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IoT Computing in the Field Service Management Industry

In our five-part “Work Connected Series”, we will explore the trends that will drive innovation in the field service market over the next few years. In part 1, we will focus on the impact of IoT computing.

Three Big Ways LTE is Poised to Disrupt Telematics 

Trimble Insight Report 2019 - Trend 1 IOT connected

The technology landscape for IoT devices is undergoing a big change. The data protocols used to connect assets to the cloud are being upgraded, providing new opportunities and use cases for a wide range of industries. 


1 - The Shift From 3G to LTE

Although the shift from 3G to LTE has been in place for consumer technology, its impacts on commercial telematics is just starting to be felt. This is especially true for North America where many of the large network carriers are rolling out new dedicated protocols and expanding to other markets in Europe and China. LTE technology offers many new capabilities for commercial applications beyond the obvious improvements in bandwidth.


2 - Accelerated Adoption of LTE

Most telematics use cases have specialized needs and LTE is well positioned to provide additional value and new opportunities. Berg Insights has forecasted and accelerated

deployment of LTE, which will replace 2G (GPRS & CDMA) and 3G networks in the next few years. This rollout of new technology will provide many new opportunities for improving field service delivery.


3 - IoT Workflows Set to Decrease in Cost  

New LTE networks will accommodate lower cost telematics devices that consume less power and have a greater range. These three attributes—lower cost, lower power, and greater range—will have a significant impact on the number of devices that get deployed and ultimately, the number of assets that get connected in the cloud. These new devices are being optimized for IoT workflows as they are custom-built for connecting assets. 

3G devices are by their nature inefficient; they consume a lot of power and don’t optimize their bandwidth usage efficiently. This has limited their deployment to high-value assets such as vehicles because the ROI is difficult at these higher price points. With LTE technology such as CAT-1 and CAT-M, newer devices will be available that are optimized for IoT workflows, which will drive many new use cases.


Trimble Insight Report 2019 - Trend 1 IOT

New Opportunities in IoT Computing

Telematics deployments have historically been limited to high-value assets—such as vehicles or heavy equipment—but this trend is likely to change dramatically over the coming years. A big limitation to wide-spread deployments has to do with cost as the ROI for deploying telematics to smaller, lower-value assets has been difficult to overcome. With IoT-specific devices offering lower-cost models, new and expanded telematics deployments will become more common. 

Many of these lower-value assets require a device with a small form factor and with extended battery performance. 3G technology made it difficult for suppliers to find a device model that would fit, as the modems typically draw significant power and industrial batteries are expensive. LTE changes the paradigm significantly. LTE modems can draw much less power and, as a result, need less expensive batteries, and finally can be put into smaller packages. Each of these trends will open up new deployment opportunities.


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