Michael Finneran
Michael F. Finneran, is President of dBrn Associates, Inc., a full service advisory firm specializing in wireless and mobility; services...
Read Full Bio >>

Michael Finneran | January 26, 2016 |


IoT Spurs Wi-Fi Work, Surfaces Non-Technical Issues

IoT Spurs Wi-Fi Work, Surfaces Non-Technical Issues The Internet of Things is pushing wireless technology forward as marketing and legal issues loom.

The Internet of Things is pushing wireless technology forward as marketing and legal issues loom.

The idea of the communications-enabled business process is relatively new to the UC world, but not so in the mobile market. From fork lift operations and fleet management systems, to meter reading, ticket scanning, and rental car check-ins, mobile communications have been integral to business processes for longer than we can remember -- and with the Internet of Things (IoT), we're going to see the number of such connected devices increase a thousandfold.

Two recent news pieces have got me thinking about this. The first came from the Wi-Fi Alliance, which announced a lower-capacity Wi-Fi radio link aimed at the emerging IoT market. The other came in a front-page Wall Street Journal story about the difficulties the insurance industry faces getting consumers to buy into important IoT programs.

Getting IoT to Work
The new Wi-Fi radio link, dubbed "Wi-Fi HaLow" (pronounced "HAY-low"), will be standardized as IEEE 802.11ah. The idea is to develop a lower capacity but longer range Wi-Fi radio link interface with better battery performance more suitable for IoT applications than previous Wi-Fi versions. Wi-Fi HaLow will operate in the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands, as well as in in the older 900-MHz band.

Since many of the connected "things" will be mobile or appliance-like devices, wireless may be the primary transmission technology for the IoT. Wi-Fi is already playing a major IoT role, primarily in the smart home sector where the limited range of traditional Wi-Fi devices will meet the in-home IoT need. However, once you walk out the door, cellular data (or some proprietary technology like we see in wireless meter reading) will become the option of choice.

The 900-MHz industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band, one of the first unlicensed bands to open, saw initial use for first-generation cordless phones and baby monitors. With the lower frequency, it offers roughly twice the range as the 2.4-GHz band with the same transmit power (some estimates put the range at up to 1 km); it also features better wall penetration characteristics than does either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. The gotcha is limited availability.

The 900-MHz band runs from 902 to 928 MHz, a total bandwidth of only 26 MHz. A typical Wi-Fi channel occupies 20 MHz of radio band, and with the newer 802.11n and ac standards, the channel size can range from 20 to 160 MHz. In any event, you are only getting one standard Wi-Fi channel out of the whole 900-MHz band.

Fortunately, most IoT devices don't need much in the way of transmission capacity -- after all, how much can your toaster have to say? While the standard will eventually support data rates of up to 18 Mbps, the rates can be as low as 150 Kbps in a 1-MHz channel. The 18-Mbps data rate would require a 4-MHz channel and the Wi-Fi Alliance says that data rates as high as 78 Mbps are possible using a 16-MHz channel. The initial standard will only address channel sizes of up to 4 MHz.

The Wi-Fi Alliance doesn't plan initial certifications until 2018, so industry players have plenty of time to get ready. I'll be watching for Wi-Fi HaLow deployments with much interest. We might see Wi-Fi HaLow in the 2.4-GHz or 5-GHz bands for smart home applications, and at 900 MHz for wide-area use. Wi-Fi router vendors might support Wi-Fi HaLow in their next-generation home devices, while other vendors incorporate the 900-MHz version in small cell deployments.

Getting User Buy-in
While Wi-Fi HaLow can help make IoT work, IoT's success is contingent on more than just technology, as discussed in the WSJ article I mentioned above. The story, "Car Insurers Find Tracking Devices Are a Tough Sell," describes the trials and tribulations of programs like Progressive's Snapshot. The idea is that insurers are trying to get drivers to install monitoring devices in the hopes of earning better insurance rates.

Via the data gathered from these onboard devices, the insurance companies have learned some interesting things, such as the fact that drivers who slam on brakes more than eight times per 500 miles are 73% more likely to get into an accident in a given year. They've also learned that a significant percentage of drivers seem to feel this type of program is too much of an invasion of privacy.

Progressive is trying to address privacy concerns by shortening the assessment period to six months -- hence the name "Snapshot" -- since its data shows that driving habits don't change much over time anyways. Even with a shortened assessment period, Progressive also found it needs to publish a privacy guide regarding how it uses collected data.

Where We're Headed
Wireless technology continues to improve, allowing the creation of countless services people quickly adopt and soon find indispensible. IoT is the next big manifestation of this, and will take us into uncharted waters. With the number of devices collecting information about us, the range of marketing and legal challenges they will encounter will make the BYOD adventure look like a walk in the park. So as we embark on IoT, we may well learn that the real challenges aren't technical at all.

If you're interested in learning more about Wi-Fi HaLow and the IoT, join me at Enterprise Connect 2016, taking place March 7 to 10 in Orlando, Fla., for the session "Key Mobile Technologies for the Next Five Years." If you register here by Friday, Feb. 12, you can even save an additional $200 off the early bird rate. This discount, available using the code NJPOST for those signing up for an entire event pass or Tuesday through Thursday conference pass, represents a total savings of $700 off the onsite price! As an added bonus, register three or more attendees from your company for even bigger savings.

Follow Michael Finneran on Twitter and Google+!
Michael Finneran on Google+


June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

June 6, 2018

The two largest strategic vendors-Cisco and Microsoft-have been busy making changes to their enterprise communications roadmaps, incorporating collaboration applications as fundamental components.

May 23, 2018

If Cisco is a critical strategic supplier for you, then its vital for you to understand the most recent announcements around Webex Teams, and how to build your migration path for the next generatio

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.