AGTECH (Agriculture Tech) and the growth, benefits, and Future of IoT in AGTECH

Agriculture Technology

Agricultural Technology has become the most revolutionary and impactful area of modern technology, because of the fundamental need to produce enough nutritional food to nourish a growing global population. With advancements in technology and IoT, modern farms and agricultural operations work incredibility different from past practices. Sensor devices, automated machines, and information technology have taken over the agriculture sector.  

The global population will reach over 10 billion by 2050. To fulfill the need of 10 billion people, we need to work hard and smart. We need to double the amount of food we now produce. The latest Agriculture Technology covers almost every aspect from powered machinery (formerly performed by people and animals), to enhanced seed production and planting techniques to agrochemicals, which supports crop growth and protects the plants from destructive weeds and insects.

Today’s agriculture regularly uses different technologies, like robots, moisture sensors, aerial images, and GPS technology. With the evolution of Technology and robotic devices, the agriculture industry is becoming more user friendly. Agriculture technology and its robotic systems allow many businesses to increase profits, become efficient, safer, and more environmentally friendly. This advancement in Technology, which connects agriculture with Technology, increases productivity, and reduces human workload.

Climate change is a big challenge. With the development of Technology and to save our natural resources, Agriculture Tech adoption is essential. AGTECH allows farmers to better utilize resources like water and nutrients effectively. Another primary purpose is the enrichment of soil through precision agronomic systems and enhanced seeds, which will produce crops that will be beneficial for human health as well as for the animal husbandry. This will increase the output of meat and produce higher quality products full of proteins like milk and eggs. In short, Agriculture Tech is the new game-changer for the production of more food with less natural resources.  

Use of Technology in Agriculture

There are many usages of Technology in Agriculture. Below we have mentioned some uses of Technology in agriculture.

  • Farm machines

Farm machines lower the cost of labor, harvest in time, plant early, and makes certain that the yield is stored within the right time frame. The use of Technology in agriculture makes sure that the food is grown, harvested and stored within the shortest time possible.  

  • GPS tracking for machines

GPS technology also plays an essential role in the development of autopilot sprayers, & tractors that do not require any driver. Trackers are enabled with the help of IoT Sim Cards. GPS trackers and tracking systems eliminate human errors and save fuel and equipment. Security of the tracking devices can be accomplished with Private IP addresses, coupled with VPN and even private APNs.

  • Crop sensors

What quantities to give to the plant, what fertilizers work best for different plants, when to apply. These are significant challenges faced in agriculture. Crops sensors make it easier for the farmers to adequately supply the fertilizers and pesticides the crops need in the correct quantity. Such technologies give you an overview and sense of how your plants are feeling.  

  • Use of GPS in field documentation

With the help of GPS, it is becoming easier to determine and document the yields from a given farm and record the application rates. The use of GPS is done with the help of an IoT sim card

  • Biotechnology

Genetic engineering and the process of improving the health of the of the given crop at the genetic level continues to evolve. Biotechnology, referred to as genetic engineering, is carried out to increase the resistance to drought, pests and disease of crops worldwide. In short, with biotechnology, farmers can get the idea of whether or not they can plant on areas that were considered dry or deserts. They can also use less pesticides which saves money and is better for the environment. To achieve the goals, farmers must understand the concept of modern farming and the use of Agriculture technology. 

Agriculture Technology and Growth

In this tech era, where the Internet is becoming more and more ubiquitous, the Internet of Things (IoT) has disrupted many industries and the Agriculture Industry in the same regard. 

IoT technology has brought significant change with smart wearable’s, connected devices, automated machines, driverless cars, and much more. Some recent statistics revealed that the global population would reach over 10 billion by 2050. The agriculture industry needs to ramp up production to feed this massive population. In this case, the best way to fulfill this gap between the food and people is the adoption of IoT internet of things. To deal with climate changes, IoT is eradicating and helping us achieve the demand for more food. Amongst the toughest challenges – weather conditions and environmental impact, IoT must be adopted.

