Narrowband IoT – What is it & How to Get Started?

Narrowband IoT coverage is now widely available throughout the UK, but what does it offer to your IoT solutions? Read on to find out what NB-IoT actually is and how we can help you to get started.

What is Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT)?

Narrowband IoT or NB-IoT as it is frequently referred to is a cellular LPWAN technology. Operating on low power wide area networks, it is designed to enable efficient communication across wide areas and busy urban infrastructure.

It works by periodically sending small packets of data from connected sensors via coverage from a mobile network.

Unlike 4G or 5G networks, NB-IoT enables devices to send data where standard mobile network coverage is inaccessible. There are no interferences with other devices, helping to secure reliable data transfers.

NB-IoT devices operate on a simple radio waveform, helping to optimise battery efficiency. Many narrowband IoT devices feature a long battery life of up to 10 years. This significantly reduces the need to replace batteries. Consequently lowering maintenance and operational costs.

Where can NB-IoT be useful?

In short, NB-IoT can be useful wherever devices need to be connected. It can be used in a wide variety of areas ranging from smart cities to smart farming, smart metering or asset tracking – and anything in between! Its suitability for use in inaccessible areas also makes it a good fit for underground modules.

Getting Started with Narrowband IoT

There are a number of components needed to get your NB-IoT solutions off the ground. These include:

  • Connectivity/Access to an NB-IoT network
  • Sensors
  • An IoT Middleware Platform to translate your data
  • A dashboard/Analytics platform to visualise your recorded data

Lucky for you, Alliot can help supply each of these elements, simplifying the delivery of your solutions.

Connectivity

Vodafone are currently the only NB-IoT network provider in the UK. With coverage for around 98% of the UK, they support more than 100 million IoT connections around the world.

As an official Vodafone IoT Business Partner, we offer a range of low-cost data packages. Looking for a full solution? We’ll even offer discounts for bundled packages.

Sensors

When it comes to NB-IoT sensors, there are new developments coming all the time.

Whether you’re looking to track valuable assets, monitor fill levels in tanks or bins, or analyse footfall in retail environments. There’s a sensor to deliver the data you require.

Two particularly popular sensors at the moment are; the Efento temperature and humidity sensor and the IMBuildings NB-IoT people counter.

Efento Temperature & Humidity Sensor

Well suited to areas where you want to monitor atmospheric conditions. The Efento temperature and humidity sensor can be useful to monitor conditions in:

  • Museums to protect delicate, perishable artefacts
  • Office environments to optimise conditions
  • Maintaining optimal conditions in food storage and transit
  • Reducing medicinal waste in healthcare environments

 

IMBuildings People Counter

Utilising horizontal infrared, this smart NB-IoT device counts people crossing a horizontal line.

 

 

Ideal for:

  • Restricting access to busy areas
  • Optimising visitor experiences at attractions
  • Gathering information around the number of people who enter and leave a building

This people counting sensor can be useful to predict information such as: average visitor time, wait times and queue times.

 

Middleware Platform

Cellular IoT operates under a wide variety of formats and protocols. With no standard for how data is sent at application level, adding new devices to your solutions can be difficult. Without a Middleware platform, you will need to add a whole new range of protocols every time you add a new manufacturer to your solution.

Our purpose-built IoT middleware platform, Symbius is designed to simplify your IoT deployments. It sits between your NB-IoT sensors and dashboard or data analysis platform. Symbius will take the data from your sensors and decode it into a common format for you. Making it easy for data to be understood and shared across your applications and business processes.

 

Dashboard

Now you have the items required to collect your data, your final piece to the NB-IoT puzzle is your dashboard. This is where your solution will come to life.

Our team has worked with numerous clients to deliver platforms alongside Daizy.io which present data in a way that is most useful to you. We offer a range of options from ready to use systems, to custom built branded dashboards. Speak to us today to discuss your requirements.

The NB-IoT Buffet

We’re proud to offer a one-stop shop for all your cellular IoT needs and offer discounted pricing for bundled solutions. We have a flexible offering allowing you totake the components you require; take as much or as little as you need.

Looking to find out more about using NB-IoT for your next project? Contact our friendly, expert team for free impartial advice on your next solution.

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