What Roles Does Convergence Play in the IoT Value Chain?

Where Does Convergence Play in the IoT Value Chain?
Illustration: © IoT For All

Convergence is the integration of operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT). It is primarily used to solve key IoT challenges. Let’s take a look at its primary roles in the IoT value chain.

The Role of Convergence

#1: Vertical Application Convergence

A unique vertical application platform gathers IoT data from different IoT technologies, such as Sigfox, Cellular, LoRaWAN, Satellite, WiFi, RFID, Bluetooth, and others. It presents IoT data to the end-users in the most practical way. Vertical Application Convergence is a rapidly developing trend in the IoT marketplace.

#2: Network & Connectivity Convergence

On the one hand, Network Convergence, which involves radio gateways enabling multiple Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies, is not a primary focus in the current IoT market. This is because, in many cases, it is more cost-effective to collocate ‘separate LPWAN’ gateways on the same towers.

However, in the mid to long term, we foresee a change in market conditions and the emergence of hybrid gateways due to the growing demand for cost-effective hybrid radio Networks.

Multiple IoT service providers globally drive Connectivity Convergence, leveraging roaming capabilities. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) selling aggregated cellular connectivity are at the inception of Connectivity Convergence. 

#3: Middleware Convergence

Middleware platforms are developed to empower IoT customers in managing their fleets of IoT devices and ensuring the secure storage of IoT data, regardless of the IoT connectivity technology being used, be it Sigfox, LoRaWAN Cellular, or Satellite.

The next step for Middleware Convergence would be to seamlessly interconnect LPWAN core networks, such as LoRa Network Servers, Cellular 5G core, Sigfox backend, and potentially other IoT technologies like WiFi. It would rely on a unified device identity scheme.

#4: Device Convergence

Device Convergence is the most straightforward form of Convergence, enabling a single device to connect multiple LPWANs. Device and solution manufacturers have the opportunity to design and manufacture a single “SKU” product (one single device “hardware and firmware” enabling multiple LPWANs).

This approach prevents investment risk in multiple SKUs and opens up access to a broader addressable IoT market.

Notably, the Sigfox 0G radio communication firmware is now open-sourced, Sigfox 0G device open-source library, making it implementable in most modules and chipsets available across the IoT marketplace.

The Highest Value to Customers

Convergence brings the highest value to customers when it is used when necessary. In many use cases, a single technology is a better approach. Any part of the IoT value chain (device, network, connectivity, middleware, and IoT applications) can also apply convergence.

Primarily, organizations use convergence to solve key challenges in IoT. It addresses more use cases, expands coverage and network performance, and simplifies integration of multiple technologies. It can even optimize the total cost of ownership and secure device and solution investments.

Source link

This post originally appeared on TechToday.