Despite all the talk about 4G networks like LTE (long-term evolution), much debate still exists around 3G and even 2G, and the transitions that need to be made in relation to such networks. This conversation is definitely alive and well with regards to M2M (machine-to-machine).
While companies such as RACO Wireless, www.racowireless.com, have pledged continuing support for 2G M2M applications, spectrum issues and other considerations have forced some M2M solution providers to strategize about how they would handle full transition away from 2G.
Although 3G hardware can be more expensive than 2G hardware, it is becoming evident the lifespan of 2G products and solutions can be substantially less than their 3G-enabled counterparts. For this reason, many companies are being forced to act.
One company that has taken the full 3G plunge is Telular, www.telular.com, which provides M2M-enabled event monitoring and wireless security solutions for business and consumer markets. According to Shawn Welsh, Telular’s vice president of marketing and business development, innovation in the security industry can be slow going because the devices and systems are typically installed for the long term.
However, Telular recently launched a lineup of 3G products and has absorbed the costs of the 2G-to-3G transition in order to make it as smooth as possible for its customers, which are primarily residential and commercial security dealers. Along with this announcement, the company has released new products, such as a 3G-enabled PERS (personal emergency-response system) unit, which represents Telular’s first foray into the connected-health space.
While it is important that companies continue to support existing 2G devices and solutions on the market (as Telular is doing), 3G connectivity may enable new and additional features. In Telular’s case, its 3G cellular alarm communicators now feature integration with a remote-control smartphone app, as well as two-way voice support, which Welsh says was not possible on the former 2G network.
While the industry forges ahead by building out advanced networks such as 4G, M2M is straddling three generations of wireless technology, depending on the service provider and the service provided. For end users, the fact of the matter is it just needs to work. It’s up to the industry players to make this happen, no matter which “G” provides the connection.