Systems Integrators: How to Master Global IoT Deployments

Michael Cihra

SVP Channels and Alliances, Eseye

LinkedIn

Enterprises often underestimate the complexity of assuring reliable connectivity at scale for their IoT estates. Many projects run into problems because they worked as a prototype but simply can’t scale once in the field.  

This is often because the nature of the physical environment, where devices will be required to work within, gets overlooked. It is therefore critical that a range of environments and use cases are considered at the outset.  

All too often customers will rely on one network provider for connectivity. All networks have blackspots and geographic borders. Therefore, national, and moreover, global deployments need to be able to localise and/or roam onto different networks.  

In other words, they need network redundancy. Ideally, your IoT device should have the flexibility to connect to the best available network wherever a cellular network or public private option works at scale, and this requires connectivity to multiple network providers. 

There is also a lack of planning for device or connectivity problems. Devices and networks fail or become obsolete as spectrum is “refarmed” for next-generation consumer devices. Customers need to consider all likely scenarios and plan thoroughly for these. System Integrators (SIs) should take these six key considerations into account when working on global IoT deployments.

1. Make the right connectivity choices for the future 

There are a wide range of connectivity options to consider, and it is critical that SIs think through all the possible places where a client’s thousands of IoT devices might end up – not just now but in the future. Today’s choices include Cellular, Private LTE/ 5G, Wi-Fi, LoRaWAN, Bluetooth, Thread and Satellite and other wireless options. 

2. Make sure the solution can dynamically optimise to networks  

Devices need to be able to localise to the best network wherever that may be. For example, deploying thousands of devices on a single mobile network can mean 15-25% are without a reliable connection. One solution is to select an IoT connectivity partner that supports eSIM for remote profile download and management onto the SIM as well as the eUICC. This manages the secure element within the eSIM and enables the hosting and management of multiple global network profiles, allowing devices to dynamically access and choose the strongest and most reliable network. 

3. Get the hardware right 

Connectivity relies on various software and hardware elements being properly configured and working in tandem with the SIM and modem. Different networks have varying certification requirements and devices will have differing size and power considerations. Therefore, all hardware and firmware needs to be designed with the variety of available options in mind. 

4. Test and validate  

When networks and connections fail devices need to be able to fail and recover quickly. A well-designed device should be able to spot when a network is down and connect to another or implement a backup protocol until it can reconnect. The best way to spot potential problems is to complete thorough testing. This means observing device behaviour, verifying how it connects, and running resilience tests in the lab to understand how the device responds to unexpected events which could face it out in the field. 

5. Plan for lifetime management 

When planning customer deployments, consider connectivity over the lifetime of the device. Undertake a total cost of ownership exercise that looks beyond the initial deployment to how the implementation might scale in years to come. In our experience, underestimating the total cost of ownership is common, so consider all future scenarios, including selecting appropriate primary and backup connectivity technologies for devices. 

6. Ensure IoT connects through platform-enabled services 

Devices need to integrate seamlessly into your client’s environment, therefore managing an IoT estate needs centralised platforms which give oversight of IoT data and allow for device management. They may need to transmit data into your environment via private networks or cellular or they may even need to switch between the two. This means getting the software right on both the device and the network is critical so the two can communicate wherever they are. 

Webinar for IoT Systems Integrators  Join us for a free, live webinar on May 3, 08:00 PDT, 11:00 EDT, 16:00 BST to hear more from Eseye’s Mike Cihra, SVP Alliances & Partners.   Mike will be joined by Larry Socher, VP Solutions & Strategy and will share specialist advice to help you solve your clients’ IoT device and connectivity challenges – with real examples of how this has been achieved for other F500 organizations, including Amazon and Walmart.  Sign up to learn: 

  • How to recognize the key challenges of IoT connectivity and deployment and how to overcome them
  • The steps to achieving successful device certification – with case study from Telli Health
  • Why optimizing total cost of ownership (“TCO”) is central to any IoT project
Ask Mike and Larry anything and get answers from the experts who’ve been exactly where you are.  Save your seat! 

Michael Cihra

SVP Channels and Alliances, Eseye

LinkedIn

With 20 years of experience growing new businesses in mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT) on two different continents, Michael leads the Channel and Alliance development for Eseye. Michael has led operations, strategy and product teams with US-based enterprise software start-ups and most recently, ran the IoT businesses for TELUS in Canada and Telstra in Australia.