Telit is an enabler of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications worldwide providing wireless module technology, services and connectivity. It offers integrated products, platforms and services to support and enable IoT deployments from things to apps. Ashish Gulati, country manager for Telit, speaks to EFY’s Dilin Anand about how cellular technologies are evolving with the Internet of Things (IoT) and growth of connected devices
Q. What trends do you observe in Wireless Technologies for M2M?
A. For IoT modules, we have different cellular technologies. Today, Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology accounts for half of our customers. The other half of the demand is mostly for 3G, with 2G accounting for almost none. This was not the case in 2012.
Q. Is India network-ready for IoT deployment?
A. Usually, it takes 18-24 months for a cellular operator to launch a commercialised cellular network. In June last year, 3GPP body finalised the narrow-band IoT (NB-IOT) and Cat-M1 specifications. Operators in North America try to commercialise network services in 6-12 months (instead of 24 months). Given that, they are hard pressed on timelines to offer this network as Cat-M1 is still under field trials in North America.
In India, most LTE operators have their networks compliant to Cat-1. And they have started working towards NB-IOT and Cat-M1 even before Cat-1 becomes widespread.
Q. What’s the cost impact of wireless evolution?
A. If the module is going to change, you have to change the antennae as these are different for 2G, 3G and LTE. Then there are some minor changes in the power supply. The rest of the changes are on the software side. So overall bill-of-materials (BOM) cost is more or less the same.
Q. How easy is it for product teams to switch their designs from one module to another?
A. Customers must share the application or product that they are using right now. Our modules are AT command driven. When a customer tells us what product they are using, we compare AT commands that are different. While most are common, some proprietary commands may differ. We review these and tell our customers the changes that they need to make to straightaway use our modules. Thus, it becomes very easy for customers.
Q. What are the issues faced in deployment of IoT solutions?
A. I see more of integration issues because in certain cases it is difficult to integrate IoT devices with the conventional equipment/machinery in a manufacturing plant. For instance, sometimes there are older equipment that have no relevant data outlet, so we must create one in such cases.
Q. What help do you provide to independent design houses?
A. We go much beyond supporting independent design houses (IDHs) on their design initiatives. In some cases we help them showcase their product solutions to global market through industry exhibitions. We sign up agreements with IDHs, whereby we work with them exclusively for an application and promote it to prospective clients. We also introduce them to our distribution partners for joint promotional campaigns.
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