 IoT is enabling agriculture to increase agricultural production at a low cost. In the next few years, smart solutions powdered by IoT will improve the agriculture operations. Some recent reports have stated that the IoT device installation will realize a compound annual growth rate of 20% in the agriculture industry. And the number of connected devices (agricultural) will grow from 13 million in 2014 to 225 million by 2024. However, in the less developed regions, the IoT implementations will be a challenging task. Still, OneSimCard M2M for IoT is making it possible to introduce connectivity and using their global cellular networks.

 

Benefits of Agricultural Technology

Agricultural technology remains a great player in generating revenue and the source of food for people across the globe. In recent years, this sector has faced many changes, adopted many technologies in agriculture, and used different farming approaches.

Below are some of the benefits of Agriculture technologies. This is a glimpse of the importance of modern technology adoption in agriculture.  

  • Modern Technology and Tech machines can reduce the efforts of farmers
  • Less production time
  • Higher productivity of crops
  • Technology is used to supply water to the crops
  • Connected machines can easily sow the seeds without workforce
  • Chemical pest control
  • Less use of water can improve the fertility of the soil
  • Lower prices, along with significant efficiencies
  • Reduce the impact on the environment
  • Ecological impact
  • Safer foods with safer growing conditions 

Future of IoT in AGTECH

Robotic technologies and remote devices enable more reliable monitoring and management of resources. These technologies rely on using data connectivity. Remote devices consist of embedded SIM cards (eSIM) or traditional plastic SIM cards for IoT/M2M communication. Aside from robotic and remote technologies, management of natural resources plays a big part in saving natural resources such as air and better water quality. There are many growth issues in agriculture technology that are interconnected with security measures. These remote technologies give the farmers better control over plant and animal production, processing, distribution, and storage. 

AGtech Services and OneSimCard M2M and its roaming services are expanding to the Global level to meet people’s demands and deliver sensitive information about device activities or data sharing activities over networks. OneSimCard IoT has a wide portfolio of solutions to ensure reliable, and secure connectivity across the worldwide.  

Agricultural technologies continue to morph, expand and adopt new technology eUICC (Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card) Is the next game-changer. Along with eUICC, ICCID (Integrated Circuit Card Identifier) is used in the development of Agriculture technology. With the help of IoT technologies, farmers can now quickly determine what is best for their crops, assess the condition of their plants, better understand impending weather interactions and impacts, and produce a right product at a fast pace. To say that IoT is making strides for the farmers to reach the highest of success is an understatement. One day if might be possible, with a single press of a button, to automate the entire farming process.

Share this article with your friends and family, let them know about the next revolution in the AGTECH.

For a quick start with OneSimCard IoT , check out the IoT SIM Starter Kit.

To a receive a free no-obligation quote for your application click here, or contact us directly via email sales@onesimcard.com or phone +1 617-313-8888.

Security Risks in Fintech

Fintech: A buzzing Technology

Fintech, Financial Technology, is a booming trend for finance vertical businesses and relational services. Fintech plays an important role in many aspects that affects customers and businesses for ease in interacting with each other through internet connectivity.

There are many application platforms targeting various services in different industries. To become a winning service, these applications must be focused on three simple principles: Design, Speed and Simplicity. Fintech stakeholders are the companies or startups involved in technical innovations. The emerging directions in Fintech are categorized as follows: Payments, Advisory Services, Financing, & Compliance. Among these categories, Advisory services and Compliance are interrelated to Internet of Things, Connected Devices, Wearables, Drone Technology, Mobile Devices, AI, Machine Learning and other emerging components. Payments and Financial are connected to data transfer, Mobile communications, user experiences, data analytics, on-time communications. In these areas, Fintech adds value to the stakeholders involved.

Fintech: A secured Platform?

