Pro-Technology Framework Key To Development Of The Internet Of Things
A growing Internet of Things (IoT) will provide an array of significant socio-economic benefits to citizens and businesses around the world. The ability to connect everything from a washing machine to a street light will create numerous efficiencies, as well as give people instant access to real-time data and allow them to make informed decisions.
However, as with all mobile services, the adoption of a pro-technology regulatory framework is the building block for its viability. The true potential of the IoT can only be realised if governments and regulators implement the right policies regarding the allocation of spectrum, creating an environment that enables the market to flourish. A service- and technology-neutral framework is also especially important to ensure future growth; any government that wants to see IoT services develop should implement a regulatory framework free of technical restrictions. This will build trust and give confidence to consumers and the industry, both of which will help to drive adoption of the IoT.
The GSMA is working with governments and regulators from around the world to ensure that these benefits are unlocked and that the right policies that promote and incentivise innovation and investment are being followed. For example, this could be adopting IoT solutions in the public sector, or by funding research and development programmes, or by releasing sufficient spectrum and promoting interoperability. In particular, there are four areas governments and regulators should be focusing on:
- A Technology-Neutral Environment: The IoT can transform economies and societies, but it is still at a nascent stage. An investment-friendly and technology-neutral environment is needed to realise these socio-economic benefits.
- Licensed Spectrum: Licensed spectrum is trusted, reliable and scalable and must be used in order to deliver the most reliable, high quality services. It also has the capacity and coverage capabilities to support growth.
- International Spectrum Harmonisation: Spectrum harmonisation is vital for a global, affordable cellular market.
- Industry Collaboration: Regulators should work closely with the mobile industry to support IoT in spectrum planning now and in the lead up to 5G investment.
The IoT sector is still in its infancy and mobile operators should be allowed to use the technology they believe will work best to test its effectiveness. This approach should also be applied consistently across all players in the IoT ecosystem in order to provide clarity and ensure a level playing field for the industry and builds trust and confidence for end users. For example, operators should be allowed to use the latest mobile IoT technologies in their licensed spectrum bands, without any unnecessary roadblocks. The latest cellular standard allows GSM and LTE networks to support LPWA (Low Power, Wide Area) IoT applications in almost all licensed mobile bands.
The IoT will impact almost every vertical sector, including things such as utility meters, vending machines, automotive, and medical monitoring and alerting, in addition to consumer electronic devices, such as e-book readers, GPS navigation aids and digital cameras.
Analyst house Machina Research estimates that the total number of M2M connections will grow from five billion in 2014 to 27 billion in 2024, and the value of the market is expected to reach $4 trillion by 2025, up from $892 billion in 2015. This growth will usher in huge benefits for both consumers and businesses, but it is crucial that regulators work in collaboration with the rest of the ecosystem to ensure that the right environment is created to develop the IoT.
SOURCE: GSMA, 3 October 2016