IoT: tracking the same path of the Cloud revolution a decade ago
[Apr 11th, 2018]

In the early 2000’s, the world grappled with the unprecedented concept of ‘virtualising’ all of one’s server infrastructure into a pool of computing that could be shared more efficiently than ever before. This sharing model reduced costs and power requirements, and increased the speed and ease with which server infrastructure could be deployed.

In 2006, we saw a giant emerge in the Cloud arena: Amazon Web Services. If it was a big leap of faith for organisations to believe in virtualising their IT infrastructure, it was inconceivable to move it to a global Cloud, and a public one at that!

But over the past 12 years we’ve seen the way businesses of all shapes and sizes being totally disrupted by the emergence of the Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and other hyperscale Clouds, as startups could deploy complex ‘enterprise like’ solutions with very little costs.

Uber, Netflix & Paypal are all examples of businesses that have leveraged Amazon Web Services to disrupt their industries significantly using the advantages of these platforms’ pay-as-you go approach, allowing them to limitlessly scale resources as needed.

It may sound crazy now!

As with Amazon and Azure in the 2000s, almost 12 years later we are seeing a similar scene play out in the realm of the Internet of Things (IoT). LoRaWAN™ has emerged as the de-facto Low Power Wide Area Network specification – intended for wireless battery operated connected devices and sensors spread across local, national or even global networks.

It seems a crazy notion that you can now connect an object (like a street light, water-meter or soil sensor) to a network for a few dollars a year.

Interestingly, consumers have been the early adopters of the IoT journey, with everyday devices like smartwatches, fitness and health trackers, connected all the time.

Corporates have also started on the journey, but in a similar way to the virtualisation revolution all those years ago, many are resistant to making the leap of faith towards having everything connected.

Some simple tasks like collecting a water meter reading, or switching a light on or off are still a manual process. Although the efficiency and benefits of connecting these to a public IoT networks such as LoRa are apparent, this represents a disruption to established models, and so we often encounter resistance.

Network effects

By and large, European and Asian markets have harnessed the advantages of LoRaWAN™ to solve a discrete problems – such as water metering for instance. But, very quickly, LoRaWAN™ then becomes the platform that leads to other IoT projects, and ultimately to a broader connected business or even a smart city.

As we saw with Amazon’s astonishing growth, once the initial ecosystem is running on an IoT platform, the ability to start to leverage what has already been built to solve other real world problems becomes easier, more cost effective and very much quicker.

We can also remember that as businesses embraced virtualisation, a key success criteria was to select the right infrastructure partner with which to deploy and grow with. Many businesses chose to go the hybrid route – using their own infrastructure for mission-critical core apps and services, and pushing non-essential services into the hyperscale Cloud environments.

This is a similar principle to the IoT world today. Organisations can leverage the benefits of a secure isolated network for the likes of port or border control, security systems or asset tracking, while linking it to the flexibility of a broader coverage public network. This gives us the best of both worlds – as we watch this exciting space rapidly change how we see the world.

Comsol is an ideal partner to give you the flexibility of leveraging a hybrid approach to your IoT needs.  Our extensive experience in Radio Frequency networks enables us to build you a resilient LoRaWAN™ network for your private needs, while ensuring if you need to expand to any part of our public network, you have the flexibility to do so with ease.

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