Remote devices are required to be monitored and controlled centrally using data connectivity. These remote devices consist of integrated built-in SIM cards or traditional plastic SIM cards for IoT/M2M communication. Platforms always try to provide the security for products under financial services, but in this emerging technology, there are some loopholes where additional security measures are required. While in an open network communication, there are some potential data breaches too. Some issues must be taken care of by the remote devices. Fintech platforms may face some challenges related to security and privacy because Fintech services are involved in sensitive information about device activities or data sharing activities over networks. With the increase in demographic and social changes, the adoption of mobile devices is exploding and populating the same mobile networks. Urbanization is resulting with the growth in the sharing economy and personalized services.

Working in any ecosystem with mobile devices & wireless networks data, ubiquity and data security become major challenges for Financial Technology. As onboarding of devices increases, the enterprises are getting exponentially more data for further data processing like analytics or generating insights. Based on this explosion of information, some important & critical information is also shared. Thus, better measures are required to be taken for secure data transfer.

The end devices are designed and equipped by third party enterprises and standards are set using open source or third-party API’s. Here, the data sharing must take place in a seamless manner with the partnerships between institutions and stakeholders. The devices are required to be developed with standardization finalized by the consortiums/organizations/forums.

With the gradual increase in population of devices, data of devices are also obtained but the maintenance of data ownership must be established through legal and technical measures. When the number of devices is increased in a single network, then the difficulties in managing the digital identities of devices for the user or owner might create a challenge to control devices. On-boarding process with security plays an important role for digital identity. Taking an example for mobile services one-time passwords play an important role to secure the owned data in financial services.

Cross platform malware contamination is an imminent threat with the increased integration of devices in ecosystems for any services including financial, advisory or compliance.  For such threats, it is important to implement security architecture with the latest technological implementations.

Security Solutions by OneSimCard IoT

In the era of IoT devices, security protocols can not only be limited to the software level but also must be extended to the firmware level to further mitigate the threats in the connected world. Wearables or mobile devices are developed using SIM cards. Instead of using normal SIM cards in these devices, eUICC or M2M IoT SIM cards are used. These IoT SIM cards are developed with multiple features like international coverage, remote access with the devices enabling troubleshooting. SIM cards can be enabled with Private APN’s and VPN security measures which create private networks without touching the public internet, thus reducing the likelihood of hacking.

Many IoT devices can be managed and controlled using these Enterprise-grade measures which also enables peer-to-peer communication, helping to communicate directly without trafficking in cloud or server. The use of M2M IoT sim cards could be beneficial with regard to costs too. Infrastructure cost at user end might get reduced.

Fintech provides ease in services but some gaps in the technology evolution might create breaches of data or cross platform connectivity. The most important thing  for interoperability is the use of API’s which are developed for communicating with enterprise solutions from anywhere in the world. These API’s are sometimes used from open source or are enabled by third-party developers. There are also some third-party security risks in the fintech systems. Thus, to provide the efficient connectivity between devices as well as users, IoT SIM cards are recommended. The SIM card in any mobile device is also responsible for the data security and identity ownership.

Devices are becoming ever-more inter-connected between different industries, continuously evolving and leveraging the increasing computing power available to devices. Security models which are implemented in IoT Sim Cards with security measures preprogrammed help in minimizing the cyber threats or malfunctioning of IoT devices, but security and data privacy are going to play a key role in winning consumer confidence and catalyzing the explosive adoption of Fintech.

To a receive a free no-obligation quote for your application click here,  or contact us directly via email sales@onesimcard.com or phone +1 617-313-8888.

 

SIM Card Evolution for IoT Connectivity

Sim card sizes

For more than 2 decades, mobile devices have been evolving technology around the world. Technology evolution has consistently grown from single profile (IMSI) sim cards to multi-IMSI sim cards. With this emergence, the footprint of the hardware has also reduced from 2FF to MFF2.

The figure above demonstrates, at a glance, the SIM card Gen’s for a better understanding of its footprints.

Deploying eUICC Tech: Is it a Boon?

