IoT and the Fiber Imperative

For IIoT, these devices are often communicating in the absence of any human interaction, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping businesses make better decisions, operate more efficiently, and overcome obstacles in real time.

Fiber Network Potential in IoT

Fiber becomes even more critical to satisfy the IoT-enabled lifestyle of millennials and Gen Z, who tend to live their lives connected to every device imaginable. But it’s not just the residents who benefit. IoT is increasingly becoming the agent of change for how properties, both residential and commercial, are managed. Affordable technology is now available to monitor critical conditions in the property, instantaneously notifying the property manager of environmental changes that can seriously degrade the integrity and operating efficiency of the building. This capability makes buildings more profitable and marketable to new residents. Buildings that are fiber-fed can better leverage IoT to deliver a more comprehensive and richer service set to customers, as well as allow managers to better manage the property for maintenance and safety, with the ability to address issues before they become problems.

According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), B2B spending on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, apps and solutions will reach $267 billion by 2020, with 50 percent of IoT spending driven by discrete manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and utilities.

Of course, it’s not just residential buildings that benefit. According to a recent article in InBuilding Tech Magazine, “IoT and digital devices are changing a fundamental truth about the commercial real estate (CRE) industry. Information, information, information is eclipsing the age-old mantra of location, location, location. While finding a space close to customers, employees, and suppliers is a fundamental requirement for tenants, experts say the emergence of information-based IoT applications and big data are transforming the value proposition of the CRE industry.

Buildings with IoT sensors and devices are not only reaping the rewards derived from reduced energy costs but also have a significant competitive advantage—they can provide clients with valuable consumer data. Using sensors to create heat maps to determine which products consumers are approaching in retail settings or tracking customers inside a mall to help clients determine product placement are just two examples of how digital technologies are translating data into dollars for building owners.”

The article points out that “one of the primary requirements from office building tenants is higher network capacity and bandwidth to transmit data effectively,” and this means fiber.

Fiber Network Potential for IIoT

While IoT first got its legs in the residential market, it has begun to take off in the business sector as well as it enables companies to use beacons and sensors to gather data from equipment and supply chains.

Now let’s shift to discuss IIoT. This is where it gets really interesting. IIoT relies on machine-to-machine communication, often over long distances. Connected devices may be in the field at a work site, at any point along a supply chain, in a warehouse, or on an assembly line in a factory. These far-flung devices need to transmit information to the main database so information can be processed. These networks will leverage a variety of connection technologies from 5G, Fixed Wireless Access, and mobile—which all require connection to a fiber network for backhaul.

For IIoT, these devices are often communicating in the absence of any human interaction, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping businesses make better decisions, operate more efficiently, and overcome obstacles in real time. A reliable fiber optic network will not only transmit that information quickly but also securely and reliably.

Fiber – The Key to Success in IoT and IIoT

Reliability is the key word here as it relates to the Clearfield value proposition. We focus on providing that critical link so that the fiber network can be cost-effectively designed, deployed, managed and upgraded. For the carrier, this is critical, as companies need to not only build the network but also ensure its integrity and service capabilities so that these IoT and IIoT services can exceed expectations. Networks are complicated and IoT adds a level of complexity that can have a serious impact on a network’s ability to deliver, making fiber the only real path open if you want that cart and horse to stay connected.


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