Vernon Brown

Professional Services Development Director, Eseye


For businesses planning IoT deployments with cellular capabilities, there are a wide range of hardware, software, connectivity and consultancy options available.

However, before making any decisions it’s important to understand how the device management solutions on offer affect the build, and how making the right procurement choices are fundamental to the project’s long-term success.

To ensure businesses are not negatively impacted by a lack of device optimisation forethought, we share some of our thinking, experiences and expertise for delivering a successful cellular IoT deployment.

1. How do I maintain cellular network access to ensure data is successfully sent every time?

The most important value added by an IoT solution is the data, therefore the reliability and frequency of its delivery are crucial considerations for design specifications. Real-time analysis might be essential, or if it is too costly to resend data several times, there will be many factors to consider for your particular use-case. Your planning should aim to ensure data is delivered as efficiently as possible – as and when it is required, whether you are using a cloud service, or storing data on your own servers. However, this highlights one of cellular IoT’s key challenges: no IoT device can remain connected at all times. The best thing to do is to build in connectivity resilience. Remember you cannot move a remote fixed device to get a better signal in the same way you can a personal mobile/cell phone.

We estimate single mobile network providers maintain between 70-80% uptime. A multi-network solution like ours will provide more coverage than a single operator. We aim to deliver near 100% connectivity time in more than 190 countries.

Your SIM must have built-in network access management that is capable of over-the-air (OTA) functionality, and it is essential that your network operator is able to support OTA SIM updates. This will increase device reliability and remove costly site visits because any problems can be resolved remotely.

One of the first optimisation tasks is to assess the device’s behaviour when OTA SIM changes are delivered. This is to ensure you understand how, during the initial onboarding process, the solution will deliver efficient and effective remote SIM management. It also means you can test how your cellular supplier uses this enhanced functionality to maximise device uptime.

At Eseye, we offer a device validation service where we perform device behavioural and resilience testing to ensure your device connects and behaves as expected. Upon completion of our onboarding tests, we provide a comprehensive report that either approves your device for deployment or suggests actionable improvements.

Finally, we recommend that you check the references of your preferred provider’s customer support service. Ask companies with deployments that are similar in scale and geographical reach as yours and find out as much as you can about their performance.

2. How am I going to make sure my device and its data are truly secure?

You must ensure the security of your device and data throughout the lifecycle of the deployment. Failure to do so puts your customers, your brand and your ROI at risk.

The challenge is how to maintain a high level of security when the security landscape is constantly in flux. Ideally, your IoT solution will allow you to manage device-level security remotely throughout the product lifecycle and you could use fixed pre-programmed certificates to secure the connection, manual key upload, or a management protocol.

Our advice is that each device should have its own unique encryption key that can be easily rotated or revoked while in the field, without anyone else touching the device. The AnyNet+ eSIM optimises how a device retrieves and uses security features, which simplifies management and potentially reduces the memory footprint of the device.

3. What happens when things don’t go to plan?

For larger businesses, it’s not uncommon to have thousands of devices installed across many geographical locations, often in remote and difficult-to-access places. However, what do you do if a problem is identified in the device’s installed software? To send out engineers to manually fix the problem impacts negatively on costs and time resources, which is why the ability to fix problems and make changes OTA is crucial for the business viability of an IoT project.

Simply having OTA functionality can increase your speed to market because you can resolve issues remotely, quickly and at low cost after deployment. Many of Eseye’s customers use this feature for preventative maintenance and firmware updates, solving problems before they occur.

For peace of mind, you need to think beyond your present IoT needs – and into the future for ten years from now. We recommend engaging in a long-term partnership with a provider that offers IoT deployment management services. Our deployment managers at Eseye work closely with technical, operational and support teams to ensure your estate runs smoothly and achieves your business objectives.

4. How energy efficient is my proposed design and is it fit-for-purpose?

To extend the battery life of your devices, you’ll want to make them as efficient as possible – but there is a trade-off.

Radio transmission technologies create peak current loads when they try to transmit data, so limiting current to boost battery life can be counterproductive because it may negatively affect data outputs.
To optimise the energy expended per byte of data delivered it’s important to understand how networks allow devices to connect and subscribe to their services. If you don’t understand how this works, you might cancel a network connection and retry, or worse, never manage to connect, which will ultimately result in wasted power consumption and loss of data.

Turn to our engineers for advice and best practice on your IoT device design specification. Our team can step in and out of the design process as needed, and help you build an optimal IoT device.

5. Where and when can I look to reduce costs?

There will always be a drive to reduce product costs. As a rule, one of the best ways to reduce costs is to make more units and increase the reach of your IoT deployment. However, when you are just starting out, you will be looking for inherent savings in the device design itself.

Our advice is to proceed with caution. It’s all too easy to reduce reliability by changing even the simplest part for a lower-cost alternative. With over 30 years of design in communications products, Eseye has a deep and extensive understanding of how IoT components work and interact with communication networks. We understand where cost savings can be made, and where ‘cutting corners’ can cause trouble in the long-term.

At any point in your IoT project, our team can offer tailored support to meet your needs, including:

For us, success looks like IoT devices that can be optimised both for long field life and for total cost of ownership. Whether you have an in-house design team that needs some guidance or want help delivering your complete IoT solution, it’s important to ask the right questions up-front to ensure your device is designed for success.

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Vernon Brown

Professional Services Development Director, Eseye


Vernon is responsible for the creation, maturation and growth of new and existing professional services aimed towards unlocking the power of IoT for global customers.

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