Because we are in an era where “needs” are being transformed, we are at a stage where everyone is connected with more than 10 end devices in day-to-day life. Thus, connectivity plays an important role where more than 20 billion devices are involved in global roaming as well as domestic deployments.

eUICC deploying practices help in easy provisioning and on-boarding new devices into the existing network. These deployments provide cost-effective connectivity including flexibility from the selection of operators to the profiles in mobile devices. These interoperable features enable startups as well as well-established manufacturers to make advancements in IoT deployments in different real-life use cases like manufacturing, roaming, pricing, platform providers, profile swapping, etc.

The eUICC (A.K.A. eSIM) technology is overall more reliable in for MNO’s (Mobile Network Operators) as well as IoT device manufacturers, and a proven evolution for the rising potentials of their products and strengthens the network connectivity.

From the user’s standpoint, eSim cards are longer-lasting as there is no chance of losing a sim card and far fewer chip demolishing faults. It saves time as there is no required visit to the store to buy or portability switching from one MNO to another. The process of portability becomes easier and quicker.

Provisioning: With the usage of eSim cards, the IoT devices come with built-in support of eSim thus IoT platforms enable the remote provisioning support in its network stack and therefore it becomes simpler and quicker for remote provisioning. This feature helps in communicating with the devices from anywhere in the world through simple steps of switching profiles on the mobile devices.

The amount of real estate required of traditional sim cards is now greatly reduced using minute chips embedding into the mobile devices. The complexities in replacing a sim card is also reduced and replaced by switching profiles directly; no hardware replacement is required. Thus, mechanical failures are reduced tremendously.

Because of these benefits, the OEM’s and MNO’s are embracing eSIM functionality and we are seeing a growing list of devices from wearables to meters to GPS devices utilizing eSIM. We expect to see this list only grow in the future.

eSIM technology enables the interoperability with respect to its profile switching feature or remote provisioning. Its remote accessibility to end devices in a secured, widespread network has decreased the number of challenges, but with these evolutions in the technology, some new-age challenges might become the barriers or the breakdown for the technology adoption.

Potential Pitfalls in Next-Gen Evolution

With newly developed SIM Card technology, there are definitely some challenges to overcome.

The IoT ecosystem is rapidly expanding in its quantity of deployments and has many diversified domains. It is overloaded with data which is shared among billions of devices. Device manufacturers must increase the SIM hardware reliability since the minute chip is, for all practical purposes, impossible to remove, while playing a critical role in network connectivity.

Although in theory with eSIM sounds like it would be simple to switch MNO’s as mentioned above, there are a series of steps that are required for this to happen, and some MNO’s are resisting eSIM. As an example of this resistance, there was a widely reported investigation by the Department of Justice in the USA that looked into possible collusion between the 2 largest carriers AT&T and Verizon and their resistance to eSIM tech in the consumer handset space. Therefore, there are complications when it comes to the practical vs. the theoretical benefits of switching providers.

Another impediment to eSIM adoption is the cost and availability of devices using this standard. While the eSIM itself is more reliable than a standard SIM, the cost per SIM is still slightly more expensive than the traditional SIM. In a very cost-conscience environment, this difference may be too severe to justify adoption. The selection of devices available with eSIM is also not as robust as those which rely on traditional SIM form factors. One solution we are seeing some OEMs move forward with is a hybrid IoT device with both traditional SIM and eSIM availability

Finally, Technology Consortiums must standardize the formats and technological implementations for bringing this technology forward and getting IoT OEM’s, and MNO’s on the same page.

OneSimCard M2M works with many leading GPS and Telematics providers all over the world. Our international mobile cellular connectivity solutions enable fleet software and hardware solutions companies quickly scale by providing a single portal, a single APN for all of their devices, and multi-IMSI SIM cards, including eUICC capability, with access to multiple networks in most countries. If you are curious about our solution and would like to learn more, please contact us at sales@onesimcard.com or call us at +1 617-313-8888.

Top 5 Trends That Are Set to Revolutionize the Fleet Industry

Fleet tracking connectivity solutions

The fleet industry is currently undergoing significant changes that will change the future of fleet management — creating new ways to maximize efficiency and minimize the costs that are involved in fleet operations.

