As the world of the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to ramp up speed, so do those organizations providing ways to connect the millions of small IoT devices. Many in the industry have turned their focus to 5G and the high-level features it promises. However, there may be no need to wait for a promise.

New forms of LTE were completed last year and will be featured at the Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, Spain. The two new forms, LTE-M and NB-IoT, are tuned in for IoT use. These new forms have developed out of a need to connect far-flung objects to a network without necessarily having the power to deploy full-scale cellular devices everywhere.

Details about the new forms of connectivity were also outlined in CIO titled, Don’t wait for 5G: LTE could be your key to IoT. The article states that, “LTE-M is the faster of the new cellular variants capable of megabit speeds and it’s designed for mobile use, including handoffs from one cell to the next. NB-IoT is slower, at around 250Kbps upstream, but allows for longer battery life. Both have longer range than regular LTE and are better at penetrating walls and floors.”

Ovum analyst Daryl Schoolar weighed in as well, “Between the two technologies, most of the world’s major metropolitan areas will probably get coverage in the next two years. NB-IoT seems to have more traction in Europe, and LTE-M in the U.S., but it’s still early.” They also point out that speed and coverage aren’t the only factors to consider for companies selecting among connection options for IoT devices. There’s also security and predictability, urgency, hardware and longevity.

The Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, organized by the Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association (GSMA). The Congress will focus on the future of cellular and any commercial launches by 2020. You can learn more about the event here.

As new and more powerful systems fall into place to support IoT innovation, it is critical for us to remember how important open standards are for the success of the Internet. The foundation of this cause is the OpenStand Principles, which should guide all new technology. It is our stance that the more open our standards are for IoT development, the more quickly innovation like we are seeing at Mobile World Congress will emerge.

Join us in making technology better for everyone by becoming an OpenStand advocate!