Taoglas Co-CEO Predicts Bright Future for Cellular 4G IoT Devices

Taoglas's co-CEO says that the 4G cellular IoT business has become a real contender in the IoT space but suspects that 5G elements could take five or so years to come onto the IoT scene.

Taoglas designs antennas specifically for IoT applications. The company has been in business for 13 years. Cellular 4G IoT, particularly Cat-M, has taken off recently, says co-CEO Dermot O'Shea, largely because of the drop in price for chipsets and for 4G IoT services.

Indeed, he says chipset prices are falling from above $30 to $15 or below that. This makes 4G LTE cheap enough to consider using rather than 2G or other specs, O'Shea says.

"80% of the designs in our labs are Cat-M," the co-CEO contends.

O'Shea says that transportation is the main IoT market for Taoglas antenna designs at the moment. Medical, smart metering and agriculture are also important.

The use of 4G LTE -- narrowband IoT and Cat-M -- will be widespread in IoT for a long time, O'Shea predicts. "I think that's the way it's going for the next five years," he says.

The co-CEO doesn't expect that 5G will supplant 4G for IoT applications in the near-term. However, he notes that device antenna arrays are getting more complicated, as devices used to simply have two antennas per device but "could have eight antennas for cellular now."

He expects that there will be "some consolidation" in the antenna market because of that, with 4G devices becoming more complicated and 5G coming online. "It's just getting more complex, as the devices have way more antennas," O'Shea says.

He cites the Ericsson acquisition of Kathrein in February this year as an example of this consolidation.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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