The IoT offers a host of new opportunities for business improvement, and the promise of an ‘everything connected’ world. But how will this ‘everything connected’ world affect the airwaves? How will we cope with a world deluged with devices trying to talk to each other and to us?
With the rollouts starting for Smart Meters, there will be around 50 million connected meters in the UK alone. Add to this the plethora of smart sensing, smart home and smart city applications being mooted and we are looking at a lot of chatter.
How will we hear each other shouting across the congested void? Will everything just shout louder? One thing is for sure, with forecasts of up to 50 billion connected devices by 2020, the radio world will be very busy.
Clearly shouting louder and louder is not the answer, as Steve Clarke, Technical Director at AMIHO Technology explains, we need to take a more considered approach and work out how to manage all this extra radio traffic efficiently and intelligently.
Whilst he believes there is a genuine threat to the ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) bands from overuse via smart meter networks and other devices being brought on air over the next few years, there are sensible ways to manage the extra traffic.
“There are methods to reduce radio congestion – by making devices listen before they broadcast, by having adaptive strategies such as broadcasting non-essential data at ‘quiet’ times and by adding intelligence into the system with Cognitive Radio,” says Clarke.
“Cognitive Radio is a method in which the devices will sense ambient conditions and adapt appropriately to the environment. Ideally, devices transmit at the lowest power necessary, for the shortest period of time, using the quietest channels. By continually monitoring and adapting, the radio network avoids noise and interference and by choosing the best time to transmit, it can also reduce power usage and extend battery life.”
Coupled with the latest range extending technologies, Cognitive Radio could be the way forward in our increasingly congested everything connected world.
Sounds like a win-win situation!
Steve Clarke will be presenting his ideas on Cognitive Radio in his paper ‘IoT Needs Good Neighbours – Cognitive Radio Turns Enemies into Friends’ at Embedded World, 25 Feb at 4pm. Read full abstract ».