Samsung unveiled the Connect Tag, a new smart tag that connects to Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) networks and is designed to clip onto pet collars, luggage, or even children to help users track them.
NB-IoT is a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) standard designed to connect IoT devices that use very little power and transmit very little data.
The waterproof device, about four centimeters wide and one centimeter thick, will initially only be available in South Korea. Consumers can, through a companion mobile application, set a geofence that notifies the user when the tag goes outside the set fence. The tech giant didn’t disclose how much the device will cost or when it will be released to the public. In South Korea, the device will connect to operator KT’s NB-IoT network, which is the LPWAN with the largest coverage area in the country.
The tag is one of many IoT devices that companies are experimenting with in the early days of NB-IoT’s availability. NB-IoT is quickly becoming widely available around the world, and in the North American and the Asia-Pacific regions in particular. As it arrives in these markets, companies are experimenting with different IoT use cases that it can support. For instance, Huawei and DHL are testing asset tracking at an automotive assembly plant in China via NB-IoT, and Kepper Electric is testing smart meters in Singapore connected through the network.
The device could help open up NB-IoT networks for consumer applications, although significant hurdles stand in the way.
- Until now, NB-IoT networks have primarily supported enterprise IoT use cases, but the device highlights the additional potential in the consumer space. If these types of tracking applications gain popularity with consumers in many markets, it could provide a significant revenue boost for NB-IoT network operators.
- Samsung’s tag will compete in a crowded and limited market. Most smartphones and smartwatches, and some fitness trackers, also have similar functionality, so persuading consumers to purchase an added piece of hardware to track someone or something could be difficult. Additionally, consumer awareness around GPS tracking devices is rather low and costs have traditionally been a high barrier. The market is also currently filled with more than a dozen other GPS trackers. Samsung will need to prove that leveraging NB-IoT will lower subscription costs and demonstrate that the device has a unique value proposition.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is disrupting businesses, governments, and consumers and transforming how they interact with the world. Companies are going to spend almost $5 trillion on the IoT in the next five years — and the proliferation of connected devices and massive increase in data has started an analytical revolution.
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