M2M and IoT Blog by Larry Bellehumeur

Control Portal

What is CONTROL?

CONTROL is Novotech's new online e-procurement quoting, ordering and tracking system. 

We can now provide you with 24/7 service when it comes to quoting your items online, making it easier for you to do business.

CONTROL will allow you to see your custom pricing on any product and place or track orders from your phone or computer, day or night!

Get pricing to your customers faster.

Upon Login, you'll be able to access your account to see your personal pricing on any product we sell.

Generate orders at lightning speed.

We've designed our new website to allow access on your account on phone, tablet or desktop. No matter what device you use, if you have internet, you can access CONTROL.

Pricing on the road or at the office.

You can now easily find and order products in minutes. With our new searching function we've made it easier than ever to get the products you know and use. To top it off,  all orders processed same-day.

Track your Order.

You won't have to hunt down a confimration email or call your sales person. With our new order tracking you can get your order status right from your account to see exactly where your order is in fulfillment.

Follow this link to create your account with us

Click the image below

Inhand: Most Frequently Asked Questions

Inhand: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What do the Inhand Modem, Routers and Gateways come with?
    Antennas, Ethernet cable & Power adapters.
  2. Is it rugged for harsh environments?
    Yes, it is operational at -20 with rugged housing and design, see Spec. Sheet
  3. What speed is it?
    InHand has CAT1 and CAT3 versions
  4. What is the warranty?
    3 years PL
  5. Regarding quality, how do these compare to other lines?
    InHand Networks is a global leader of Industrial IoT and offer high quality devices at a lower cost with an industry leading return rate.
  6. Are project registrations offered for high volumes?
    Yes, InHand routers are ideal for large scale deployments as project registrations are offered. The manufacturer requires the following information to register: Preferred device, End-user name, Application type, Anticipated volume, Roll-out schedule.
  7. Where are InHand routers manufactured?
    InHand routers are manufactured in China.
  8. What are the differences between the IR611-S and the IR615-S?
    The only difference between the two models is an added [4] RJ45 Ethernet ports on the IR615-S whereas the IR611-S has [1].
  9. Can the Inhand devices be used for edge computing?
    Yes, the IG902 is Microsoft Azure IoT edge and AWS IoT Greengrass certified to provide near real-time response in mission-critical scenarios, without the latency that's inevitable going through a cloud. The InGateway902 is equipped with powerful computing capabilities to deal with data caching, processing, and running AI/machine learning models on network edge with high performance.The entry level industrial routers are very low cost, do they have the same approvals as other brands?The IR611 and IR615 have industry and operator certifications from compliance laboratories across the globe. Following are links to the documentation:https://www.inhandnetworks.com/products/inrouter611-s.htmlhttps://www.inhandnetworks.com/products/inrouter615-s.html#link4
  10. Do the Inhand routers and gateways offer secure remote device management?
    Yes, InConnect is a one-stop service including server, client software and InHand VPN gateway. It allows you to connect to remote sites via PC or mobile devices and your remote devices (PLCs, HMIs) can talk to each other within the secure private network. InConnect makes it easy for remote monitoring, management and troubleshooting with reduced onsite visits. It’s Easy as 1-2-3

Airgain: Most Frequently Asked Questions

Novotech has put together a list of the most frequently asked questions about Airgain Antennas. If you have additional questions, we encourage you to call one of our IoT experts to help you assess your project needs. 

 

First here’s a little background on Airgain: 

Airgains antennas are deployed in fleet, enterprise, private, government, and public safety wireless networks and systems.

In 2018, Airgain acquired Antenna Plus, an innovator of high-quality antenna products for mobile and automotive fleet applications for government, public safety, and Industrial IoT markets. The acquisition accelerated Airgain'sAirgain's penetration into several new and high growth markets, including mobile and automotive connectivity solutions for mission-critical applications, as well as outdoor antenna solutions for Industrial IoT applications. 

 

 

How do I know if my application needs an antenna?

All modems, routers and gateways with external antenna ports require an antenna. Airgain has a wide variety of antennas that support all your project needs. 

 

 

Can Airgain make custom cable lengths for my project? 

Yes, Airgain makes customizable cable lengths up to 35 feet. 

 

 

Can Airgain assemble custom connectors on my antenna?

Yes, Airgain can provide many different RF connectors, from SMA to Fakra – let us know what you need before ordering. 

 

 Some common choices are:

 

TNC: The TNC connector is a medium-sized form of RF connector. In overall form, it is very similar to the very popular BNC connector, but rather than having a bayonet connection, it uses a screw fit.

 

N-Type: N-Type connectors are designed to satisfy the need for a durable, weatherproof, medium-size RF connector with consistent performance through 11 GHz

 

SMA: SMA Connectors are 50 Ohm RF Coaxial connectors that operate up to 18 GHz. These connectors have a screw-type coupling mechanism that minimizes reflections and attenuation by ensuring uniform contact. SMA connectors are one of the most used RF connectors. They are used in a wide range of applications, including antenna connections for most sub 6 GHz technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

 

Reverse Polarity Male and Female connectors: the ''center pin'' of the Male connector is swapped with the ''receptacle'' of the Female connector, i.e., a reverse polarity male connector has a receptacle at the interface instead of a center pin and reverse polarity female connector has a center pin at the interface.

 

SMA: The SMA connector is a 50-ohm coaxial connector. It is visually similar to an F type connector that is commonly used for audio/video communication but has different dimensions, mechanical properties and is used for various applications such as RF communications up to 18 GHz.

 

MCX: MCX (micro coaxial connector) are coaxial RF connectors developed in the 1980s. They have the same inner contact and insulator dimensions as the SMB connector but are 30% smaller. MCX is standardized in European CECC 22220

 

SMB: SMB connectors are coaxial RF connectors smaller than SMA connectors. They feature a snap-on coupling and are available in either 50 Ω or 75 Ω impedance. They offer excellent electrical performance from DC to 4 GHz.

 

Fakra: Fakra connectors meet the mechanical and environmental requirements of the automotive industry. The worldwide automotive industry has standardized on connectors based on the FAKRA and USCAR standards. They can be used to make various connections in automotive vehicles; applications include SDARS, Cellular, GPS Navigation, key-less entry and satellite radio.

 

 

How long will it take to receive my Airgain antenna?

If the antenna is not on the shelf at Novotech, standard lead times are 2-4 weeks. Airgain's lead times and flexibility consistently exceed customer expectations, making them a popular choice for our channel. 

 

Where are Airgain antennas manufactured?

Most of the Airgain Antennas are built in the USA. 

 

Airgain also maintains antenna design centers in North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. This regional support provides flexibility to customize antennas specific to individual customer devices, maximizing design turnaround speed and, ultimately, device performance.

 

 

What type of mounting options are available?

Adhesive, Magnetic and Bolt options are available.

 

 

Is a ground plane required for nonmetallic surfaces?

Airgain Antenna Models, like the Ultramax B and the UltraMax MIMO B, features a built-in ground plane to accommodate installation on non-metal surfaces. The UltraMax Glass is ground Plane independent, so it's essential to assess your needs before purchasing. You can email our sales support at sales@novotech.com

 

 

What is the maximum cable length for stationary and mobile antennas?

The maximum cable length is customizable up to 35 feet. 

 

Does the surface need to be prepped for adhesive mount?

 

Yes. The surface temperature of the vehicle where the antenna will be mounted must be between 85°F to 100°F (30°C to 38°C). Airgain highly recommends using a heat gun to heat the surface and a laser temperature reading gun to measure the surface temperature to make sure it is adequately heated.

 

Step #1

Drill a 7/8" diameter hole where the center of the antenna will be located on the vehicle. 

 

Step #2

Clean the mounting surface with a provided alcohol wipe to remove dust, dirt, and oil. Allow the surface to dry. 

 

Step #3 

Pass antenna cables through the hole. Remove the backing on the bottom of the antenna exposing the adhesive pad.

 

Step #4 

Position the antenna and adhere it to the vehicle using firm hand pressure. 

 

 

Does the GPS cover GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou and other regional systems?

Yes, Airgain antennas that have GNSS support GPS L1/GALILEO E1/GLONASS G1/BeiDou B1/QZSS L1.

 

Can [omni-directional] antennas be mounted in any position, such as vertical, horizontal, etc.?

Antennas must be mounted horizontally - parallel to the ground (not mounted on a vertical surface).

 

How significant is "Gain" or high gain, and when is it needed?

An antenna's power gain or gain is a crucial performance number that combines the antenna's directivity and electrical efficiency. All Airgain antennas are Omni-directional and come with high gain.

Top Security Risks For IoT

by Larry Bellehumeur | Oct 02, 2019

In previous blog posts, I have focused on the need for device manufacturers and software providers to "step up" when it comes to security; both manufacturers and software providers need to ensure that security products are installed by default. While this plays an integral part in securing the world of IoT, there is often additional work to be done by customers to ensure that their data is secure.Thanks to our friends at Deloitte, here are the first five most significant security risks that IoT poses. I've also added some additional thoughts and tips on what you can to do to protect yourself.  The remaining five will come in a future blog post.