To keep up with the competition, it is imperative that company-owned fleets run on the latest software and follow the latest trends in the industry. Organizations should also keep an eye out for the upcoming changes and find out ways to better adapt to them.

Here, we will look at the top 5 trends in fleet management to understand what precisely has been driving the fleet management industry.

1. Data Visibility and Management

In the past few years, fleet management has actively used data to understand and scale their operations, & this is something to which companies far and wide have been quickly adapting.

New Fleet Management Software and Hardware companies are being founded every year that offer information-gathering as their core solution. They help the fleet industry verify trends and make data-driven decisions. This streamlined process of data collecting reduced paper-work enables operational team members to easily access and share information among themselves and other internal and/or external stakeholders.

With data at hand, the fleet industry operates much proactively and works effectively towards reducing vehicle downtime and virtually eliminating unexpected issues.

2. The Usage of Telematics and GPS Tracking

Tracking and telematics are two of the primary areas of focus of fleets. The driver’s behavior can be analyzed well with vehicle tracking and telematics, and reading the odometer helps with managing parts inventory and maintenance schedules.

These GPS units can be placed in vehicles (either hard-installed or removable) and transfer data to the head office — all in real-time. This way, fleet managers can make informed decisions to manage drivers and vehicles more efficiently.

GPS tracking and telematics can help with simple things, such as finding out whether your driver is wearing a seatbelt or not, or if there is any unauthorized person inside the vehicle. The whole system becomes much easier to integrate into a fleet’s existing backend dispatch system using APIs. Once the integration takes place, you can get real-time data on location, ETA, and a whole host of information depending on the problem you need to solve.

It also provides accurate, real-time data that can help you prevent truck breakdowns. You can find out the vehicle’s speed, odometer readings, how long the engine has been running, and more. ROI can be easily realized using tracking and telematics systems.

3. Substitution of Vehicles

One of the most expensive elements of the fleet industry is the acquisition of new vehicles. These come up as high one-time costs which must be incurred if the company needs up-to-date performance and metrics from their vehicles.

Truck costs have also gone up in recent years with increasing demand, which has put more focus on an updated fleet that displaces older, outdated vehicles.

4. Managing Maintenance Costs

According to Ernst and Young, the cost of fleet management may account for 30 to 50 percent of the overall cost of fleet ownership.

The challenging aspect here is the cost of incalculable components, along with labor expenses. To tackle this problem, fleet managers need to depend on software, which can help to decrease work pressure.

Some programs can even provide automatic updates around fleet operations and automate the billing process.

5. Fuel Expenses

Another factor that plays a crucial role in fleet management is the cost of fuel. Oil prices have significantly dropped in the past few years, and it has had a positive effect on organizations’ revenue.

Newer vehicles are more dependent on electrical components, which significantly reduces the consumption of oil and the costs related to it. However, at the peak of the driving season, fleet managers must be well aware of how the fuel expenses will be affecting their revenue. Thus, it becomes crucial that the fleet has tools that compute fuel utilization, so there’s a record of everything.

One cannot stray away from the fact that the fleet industry will keep on developing, and so will the competition around it. To stay ahead of the game, it is a must that fleet managers adopt fleet management applications. These applications unlock the potential of the entire fleet management process and immediately deliver results that can improve the company’s efficiency and reduce operational expenses in both the short and long term.

OneSimCard M2M works with many leading GPS and Telematics providers all over the world. Our international mobile cellular connectivity solutions enable fleet software and hardware solutions companies quickly scale by providing a single portal, a single APN for all of their devices, and multi-IMSI SIM cards, including eUICC capability, with access to multiple networks in most countries. If you are curious about our solution and would like to learn more, please contact us at sales@onesimcard.com or call us at +1 617-313-8888.

Finding Value in IoT – Part 1

A 2017 survey conducted by Cisco, engaging with 1,845 business IoT leaders, showed that 60% of IoT initiatives never passed the Proof-of-Concept (PoC) stage(1). This correlates with the findings of the consulting firm Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute, highlighting that – on average – only 36% of the companies deployed IoT solutions at full scale(2).

