I have not written about IoT in some time. Since I last wrote about it, there has been firming up of the standards. For instance, NB-IoT and LTE-M are set to become the dominant LPWA (low power wide area) IoT standards. There are actually more than 90 commercially available NB-IoT networks available today, including one from AT&T this past April. Indeed, the time is at hand for widespread IoT integration.
But if you are an enterprise, and specifically if you are into enterprise communications (which is what this blog post is ultimately about), do you really care? I mean, most IoT you hear about is connecting sensors and such to a network. Like sensors indicating that water pressure is down which could mean there is a leak somewhere. Or sensors asking if the lights are out. Or measuring whether a city infrastructure is working as good as it could be. Or even just mining and mining and mining data to see some kind of trend that could help you.
But there is huge interest in Enterprise IoT as indicated in this recent report from McKinsey and Company.
And some of this interest is really about the convergence of Unified Communications and IoT. How’s that you say? What do UC and IoT have anything to do with each other? With a UC admin dashboard, there are alerts and monitors.
And with a UC system, there are mobile end points such as phones, tablets, and smart watches. But there could be other end points connected to a UC system, such as cameras. Or a doorbell with video that can also talk– like a Ring doorbell. So think about all these kinds of sensors or communication devices or just things connected to a UC system. Some of these obviously can be connected with either 5G or WiFi. But some can be connected with LPWA as well. And some can be set up to be alerts. In this way, a convergence of IoT and UC happens. I’m sure in a couple of years I’ll be writing about use cases that aren’t even really imagined right now because we can’t fathom exactly what might be hooked up to a UC system.