Not having a security or privacy plan

 

In too many cases, companies deploy IoT products and services with little or no thought to security or privacy. Even when companies think about it, many mostly rely on the inherent protection from the hardware or device.

One way to ensure a high level of security for your solution is to use a highly secure, turn-key offering from a solution provider. For many who do not require any unique customization or devices, this may be enough to take all of the security worries away.

If you choose not to use a turn-key offering, you need to look at having a  plan that covers everything. For example, what level of passwords you may require, how you plan on handling new employees or what are your plans are in the event of a breach.

Lack of ownership to drive security and privacy

 

While it is great to have a plan, like we mentioned in the first point, the procedure becomes useless if someone fails to take ownership of it. The best place to start in most companies is the IT team, but it is not like they are just sitting around waiting for things to do in most cases. This also becomes an issue if you do not have a formal IT team or if the team is located far from the critical assets, which is often the case in IT.

Luckily, IoT solutions often have extensive ability to update remote devices over the air. This also includes enforcing password changes and firmware updates. However, like any other kind of security, IoT solutions need to have security procedures practiced by everyone in the organization for them to be successful.

Security not being incorporated into the design of products and ecosystems

 

Now, this is not a new topic when it comes to my blogs. I have long stated that there needs to be a minimum security level for IoT devices, and those security settings/options need to be enabled by default by the manufacturer.

While a lack of security is enabled may be an issue for the average consumer; it has the potential to be a disaster for most organizations. However, it goes beyond that. Manufacturers need to incorporate things like a unique username/password for each device and need to ensure that there is a high level of encryption for all data transferred to and from the device.

Finally, most IT teams have extensive security plans for their tablets and laptops and likely their smartphones. They need to have the same level of security planning, enforcement and checks for their IoT systems; otherwise, they are just too open to hacking.

Insufficient security awareness and training for engineers and architects

 

IT-based security has been around for decades, and billions of dollars are spent annually by companies trying to keep things safe… but even then, issues still arise. Hackers always seem to find a new hole to key systems.

IoT systems are relatively new, at least to most parts of the organization, and, likely, many current professionals were not taught how to protect them in school. To make it worse, IoT is still evolving, making it challenging to keep up to all of the latest threats. Companies need to be aware of this, and even *gasp* slow down deployments until their teams have the knowledge to secure them properly.

Lack of IoT/IIoT product security and privacy resources

 

In response to the previous point, you may answer, "why doesn't the company just hire some outside security consultants to get things set up correctly?" That would be a good point, except, there is a lack of IoT and IIoT security and privacy resources available to meet the demand.

IoT has grown with such incredible force, that there is often a lack of resources for companies in all areas of the industry. Product and software companies find it difficult to staff their teams, especially on the security side. Service providers usually overwork their limited security resources, to prevent roll-out delays. This shortage extends to organizations that struggle to find people for their internal programs.

The obvious answer to solve this is to graduate more people from university with these skills. Long-term, this will likely be the solution, but it does not help in the short term. IoT security experts require specialized skills that can often only be found during the time "on the job." It will take a decade or so for us to catch up to the demand, if not longer.

5 ways that better cellular signal will help your business ​

Over the past 20 years, the cellular phone has evolved from something we used to “pretend we were in the office” on a Friday afternoon to becoming likely the most essential piece of equipment in our lives.  While it has changed our personal lives, it has had an equally significant impact on the business world.

This means that for your business to function normally, a strong cellular signal is no longer a luxury in your location.  Here are five ways that a stronger mobile signal will change your business for the better:


Your customers expect it

Sure, you may offer free Wi-Fi to your customers, and this helps to attract customers.  However, not everyone feels comfortable giving away personal information to obtain Wi-Fi, while others are nervous about using unknown Wi-Fi networks.  As well, while Instagram may rule the world, people still rely on voice calls or texts during times of emergency.  Don’t be surprised to hear that many people will avoid your location if you have terrible cellular coverage, especially if they may spend a lot of time there (such as at a restaurant).

Your employees will be more productive

Ok, maybe the first point does not apply, as customers do not visit your location.  As well, you may have a strict “no social media” rule at your office.  However, this thinking may be short-sighted.  Much of today’s business happens while people are away from their desk, even while in the office.  As well, many offices are thinking about moving towards 5G for all of their communications, making reliable cell coverage a must.

 In some offices, there may be a restriction towards using Wi-Fi in particular areas, such as in a laboratory.  If your team does rely on cellular data, a stronger signal will ensure faster speeds for them to do their job.


It improves the safety of your location, especially remote sites and mobile

Depending on where you live, your jurisdiction may have a “work alone” policy.  The basic idea is that if you do your job either always or mostly alone, you need to have a non-verbal way of communicating that something is wrong.  Most organizations opt for push-button pendants, often using a smartphone to send the alert.

This means that a reliable and strong cellular signal in all areas of your facility is no longer an option.  This is especially true for a remote, temporary or mobile location, as you will not always know in advance how strong the cellular signal in the area may be.


Your devices will last longer

I remember when I was about 6, I could not figure out why gas mileage was better for cars when they were driving on a highway when compared to driving in the city.  I mean, how can it be more efficient to drive 2x as fast?  The answer, as I was told, was that the starting and stopping created more work for your car, despite the speed differences.  The same holds for your phone; it is much better for your battery life (and the phone in general) to browse quickly while in reliable coverage than to send data slower while in lousy coverage.

While this extra strain affects all aspects of your devices, it is especially true for your battery.  A better cellular signal will allow your devices to last much longer.

Less dropped calls / missed messages

Quick … how many times in the past year have you had voicemail messages show up, and your phone did not ring?  I need to use all of my fingers and toes on this one.  Missed calls are somewhat inevitable when we chose to cut the wire, but the frequency of them does get worse as coverage declines.

Text messages are a bit better, as they don’t need as strong of coverage, but any missed messages hurt your team’s productivity and customer service levels.

To wrap this up, how do you improve your coverage?

I didn’t want to make this into too much of a sales pitch, but the team at Novotech can help you with any low coverage situation.

The first way is to look at cellular enhancement solutions. There are ones that specialize in all sorts of environments, small/medium and large offices, mobile deployments, rugged deployments, outdoor deployments and more.

If your communication is based on a gateway, such as in the case of many IoT solutions, using a more powerful antenna can often help.

Finally, remember what kills cellular signal- metal, concrete, and other materials prevent the signal from getting where it needs to go. In some cases, running a cable to an external antenna can make a ton of difference

 

5 ways that IoT is changing the world of Transportation

Planes, Trains and Automobiles- besides being a great movie from the ’80s, it is one of the biggest vertical markets in the world.  The business of moving people and goods not only has helped create modern life as we know it, but it is also big business.

While this space is far from new to the benefits of using IoT, here are five unique ways that IoT makes the world of transportation better.

Your bus will arrive on time (and if not, you will know about it in advance)

When you think of all of the different variables that can influence the arrival of a bus (weather, traffic, emergencies, etc.), it is somewhat surprising that they ever arrive on-time at all!  IoT first helps by ensuring that significant failures on the vehicles are a thing of the past, thanks to its combination of better maintenance adherence and alarming to potential issues in advance.

However, sometimes, delays are unavoidable.  Many municipalities are using alerts based on the desired bus stop.  If a bus is late, the transit user can be alerted, to allow them not to spend extra time waiting in the cold at the bus stop.

You may have more time to read (or watch Netflix) on your drive to work

Now, I am not encouraging you to do this while driving; I am talking about autonomous vehicles.  Given that most new cars use some semi-autonomous features (think auto-stopping or cross-traffic monitoring) and Tesla’s autopilot is already 6x less likely to be in an accident than the average driver, this is inevitable.

Regardless of your opinion on self-driving vehicles, they do not happen without the incredible volume of IoT-based information, such as that from cameras, sensors and more.

It’s a bird; it’s a plane, it’s Amazon’s new drone delivering your toilet paper

For the first few years of their existence, drones were just an expensive toy for parents/grandparents to entertain their kids for 20-30 minutes at a time.  They have now evolved into serious business tools, being used to examine pipelines and water towers as well as to deliver vital supplies during emergencies.

While I see some severe restrictions to deliveries via drones in most urban areas, one can see drones used for rural areas and the first organ transplant was just delivered using one recently.

You’ll spend a bit less time in traffic

Traffic is a wonderful way to spend time: said by no one.  IoT can’t do everything to prevent gridlock, but it can help to prevent it from being made worse.  Road sensors are used to alert to issues on the road, such as excessive ice, mudslides or an impassable bridge.  As well, many highways use systems to inform to approximate drive times to key landmarks (such as an airport or road) and offer suggested alternatives during busy periods.

Finally, many highways in Europe use the “hourglass” method to increase flow during busy times.  Like an hourglass, traffic is slowed in advance of a bottleneck to allow less traffic to try to force its way through a slow stretch, increasing flow for everyone.  They do this using IoT sensors, often 10-30 km before the issue even occurs!