This is a pretty low success rate, which raised the question: why are these initiatives stalling instead of scaling? What leads a decision-maker to halt and completely stop an innovative project?

Technology capabilities? IoT maturity? Lack of standardization? These are surely wrong answers. CEO’s and board members, tech-savvies or not, have a primary duty to protect and preserve the interests of the shareholders – which equates to maximizing the value of the entity of which they are in charge(3)(4).

Simply put, the decision makers care less about the latest technology breakthroughs or an extensive list of product features than they care about their bottom-line. As such, PoC is a major disservice for both seller and buyer, as it inherently fails to demonstrate the value generated by the IoT project, to focus on proving the technology works.

There is a need to change the paradigm.

As Deloitte’s Chief IoT Technologist Robert Schmid explained at LiveWorx19(5), one must kill proof-of-concept and replace it by a proof-of-value (PoV). The latter shall explicitly articulate value (especially the dollar value – most tangible return among all), mostly using common indicators such as Return on Investment (ROI) or Net Present Value (NVP).

This is not to say that technology aspect and its challenges have to be neglected, but this should come in the discussion at a later stage, as one (or several) item during the risks assessment review. This discussion will even be easier to have if the customer is sold on the value the project brings, and you can demonstrate maturity and expertise in this space (backed up by previous successes, possessing strong know-how or engaging with an expert IoT partner).

To successfully sell an IoT project at scale – as any complex B2B Digital sale (ERP, CRM, desktop virtualization, etc.), one must adopt a value-based approach, not a transactional-based. As stated in many complex solution sales analysis, push of pre-packaged bundles of existing products and services is an increasingly losing proposition in a competitive environment with a cost-down approach.(6)

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffet

If price is immediately clear to anyone, value (and outcomes) remains hard to comprehend, so once the PoC is done and comes the time to decide whether or not to roll-out at scale, it is impossible for executives to justify a (high) price in the absence of clear understanding of the value.

Similarly, arguing that you have the best product or solutions based on XYZ features to solve a problem is pointless if you haven’t demonstrated that this is a problem your prospect is really facing and that it is worth solving.

Listening to your prospect and understanding what are their pain points and how it impacts the company is the first step to quantify value. What are the benefits of solving a problem should always come first in your analysis – prior to how to solve the problem. Don’t confuse your discovery phase with solutioning.

At a high level, benefits can always be sorted into two categories:

  • Decrease of costs (leading to higher profits with increased margin)
  • Increase of revenue (leading to higher profits with fixed margin)

The second category is often disregarded by C-levels, as they prefer the certainty of the first. For instance, capturing more market share due to better customer service (increase revenue) cannot be as easily quantified (at least not without extrapolations and market surveys) as a net reduction of your freight expenditure (decrease of costs).

Once the benefits quantification is reviewed and acknowledged by your customer, demonstrating the theoretical worth of the project, you now have a solid basis to continue building your business case and move to the second step of value quantification: establish how to solve the pain point and establish the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the solution. More often than not, you don’t need to be accurate to the penny, as several unknowns might remain – nonetheless, IoT is no different than other complex projects (for instance, TCO calculation for cloud deployment is widely understood now(7)(8)) and, for a given industry, recurring patterns (e.g cost centers) are emerging, enabling organizations to be able to calculate TCO repetitively.

With the quantified benefits and the estimated TCO, it is now possible to start evaluating whether or not the IoT initiative should be considered. Not only this approach does benefit the customer, but also the solution provider – as nobody wants to invest resources and time in a project that will never scale due to lack of economic viability. This first high-level analysis provides a clear and timely “GO/NOGO” gate, does not require lengthy in-field technical evaluation, can be done repeatedly with different prospects or on different problematics (provided that you possess the adequate expertise) and in-time will reinsure all stakeholders to move forward.

In our next article “Find Value in IoT – Part 2”, we will discuss how to validate theoretical value quantification (both benefits and TCO).

