Cellular network software that Ericsson announced at CES may help small, battery-powered devices like smartwatches and pet trackers get online and work longer without a recharge in a few years.

It goes by the ungainly name of Ericsson Networks Software 17A for Massive IoT, but it has features for connecting the smallest of devices without making them use up too much power. Many of those will be meters and machines for cities and companies, but some could be long-lasting wearables and consumer gadgets of the future. 

Cellular networks were built to give smartphones as much speed as possible. Now they’re being adapted to trickle data to and from new kinds of things. Those could include street lights and parking meters, industrial machinery, and various consumer gadgets like clip-on devices that tell you where your stuff is.

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