A few weeks ago I wrote about what I felt as I realized that the wireless technology my company makes, RPMA, had been deployed near my childhood home and where I spent much of my youth. My wife read it and pointed out to me that there’s even more to the story that I forgot. I grew up in an area that was very slow to get cellular and internet service. Even now, coverage is spotty on most carriers and LTE is available on only one. When my family first got the internet it was dial-up, and it stayed dial-up well after most areas had upgraded to more bearable speeds. To this day, the only high-speed internet available at my childhood home is via hotspots from that one cellular carrier.
Knowing that history, my wife pointed out that unlike the other modern communications technologies that have become commonplace like cellular and cable internet, IoT connectivity via RPMA came almost immediately (on a relative timescale). Because deploying cellular and cable are so expensive, it took many years to reach many parts of the US and world. That effort continues today. Deploying IoT connectivity is happening in a much different and more accelerated way.
This dynamic has a very positive outcome for those who live in more rural areas: they are more likely to benefit from the quality of life improvements the IoT brings. Those living in urban areas tend to obtain the benefits of modern communications tech more quickly. It makes economic sense. Companies deploy where they can serve the most customers. One side effect of this is that the rural poor are often left hanging and waiting. The more affluent households in rural areas often have other ways to obtain the same services, albeit for much higher costs. The rural poor don’t have that ability.
My parents, who have had to either grin and go without modern conveniences and technologies until they eventually came around, or paid much higher prices for them, already have IoT connectivity. It was this fact, that my family didn’t have to wait around for the first time, that struck my wife. And it is this fact that will allow the IoT to have a broader impact much more quickly than the internet did.