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