 At OneSimCard M2M, we are constantly thinking about Value and how we can improve the value of services to our customers. This can take the form of offering 24/7 Tech support for life, outstanding levels of Customer Support, a team of experienced sales team and a service that works across the globe so you only need to deal with one provider instead of numerous local providers in each country where you operate. We welcome the opportunity to have a conversation about your project and discuss options for connectivity with no obligation. Hopefully you will see the value in this discussion!

References:

(1) – The Journey to IoT Value: Challenges, Breakthroughs, and Best Practices – May 2017, by Cisco

(2) – Unlocking the business value of IoT in operations – October 2017, by Capgemini

(3) – Definition of Chief Executive Office, Wikipedia

(4) – Financial Definition of Chief Executive Office, by Merriam-Webster

(5) – Deloitte moving from proof-of-concept to proof-of-value with IoT, 24 June 2019, by Nick Ismail (Press Article from Information Age)

(6) – Giving Customers What They Want: Growth and differentiation through selling business outcomes, 2014, Accenture Strategy

(7) – Cloud Economics: Making the Business Case for Cloud, 2014, KPMG

(8) – Key questions every IT and business executive should ask about cloud computing and ERP, 2011, Accenture

Wireless Connectivity – History and Trends

Wireless Connectivity – History and Trends

Most of us remember the time when we had to wait for an annoyingly long time for data to load over our internet connections. Even simple text would sometimes take a minute to load, because we only had dial-up wired/cable internet. However, technology and speed changed at a rapid pace. Now, we have high-speed internet running on our cell-phones 24 hours a day. So, let’s cherish this growth by discussing how we got there and what are the latest trends in the industry and IoT.

Wireless Connectivity:

Most of the wireless networks today use radio communication to connect two or more nodes (devices) together. This includes Cellular Networks, WIFI Networks, Satellites, Bluetooth and more. Wireless connectivity is the design and installation of devices that will be transmitting and receiving signals for much of M2M (Machine to Machine) connectivity.

The new Trends:

With the evolution of technology, wireless connectivity is gaining popularity day by day. A big chunk of the networking is now wireless. Our cellular systems started with1G and now 5G is beginning to be deployed. At this time most of the cellular companies are offering 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.

2G (second generation):

Launched by the Finish company Radiolinja, now Elisa, in 1991, it was the first time that digital encryption of our phone conversations became possible. Also, it offered SMS and MMS technologies that were not present in the earlier generation.

Due to its high efficiency, 2G allowed greater mobile phone penetration (number of sim cards/ phone numbers)

2G originally had a speed of 128 Kbps. Later, it was updated to 2.5G at 256 Kbps. 2G is still being widely used around the world.

3G (third generation):

3rd generation networks emerged in 1998. It brought along faster transmitting speeds that allowed internet access and video calling features.

At this time we also started to see the adoption of IoT solutions like GPS tracking on 2G and 3G networks.

With the max speed of 3Mbps for non-moving and 384 kbps for moving devices, 3G was the first to introduce the term “mobile broadband”. Some later version of 3G could provide the speed up to 10 MBps for download and 5 Mbps upload.  3G provided “all-in a mobile environment” by allowing Internet access, voice and video calling features and streaming content on mobile devices.

All cellular networks are also better in terms of the security they offer. The UE (user equipment) ensures that the network connections are validated and verified before establishing a connection.

4G-LTE (fourth generation):

4G networks are also called Long Term Evolution (LTE); it is a single platform for many wireless networks. Released in 2008, 4G networks support internet access and high-quality video and live streaming.

The maximum speed of a 4G/LTE network is 150Mbps. And if the user is moving then the speed could be as high as 100 Mbps. Globally today, 3G and 4G technologies are most widely used technologies.

LTE provides the ultimate internet experience with IP packet delay being less than 5 milliseconds somewhat similar to wired broadband internet.

LTE was introduced with the purpose of increasing the capacity and speed of wireless networks.

