Will your next wristwatch feature 4G coverage? Will your running shoes update your Facebook page?
They very well could. Wearable devices spanning athletics to health care will likely make up a big component of the 50 billion connected devices predicted to exist by the end of the decade, especially with Nike, Under Armour and a host of other consumer-focused companies embracing the trend. In fact, Fossil recently announced that it would be the first fashion brand to use Google’s Android Wear operating system for wearable technology, even though many thought watches were going the way of the dinosaur (no pun intended).
In other words, our phones are not the only things getting smarter – we’ll have smart glasses, smart pills, smart fitness trackers, smart clothing, smart everything.
While many of these devices will rely on smartphones or tablets to relay information, millions of connected devices will require embedded technology to connect wirelessly to the Internet. Fortunately, the price of an M2M (machine-to-machine) module – the technology that allows a device to connect to a 2G, 3G or 4G network – continues to fall, allowing application developers to expand the array of items that can cost-effectively connect to the Internet.
Still, connectivity is at the heart of this trend. The Internet of Things (IoT) will require mobile access, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (for smartphone connectivity) to relay data from smart devices to applications that can consume, analyze, manipulate and present it to the consumer. And while the amount of data traffic the devices will generate might be relatively small, it’s possible that amount might be exceeded by the signaling traffic required to establish connections and handle mobility.
The bottom line is that signaling traffic created by these devices will continue to grow, not only within networks, but between networks, as well. And the need to manage this signaling traffic, which conveys policy, authentication and charging between network nodes, will be critical for a high-quality experience, both for smart devices and humans alike.
If you’re interested in this topic, be sure to tune into the Infonetics webinar about Diameter Signaling Control for LTE Networks on June 12. We’ll be talking more about the critical role that key signaling protocols, namely Diameter, will play in mobile networks, and what service providers should consider as they prepare for the inevitable rise in signaling traffic. Register here.