Stacey Higgenbotham writes in her weekly Stacey on IoT newsletter about the proliferation of IoT networks. I’ve been noting advances in 5G and WiFi6 and occasionally about advances in Bluetooth, but she puts it all together here.

But as we have added more devices and more types of networks, wireless connectivity has become a lot more complicated. We have personal area networks for wearables and headsets that use Bluetooth. We have some devices on Wi-Fi 5 networks and others on Wi-Fi 6 or even Wi-Fi 6E. Smart homes might have Zigbee, Z-Wave, or Thread. Corporate offices might have a proprietary OT network and variations on 4G or 5G cellular.

Then it comes to the crucial point.

And someone has to manage all of this. Welcome to the end of the general purpose wireless network. Today, it’s all about special purpose connectivity.

On the one hand, corporate IT must pick up new skills.

So how will corporate IT departments manage the provisioning and acquisition of connectivity across multiple types of networks? Wi-Fi gear that handles Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that gets managed by the IT department has already come onto the market. But while the IT department might help manage the cellular network bills, with private LTE or private 5G it’s unclear how that gear and management will converge.

And, of course, changes also mean new opportunities for entrepreneurs to enter.

As general purpose wireless networks fade, enterprises will need help. The only question is: Who will win the race to provide it? 

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