include automatic passenger counters (to ensure that there is less overcrowding) as well as temperature monitors to alert to a possibly ill patient.
Beyond that, though, we may need to find ways to both entice people and to raise more revenue for failing transit agencies. On-board Wi-Fi service may be a way to get people on-board, as well as better alerts when the next bus arrives. From a revenue standpoint, smart GPS-based advertising on buses may help to offset some of the declines in ridership.
Like the road paving, now is the time to spend on upgrading your city. While I can understand that money is tight, a small investment now will pay off huge dividends down the road.