The Internet of Things (IoT) is an overused buzz phrase, but hype is finally giving way to some valuable IoT use cases. In 2017, 433.1 million smart home devices were shipped worldwide, according to IDC. Smart speakers are leading the way, and smart locks, fridges, thermostats, pet food dishes and more have become part of our daily, connected lives.\nWhat would I do without my smart egg tray?\nWhile there are plenty of smart \u201cfill-in-the-blank\u201d devices, the IoT still has some growing up to do. Battery life and standards still present significant challenges, and not all smart devices get along. The good news is, high-performance RF filters are providing faster data throughput, minimizing energy losses and extending battery life. Imagine a world where sensors need a charge only once in a decade?\nBecause the IoT is so broad, networkers must match the best radio technology to each device. Zigbee 3.0 is emerging as the technology of choice for the low-power mesh market, but Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, Thread, LTE Cat-M1 (LTE-M), Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and many, many others power the IoT\u2019s range of applications.\nIn other words, the IoT has more flavors than Froot Loops\u00ae cereal.\n(Spoiler alert: Froot Loops are all the same flavor.)\nAll of us know Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but LTE-M and NB-IoT, not so much. These technologies fall under the umbrella of one of the fastest growing IoT markets: cellular IoT.\nWhat is cellular IoT?\nCellular IoT connects IoT devices using existing cellular networks. This is smart (pun intended) for three reasons.\n1. Availability\nCellular networks are widespread and ubiquitous, covering 90 percent of the world\u2019s population, according to our partners at Nordic Semiconductor. U.S. carriers claim 99 percent LTE coverage or above and growing. Other technologies like Wi-Fi don\u2019t have the same scale, requiring users to search for and connect to a local network (while avoiding rogue access points).\n2. Cost\nRF providers, wireless infrastructure companies and carriers have made massive investments in cellular networks to provide secure, reliable service to as many customers as possible. By leveraging existing infrastructure and mature technology, cellular IoT can connect millions of IoT devices with little additional investment. Nordic, for example, combined one of our existing 4G RF front ends with their IoT chipset to create a global cellular IoT solution. #mashup\n3. Range\nCellular IoT meets the needs of low-power devices with the added range of mobile networks. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are useful for high bandwidth, but don\u2019t reach far enough for long-distance communications. With cellular IoT, my smartphone can connect to a cell tower a few dozen miles away, and IoT devices can too.\nCellular IoT applications\nCellular networks are a logical connecting point for the IoT \u2013 but we\u2019re not talking smart toasters.\nCellular IoT enables low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) applications, also called \u201cmassive IoT.\u201d These are largely commercial applications that need to communicate reliably and securely over long distances, including smart cities, underground sensors and fleet monitoring. Nordic offers a few other good examples of NB-IoT and LTE-M applications on their blog:\nA good application for NB-IoT is the use of remote environmental sensors to measure temperature, wind, pressure and so on. These devices can send regular updates from a fixed location while optimizing battery use. Such a device could last for up to ten years, or longer if solar-powered and in the right geographical position.\nSimilarly, an asset tracker with condition monitoring through several sensors, which is mobile and roaming from country to country, is well served by an LTE-M solution that offers highway speed mobility, international roaming between countries and operators, and efficient firmware updates. (Nordic Semiconductor, 2018)\nCellular IoT and 5G\n5G is the future of mobile communication and IoT, promising blistering speeds and ultra-low latency for a wide range of devices\/services. Of course, the road to 5G runs through 4G infrastructure, building on 4G as an overlay using fixed wireless, enhanced mobile broadband, low latency and automated data communication.\nThis has important consequences for cellular IoT. While 5G holds great promise for IoT devices, carriers don\u2019t have to wait. Cellular IoT can be deployed today using 4G networks and will occupy a sizable portion of 5G networks in the future. As a next step, carriers must find ways to monetize the service and decide on reasonable prices for commercial customers. \u00a0My smart toothbrush probably doesn\u2019t need a $5 per month cellular data plan \u2026 just sayin\u2019.\nThe IoT is always going to be about making life easier by helping us make smarter decisions faster. We will see cellular IoT applications expand in a world of 5G, including the proliferation of high speed, low latency use cases like true, real-time vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication, and remote medical procedures.\nAlone, IoT devices are just a bunch of \u201cthings.\u201d But working together across cellular networks, these devices can secure our homes, monitor our health and make sure our eggs aren\u2019t going bad in the fridge.\nThere\u2019s that smart egg tray again.