Land mobile radio (LMR) typically is considered to be a voice-centric technology, but officials at IDA recently revealed that the company has ambitious plans to leverage LMR in pursuit of the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT)/machine-to-machine (M2M) market, which promises to generate significant amounts of data from myriad sensor technologies.

IDA President and CEO Sanjay Patel said he believes the company is ideally positioned to provide IoT solutions for myriad enterprise sectors, from manufacturer automation and vehicle tracking to agriculture and patient monitoring. IDA has a license for “coast to coast” spectrum in both the VHF and 700 MHz bands, he said.

“We are creating our own wireless network for the IoT,” Patel said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “Just like a cellular company for the IoT—that’s what we’re becoming. That’s going to be deployed into the market, starting later this year.

“We could be a fallback network for people who own their channels—like cities and counties—or we can be an emergency channel, or we can be just a primary data carrier for their IoT devices.”

IDA plans to deploy network gear that utilizes VHF spectrum initially before pursuing buildout in the 700 MHz frequencies, Patel said. In addition to this dedicated network for IoT, IDA’s equipment also will leverage connectivity from commercial carriers, he said.

“As we grow our network, we’re going to need cellular to fall back to for awhile,” Patel said. “Eventually, in about three years, we see our own network getting used more than the cellular for getting the data out from any location.”

Daivesh Sanghvi, IDA’s executive vice president of business development, said LMR technology can meet the low-latency requirements of even the most challenging IoT applications, if the solution is architected and optimized properly—something IDA plans to do.

“IoT, or M2M, is a $1.4 trillion opportunity, and I think we are the change agents, trying to bring this opportunity to the LMR world,” Sanghvi said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We want to truly leverage the resilience of the LMR network and are trying to bring the IoT and M2M communications back into the LMR world.”