Eseye Insight: 6 Questions you should ask your M2M Supplier

Eseye Insight: 6 Questions you should ask your M2M Supplier

We have met a lot of customers who have gone through what we refer to as “the pain curve”. They misjudged the complexity of their connectivity requirements and adopted a solution provided by a non specialist M2M supplier.

It is for this reason that we have put together some basic questions that we think you should ask your connectivity provider so as to ensure you know how and what they provide and enabling your solution to be successful.

There are a few conditions that may increase the intricacy of your solution and should drive you to be extra cautious when selecting your supplier:

1. Your connected solution require business critical connectivity
If the connection is lost will your end-user customers still be able to receive goods or services for which they are paying you or their service provider for? Examples of business critical of M2M solutions include: payment terminals, vending machines, parking meters, pre-paid energy meters, and other connected applications where a good or service is dispensed upon receipt of payment. Typically, no payment means no dispensing, which ultimately leads to unhappy end-user customers. Other applications that typically require business critical connectivity are found in industries such as security, healthcare, city management and public safety.

The questions you should be asking are:

  • How do you ensure that my devices are always connected?
  • What Service Level Agreements do you offer for connectivity assurance and mobile network uptime?
  • Will I be able to access your support staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

2. You need mobile network connectivity in fixed locations
While the mobile network operators cover each country well, their coverage may not offer 100% network availability in all locations. This is why you should ask your supplier whether they can offer access to more than one network in any given position so as to give you reliability, flexibility and better coverage. An even better proposition is if they offer a roaming SIM card, as this may enable you to use one single SIM card for all your connected devices.

The question you should be asking is:

  • How can I ensure full in-country cover for all my connected devices?

3. You need support during your integration and testing
Connecting a previously unconnected device to mobile networks, and ensuring that each component of a solution is behaving as it should, is still problematic for many organisations. This is particularly true for businesses where connectivity is not an area of expertise. Complexity is to be expected when many connected product manufacturers and connected service providers are developing and deploying early generations of connected devices. It is imperative to work with a supplier who can provide you with an understanding of device behaviour, verify the devices are performing as they are designed to and ensure that any design issues or connectivity problems are resolved as soon as possible.

The questions you should be asking are:

  • How can you support my design, integration and roll out efforts?
  •  What is the expertise level of the person who answers my support calls once I have rolled out?
  •  What SLA metrics do you offer for resolution times?

4. You need to roll your solution out to a worldwide market
If your solution has been developed with a view to a global market it is obviously important to select a supplier who can support your roll out plans. This would require your supplier to be able to support connectivity in your given territories and help you remotely monitor and access your devices without having to send field staff to sites unless absolutely necessary. In turn, this may require some assistance in planning, testing and technical support through roll out.

The questions you should be asking are:

  • How can you help me successfully roll out in target territories?
  • What would you do to help minimise my costs associated with roll out and deployment?

5. Your application is handling sensitive data that must be protected
Sensitive data related to financial transactions, personal details or business information needs to be protected. In addition, when using cellular networks to communicate any data consumed (both coming from and going to the device) must be paid for, which poses a great financial risk related to spamming and hacking attempts.

Devices can be protected, and discussion around what the requirements are and what options are available, should always take place before roll out commences.

The questions you should be asking are:

  • What are the security risks you foresee for my connected solution and how do you propose to mitigate them?
  • What security solution do you offer and what are the implications and costs associated with each?

6. Your deployment cycles are long
Once deployed, your product or solution may be in place for 10-15 years. What happens when 2G, 3G, or even 4G networks are consolidated to one mobile operator – can you still guarantee access to that particular network?

The questions you should be asking are:

  • What happens when the 2G/3G network is left with just one network provider if they are not one you provide me with?
  • How do I make sure you will still be here to support me at the end of my deployment?

Questions to M2M Supplier

Get in touch with us via enquiries@eseye.com or +44(0)1483685200 for more information about our solutions, support and Service Level Agreements, or to speak to an expert.

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