At Novotech, we do our best to help our customers with every part of a solution, even if we are not the ones working on every single part.
In the course of a complete M2M solution, there is always a fair amount of complex things that have to be done, ranging from:
Over the last few years, Novotech has observed there are four unique ways that you need to manage any M2M solution in the field. Anyone who has seen me present in the past 2 years (sorry if I put you to sleep!) would be very familiar with these four essentials, as we have been preaching this for a while now.
Manage the Connectivity
This one is quite simple.....for a wireless solution to work – over cellular, satellite or a localized solution using technology such as WiFi or Zigbee – you have to set up a connection between at least two devices. In the case of cellular connections, this is usually handled via cellular sales staff or dealers, or it can also be bundled into the overall solution by a solution provider that is offering an end-to-end solution. This means that the device has to:
Again....pretty straightforward, but a surprising amount of issues can delay projects if this is not handled properly.
Manage the device
Like the first one, this one is pretty easy to comprehend. When devices are deployed, there are things that have to be managed, both planned and unplanned. For planned events (such as firmware and settings updates), this needs to be done using tools provided by the manufacturer, or via a cloud-based service that offers the ability to control these changes. There may also be security provisions that need to be addressed in order to make these changes. In terms of unplanned (namely a loss of connectivity), this can often be fixed over the air on many of the premium modems, or in some rare cases, the device has to be configured/reset locally (which is more often the case on many of the lower cost products). Finally, this also includes ever-greening of the devices, in order to upgrade to newer technologies. As I mentioned, nothing too crazy here, but badly managing the device can really bring down the overall value (and raise the Total Cost of Ownership) of a solution.
Manage the data
This is the part that is often most overlooked in the planning phases, and that is scary. Most people look at providing remote connectivity to a device, but often never really plan on what they are going to do with the "result" of this connectivity. This could be various alarms that come from the device, it could be usage data for everyday events or it could be vital information that updates all of your staff about the status of remote devices. Regardless, the data needs to be managed in a few ways. First, one needs to look at what data needs to be kept local and what data needs to be transmitted over the air. An example of this is some of the vehicle recording systems, where driver logs/usage data is kept on a local recording device (such as rate of speed, maintenance, braking) and uploaded on a regular basis and critical data (GPS location for dispatching, alerts for airbags) are sent in real time.
The next important phase is the "traffic cop" part. For many companies, there is a priority of data and what actions need to be taken. In the event of GPS reporting, it may be sufficient for this to be updated in the GPS mapping system every 2-20 minutes, whereas the deployment of an airbag in a remote vehicle needs immediate attention. Finally, depending on how the data is dispersed, there may be a need to allow 3rd parties access to the data, such as if you provide your customers with live updates on things such as package tracking. This raises traffic filtering and security concerns that need to be addressed.
Manage the experience
There are many ways that end users (whether your team or customers) can view/use the data that is generated by an M2M solution:
Regardless of how it is done, one needs to ensure that the end recipient of the data is able to both understand the data and make quick/informed decisions based on it using tools that they know and trust. At Novotech, we are involved in all 4 phases of managing an M2M experience, and we look forward to the privilege of helping your organization with this.
As always, let Novotech know how we can help with your M2M needs, such as antenna selection. You can visit our web page @ www.novotech.com. As well, feel free to reach out to me directly ....larry(@)novotech.com. You can also follow us on Twitter (@NovotechM2M) and you can follow me personally as well (@LBNovotechM2M).