Verizon is expecting more machine-to-machine (M2M) communications to move onto LTE networks and off 2G and 3G, and is helping the process along with a 4G modem module.
That was just one of the points made when Light Reading visited the Verizon Wireless Innovation Center in Waltham, Mass. this week. The center, which was opened three years ago this summer, has always largely focused on helping startups and partners develop and certify products for its 4G network.
Increasingly, this means working on M2M products that can use 4G, says Tim Gorman, associate director of technology for the Verizon Innovation Program.
"I see a definite trend for M2M going towards LTE," says Gorman. "That wasn't the case a year an a half ago." (See Does M2M Need LTE?.)
To that end, Verizon now has a $100 4G LTE modem module aimed at M2M applications, Machine Connect, developed with Connected IO, which is intended to be a smaller, low-cost replacement for 4G LTE routers.
The modem can be used to feed video and other streams to digital signage, or show-floor kiosks in convention centers. The module can help reduce costs over LTE routers, which can cost $500.
With more operators starting to plan to shut down 2G networks, moving M2M to 4G allows vendors to plot the lifetime of M2M devices, which can be deployed for years, without worrying about losing network support. (See Getting 4G Ready for IoT.)
Of course, digital signs and kiosks typically use a power supply rather than relying on batteries. For some applications, such as a Schneider Electric water tank monitoring system shown at the Innovation Center, Verizon still relies on a lower bandwidth connection.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading