Aug 28, 2019

Bringing Cellular IoT Devices To Life With Voice

By Dima Feldman, Director, Head of Product Management

Our natural comfort with verbal communication has led to a new era of convenient voice-activated devices.

Over the last few years, consumer trends show a mass adoption of smart speakers. Alexa and Google Home have brought a familiarity to person-to-machine voice interactions within the comfort of our smart homes. As we become accustomed to assigning our devices tasks verbally, Cellular IoT presents opportunities for new on-the-go uses.

These voice-focused uses will rely on Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to convert verbal requests into actions.

Living Smarter

In the near future, we are expecting more insightful capabilities to be added to a wide range of applications. We already give verbal commands to a range of everyday appliances like microwaves (“popcorn, 300 grams!) and televisions (“switch to a news channel”). Device pairing even allows us to joyfully command our Smart robot to “mop the floor”.

Further technological advances will see this applied to even more devices, particularly wearables. While there are several smartwatches which already enable voice calls, they tend to lack strengths and hold multiple weaknesses. Full consumer acceptance falls short due to cost, bulky size, or poor battery life, preventing companies from introducing a suite of wearable devices.

Low Power VoLTE & VoIP

As global 2G networks are being decommissioned, there are several ways to enable compact, low-cost, and low-power, voice communication:

  1. VoLTE over CAT-M networks. The key advantages are low-cost, ultra-low active power consumption, years of standby power, miniature size modules, and carrier grade voice quality, all with connectivity to a legacy telephone network.
  2. VoIP is an alternative method for voice communication that can be layered on top of CAT-M networks. On these networks, basic voice connectivity has proven sufficient for many uses.
  3. Family friendly devices are simple to develop, enabling kids and parents to communicate via a secure smartwatch. These devices can also offer lunch reminders via smart assistant access and even Push to Talk service with a sibling to rendezvous for the soccer practice carpool.
  4. Devices designed for global CAT-M networks enjoy a shortened development period and allow for global VoLTE or VoIP coverage.
  5. Finally, the reliance on Cellular IoT networks gives a blanket of coverage, unobtainable by short range Bluetooth or WIFI connections. Whether indoors or outdoors, devices connect seamlessly out of the box.

Taking it Global

As Cellular IoT devices such as trackers and wearables have become very convenient. As accessibility becomes easier, we’ll see a continuing rise in consumers taking devices with them on vacations and supply chain companies tracking individual boxes globally. The dual-ability of VoIP and VoLTE in a single device may prove to be an advantage throughout many use cases. Local network devices will rely on VoLTE, enjoying carrier-grade quality of service. Abroad, roaming device can use VoIP to save money on data usage and overcome the lack of VoLTE support in certain regions.

This kind of forward thinking, which blends current and future technologies is the future of seamless worldwide solutions.