LTE CAT M1

LTE CAT M1 is the standard developed specifically for M2M, IOT applications.  This standard uses only small part of LTE channel bandwidth -1 MB and as such allows better utilization of it. CAT M1 also allows for a lower power consumption of the devices. LTE CAT M1 can be used for the tracking of moving devices or assets as the latency of the mode is still low. The devices using LTE CAT M1 standard generally offers lower manufacturing cost due to lower module costs. LTE CAT M1 will be the most widely used standard in IOT for the tracking of moving assets.

NB-IoT:

Like LTE-CAT M1, this standard was also developed by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project). NarrowBand-Internet of Things uses LPWA (low power wide area) technology. It improves the spectrum of services and devices, especially focusing on indoor and deep coverage, and improved battery life of devices. NB-IOT uses even less bandwidth than LTE CAT M1 – only 100 KHz and as such can transmit data at very low speed of 250 Kbits per second. The latency (delay) can be as large as 10 seconds and because of it, this mode is not recommended to be used with the tracking of moving objects.

Because Narrow Bank IoT technologies- NB-IoT and LTE CAT M1 -IoT are able to conserve battery life by utilizing a small, highly efficient segment of bandwidth, the device battery life can be increased up to 10 years. The increase in battery life enables developers much more flexibility to deploy devices in more and more remote locations and increases the ways M2/M/IoT is being used. There are a variety of use cases for NB from smart cars and bicycles to controlling appliances and smart meters.

Image Courtesy GSMA.com

Benefits of Narrow Band Technologies:

  • Low Power Consumption:

All IoT technologies consume low power when they are in operation. It was one of the goals of LTE CAT M1 and NB-IoT to save power consumption and improve the battery life of the devices connected to it.

  • Cost Efficient:

The components required for NB are less expensive, in comparison to just LTE chipsets, IoT chipsets are uniformly priced and cost effective as they are easy to manufacture. Processing a simpler waveform is also much simpler to create.

  • More Cellular devices:

Narrow band devices use less bandwidth  allowing the network to support many more devices at the same time. This is a critical factor as the growth in M2M/IoT is exploding with no signs of slowing. According to a McKinsey study, the number of connected devices by 2023 will grow to 43 Billion – 10 times the number of connected devices in 2018.

In addition due to the lower transmission speed, Narrow Band devices allow more penetration indoors or inside basements. It also offers a more secure connection. Moreover, the deployment is easy and due to its wide range, this technology has grown popularity.

NB-IoT  vs LTE CAM M1:

  • NB-IoT is a full-time commitment:

The hardware and Software both are made use of in the NB-IoT so it is not possible to take a middle route and use NB-IoT with a combination of other technologies. However, there are a few chips that allow this but are relatively expensive. So if you decide to deploy NB-IoT, you’ll have to rely on it completely.

  • Suitable for Stationary Assets:

Assets in motion don’t work as well with devices other than the ones that are fixed at a point. An asset using NB-IoT that isn’t stationary does not behave well and can only be improved by installing more towers.

There are very few NB-IOT networks yet:

Roaming across networks is also an enormous challenge and some device manufacturers are making NB-IoT devices that usually do not fall back to 4G and thus will not be able to work outside of the country.

LTE CAT M1:

  1.  There are many more LTE-CAT M1 networks today being rolled out in the world.
  2. This technology can be used both for moving and stationary assets.
  3. Devices crossing the country border will have better coverage and options for roaming.

Finally, these technologies are constantly improving and we see new releases every few years. These developments are beneficial in M2M wireless communication.

Further work is being carried out to improve wireless connectivity with the development of 5G technology. It is expected to be released more wide-spread in 2020.

New Account Interface Now Available for Preview

We are glad to announce that the Beta version of a new SIM account interface is now available.

To try out the new version, please log into your web account. Navigate to the upper right corner, and click on the “Switch to new interface (Beta)” link. That’s it.

You can go back to the previous version at any time. To go back, click on the “Go Back to the Original UI” link in the bottom left corner of the new interface. We hope you enjoy the new design.