The IoT ecosystem is comprised of crucial elements that make it possible for devices to communicate via the internet to deliver optimized results, and one of the most crucial elements is connectivity. However, connectivity can be challenging.
Take for example a healthcare solutions provider who wants to sell cellular connected products in 50 countries. Navigating the connectivity for that solution quickly becomes very complex because in 50 different countries, this could mean sourcing network connectivity from 100 different carriers. And each of these carriers has their own billing and usage systems, as well as support systems and platforms, and the healthcare provider is also managing 100 different contracts.
Then you take into consideration that in any one of these 100 different carrier relationships, there could be a network change, which would impact the deployed devices on that network. Without the ability to remotely shift to another network, that would mean physical SIM swaps in all devices deployed on that network.
That’s why Connectivity-as-a-Service (CaaS) has become a critical role in IoT, as it is making IoT deployment simpler and more accessible across all verticals.
CaaS for IoT creates connectivity solutions tailored to each unique IoT business case. The above example of needed IoT connectivity is one of many scenarios, which is why it’s important to choose a CaaS provider who has a diverse range of connectivity solutions.
Creating the right connectivity strategy is the first step to having connected devices communicating but managing connectivity is also a major factor in the equation. As previously mentioned, IoT solutions can require more than one carrier, whether it’s a national or global deployment. And some IoT solutions require multi-technology solutions. For example, in asset tracking where assets travel by air or sea, where cellular connectivity isn’t accessible, then the tracking devices need to connect via satellite so no communications are lost.
There are challenges for providers seeking to launch IoT solutions, for example a developer of a personal wearable, like a smart watch or mobile Personal Emergency Response System (mPERs). This developer is likely not in the business of IT and connectivity but wants their device to function out of the box.
That’s when it’s helpful to turn to an CaaS provider who can source the right connectivity through trusted carrier partnerships and serve as a one stop shop for connectivity instead of the device developer sourcing connectivity themselves.
Many IoT solutions are positioned to benefit from eSIM. This technology allows for global, future-proofed deployments because eSIM can be remotely provisioned. This means IoT devices have out-of-the-box connectivity that connect to the best available network or can be provisioned to connect to the network of choice. In the event of carrier or network changes, connectivity can be changed over-the-air, which would eliminate the need for physical SIM swaps. In the case of the healthcare solutions provider example at the top of this blog, eSIM would be an excellent choice, especially in regards to the global nature of the deployment.
Low power wide area (LPWA) network connectivity is a licensed or unlicensed cellular option that works well with IoT solutions that deploy lower complexity devices that have longer lifecycles, roughly 10 years. LPWA, which includes LTE-M, NB-IoT, and LoRaWAN, transmit small packets of data, which helps extend battery life. LPWA connectivity also has great reach, penetrability, and bandwidth, which creates the Massive IoT segment. Massive IoT refers to the connection of hundreds and thousands of devices in verticals such as agriculture, assets and logistics, fleet, utilities, and smart campuses, cities, and buildings, among others.
With 5G rolling out, IoT applications that want to leverage the low latency and high speed of the latest cellular generation can begin preparation with hardware to launch a successful 5G deployment as availability grows.
As 5G becomes more widely available across the globe, 2G and 3G sunsets will become inevitable, depending on location, of course. Migration plans to 4G LTE are something that need to be planned well in advance, especially in solutions where interrupted connectivity could cause significant issues.
Managing multiple carriers or technologies can be burdensome without the right tools in place. CaaS providers most often have their own proprietary connectivity management platforms so usage, billing, contracts, and support can be viewed through a single user interface.
Finally, managing devices across a large ecosystem can be a challenge and may require network monitoring and security to guard against anomalies, threats, excessive data use, misconfigured firmware, stolen SIMs, and network failures to keep communications running consistently and seamlessly.
KORE has nearly two decades of experience providing strategic CaaS solutions to organizations and enterprises across all verticals. No matter what your connectivity needs are, KORE can help deploy, manage, and scale your IoT solutions through reliable connectivity.
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