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The Enterprise of Things: Enabling IoT for Business

By Special Guest
Scott Willis, President and CEO, Zinwave
October 26, 2018

The connected technologies in the Internet of Things (IoT) can create an array of benefits for an enterprise, including improved decision making; reduced overhead costs; reduced human intervention; higher-quality data; better customer experiences; process improvement; and optimized asset utilization.

Businesses in several industries are already reaping these benefits with real-world IoT deployments. For example, in healthcare, Schlegel Villages, an operator of 16 long-term care and retirement communities in Ontario, Canada, implemented IoT devices for point-of-care services and automated food services to residents. The network will eventually connect devices like security cameras, nurse call systems and HVAC systems.

Separately, in hospitality, Hilton Hotels is equipping more than 700,000 hotel room doors with Bluetooth technology. The company has also begun exploring ways to connect bar and restaurant POS systems to their mobile app, which will enable guests to charge food and drinks to their room straight from their mobile device.

These are just a couple of ways organizations are using IoT today – the possibilities are virtually endless. The predicament for many businesses, however, isn’t how they can benefit from applying IoT.

It’s how they can support it.

Reliable Connectivity as the Foundation
At its core, the IoT chain consists of four main components: a device and its data, connectivity, analytics and management. Data cannot be sent or received without the constant, high-bandwidth connectivity that is able to support real-time data flow from the hundreds – even thousands – of individual devices and sensors that may live on a given network. Without the layer of wireless connectivity, IoT can’t exist.

The issue posed by Wi-Fi is it falls short of the demands of high-volume and business-critical IoT applications. Wi-Fi doesn’t have a guaranteed quality of service, so networks that require high bandwidth, capacity or reliability aren’t able to always deliver the needed connectivity that enables the system to work efficiently.

That’s where enterprise-grade connectivity solutions, like a distributed antenna system (DAS) with private LTE capabilities, come in. Private LTE takes advantage of technology commonly reserved for cellular communications, making it available for individual organizations to use. This solution provides an owner with their own cellular network, which is much more robust than Wi-Fi. They are designed from the ground up to support business-critical applications, while providing the connectivity necessary to scale IoT deployments.

This type of connectivity operates in frequencies comparable with Wi-Fi, but the access points for DAS equipment is much more powerful than those common of traditional Wi-Fi. Provided the right equipment, an enterprise-grade solution is able to cover wider areas, thus reducing the number of access points and wireless noise in the area. These solutions stand to outperform Wi-Fi in every metric.

More importantly, end-user experience is guaranteed with enterprise-grade DAS, which is an important benefit for businesses running mission-critical applications on their IoT deployment.

Choosing an IoT-Ready DAS
With a plethora of available enterprise-grade DAS options, it’s important to look for a network that:

  • Facilitates the ways users prefer to communicate now;
  • Is multi-carrier, to give access to everyone in the entire building or facility, regardless of what carrier they may use;
  • Enables full spectrum connectivity, so it can access all of the most utilized cellular and public safety signals as well as all of the frequencies available between 150 MHz and 2700 MHz on a single hardware layer;
  • Supports simple, inexpensive upgrades to meet users’ future connectivity and communication requirements;
  • Offers simple installation, with a minimum amount of hardware needed, to keep installation time and costs down;
  • Approaches hardware installation with a “one-and-done” method, with the single original hardware layer able to support all carriers and frequency bands, as well as new connectivity and technology requirements in the future, without additional hardware;
  • Is fully fiber based, instead of coaxial cable based or a hybrid of cable and fiber, to ensure optimal performance, as well as to keep costs lower and minimize installation time; and
  • Empowers emerging technologies like IoT as well as machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and 5G cellular – all of which need stable and reliable cellular connectivity.

IoT in the Future
Businesses today are becoming increasingly technology-driven, and IoT will play an undeniable role in modernizing all industries and enterprises. A DAS with the ability to operate a private LTE network with interoperability with common cellular carriers and public safety frequencies will allow businesses to extract maximum value from IoT and business-critical applications.

About the author: Scott Willis is the President and CEO of Zinwave and has spent more than 30 years in the telecommunications industry. Before joining Zinwave he was Executive Vice President, Chief Sales and Marketing Executive at Goodman Networks.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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