NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT)

The development of Internet of Things technologies has triggered a booming data collection era. In the conservation context, IoT has revolutionized data collection by providing the ability to transfer data over a network. However, researchers often use technologies that require remote placement like acoustic monitors and camera traps, and must manually replace them when their battery life runs out which often requires week-long treks into the remote wilderness by the researching team. NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT), also known as LTE-M2, is a low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology that operates independently from LTE and in unused radio bands previously used for Global System for Mobile Communications (Ray, 2020). Proposed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project in early 2016, NB-IoT is widely regarded as the most promising LPWAN technology for increasing efficiency for many research projects (Chen et al., 2017). Ultimately, NB-IoT significantly improves the power consumption of all devices –  supporting a battery life of up to 10 years, and is cheaper than LTE networks as it requires less energy (Li et al., 2017). NB-IoT provides a much wider deployment by directly connecting sensors to the base station, thus eliminating middleman gateways, and has a global reach by providing power networks to areas with little to no LTE, including rural areas and places below Earth’s surface (Ray, 2020). In the future, we might see NB-IoT be used for smart metering, security systems, tracking, and smart city infrastructures. For now, however, NB-IoT is helping conservation researchers keep their study eras acoustically pristine and undisturbed by human interference. 

Chen, J., Hu, K., Wang, Q., Sun, Y., Shi, Z. and He, S., 2017. “Narrowband internet of things: Implementations and applications“.

Li, Y., Cheng, X., Cao, Y., Wang, D. and Yang, L., 2017. “Smart choice for the smart grid: Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT)“.


Climate Change, Industry/Natural Commodities, Internet of Things