Massive IoT vs. Critical IoT

2020 was called The Year of IoT. As the number of use cases increased rapidly, so did an understanding of the potential benefits of IoT technology. Companies who have already implemented IoT solutions have since reported achieving positive results in as few as 90 days.

The key to gaining ROI though IoT is to optimize processes. IoT deployments involve strategically placing sensors on assets or in the environment to collect information. This data can be anything from location coordinates to volume levels or sound waves. The data, accumulated over time, is visualized through an IoT platform into a dashboard of charts and measurements. The analytics that drives ROI comes from end-users who study the data and use it to make informed decisions.

IoT devices are designed with low-cost components, LPWAN connectivity, and scalability in mind. Although many devices share common features and hardware, not all device applications are the same. Massive IoT and Critical IoT are two categories of IoT applications that support requirements on extreme ends of the use case spectrum.

Massive IoT

Massive IoT refers to monitoring large numbers of devices and sensors for applications linked with commercial activities. These devices, deployed over a large area, are generally battery operated and communicate small data transmissions on an intermittent basis. Applications for Massive IoT include agriculture, transport logistics, and smart cities. Long latency periods are also not an issue with Massive IoT because data transmissions are infrequent and not continuous. In particular, these use cases are suited to cellular-based NB-IoT networks that support ultra-energy-efficient, battery-driven devices.

Massive IoT Device Features:

  • Battery Operated
  • Energy Efficient
  • Small Data Volumes
  • Wide Coverage Area
  • Infrequent Data Transmission

Critical IoT

Critical IoT applications have a different set of requirements than Massive IoT. The volume of devices is significantly smaller, and the demand for reliability is much higher. The business cases for Critical IoT typically deal with public safety, health monitoring, and other time-sensitive remote operations. While LTE-M will play a part, 5G will be the essential enabler of Critical IoT use cases like autonomous cars and robotic surgery, which require precise controls and dynamic responses. Applications such as these require dense coverage, ultra-low latency, and high data throughput. These features are foundational to many Critical IoT cases and will be best served with 5G connectivity.

Critical IoT Device Features:

  • Ultra-Reliability
  • Low Latency
  • Small Coverage Area
  • High Energy Consumption
  • Constant Data Transmission