...and your drive home will be safer as well!

The use of sensors is not new to the world of cars, as we have had them for years (such as the sensor to tell you that you are low on gas).  One example I wanted to point out that is making things safer is the use of onboard sensors on ambulances.

One of the most dangerous types of accidents is the “T-bone collision,” which commonly happens when an ambulance with its emergency lights on goes through a red light at an intersection.  New onboard sensors on the ambulance detect that the vehicle is approaching a red light and will turn the light green in advance, reducing the chance of such an accident.  No, I don’t know how to get one for your car!

Webinar: 6 Benefits Of Asset Management And 8 Industries That Can Benefit From Asset Management

Asset Management is using the power of sensors, connectivity and software to monitor, track, and optimize assets.

Let’s take some time to review 6 benefits of asset management and then 8 industries that can benefit greatly by incorporating asset management into their operations.

Here is a link to the webinar:  www.youtube.com/novotechwebinar

And, if you’d like to  skip ahead to the parts relevant to your business, click on the sections below.

Webinar Overview 02:28
What is Asset Management 03:17
Benefits to all organization 04:25
Food Industry 06:21
Retail 07:38
Construction and Infrastructure 09:18
Agriculture 10:54
Logistics and Transportation 12:17
Property Management 13:32
In the office 15:03
Industrial Applications 16:16
Solutions for all sizes of business 17:43
5 Things to remember 19:06
Contact Novotech 20:10

 Benefits Of Asset Management And 8 Industries That Can Benefit From Asset Management


5 – Overview (02:28)

During this webinar, we are going to cover many things.

First, we will give a brief definition of what Asset Management is

Like many solutions, there are many benefits that virtually all organizations, regardless of what you do or how big you are will see from using an Asset Management solution.

From there, we look at eight different markets to cover some more specific examples of how keeping a closer eye on your valuable assets can improve all aspects of your business.  Don't worry if your organization does not fall under one of these; we will cover the benefits in a way that a few of them will no doubt help your organization as well.

Finally, we recap by giving you five takeaway points about the power of Asset Management that you don't want to miss.

6 - What is Asset Management? (03:17)

Like many things in technology, this explanation can be as elaborate as you want it to be.  I will try to avoid too much industry jargon by saying that it uses the power of 3 separate technologies to bring you the data you need and to do so in a manner that is more useable to you.

The first component is the sensors.  Sensors are good at one thing; they can give you the status of an item or an area. Factors could be temperature, the level of humidity or about 100 other items.

Getting the sensor information to you is the responsibility of the connectivity side of the house.  This includes local area technologies (think Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) and long-haul technologies (think cellular connectivity or plugging your office Internet connection).

Finally, without software, the information from sensors may make little sense to you.  The Software side allows you to make sense of it; this is how you see trends in temperature in a graph or get a text to let you know that an important device is down.

When you combine all three of these things, you get the power of asset management.

7 - Benefits to all organizations (04:25)

Now, all companies and organizations are different.  Not only do you do or make different things, but you also have different priorities as to how you wish to operate.

Because of that, each organization may find a different set of benefits from an IoT solution that is unique to them.

However, there are several benefits that every company should not only see but also improve from

One of the most significant sources of lost productivity is duplication, often due to a lack of information sharing across your company.  IoT allows for real-time data that can be shared, allowing your teams to make better decisions and have less downtime.

IoT helps safety in a few ways.  Work alone solutions, while not Asset Management solutions help keep your team safe.  However, Asset Management solutions also warn your team of dangerous situations, allowing them to take necessary precautions.

By sticking to the maintenance schedule better and by warning you when your key devices are not working well, you can extend their life in the field, allowing you to save money and downtime.

How does IoT help you to reduce waste?  Smart cooling solutions allow you to know if the temperature is too high or too low, preventing unwanted spoilage.  On the non-perishable side, it keeps track of all of your inventory and shipments, eliminating the chance of duplication.

Nothing is more frustrating, either for the customer service person or the customer when they cannot give the answers that the customer needs.  IoT allows your team to know what is going on and often make changes over the air to fix issues.

Finally, when you eliminate waste, duplication and ensure that all of your machines are operating at peak condition, you are going to lower down your energy bills!

8 - Food Industry (06:21)

The first industry that we are going to look at is the food industry, which includes restaurants, food merchants, food storage, food processing and more.

One area of food that leads to a lot of waste and extra costs is with refrigeration.  Asset Management solutions often include AI-based software which can help optimize your usage, and even offer excellent marketing information about your customers.

If you want customers to be happy, they need to be comfortable.  Know what the temperature, amount of light and more are for your areas, reducing heating/cooling costs and improving satisfaction.

Did those strawberries get here before that batch?  Considering the amount of food at many restaurants, it is often hard to tell, resulting in a lot of wasted products.  Using RFID tags to let you know when to use food up reduces waste and spoilage.

Finally, every part of the food industry uses some cleaning, chopping, processing or cooking machine.  Keeping these machines running at maximum efficiency lengthens their time in the field, reduces downtime and lower your energy bill.


9 – Retail (07:38)

More than ever, retailers need to cut costs, improve service and find ways to get people to get off their couch, where they can order millions of things from pages like Amazon.

IoT solutions are helping in a few ways: by monitoring key storage areas, retailers can reduce waste, improve security and better keep track of inventory levels.

In most cases, retailers are not too concerned as someone walks around with things in their cart.  However, make it a $10,000 bottle of scotch at a store, and it makes sense that people want to keep an eye on it.  Be notified of any changes to the product, for example, if its container is open or even keep track of it if someone were to leave the store with it.

One does not often think of a retailer as having a lot of critical pieces of equipment.  However, depending on the type of store, it may be a cutting machine, hair dryers or even the HVAC systems.  IoT keeps them all up and running.

How do you know where your shipments are, whether that is when it is on its way to your location, between locations or even if it inside of your massive warehouse?  There are Asset Management solutions to help you with all aspects of a product's journey.

Finally, many retailers are looking to reduce their costs, especially for energy, but they need to do so without sacrificing their customer service.  IoT solutions eliminate unnecessary light use, lower down HVAC costs and can let you know of unauthorized use of key machines.


10 - Construction and Infrastructure (09:18)

When one thinks of Construction, you tend to think of big equipment, hard-working men and women and dangerous work.

The reality is that Construction is quickly adopting many different IoT and Asset Management solutions to help with all aspects of their work.

A construction site is often a place that brings the thrill of playing with toys that many of us used in the sandbox to live.  Unlike the sandbox toys, these machines are not only incredibly expensive, but they also need to keep working to prevent costly unwanted downtime.  Asset Management solutions help to maintain these devices and alert to any imminent failure that may occur.

Even at smaller sites that do not use heavy machinery, there are valuable tools such as hammers, jacks, drills and more that need to be available when needed.  Solutions enable you to locate them quickly and get a notification if someone is trying to steal them.

Construction sites are dangerous places.  One of the ways to keep them safer is to have a better understanding of the work environment.  Ranging from the presence of unwanted water, excessive heat and vibration to humidity levels that can damage the material, sensors allow project managers to keep things running and to reduce costs.

Finally, materials are expensive, ranging from building materials to the diesel used to keep machines running.  Asset Management solutions allow you to keep track of these things, both on and off the job site.


11  - Agriculture (10:54)

The world of agriculture is constantly be expected to do more, produce better quality food while having food spend less time on a truck and to do it all by creating less impact on the environment.  Asset Management solutions help farmers do just that.

One of the most valued commodities in the world is clean water, and much of the water we use is to grow the food we eat.  By having a better understanding of the current status of the crops and the amount of rain that has fallen, farmers can reduce the amount of water that is required to grow the food we need.

Once the food is grown, it has to be stored.  As well, farms use a lot of different liquids, such as fertilizers and fuel. Asset Management solutions improve both the storage of finished goods and to help alert to low levels of key items that are needed to keep things running.

Farmers today use much equipment, ranging from during planting to harvesting.  IoT helps to prevent them from being stolen as well as to alert to any potential issues to avoid costly downtime; this helps to lengthen the life of devices in the field, improving their return on investment.

Finally, ranchers are looking for ways to improve the life and value of their prized herd.  IoT solutions help to keep track of their location, but equally important; they help to keep track of the health of the animal using biometrics, so, yes, like a Fitbit for cattle!


12 - Logistics and Transportation (12:17)

One of the largest vertical markets in the world is the area of moving items around.  Trillions of dollars a year is spent on such services, and Asset Management solutions are a significant part of how they have streamlined operations, reduced costs and improved their bottom line.

Most people understand the value of tracking your vehicles, be it a plane, train or automobile.  By knowing where they are, you can increase employee safety, reduce costs and increase your productivity.

It isn't just your vehicles that can be tracked either, Low-cost solutions allow for monitoring a key item around a facility, a city or around the world.

Sometimes, items need to stay at your warehouse for a while, and many of those items have precise requirements for things like heat, vibration and temperature.  Even if the items are not that sensitive, sensors allow you to know if there is the presence of an intruder, a natural disaster or a flood before it is too late.

Finally, if items can get lost in your garage, imagine at a large warehouse facility.  Keep track of skids, forklifts, emergency equipment and more by using low-cost tracking solutions that can reduce downtime and costs.


13 - Property Management (13:32)

For this slide, we look at Property management based on if you manage a property, regardless of whether you are the owner or not.  So, this would include professional property managers, school boards, recreational property owners and hotel owners, to name a few.

Whether it is your employees, tenants or guests, keeping them comfortable is good for business, but you want to do so in a way that controls your heating/energy costs.  Asset Management solutions let you know if temperature and humidity are too high or too low and give you optimize your HVAC systems.

There is machinery that is involved in the operation of any building, including boilers, furnaces, AC units and more.  Keeping an eye on them maximizes their life, lowers down costs and prevents unwanted downtime.

Lowering downlights and temperature when no one is there is just one of the ways that Asset Management solutions help you reduce costs.  They can also let you know if valuable heat is escaping through an open or drafty window.

Nothing wastes time and money more than having the garbage picked up when it does not need to be. However, you also can't risk your bins running full too often either.  Get notified when containers are ready to be picked up.

Security is a key to any successful building, as you need to keep your team, occupants and guests safe.  There are many solutions, including ones that help to notify of unwanted guests and ones that help keep key areas lit to improve safety.

14 - In the office (15:03)

Even with the boom in working remotely and from home, millions of people still do their work in an office each day.  In addition to the benefits from the previous slide on Property Management, here is how Asset Management solutions can improve life at the office

There are many essential pieces of equipment in the average office, including photocopiers, AV equipment and more.  Asset Management solutions can help keep these available, as well as specialized equipment like exam equipment at a doctor's office.

No one ever seems happy with the temperature at an office.  Localized temperature, humidity and light sensors help keep individual areas at the right levels, increasing your team's productivity.

There are many dangers at an office, not just office politics.  Vibration, water and noise sensors help alert you to things like earthquakes, floods and unfortunately, gun violence to help keep everyone safe.

An essential part of helping your company's bottom line is to keep costs down without sacrificing service.  Things like reducing heating/cooling costs, as well as electricity usage help to do that, and are also good for the environment as well.


15 - Industrial Applications (16:16)

Every day, millions of workers work in some very tough conditions that can be both rewarding and dangerous.

The work they do is vital to our day to day life, so we need to ensure that things keep running smoothly and safely.

Asset Management solutions maximize the uptime of key devices, alert to potential dangers and give workers the information they need to make better decisions.

There are hundreds of different types of Industrial applications, but here are four that offer easy to understand benefits.

Keeping Oil and Gas production up and running is a big business and something vital to the world economy.  IoT helps keep track of all aspects of the production.

Factories are becoming very high tech with the introduction of automation. Asset Management solutions help to further that by keeping key machinery running and alerting to any issues before they cause downtime.

When you think of pipelines, the natural thought is energy being shipped, and that is an integral part of our economy.  However, liquids from water to industrial chemicals also use pipelines. Asset Management solutions alert to any potential failure well before they happen.

Finally, some of the most crucial work done anywhere is in labs.  IoT helps to protect workers as well as to keep the areas optimal to avoid issues or contamination.

16 - Solutions for businesses of all sizes and markets (17:43)

Now, you may say to yourself, this all sounds great, but we're a small company, or we only have one location, I am not sure that these solutions are for us. They seem like they are suitable for only big companies.

Asset Management solutions come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be as technical or advanced as you want them to be.

For the Small business owner, the solutions can be set up in minutes, and you get the alerts that you want. A fridge is not working; a fundamental machine is not turning on or get a notification when your team arrives in the morning.  The solutions are all securely hosted and require nothing more than a smartphone or tablet to get started.

For the Medium business, you may have some more advanced systems to work with, and you may wish to share the data into different departments so, you may want your Finance team to get information on the lifespan of equipment, while you want your Operations team to get notified of outages.  Solutions can allow you to customize as you need and you can use existing systems that your organization is already comfortable using.

For the enterprise world, no two companies ever genuinely do things the same way.  Asset Management solutions are flexible in letting you set them up to the way you want; leave them as standalone systems, integrate into your CRM/ERP system or any combination that meets your needs today and in the future.


17 - 5 things to remember (19:06)

Sometimes when you throw information at someone, it can be overwhelming.  To help, I wanted to do a quick recap of 5 things that you need to remember about Asset Management and how it helps your organization.

Every business has some expensive equipment: cars, HVAC systems, stoves, printers and more can have their lifespan increased by ensuring that they are running at their optimal condition.

When you keep things running optimally, they will also run more efficiently- This lowers down your operating costs, such as utilities and the cost of maintenance and repair.

When your team has better information, they can make better decisions which leads to things running better and being able to fix customers issues faster]. Often before the customer is even aware of a problem!

When your team has access to information, they spend less time on the phone and doing investigations;  this makes them more productive.

Finally, going green is good for your pocketbook and the environment.  Lowering down your energy costs is suitable for both.


18 - Contact us slide (20:10)

Many thanks for taking the time to watch this webinar.  As always, we welcome your feedback on what you liked and how we can do better.

Novotech is here to help you get started on any aspect of your IoT journey, including Asset Management solutions.

We have reselling partners and integrators all over North America, as well as several IoT Sales and Technical professionals who can help you from Business case to deployment.

If you are interested in learning more about IoT, we have hundreds of blogs, white papers and more on our web page.

Finally, we encourage you to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

Thanks again, take care

Podcast: Part 1 of 2 – Choosing an IoT Cellular Network

We’ve covered this content in 3 ways for you to choose from:
Podcast – https://iotms.podbean.com/e/network1/ 
YouTube video –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re2xehR0p28 


Or Read the blog post below: 

Picking an IoT network 

Here is Novotech's guide to helping you choose the best network to connect your IoT devices to.  This one covers the cellular-based networks, while part 2 covers all of the non-cellular options, including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth and two newer wireless entrants, SigFox and LoRa.

To get started, here is a bit about me; I have been in the field of what is now called IoT for about 20 years, working in a variety of areas which has given me a unique level of exposure to assist people in their IoT journey. Novotech has also been in the IoT space for about 20 years and is in an excellent place to help you with any aspect of your IoT journey. 

List of Cellular options 

It used to be that there was always a current latest and greatest network that was set up for smartphones and tablets and IoT devices just piggy-backed on that.  While this is still the case for new networks like 4G and soon, 5G, there are now dedicated IoT networks that are optimized to maximize your experience while lowering down costs. This enables billions of devices to be connected, changing every aspect of our life.  But what is the optimal network for you?  There are a ton of factors: connection speed, latency, and power consumption are three important ones, but local and international coverage and device availability also often need to be taken into account. Let's go through each of these options, point out five key things (some good, some bad) to outline the option, as well as to point out a few typical applications for each. Finally, network availability plays a critical factor in your choice, and this has two similarities to the weather forecast- it tends to be very specific to your area, and it can often change quickly.  You want to ensure coverage in your desired area before purchase.

2G 

Depending on where you live in the world, you may view 2G very differently.  In some parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, 2G may be the network that serves significant parts of where you live.  For most other areas, 2G is starting to see its decline in usage, so you want to be careful in choosing 2G. Be sure that you can get your devices activated. Assuming you can, here are five things to know about it. It is an extremely proven and battle-tested network technology, having been used for over a decade by millions of IoT-devices.  It provides a reliable platform for applications that do not feel the need for speed, more on that in a second.

Virtually the entire world has 2G coverage, although, some areas are starting to deactivate the technology.  As of a few years ago, it was the only technology that you could be assured to have blanketed coverage in most areas. It made its name by its ability to be used for tracking and monitoring.  Tracking involved sending GPS location updates for devices and monitoring involved sending usage and levels from crucial devices in the field.  Those are its strengths.

On the negative side, besides tracking and monitoring, it didn't take much to top out on speed on 2G.  If you recall, the first iPhone was on 2G, and it was not a speedster for web traffic.  It is okay for text and small messages, but forget sending live video feeds without annoyingly long buffer periods.

Finally, in many parts of the world, it is time to say goodbye to the network that helped to fuel a lot of the growth of IoT.  I would not recommend using 2G for any area of North America, and you want to do some significant research for deployments in all other areas.

Assuming you find that coverage is not an issue, it is the only technology that can indeed be considered for truly Worldwide Tracking applications unless you want to go into satellite, which we cover in the 2nd part. A typical application is Security Panels.  Many panels either came with an embedded 2G module or were connected via low cost 2G basic modems. If your device is at least a few years old and has embedded cellular technology, the chances are that it uses 2G technology.  This is common in applications like utility sites and communications closets, as shown here in the picture.

Finally, 2G was great for Basic SCADA applications.  For those of you who are rusty on your IoT acronyms, SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.  So, to quickly explain, take a parking gate.  The SC part allows you to lift the gate by sending a command and the DA part would let you know how many cars went by

3G 

The next network technology that we are going to talk about is 3G.  This was the network that started the explosive growth of the smartphone and is still running strong in most parts of the world.  Many parts of rural North America still fall back to 3G.  3G offered a big jump over 2G, in terms of speed, and that opened up several important applications.  It also lowered down the latency, making it more applicable for applications that were sensitive to it.  It is not 5G speeds, but it is plenty quick for many applications.

Like 2G, it has a pretty extensive world-wide footprint.  Virtually all industrialized countries are blanketed in 3G coverage, and many 2nd and 3rd world nations have at least urban centers covered with 3G. One exciting new development of 3G was how it introduced MMS, or Multi-media messaging.  So, thank it for the craze of sending YouTube clips to your friends.  While it offers an excellent platform for many IoT platforms, it did use a significant amount more power than 2G devices, meaning that it was not as optimized for battery-based deployments.  It is not a full-blown power hog, but you may wish to consider this if power usage needs to be at a minimum.

Finally, although not as far down the path of leaving as 2G, it is saying goodbye in many areas.  It is challenging to load any net new 3G devices onto carriers in North America, so be sure to do your research before choosing 3G.

Assuming coverage and network availability is not an issue, one application that it was great for was Digital signage.  The nature of a digital sign was that it is mostly a monitoring application, monitoring for things like burnt lightbulbs and only in the off-hours new material be sent.  3G was optimal for this.  If you are in North America, CAT-1 may be a great alternative, which we cover in a few slides. Basic Field Force automation sounds complicated, but it is not.  This combines using GPS tracking to locate your work vehicles, as well as allowing your team to look up work orders, bring down safety documents and blueprints and to alert if there is an issue.  Because of its widespread coverage (and the fact that it could fall back to 2G in most cases), it is still a great choice.

Utility monitoring was often done using 2G, and in many cases, it was sufficient.  However, some of these applications had requirements to send down updates and commands, so 3G's lower latency and Out of Band Management is a very under-utilized application.  Many IT teams want to move the management of their essential routers away from being done locally, in the event of a break-i.  For years, POTS dial-in lines were used, but many replaced those with cellular gateways.  3G offered enough speed to be used both as an out of band option, as well as to provide a viable backup in the event the main line became unavailable. 3G has had a great life but is now starting the gradual slide towards obsolescence in many areas of the world, so be sure to do your homework before choosing it.

4G

The first of the speedster networks, 4G is blazingly fast.  It offers an incredible platform to use for a  variety of applications and is the current fastest network available commercially today. If your deployment is happening in 2019, and you have speed as your determining factor, this is where you need to look.

So, how fast is it?  Just watch all of the kids downloading YouTube videos on the bus to see that it is sufficient to replace a high-speed connection for most applications.
It is excellent at video, such as video conferencing as it had a relatively low level of latency, one that is much better than 3G.  This means a better experience in doing things like video conference calls like Skype.

As it is the network that carriers have pushed for their smartphones for the past few years, there has been much work done to make sure that it works well while mobile.  Its speeds in a mobile environment, as well as its stability,  is very impressive. 4G's performance is one of the reasons why you need to reach for your power cord on your iPhone or Android device more often, as this performance comes at the cost of using more power.  Many IoT applications are more power conscious, making 4G a lousy choice.

The other main issue with 4G is cost.  If you are putting a 4G module into a $1000 smartphone, the cost of the module is not prohibitive.  However, if you are building a tracking device, its cost premium over other technologies was not justified, especially since you could not benefit from its extra speed. In terms of applications, Public Safety loved 4G.  It offered sufficient speed to allow workers to download large documents like mugshots and building blueprints while being able to fall back to 3G in rural areas. Mobile retail is a widespread application.  It may mean merely moving outside into the parking lot, in the case of a store who has seasonal offerings like a nursery, it may be a food truck, or it may be temporary retail at a trade show.  In either case, 4G offered more than enough speed for transactions, inventory look-ups and more. Transit / Trains usage of 4G saw explosive growth.  The available speed offered enough bandwidth to track the buses, process payments as well as to offer Wi-Fi to passengers as a way to attract more people to ride the bus.

Finally, Disaster Recovery applications need speed, but more importantly, need quick setup.  They have been significant users of cellular-based technology.  4G offered enough bandwidth to run an entire command center while falling back to older technologies in more rural areas. 4G is the current speed leader, at least until the next technology makes its long-anticipated debut.  It has a very long life ahead of it and is an excellent choice for those needing speed.  If you feel the need to go supersonic, look at the next choice.

5G 

Welcome to the bullet train of cellular technologies.  There has been talk for a decade about how people would truly cut the cord at home and in the office and opt only for cellular-based communication.  This was tough to do, but 5G can make it a reality for millions.

To start, I am running out of adjectives to describe its speed.  I am calling it stupid fast, but for a reason.  Its initial launch speed is faster than most people have at their home and office, so that makes it appealing.  However, it can grow to hundreds of times faster than 4G. This begs the question, who needs that?  This is why I call it stupid fast, as it is so fast that no one needs that kind of speed.

The other main gain over 4G is its lower latency.  Applications, such as mobile surgery, are a distinct possibility as the latency is as close to real-time as we have seen in cellular technology.  It is so fast that it can eliminate buffering in most video applications.
The final benefit is capacity.  Every cellular technology optimized the use of the radio waves better than its predecessor, allowing for more users to share the same infrastructure.  5G takes that to the next level, allowing up to 1M users per square mile, which is staggering.

Ok, sounds perfect.  Well- not quite.  This performance comes at a cost, as its components are multiple times more than any other network, making it difficult to justify for most IoT applications.  It is also cumbersome in the power usage department, making it the gas guzzler of cellular technologies. Still, smartphone manufacturers are racing to get out 5G phones in 2019, but you should not rush out to buy one.  Most areas will not see optimized 5G coverage in 2019, so if you are buying a 5G phone in 2019, you will spend an awful lot of time on 4G networks in most areas. So, assuming you have coverage and are willing to pay the premium price for it, what application will benefit the most from 5G's incredible capabilities?  The first is Autonomous cars.  The average car will transmit up to 1000x what the average person does each year, and much of this traffic is time-sensitive.  It will use all of the capabilities of 5G wherever it is available.

As mentioned, many expect a lot of consumers and businesses to cut the wireless connection from their home and office.  This means that if you are building Business / Residential landline replacement product, like a gateway, 5G needs to be on your radar.
Ok, I still think I would prefer to have a surgeon look over me when they operate, like in this picture.  However, if you are remote and getting to a hospital is not a viable option, 5G offers a platform to make Mobile Surgery / real-time healthcare a true possibility for the first time.

Finally, 5G will change the Entertainment space dramatically.  Its speeds, capacity, and lower latency will accelerate the growth of technologies like AR/VR and will allow real-time, interactive games like Fortnite to be played in virtually real-time, thanks to its real-time nature.

CAT-1

CAT-1 is the first of the IoT-focused networks that we are going to talk about.  It is the Goldilocks of IoT networks.  It offers a decent level of data speed, enough for not only tracking applications but to transfer a significant amount of data when needed.  However, it offers a low enough level of power consumption to make it a viable option for many mobile based applications.  It is also the "slowest" network that fully supports 2-way voice communications. Still, it doesn't get the respect it deserves as many opt for the speed demons like 4G/5G or the low-power options like CAT-M. This is a consideration that most people should look at. As mentioned, it is ideal for 2-way voice communication, such as in the case of intercoms and alarm systems.

For the vast majority of IoT applications, it offers plenty of throughput speed.  This makes it an ideal balance for those applications that want to maximize battery life, but still, need to push down updates. Unlike 5G, which has little or no coverage, most areas of North America are well covered by CAT-1 networks today, making it an ideal network for most deployments.  It also has an expected long-life ahead of it.

Its flexibility is also one of its main issues, and it is not great at anything.  It is also not bad at anything, but most people tend to flock towards one of the extremes available. They want the speed from 4G / 5G, or they want the extremely long battery life from some of the next two networks. Cat-1 does not excel at either, so it gets put aside many times.

Finally, the explosive growth in 4G means that there is no shortage of hardware choices available.  The same is expected on the low-battery use side with CAT-M as 2019 progresses.  CAT-1 has several options, but if you are looking for a particular choice, the selection may not be as great.

Still, it is ideal for many applications, including Voice-based Mobile Applications.  Many people overlook voice, considering that most people are using text messaging and Instagram more than ever.  However, many applications, including those where we help find our loved ones, benefit from the addition of voice on-board. The next application is Mobile health monitoring, as shown in the picture.  While it could be done using either 4G or even CAT-M, CAT-1's balance of cost vs. Speed make it a better choice for this kind of application.

Similarly, Digital Signage is a perfect application for CAT-1 and should be your choice, assuming that 3G is not a viable option for you.  It provides you with a lower cost hardware option, but one that is capable of downloading your new content fairly quickly.
Finally, there are ATM / Kiosks.  Like Digital Signage, they may be able to work in many cases on a CAT-M network, as they are not that data-heavy applications.  However, these devices need to make quick firmware updates in many cases, so the extra cost for a CAT-1 device over a CAT-M device is pretty easy to justify. CAT-1 may be the Goldilocks of network choices, but it offers a much more flexible platform than most people realize, and it should be on your radar more often than it likely it.

CAT-M 

While 5G has received the most media attention, CAT-M may be the network that is the most anticipated in the world of IoT and for a good reason.  By taking out what you don't need (low latency and high-speed data throughput), it will become the default standard for most IoT applications in 2019 and beyond. By taking out speed and offering a higher latency, this allowed designers to remove a lot of the components that are required.  This offers a few benefits, the first being very low power usage.  When you have a lower usage of power, this allows you to use a smaller battery, lowering cost and the size of the unit.

The second benefit to fewer components is a smaller footprint.  Although some manufacturers may choose to keep the cellular module for CAT-M the same size as other technologies, others will reduce the size, allowing it to fit into smaller designs, maximizing its appeal. I don't want to make it sound like it is only optimal for text-based traffic.  Although I would not recommend watching YouTube over a CAT-M connection, it allows enough bandwidth to upload reports and to send down firmware updates ... just not at 5G speeds. It has two significant issues to it, depending on your needs and timelines.  The first is its extremely high latency or time to send data back and forth.  It would be the ground option if you were to compare it to a courier company.  As long as you are ok with the extra time to send/receive your data, this may not be an issue
The other issue in 2019, especially, may be coverage.  Although cellular carriers are working quickly to deploy the network everywhere, they may not have optimal coverage in all places in 2019, especially in rural areas and in some in-building systems.  However, since it is a relatively easy deployment for the carriers to do, this won't be an issue for too long.

The first kind of application that CAT-M is going to see heavy usage for is in the Wearables / Personal tracker space.  Most people using these devices are not likely to be heavy data users, and most data is not extremely time sensitive.  Even if it is used for a panic alarm, it may cause an extra few seconds delay, which is not a deal-breaker in most cases.  If it is, 4G or 5G may be warranted. The next application is for Heavy equipment monitoring.  While some devices may produce a lot of data, most companies will not feel the need to transmit it wirelessly, but instead will look for updates on key readings and locations. Something that CAT-M is optimized for. The term “environmental systems” is quite broad, as it can refer to monitoring things like the pH level of a river, the light level at a baseball stadium or the level of ice on a roadway.  In any of these cases, plus many more, CAT-M offers the perfect balance.

Finally, most Fleet operators are looking at CAT-M based solutions to replace existing 3G solutions, as it allows for a Lower overall cost and battery usage without sacrificing performance. In short, CAT-M is set to become the dominant North American IoT network in 2019, and if you don't need a lot of speed and are ok with a higher latency than 4G, it should be on your radar.

NB-IoT

The Final cellular network option is one that seems to have a lot of secrecy, as it is availability, so while it should be on your radar, you will need to do a lot of research, and that is NB-IoT or NB1. Once it is available, it has the potential to open up tens of billions of IoT devices and applications that may not have been financially feasible, even using a low-cost technology like CAT-M. 

While CAT-M is low power, NB-IoT looks to be even lower, lengthening the time between the charge for power sensitive applications. While I have not seen pricing yet, the early indications are that modules and gateways will be the lowest cost of any technology- stay tuned. While we will cover Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in Part 2, they have a decent place for many applications that are based at home, in the office, or where the device uses your smartphone for communications.  The low cost of both components and connectivity for NB-IoT means that it becomes a viable alternative for many companies to use cellular technology in many of these applications. No technology is perfect for every application and NB-IoT has its limitations for many.  It is extremely slow, it has even longer latency times than CAT-M, and unlike CAT-M, it is only recommended for use in a fixed environment.

The other drawback is that depending on what part of the world you are in, there may be limited (or no) coverage, so do your research before going too far down this path.
Assuming you have coverage, the first application that screams for NB-IoT is Industrial Machine monitoring.  The lower cost and battery needs will bring down the cost of deployment, opening up the addressable market for IoT by tens of billions of devices that it now makes sense to monitor. Similarly, its low power use makes it ideal for Energy Monitoring applications like remote wells and pipelines.

Many devices that companies want to monitor do not use power, such as fencing at a 
construction site, where a company wants to know if they are moved.  The cost of a battery-operated device in the past using cellular was way too high to make financial sense, but that will change with NB-IoT in most cases

Finally, companies often only wanted to monitor a single variable at a location, such as the temperature of crucial storage space.  Installing a gateway for a single sensor made little sense, but it was required to bring back the information.  NB-IoT allows for the use of standalone sensors, eliminating the gateway, and opening up potentially trillions of sensors to be monitored using cellular-based technology.

Overview 

Here are all of the networks, with their score on four critical categories outlined.
Do remember, the difference between some of these things may be vast on some, and the difference may be less on others.  As an example, the difference in power usage, while it may be huge from 5G to NB-IoT, it is not like you need to build a nuclear power plant to power a 5G connection.  However, it is a factor in your deployment.
The first consideration is Data Speed.  You need to determine what you need for speed, not just for day to day use, but what might you need during a time of heavy use and what flexibility you wish to have for your deployment.  If your plan is to one day do a live streaming video from a site, the choice of CAT-M now will mean that you have to upgrade much sooner than you may wish.

 In terms of network latency, most applications are not that sensitive, meaning that if it takes up to a few seconds to send critical pieces of information, it will not change the performance. However, this is not the case for things like video surveillance, which may see a lot of undesired buffering. Power use often varies by how you are powering the device.  A cellular module may use the majority of power in some mobile devices, but it not even notice if it is used in a high-power device like an HVAC unit.  Generally, devices powered by AC power are not as power conscious, whereas devices powered by battery tend to put more of an emphasis on lower power use.

  Finally, like Power usage, the cost may or may not be an issue, depending on the overall cost of the deployment.  Some devices that use cellular cost 10s of thousands of dollars, and although companies still look for the best deal, the cost of the module is not a massive factor in the overall price of the device.  This is not the case for mobile trackers, where the module may be the single most significant cost.
It is important to remember, before we leave this slide, that you are not limited to using a single technology.  Most companies use multiple technologies, depending on the needs of a particular deployment.  Depending on your hardware choice, the move from one technology to another may be quite seamless as well. 

   As a reminder, these are only half of the choices that you have for connecting to your IoT devices; in part two, we will cover popular network choices like Ethernet, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Lesser known choices like SigFox and Lora and we will also cover Satellite and private radio, which have a long history of use in many industrial and remote applications.  

Webinar: Part 1 of 2 – Choosing an IoT Cellular Network

We get a lot of questions at Novotech about all of the possible cellular networks available today from 2G to 5G, Cat-M vs Cat-1. So, I thought I would break it all down in an informative webinar.

And, if you're looking for more information on non-cellular networks like WiFi, SigFox and Bluetooth, check out our Part 2 blog here 

Here is a link to the webinar: https://www.youtube.com/NovotechKnows/

Here is a short review of all technologies: https://youtu.be/TechnologyReview

Here is the blog post in full: www.novotech.com/webinar

And, if you’d like to skip ahead to the parts relevant to your business, click on the sections below. 

 

1 - Title Slide (00:10) 

2 - About Presenter (00:34)

3 - About Novotech (01:10)

4 - List of Cellular options (01:19)

5 - 2G (02:34) 

6 - 3G (5:27) 

7 - 4G (8:38)

8 - 5G (11:25) 

9 - Cat-1 (14:39)

10 - Cat-M (17:51) 

11 - NB-IoT (21:09) 

12 - Overall chart showing all (24:00) 

13 - Part two (26:13)

14 - Novotech contact slide (26:38)

7 Non-cellular Connection Technologies Webinar

Larry Bellehumeur, our resident IoT expert has created a guide to help those who wonder if they are choosing the right network options. You can find part one on how to choose the right modem or gateway here: https://novotech.com/M2M-Blog/webinar

You can watch, listen, read or view the webinar below: 

Listen to the Podcast: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-7arpf-a9d306 
View the Powerpoint: Picking Your Network Part 2
Watch the full webinar on Youtube: www.youtube.com/novotechwebinar
Or fast skip ahead to the parts relevant to your business: 

Wi-Fi - 02:45
Ethernet - 06:18
Bluetooth - 08:50
SigFox - 10:51
LoRa networks - 12:41
Satellite - 14:50
Private Networks - 17:25

Read the webinar below: 

In this webinar, we cover 7 non-cellular choices to connect your IoT devices (Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, SigFox, LoRa, Satellite and Private networks), cover some of the pros and cons for each and discuss ideal applications

1 - Title Slide (00:10)

  • Welcome to this webinar, I'm Larry Bellehumeur
  • In this one, we are doing part two of our guide to helping you choose the best network to connect your IoT devices to. This one covers the non-cellular options, including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, two newer wireless entrants (SigFox and LoRa) and two choices that are commonly used in Industrial and remote applications, Satellite and Private Radio.
  • Without further delay, on to the webinar.

 

2 - About Presenter (00:39)

  • To get started, here is a bit about me ... I have been in the field of what is now called IoT for about 20 years, working in a variety of areas that has given me a unique level of exposure to assist people in their IoT journey.
  • If I may, I encourage you to check out our weekly IoT Podcast, “the Internet of Things Made Simple”, and you can check out hundreds of IoT-focused blogs at 
  • Novotech.com/blog.

3 - About Novotech (01:06)

  • I don’t want to make this too much of a Sales pitch, but I will say that Novotech has also been in the IoT space for about 20 years and is in a good place to help you with any aspect of your IoT journey
  • Now, without further delay, here is Part Two to your guide to picking the best IoT network for your application.

4 - Your Seven choices (01:25)

  • Now, as if it wasn't confusing enough, we are adding another 7 choices to being able to connect your IoT device, in addition to the 7 cellular options that we covered in Part One.
  • A few important things to remember ...
  • First, you are not locked into a choice for any product or if you introduce a variation of your product. Some people may opt, as an example, to connect a consumer grade offering to a smartphone via Bluetooth, while another version may be connected via Wi-Fi that is intended for businesses. Finally, if you decide that your industrial version may not always have Wi-Fi available at a site, you can opt to choose one of the cellular options
  • Most IoT platforms will have no issue receiving the data from multiple methods, giving you the flexibility that you need.
  • As well, many manufacturers have products, either cellular routers or modules, that allow you to easily change out to another technology if your needs change.
  • Finally, while we have listed a number of applications (both in Part One and here in Part two) where a certain technology may be ideal, these are not the only applications it may be good for.In some of these applications, as many as 10-12 choices may work, so you can often stick with your preferred method for many deployments.

 

5 - Wi-Fi (02:45)

  • Over the past few years, Wi-Fi has emerged as the most common way that most people access the Internet while at work, and especially while at home.It gained incredible acceptance as it allowed us to work more freely, such as when many sit in front of the TV with their iPads.
  • The emergence of Wi-Fi has not been without its issues ... early networks were not all that fast, networks often became congested and security was always a concern.However, most of those things have been overcome, and Wi-Fi shows no sign of slowing down.
  • In the world of IoT, Wi-Fi has two distinct roles. First, it connects many devices that are intended to be used in the home, ranging from smart appliances to smart plugs to your Ring Door Bell.Second, many gateways have on-board Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity to allow for people to connect.This may include passengers on a bus or an EMS attendant now being able to gather information at the patient’s side away from the ambulance.
  • The first major advantage to Wi-Fi is its widespread availability in most homes and businesses.This allows for devices to be assured that connectivity is available in most locations.
  • Next, Wi-Fi modules are very low cost, allowing for Wi-Fi to be added to many lower cost devices.As well, since most Wi-Fi is back-hauled on high bandwidth networks, data usage is often free (or close to it), making it an ideal way to send large files, such as video feeds from cameras.
  • Its final advantage is that it is easy to connect, as most people have an understanding how to connect a new device onto their network ... or, in the case of my parents, they can just ask me!
  • On the negative side, Wi-Fi has a major drawback in IoT, and it is not for the user, but for the manufacturer.In the case of some wearables, the user sees sending information up to the cloud as a major benefit, so they will be sure to keep the device connected.However, if the data being sent from the device is meant for the manufacturer, such as usage data, most users will not see the need to connect the device, meaning that it will constantly be left unconnected.For this reason, expect many manufacturers to look at low-cost cellular options like CAT-M going forward.
  • The second negative is the lack of Wi-Fi coverage for temporary events or location.This is being solved more and more as companies are using Wi-Fi enabled cellular gateways, but this does mean that Wi-Fi is not ideal for unknown locations.
  • In terms of applications, the first one that jumps out for Wi-Fi is any smart home device.There is a lot of talk that cellular devices could be used, but I still think Wi-Fi will dominate here for a long time.
  • Fixed large office equipment ... think large printers/scanners and HVAC units make a lot of sense to connect via Wi-Fi, as they both are not moved often, and the user will see value in keeping the device connected.
  • It will be interesting to see how many tablet manufacturers adopt 5G as the key way to access the Internet.Some tablets, like iPads, do have an option for cellular connectivity, but most iPad users will still access the Internet using Wi-Fi for the time being.
  • Finally, many smart health devices will use Wi-Fi. It may be in a dual radio deployment (such as in the watch that has both embedded cellular and Wi-Fi) or it may be a smart scale that only uses Wi-Fi. Again, time will tell how much emerging cellular technologies like CAT-M have an impact here.

 

6 – Ethernet (06:18)

  • I have to admit ... I have not totally ditched the cable.I still use Ethernet for my main computer. Yes, I do run a Wi-Fi network in the house, but I do a lot of real-time video conferencing and as good as Wi-Fi has become, the latency is still much better when wired.
  • Ethernet is far from dead, especially in the world of IoT. Millions of devices connect to cellular gateways via Ethernet ports, so as a technology, it is going strong.However, as a primary method of connecting your device to the Internet, it is becoming less and less common.
  • As mentioned, it is still the method which offers the lowest latency to connect to the Internet, making a hardwire into your router the ideal method of connecting for fixed applications like routers, medical machines and more.
  • Part of its appeal is the both a pro and a con, as you will see. On the Pro side, many people feel comfortable with a physical connection between devices.Maybe they played that telephone game with cans and string as kids too much, but many people still prefer it over wireless connections.
  • Finally, as much as there are ways to secure Wi-Fi networks, most security experts like the idea of a hardwired connections.This is the case for most servers and high value devices.
  • As mentioned, the wire is both a pro and a con.On the con side, wires can be cut, whether it is accidental or on purpose.Ethernet cables can be made tough, but most are prone to damage.
  • As well, there are limitations to Ethernet cables, in terms of length and its cost to run them.Most deployments using Ethernet assume that your building is pre-wired, which less and less are now.
  • In terms of applications, it is still dominant in connecting routers and most high-end computing devices
  • I was in a hotel a while back and I was struck to see how their main connection method to the Internet for most guests was a hard-wired connection ... can you imagine, no Wi-Fi in the room?Luckily, I had a laptop and was fine.Most computing device still have Ethernet connectors as standard, but that is starting to change, mostly driven by the need to thin down devices.
  • Although many of us often use wireless point of sale devices, either at our table in a restaurant or with a delivery, the majority of PoS devices in retail is still connected via hardwire.
  • In short, Ethernet is still a common technology for connecting to cellular gateways, but less than less devices are using it as their primary method of accessing the Internet in devices for the home or office.The continued growth of Wi-Fi, and the expected growth of 5G will further lead to its demise.

 

7 – Bluetooth (08:50)

  • Ah, Bluetooth.Way too much of my life has been spent trying to pair headsets, headphones or speakers using Bluetooth.While it has gotten much better, it is still annoying when it does not want to connect.
  • However, it definitely has emerged as the ideal short-haul network between devices when cost may be a factor. I expect Bluetooth to keep on being added to more and more devices.
  • Its low cost for components allows Bluetooth to be put into so many devices in our life.As speeds and costs continue to improve, expect this to continue.
  • Despite my frustrations, it has become more stable and easier to set up.It has also become more secure, allowing for it to be used in more situations.
  • Finally, its relatively low power usage allows for it to be used in battery powered situations where maximum battery life is needed.
  • On the negative side, since Bluetooth requires some sort of computing device to access the Internet, such as a laptop, phone or tablet, it is not ideal for standalone or real-time applications that may not have a device present.
  • As well, while some Industrial versions of BT have surprisingly long ranges between devices, it is generally somewhat limited in how far it can connect devices.
  • The first ideal application for Bluetooth is when you expect the user to pair the device up to a device to work, such as in the case of a wearable that will pair with a smartphone.
  • As well, another ideal application for Bluetooth is when it is used as an asset monitoring solution as part of a hub/spoke setup. Simply, a gateway connects to the Internet (using Wired or wireless) and to all of the assets via Bluetooth.This may be a car dealership tracking keys or a warehouse tracking a skid.
  • In the case of industrial Bluetooth, it is commonly used in communicating with medical equipment in hospitals.
  • Finally, as most cars are moving towards adding on-board connectivity, Bluetooth may be an option for some in-vehicle devices where you are planning on using the car’s internet connection to access the Internet.

 

8 – SigFox (10:51)

  • One of the lesser known entrants into the world of IoT is SigFox, which has some serious potential to be a dominant network, as long as you can live with some of its limitations. Many will be able to do so, but it is a network that you definitely want to do plenty of research before considering.
  • On the positive side, it excels in sending very small bits of data across the network.If your application is quite simple in nature (such as a very basic daily status), it offers a very compelling offer.
  • Its battery life is extraordinary, meaning that people are seeing times between battery changes that are much longer than we have ever seen before, often many years.This reduces the servicing and the cost of devices.
  • On the negative side, it seems to have a lower level of security than many competing technologies.
  • As well, it does not take much to exceed its data capabilities, so it is more limited.
  • Finally, while coverage is extensive in many parts of the world, it is not in most areas of North America.So, do your research before considering SigFox to ensure that you have coverage where you need it.
  • In terms of applications, SigFox has a similar customer base to some lower bandwidth cellular technologies, like CAT-M and especially NB-IoT when it comes out.The first network is tracking non-powered devices, like a porta-potty at a construction site or a skid being shipped between warehouses.
  • Similarly, it seems to be used a lot in deployments that are slightly below ground, such as some buried pieces of electrical equipment.
  • I can see it having some popularity in tracking some industrial equipment, such as compressors and valves
  • Finally, it should compete well with Cat-M when it comes to tracking some delivery services, but I see this more for tracking packages as opposed to vehicles as SigFox is not designed for objects in motion.

 

9 – LoRa (12:41)

  • The second of the lesser known, non-cellular options is LoRA, which is short for Long Range.It has definitely started to gain some momentum, so depending on your situation, it very likely is one to be on your radar.
  • The first upside is the extensive group of companies that have shown support for this technology, including Cisco, IBM and more.This likely means that it should have some good backing and it gives comfort for developers to invest time in this technology.
  • It looks to be quite secure, offering very high levels of security and encryption.This puts it on par with what most companies are looking to use.
  • It looks to be ideal for many lower cost applications.Some estimates are that, for instance, it can offer tank monitoring solutions with hardware costs as low as 40 dollars and on-going costs of just $2 or less.This may open up new markets that have never been effective to monitor before.
  • On the negative side, it is not a speedster, limiting its capabilities mostly to simple monitoring.
  • As well, it has a relatively high level of latency, making it not ideal for real-time applications.
  • In terms of applications, many municipalities and regions are looking at or have deployed Lora networks to monitor key assets like lighting systems and water levels.
  • Assuming there is coverage, Lora may be ideal for agricultural applications, such as watering systems and monitoring of the level of moisture in soil.
  • Environmental monitoring, as I have mentioned before, is a wide-ranging topic.It can be things like temperature monitoring, pH level monitoring of a river and measuring particles in the air. LoRa would be ideal to monitor these types of deployments.
  • The last type is smart metering, such as utility companies monitoring key assets in the field.
  • Finally, if you watched the first part of these series, you may have picked up that many of these applications could also be done using technologies like CAT-M, and that is true.There is a lot of overlap, so if you are doing low-bandwidth, simple monitoring, you will want to do a bit of research.
  • With LoRa, one of the biggest issues may be coverage, depending on where you live, so be sure to look into that as well before moving forward.

 

10 – Satellite (14:50)

  • If you literally need a technology to work at the end of the earth, you are going to be drawn to satellite technology, as it covers oceans, rural and mountain areas and just about everywhere else.
  • Not all networks are the same .... GEO satellites are fixed over one spot and are often used for higher data speed applications
  • Low-earth orbit ones fly relatively close to the earth, making them ideal for “relatively” real-time applications like voice.
  • Medium earth orbit systems operate much higher above the earth and offer much higher data speeds than lower ones.
  • There are other ones as well, including ones designed for TV.
  • The first benefit, as we mentioned, is coverage.No cellular network will ever approach the through level of coverage worldwide that a satellite network will offer.
  • For most applications, especially IoT, the speeds available from cellular are “good enough”.It won’t compete with 5G, but it is more than enough for most monitoring and simple IoT applications
  • On the negative side, satellite communication has a higher latency than many cellular networks.Now, many IoT applications are not materially affected by latency, so this may not be as issue
  • Finally, especially with the cost of cellular data for IoT expected to fall with the latest networks, satellite data can be much more expensive than other options.
  • Satellite has always done well in markets where, for the most part, it was the only option.As an example, if you are tracking a container across the ocean, it is your only option.
  • Similarly, if you are tracking a long-haul truck, although cellular coverage is vastly improved, satellite is an ideal fall-back for areas where it is not available.
  • In terms of fixed assets, Oil and Gas has been a long-time customer of satellite communications for most parts of their business.This includes tracking vehicles, but I wanted to talk about SCADA applications like monitoring oil wells and equipment.Satellite just worked ... there was no need to worry about if there was a cell tower nearby.
  • Finally, if your workers truly go everywhere, such as a forestry worker or disaster recovery crew, the only way that you could monitor if they are safe is to consider satellite, as works in all of the areas that they do.
  • In short, I look at satellite as being ideal in two scenarios.First, if your deployment is nowhere near cell coverage ... think off-shore drilling, extreme remote area of mountains and deserts.Second, if your solution may truly need to work everywhere, Satellite is the best option to make that happen.

 

11 - Private Radio / networks (17:25)

  • About 2 decades ago, I got my first exposure to private radio networks, as we were trying to convince a police force to use cellular data to transmit key data ... now, that seems dated, as virtually all forces have incorporated Cellular data in some form.
  • Before that, all data and voice traffic were sent on closed private radio networks.Private radio IoT is still quite big, not only in public safety, but in mining, oil/gas and many remote and industrial applications.
  • It is an optimal choice for many low-power applications, such as extremely remote monitoring applications
  • Easier to find support for many industrial protocols and port options ... although I will say that many industrial grade cellular modems have now made their way into this space and can often compete very well.
  • One recent trend has emerged ... private LTE networks.This will be ideal for cities, police forces, and utility companies.
  • On the negative side, you are running your own network.Do you have the time, expertise, available land for towers and redundancy plans to do such a thing?
  • Depending on what you are doing, you may find that your selection of devices is much smaller than on more popular networks like 4G and CAT-M
  • In short, the idea of having your own network is something that many will investigate, but few will move forward on.With cellular carriers offering better speeds, capacity and coverage than ever before, it has become a more difficult business case to make.
  • However, for those looking for maximum control and security, and having the willingness to put in the effort, it may make a lot of sense.That may include a municipality.Some have looked at networks like LoRa, while others are looking to launch their own LTE network for workers.It will be interesting to see how many do with the upcoming launch of Band14 networks.
  • Similarly, many utility companies may have hundreds of thousands of assets in a particular city.Most used a combination of short haul radio and cellular to bring back the data for processing.It will be interesting to see which way they go ... stick with what they have, embedded CAT-M or a running their own network?
  • As mentioned earlier, hub/spoke applications have many assets that all use same connection point to get access to the Internet.However, unlike the example of a car dealership looking for their keys, some assets in the field may be miles apart.I think that some may choose to use private radio technology to backhaul the data from the remote device to hub.
  • Finally, we always talk about how IoT is about data, but it is important to remember that many deployments use a combination of voice and data, such as a remote police officer.Private Radio is still preferred by many for voice-based traffic.
  • I think it will be interesting to see how much the new cellular technologies, as well as offerings like SigFox, change the mind of many companies and organizations when it comes to running their own networks.

 

 

12 – Comparison (20:17)

  • Here is a rough comparison between the networks when it comes to 4 important categories.One important thing to remember about several of these technologies is that the technology may contain a number of wide variables, as there is more than one option.As an example, satellite communication comes in both high speed flavours and lower speed ones.We will try to factor in these variables.
  • Data speed is an example of something that everyone thinks they need as much as possible, but most IoT applications are not speed dependent.If you are sending video, sure, you need a fairly high bandwidth application, but most IoT is based on lower bandwidth applications where data speed is not a factor.As always, consider what you may need now and what you may need in the future ... if you are only ever doing simple monitoring, you can get away with a network like SigFox, but if you may wish to add video, it becomes a bad choice quickly.
  • Similarly, latency is something that often has little impact on your application.If it takes one of your team 10 mins to get to a site, then will an extra second or two for the alarm to come in make a difference? ... probably not.However, if you are doing a real-time application, like some of the high security applications, the longer latency from a technology like Satellite makes it difficult.
  • I am starting to see a pattern here ... power usage matters in many applications, such as tracking devices or long-life battery powered asset monitors.However, if you are connecting to a power source that also powers a large compressor, it is doubtful that the power consumption from a gateway would make a difference.
  • In terms of costs, it is important to note that you also need to factor in Internet connectivity into some of these choices.A connection like SigFox or Satellite will handle the reporting of a device on its own, whereas a Bluetooth based connection requires its donor device to have Internet connectivity.If your customer is expected to provide it, then this may not be a factor.
  • As always, remember that you can always do a split deployment, using any one of these technologies (and even the 7 cellular-based ones mentioned in part one)

 

13 - Novotech contact slide (22:14)

  • Yes, you are finally done.
  • Many thanks for taking time out of your busy day to learn more about IoT networks ... we look forward to you joining us for future webinars.
  • Novotech is a great place to start your IoT journey. We have a lot of great material on our web page, offer industry leading service and expertise and have local presence through our vast reseller network.
  • I also ask that you follow us on LinkedIn and YouTube
  • Thanks again, take care