What Does it Take to Certify an IoT Device?

Ian Barager, Manager, Device Certification
08/18/2017

The first decision a company must make when looking to deploy a new IoT application is one that will dictate the long-term go-to-market approach, value proposition, and over-arching strategy for the solution – should we design and build our own proprietary device that will facilitate connectivity and transmit data? Or should we buy an off-the-shelf component? As discussed in our “Build vs. Buy” eBook, each path carries its own pros and cons, and the decision ultimately boils down to what makes the most sense for the unique nuances of an organization. In this blog post, we’ll focus on the “Build” scenario, discussing one of the key steps in architecting a connected “Thing” from scratch: Device Certification.

When the decision has been made to “Build” the infrastructure for an IoT application from concept to reality, it’s critical that companies understand the regulatory compliance policies that must be met. In order to connect to a cellular network, the device that will be connected must be certified to do so. The levels of device certification can be described in three separate tiers:

  1. Government – examples of this type of regulatory body include the FCC
  2. Industry – examples of this type of regulatory body include PTCRB, GCF
  3. Operator – referring to the cellular operator to which the device will be connected

Although not all operators have their own certification process and some will simply accept Industry certification, companies looking to deploy a new IoT device will always have to undergo a minimum of two certification processes to meet the first two tiers of regulation. What many companies don’t understand, especially those new to IoT, is how time consuming, expensive, and complex these certification processes can prove to be – especially when internal resources are dedicating their time to the design and development of the device.

Certification processes vary from industry to industry, and from operator to operator, however timelines can range from months to even years, and cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. With such a large investment at stake, it’s critical for the device to get certified the first time around in order to avoid a delayed product launch or wasted resources. With experience being a critical factor in these processes, many companies choose to employ a third-party vendor to guide them through the complexities. By selecting a partner with a thorough understanding of the regulatory bodies, established relationships with test labs, as well as experience resolving issues or failures – businesses benefit from a streamlined operation and are able to get their devices to market quicker, easier, and more cost effectively.

Reach out to KORE today to consult with a device certification expert. 

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