Hello again, and thanks for taking time to read my blog!
At Novotech, we sell a large variety of products that allow customers to acheive their M2M needs. These products have a wide range of cost, functionality and integration requirements. So....which one is right for you, to meet your needs now, and in the future?
There isn't a perfect rule for you, unfortunately, as every company has differing requirements and capabilities (such as internal programming talents, timelines, available resources and much more). Below is a guideline that may help make your selection just a bit easier....
Using a Cellular Module:
What does this involve: Installing a Cellular module either onto your existing systemboard or adding a board to allow you to integrate the cellular module into your solution
This is a great solution for you if: You have sufficient internal resources (or can contract out the work) to develop the module into your offering.....you are deploying a large number of units (thousands, at least)....you want to have complete control over the design of your solution.....you have time/resources to handle the necessary certifications required (and possible re-certifications, as well)
This is not a great solution for you if: You don't have a lot of time to take your solution to market.....You want a solution that is "external" to your current product or you cannot easily add a component to your existing solution due to space restrictions....You are not rolling out a lot of units (less than 10,000-15,000, as an example)
Important to know: Depending on the geographical location where you are deploying your solution and on which cellular carrier you are using, you will likely have several different certifications that will be required to deploy your units. While some / most of this work can be done on a contract basis, it is important to determine the level of effort prior to beginning your efforts.
Using a SocketModem:
What does this involve: Installing a pre-made component that contains a cellular connectivity solution embedded on it. This component contains much of the required components (embedded IP stack, monitoring tools / applications, some with GPS tracking, etc) contained on the device to allow you to access the cellular networks.
This is a great solution for you if: You are looking to design your own device / add wireless connectivity to your offering, but do not wish to invest the time/cost of using a cellular module....You are looking to deploy a large number of units (at least a few thousand), and are looking to use a cost effective solution.....you have some available resources for (or are willing to contract out) some of the required certifications to design/deploy your solution.....you may wish to upgrade the cellular technologies on these devices at a future date.
This is not a great solution for you if: You don't have a lot of time to take your solution to market.....You want a solution that is "external" to your current product or you cannot easily add a component to your existing solution....You are not rolling out a lot of units (less than 5,000 - 10,000, as an example)...
Important to know: Despite the fact that you are using a product that is "certified", you will likely have to undergo some additional certifications once you deploy these units inside of your offering. Novotech always recommends some investigation into these efforts during your planning phases, to avoid future issues.
Using an External Cellular Modem:
What does this involve: Attaching an external cellular modem (via Serial, USB or Ethernet) to your existing hardware, where the modem establishes a connection to the Internet via the cellular network. The modem handles most (if not all) of the communication for the device.
This is a great solution for you if: You want to allow a device to access the Internet that does not have the capability of adding on-board cellular connectivity.....You need to quickly deploy devices to market.... You need simple IP connectivity for your device with no proprietary requirements....You are not deploying "many thousands" of units....you cannot easily add components to the device that you are trying to connect....you may need to deploy across a variety of technologies (various cellular networks, such as GPRS, EDGE, CDMA and HSPA, as an example) with little effort.
This is not a great solution for you if: You don't have the physical space in your solution to house an extra box and you can only use a box that is contained outside of your device...You are deploying a very large number of units (over 10,000, as an example).....you require complete control over the connectivity portion of your solution....
Important to know: Most cellular modems have undergone both Governmental and, in some cases, all of the required Cellular carrier testing required to deploy your solution quickly. The certification effort for your solution should be minimal...
Still a bit confused? Don't worry....Novotech is always here to help!
Again, thanks for reading!