I have been reading a lot lately about the internet of things (IoT) and I must admit it does sound awesome. Imagine a world where everything is connected to the internet and I do mean everything. Fridges that can sense when you are short of milk and send you a text message to pick up some on your way home or bridges that can detect ice on their surface and send that information wirelessly to your car which automatically slows down are just two of the many possibilities available with the internet of things.
All this is based though on being connected to the internet and at the moment this is where the house of cards falls down. If your devices are located inside buildings then you should have a reliable broadband connection and have no problems. The problems start when you leave the building and get out into the “wilds”. Getting online when out and about relies on being able to pick up either 3G or 4G and in certain parts of the UK mobile coverage is rubbish. Only last week there were calls to improve mobile signal coverage in rural Wales where at the moment signal is appalling. It is the same in the north of England and extensively so in Scotland. You can’t have electronic devices connected to the internet if they can’t actually connect to the internet.
Take my house as an example. I live in Alloa which lies in the central belt of Scotland (basically where most people in Scotland live) so you would think mobile coverage should be good. It isn’t. I am currently with O2 on a two year contract and it is sketchy to say the least. Other networks do have better coverage here (EE for example) but there are too many places in Scotland where you can’t get anything better than 2G.
As a lot of regular readers know I travel throughout Scotland for work. I have clients all over the place who I need to assist if (and when) problems arise with their IT. This usually means remoting into their systems and fixing any issues. For this reason I have EE 4G mobile broadband, Three 3G mobile broadband and the data allowance on my O2 Phone. In theory this gives me three networks to choose from so you would think at least one would have 3G signal. I have lost count of the number of places in Scotland where I get 2G at best!!
For the internet of things to work mobile operators have to pick up the batton and run with it. Their network coverage must improve as it is no longer good enough to say “well most people are covered”. Instead we need “almost all areas are covered” and only then will the internet of things come to its full potential.
About the Author
Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter