You Should Ask These 5 Questions Before Deploying an IoT solution

There are a few items that a company may add without changing how they do business to any degree. It may be switching their courier, upgrading some lights or changing the coffee brand in the cafeteria (on second thought, maybe not the last one, this may cause riots).

 

However, few things can have positive impacts on an organization as a well-thought-out IoT solution. For it to be as effective as possible, companies need to know what they are getting into. By answering these questions, you can better understand what is involved and what the benefits may be.

 

Are we open to change? 

 

Moving towards IoT does impact your business routines, and many do not factor this into their decisions. When you stop recording information manually on a clipboard and have it automatically uploaded, some may feel unwanted. It may throw off the daily routine that you have had for years. Companies need to know the different ways they can be impacted and plan accordingly.

 

 

  • How much time can we dedicate to the rollout?

 

Like any other change, your company needs to commit to it before, during and after your rollout for your IoT solution for it to be successful. Before any rollout, it makes sense to consult with your team to see where the deficiencies are and how the solution may change their day-to-day routine. During your rollout, you need to focus on getting things out smoothly and efficiently. 

Finally, after deployment, you need to revisit the solution to see if you have accomplished your goals.

 

If all of this is not feasible for your company, using a turn-key service may make more sense. While it may cost more, it will give you the benefits of an IoT solution while allowing your team to focus entirely on their day-to-day work.

 

  1. How “rugged” of a solution do we need?

When you deploy things inside your office, there are many things you do not have to worry about. Your AC plug from the wall provides reasonably steady and consistent power, devices do not have to worry about heat/cold/moisture, and there isn’t the same vibration level you might see in a vehicle. Because of this, you don’t need to worry about using a rugged device to meet your needs.

 

However, this may not be the case for an IoT device. Is there heat/cooling all of the time at that site? If it is used on a vehicle, vibration and changing power levels may be an issue. 

 

On top of this, you may need to factor in if the device can run on battery power in a power outage event. Taking a bit of time to go through this will save you many headaches down the road.

 

  1. Who needs access to the great information that this solution will generate?

Imagine your company rents printing/photocopier machines. When you add IoT to the mix, you now have so much more information in real-time than ever before. You know how many hours devices are running for if any are having potential issues, what features are used the most, and you can perform over-the-air software updates, just to name a few.

 

When you factor these things in, just about areas of your organization may benefit from this data. Finance will be able to determine capital costs better, Operations will be able to maintain a better uptime level, and Sales may create more lucrative billing models for customers. You must plan your solution to know how to disperse the data before deployment best.

 

  1. Why are you doing this?

This sounds obvious, but it does play into your decisions quite well. Is it because you are falling behind a competitor with better offerings?

Are you looking to have more of a “modern” image? 

Are you hoping to reduce costs?

 Or all of the above?

 

When you know why you are doing this, it can help you plan on what your solutions need to deliver now and ensure that the solution can grow to meet your needs in the future with minimal upgrades.

 

What To Consider When Buying An Antenna – Mobile Mark Inc.

What should you consider when choosing an antenna? From low profile mobile antennas that are designed for fleet management and smart highway systems to Omni-Directional base station antennas that are designed for cellular infrastructure and FirstNet rollouts, the right antenna is critical. But how do you know which antenna best fits your needs? Here are five things to consider when choosing an antenna and how Mobile Mark Antenna Solutions can help.

 

1. Antenna Frequency:  The bandwidth and frequency range of an antenna are related terms.  The bandwidth of an antenna refers to the range of frequencies over which the antenna satisfies a particular parameter specification. The parameters generally specified are gain, radiation pattern, the VSWR etc. Most commonly, the VSWR is chosen as the parameter for bandwidth considerations and this bandwidth is called the impedance bandwidth.

 

2. VSWR Specification:  The Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR) is an indication of the amount of mismatch between an antenna and the feed line connecting to it. The range of values for VSWR is from 1 to infinity. A VSWR value under 2 is considered suitable for most antenna applications. A VSWR specification commonly adopted is a 2:1 VSWR, which means that the range of frequencies over which the VSWR is less than 2 is chosen as the bandwidth of operation.

 

3. Antenna Gain: The Gain of an antenna is related to its directivity. Directivity is a numerical indication of the ability of an antenna to focus energy in a particular direction rather than spreading energy out uniformly over a wide-angle range. The gain of an antenna is its directivity reduced by the loss introduced by the antenna. The parameter that characterizes the loss of the antenna is called the radiation efficiency which has a value between 0 and 1.

 

4. Omni-directional or DirectionalAn antenna that radiates and receives energy equally well in all horizontal directions is an omnidirectional antenna. An antenna also has the ability to focus energy in a particular direction which means it’s directional. Omni-directional antennas are best suited for applications requiring good all-round coverage. For some applications, all-round coverage is either not required or it is desirable to be able to focus the available energy radiated by the antenna in a specific direction. This will dictate the choice of antenna.

 

5. Placement: To ensure the most optimal antenna placement, line-of-sight, height & distance between antennas and the curvature of the earth are all critical factors that must be considered. Antennas must be mounted as high as possible due to the line-of-sight range restrictions with VHF signals.  The orientation of your antennas should always match (vertical-to-vertical/horizontal-to-horizontal) or be as close to the same plane as the transmit

 

This is just to get you started, stay tuned for 5 more things you need to know when choosing the right antenna!

Don’t Despair; Compare!

There are 100's of products and product variations to choose from when it comes to IoT hardware. We've got multiple product comparison charts to help you compare features like hardware technology, cable length, device measurements and more!

Router, Modem & Gateway Comparison Charts

A cellular router uses a wireless cellular network to provide connectivity vs traditional wired cabling. Cellular routers and gateways connect and route communications between devices, machines, applications and cloud services. They can be used as the primary connection, or as backup connectivity for wired connections. Novotech carries a wide range of cellular modems from Sierra Wireless, InHand, Teltonika, Cradlepoint, Digi, CalAmp, and Perle.

Teltonika Logo

Terminal Comparison Charts

Thales's broad portfolio of Cinterion® IoT Modules, Gateways and Modem Cards enable always-on cellular communications for virtually any IoT or M2M application. Their rugged design, unparalleled engineering and manufacturing standards make them reliable in the most extreme environments and over the long life of your M2M solution. Offered for all cellular technology standards including 5G, LTE, NB-IoT and LTE Cat.M, Cinterion IoT modules and gateways provide voice, high-speed data and IP-based wireless communications with seamless global roaming.

Antenna Comparison Charts

Cellular antennas play an essential role in the operation of cellular routers. They help improve the signal quality and strength received by or sent from a cellular device. While some cellular devices work without an antenna, most require an internal or external antenna. Internal antennas are mounted inside the case of the cellular router and are not usually accessible. External antennas are either attached directly to the device or connected via a cable. Antennas can be single or multiple functions. For instance, an LTE antenna will boost only one frequency, LTE, while a 3-in-1 antenna may boost LTE, WiFi, and GPS. It is possible to get up to a 9-in-1 antenna.

Signal Booster Comparison Charts

Signal Boosters solve the challenge of bad cellular coverage in the office, at home, or on the road. In an office, boosters can reduce dropped calls and boost data transfer speeds. In automobile applications, a signal booster can ensure uninterrupted calls, reliable GPS, and constant connectivity in even the most remote areas. Novotech carriers signal boosters from the major manufacturers, including Cel-Fi (by Nextivity) and WeBoost. All units are available carrier approved for 3G/4G/LTE voice and data.

You Asked About Sierra Wireless, We Answered. See the FAQs here.

General Questions

 

1. What Does Sierra Wireless Do? 

 

Sierra Wireless Manufactures secure, manageable, high-performance cellular networking for mission-critical applications. They are a leader in the emerging world of the Internet of Things. Their product mix ranges from cellular components to accessories to turn-key solutions. Specifically, their Airlink division produces secure, manageable and high-performance gateways designed to enable many key IoT applications. These include remote office connectivity, vehicle tracking, in-vehicle communication and more. You can learn more about Sierra Wireless on Novotech's page here.

 

2. What Are the Best Sierra Wireless Products?

 

That depends entirely on your application. Like public safety vehicles, some applications require more complex and high-grade solutions- like Sierra Wireless's top of the line MG90. Other enterprise solutions- like failover for retail applications, require cellular IoT products with different features.

To make their product mix appeal to as many customers as possible, Sierra manufactures a wide variety of cellular gateways to meet their customers' needs.

They are available in various form factors, offer a different level of performance, and have multiple ruggedness levels. So, the best Sierra product is the one that serves your business needs today and in the future. You can compare Sierra Wireless Gateways and Routers on our comparison page here. 

 

3. Is Sierra Wireless A Good Stock Investment?  

 

At Novotech, we're IoT experts; we wouldn't dream of giving out stock advice. If you want to purchase Sierra Wireless hardware or services from us, see the "Buying Sierra Wireless" FAQs below. If you want to check our SWIR Stock summary, you can visit stocknews.com or follow this link to Sierra Wireless Stock Summary or see stock history here. Just about any stock can be a good investment, depending on the current market conditions and its current price. Sierra Wireless may be a stock to consider for those looking at financial exposure to the ever-growing IoT marketplace. However, as with any investment, we recommend that you consult your Financial planner before proceeding.

 

4. Where does Sierra Wireless Operate?

 

Sierra Wireless is a Canadian multinational wireless communications equipment designer and manufacturer headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. It also maintains offices and operations in California, Georgia, Brazil, Germany, Sweden, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, France, Guangdong and Hong Kong

Buying Sierra Wireless

 

 

5. Can I Buy Directly From Sierra Wireless?

 

No, Sierra Wireless Distributes its product through a partner reseller program. There are many partners around the world, including us at Novotech- we ship worldwide!

As much as the IoT industry has tried to simplify using their products, most people still require specialized expertise to procure and deploy their units. As such, companies like Sierra Wireless have wisely set up Partner Reseller programs through distributors to allow customers to easily and securely set up their products quickly. Novotech is proud to be a part of the Sierra Wireless distribution network!

 

6. Where Can I Buy Sierra Wireless? 

 

You can buy from Novotech today!

 Create an account with us to join our reseller program, and buy online. You can also reach out to our sales team for more information about a product and all the details you need to make the best choice for your organization. 

Why not start with Novotech? You can either start by joining our reseller program or by connecting with one of Novotech's experienced Sales team members.

 

7. How Do I Get Discounts On Sierra Wireless Products?

 

Sierra Wireless's Partner program allows for discounts based on different purchase points and volume of units. More information is available through Novotech's Reseller portal or a member of Novotech's Sales team.

 

8. How Do I Become A Sierra Wireless Premier Partner? 

 

The best place to start is through Novotech's reseller program or by talking to one of Novotech's Sales team members.

The program offers many benefits:

  • Next-day fulfillment is availableNet30 credit terms are available (upon credit check)
  • Deferred Payment programs
  • Inventory levels maintained in Canada and the US
  • Drop shipments directly to end customers
  • Specialized services (provisioning, kitting and custom SKUs) are available

Technical Questions

 

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9. How Do I Purchase Airlink Management Service?

 

Access to ALMS is included as part of AirLink Complete management and support plan. Access is included in the first year with supported device packages. About AirLink Management Service Managing remote assets and infrastructure is a demanding task. You need to maintain multiple device configurations, update device software, and remotely diagnose reported issues.

AirLink Management Service (ALMS) is the industry's leading network management solution. This highly advanced application supports over-the-air device registration, configuration and software updates. Dashboards display up-to-date views of the entire fleet, and custom reports can be set up to monitor critical events and prevent downtime.

The interactive monitoring dashboard and map show the status, signal strength, and location of all AirLink gateways¹ deployed. Drill down to quickly troubleshoot devices or update older versions of firmware with one-click. Advanced heartbeat reporting and custom alerts can be set up to notify you when devices go offline, resulting in faster issue identification, less downtime, and fewer field trips.

Access to the AirLink Management Service (ALMS) is part of AirLink's management and support plan.

The first year is included with the purchase of a supported device.

ALMS offers functionality that helps to reduce much of the demand for supporting your devices remotely, including:

  • Supporting over-the-Air (OTA) device registration, configuration and updates
  • Displaying the real-time status of your fleet
  • Customized reporting to monitor critical events and prevent unwanted downtime
  • Viewing the status, signal strength and location of your gateways
  • Quickly troubleshooting a device with a single click
  • Alerts when your device goes offline

 

10. How Is Airlink Management Service Different From ACEmanager?

 

ACEmanager allows you to configure an AirLink ALEOS device using a web browser. ACEmanager resides on the device and will enable you to configure only that device. AirLink Management Service provides a one-to-many solution for monitoring all your devices' status and configuring all of your devices. ACEManager is a solution that is designed to offer the ability to communicate with your devices on a one-to-one basis. This communication took place via a web browser. ALMS is a more advanced solution, offering "one-to-many" capabilities to monitor and configure all of your devices.

 

11. Does Airvantage Require My Devices To Have Public IP Addresses? Can Airvantage Work With Operator Private Networks?

 

No. Unlike many other device management applications, AirVantage has been designed to work with device-initiated communications.

This allows for your devices to remain securely behind a firewall and still have the ability to communicate with AirVantate.

 

12. Are Both SMA Connectors Required On Airlink Gateways?

 

When using any of the newer cellular networks (such as 3G, 4G, or soon, 5G), it is always best to use two antennas (more if the device supports it). Simply, this creates a more stable and higher bandwidth connection than if fewer antennas are used.

Sierra Wireless' LTE gateways (such as the RV50 / RV50X) utilize 2x2 MIMO (Multi-in, Multi-Out) technology. This is to improve the level of cellular signal/quality on both the uplink and the downlink. This differs from legacy 2G/3G connections using Rx Diversity.

MIMO uses two distinct Tx/Rx signals, intelligently combined, to increase data throughput speeds where signal multipath is available. This means there is an improvement in performance in areas that may have customarily experienced degradation.

Finally, when using the Verizon Wireless network, two antennas are required for reliable operation.

 

13. Do I have to use both SMA connectors on Sierra Wireless Airlink Cellular Gateways for the Radio Modem antennas?

 

Sierra Wireless Airlink, LTE Cellular Gateways such as the RV50 and RV50X, utilize 2×2 MIMO technology. MIMO equals Multi-In/Multi-out and is designed to improve the cellular signal and quality on both the downlink and uplink.

MIMO for LTE works differently from the older optional 2G/3G Rx Diversity antenna. It utilizes two distinct Tx and Rx signals intelligently combined with increasing throughput where signal multipath is available. MIMO will increase throughput in areas where interference would otherwise cause throughput degradation.

Two antennas must be used to achieve this performance and comply with several updated network operators' transmission requirements. Verizon's TM4, for example, requires two antennas for reliable operation, not just understanding.

 

14. Can I Remotely Change Acemanager Password On ALEOS Gateway

 

ALEOS Application Framework (ALEOS AF) provides developers with a complete set of building blocks and tools for creating applications that run inside Sierra Wireless AirLink GX gateways. ALEOS AF makes on the proven ALEOS built-in embedded intelligence and integrates with the AirVantage M2M Cloud Platform to offer developers and customers a platform for creating tailored end-to-end M2M solution.

ALEOS AF provides M2M and network protocol stacks, remote application and data management, access to existing ALEOS services, and direct access to hardware interfaces for building custom M2M applications.

ALEOS AF gets solutions to market faster, simplifies deployment, and allows for specialized features that yield cheaper and more focused solutions. Intelligence at the edge reduces hardware and communication costs by preprocessing and transmitting only necessary data.

For a visual introduction to what is ALEOS AF and what it enables, please see the ALEOS AF video below. 

https://doc.airvantage.net/alms/reference/monitor/howtos/remotelyChangeACEManagerPassword/

 

 

15. What Is This Difference Between AirLink Manager (AM) AirLink Mobility Manager (AMM)?

 

Follow this link for a chart detailing the key features included in the Sierra Wireless ALMS AM vs ALMS AMM.

 

 

16. Do I Need To Use Sierra Wireless Branded Antennas In Order To Achieve Optimal Device Performance?

 

Sierra Wireless antennas have been tested and certified to provide guaranteed performance with all AirLink routers and gateways. If the Antenna you need isn't available, Novotech can help you find a compatible antenna for your device.

6 Reasons You Should Invest In eSIM Technology For Your Business

When you decide to venture into the world of IoT, many decisions need to be made. This can range from what platforms you use to host your data, do you build a brand new unit or use an existing one and how you plan to connect your devices to the Internet.

In this post, we look at an aspect of the last one, namely, should you consider using a standard SIM slot or venture down the path of an eSIM. For a great explanation of what an eSIM is, click here. We examine six things you need to know, three on the “pro” side and three on the “con” side. 

Finally, we decided to add in “Scott’s take” for each one, where Novotech’s VP of Engineering, Scott Deyoe, adds in a comment on each point.

Advantages of eSIMs you should know:

Smaller footprint

If you are adding connectivity to something the size of an automobile, you may not care as much about the advantage of a smaller footprint (space is taken up) on your system board. However, since many IoT devices are small, even worn on the wrist, any extra space savings is much appreciated. Simply, the size taken up by any physical SIM card is multiple times bigger than what is needed for an eSIM solution.

Scott’s take -– While size may not be an issue for an automobile, harsh environmental conditions are an excellent application for eSIMs as their temperature range typically exceeds that of a plastic moulded SIM.

No mechanical failure of the socket

More and more, IoT devices are being used in vital applications. This includes things like water treatment systems, traffic control applications and monitoring of critical energy facilities. 

For these applications, failure can lead to significant issues, both financial and safety-related. Engineers designing these solutions must do what they can to remove any possible failure points.

As there is no actual physical socket, an eSIM solution's reliability level is generally much higher than on a traditional SIM-based design.

Scott’s take: Like the first issue, removing the mechanical socket associated with a traditional SIM also eliminates the requirement for ESD protection for a SIM socket.

Easier / simpler design

While many like to add fancy features into devices that may not need it, engineers of critical systems know that the simpler, the better. Simple designs mean that there are fewer ways for failure and, as a bonus, are generally lower cost to design, build and maintain.

Scott’s take -– Combining the improved environmental performance by eliminating the mechanical socket and extra circuitry required for ESD protection results in the most robust design possible.

Improved ESD protection

By removing the need to insert a physical device into the SIM slot, there is a reduction in [SD] the potential for ESD (electrostatic discharge). This is ideal for protecting the components on the board, especially in a critical application.

Scott’s take –[SD]  Reducing ESD exposure is always a plus as the symptoms of ESD can be sporadic.

Disadvantages of eSIM that you may want to consider:

May be more difficult to switch than you would think it should be

In theory, this point should be on the positive side, and it may very well be as the technology develops. When you do not have to physically swap out one SIM card for another to change providers, the switch should be effortless, especially for hard to reach devices in the field. However, according to many customers, this has not always been the case. Many have complained that the swaps have not gone as smoothly as desired. This is something to keep in mind, especially related to the second point.

Scott’s take: Typically, the SIM profile changing is managed by a third party clearing house with the credential profile required to change carriers.

Not all carriers support all features.

Related to the previous point, not all carriers support all of the features of eSIMs at this time. This means that if you wish to switch cellular providers during your deployment, you may find you have fewer options to do so. This would limit your choices, which can hurt both from a coverage standpoint and from the ability to get competitive pricing in some cases.

Scott’s take -– As mentioned previously, the carriers decide whether to participate in the eSIM exchange process. While almost all carriers have eSIM available today, not all support changing the carrier.

No ESD protection 

As we spoke of earlier, many IoT deployments involve very sensitive deployment, such as monitoring critical infrastructure. One of the ways that these devices are protected is against Electrostatic discharge to prevent damaging vital components. 

Traditional SIM card based deployments offer a higher level of protection than eSIMs, which may be a drawback for some.

Radio interference and how it impacts IoT systems

IoT products use several different protocols and technologies such as 802.11 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, LORA, NFC etc. In general, these technologies operate in various frequency bands in the electromagnetic or radio frequency (RF) spectrum. However, many wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ZigBee occupy and operate in the same 100 MHz band of frequencies from 2.4 GHz to 2.5 GHz. Unlike in a cellular network, wireless systems that utilize these protocols don't really ''talk'' to each other. In other words, they are unable to coordinate their use of the RF spectrum with each other. As a result, there are frequent ''collisions'' between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals or Wi-Fi and ZigBee. Although these collisions cannot be visualized, you can experience the effect when your network speed slows down. When this happens, we say that the networks are experiencing radio interference issues. 

 

Interference is not always due to different networks. Your Wi-Fi network, for instance, can interfere with a Wi-Fi network that belongs to your neighbour. The two networks don't see each other and communicate independently of one another. Similarly, your microwave oven that operates in the same 2.4 GHz frequency range can interfere with your Wi-Fi network. There are many proprietary products with unique, non-standard waveforms that are difficult to recognize in the unlicensed bands. These are also potential sources of RF interference. Other sources of interference are malfunctioning devices and broken cables, for instance. The issue with many of these interference sources and events is that they are unpredictable and often cannot be accounted for. One thing is for sure, as it is cheap to operate in the unlicensed bands, there are many more wireless products that have been developed to operate here. As a result, the likelihood of RF interference is much higher than in a licensed band. 

 

So as we can see, there are plenty of opportunities for interference. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to resolve radio interference. Many access point vendors will tell you to switch channels until you find one that works best. But this is not a permanent solution as another neighbour might install a new access point tomorrow. Or someone might start operating a cordless phone in the channel you just switched to. Eventually, you run out of channel options to switch to.

 

IoT systems are susceptible to and impacted by interference. 

 

There have been many academic and research papers on the impact of interference in IoT networks. Needless to say, the effect is significant. Imagine an IoT system that's built with embedded Wi-Fi modules and chipsets and deployed in the field. You may have no access to the IoT modules after deployment. Interference is challenging to detect and diagnose remotely. As well operating remotely makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to follow a vendor's recommendation to change channels when experiencing interference without recalling products from the field. 

 

Additionally, when IoT devices cannot communicate with one another due to interference issues, they try to do so repeatedly - again and again. Multiple attempts drain battery life in devices where battery consumption should be kept at a minimum to maintain a long life in the field. Next, consider an IoT deployment in mission-critical healthcare environments – not being able to communicate would be disastrous. 

 

So what's the solution?

 

One solution is to only use IoT systems in cellular bands where the RF environment is well planned and coordinated. Cellular systems don't experience interference – when they do, it's because someone used an unauthorized device that ''leaks'' RF into a licensed band. Such occurrences, while on the rise, are not as commonplace. However, such systems are more expensive than those deployed in the unlicensed bands.

 

A second solution is to use IoT systems that are well-separated in frequency. For instance, don't build or use a system that relies on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth systems operating at 2.4 GHz. Instead, use a Wi-Fi system that only uses the 5 GHz band. While this doesn't mitigate interference from outside your network, it at least minimizes self-interference.

 

It is anticipated that the use of 5G will greatly benefit IoT for many different reasons. There will be plenty of licensed spectrum to use for IoT products and applications from an interference standpoint. More than ever before, it should be relatively easy to avoid RF interference while allowing many devices to operate simultaneously and collision-free.

 

OneSDR is a blog dedicated to RF technology and products. We discover, review and write about the latest, exciting and most interesting radio technologies from software-defined radio to 5G and beyond. From obscure hacks to mainstream products, if it's about radio, we write about it.  

Automation Trends and Top 5 IoT Predictions of 2020

By: Ayushi Sharma

Technology-based careers do not change at the same speed, but they do evolve, and the savvy IT experts recognize that their role will not stay the same. Therefore, it is essential to keep an eye on the future, to know the latest technology disruptions. Staying current with technology trends helps everyone to enhance their skills and qualifications like some of the jobs created by these trends.

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Here are some trends that could sustain their momentum in 2020, including RPA, AI, Blockchain, ML, IOT, Edge computing, Virtual reality, and Cybersecurity.

 

Hyper-automation: 

 

Hyper-automation is the key technology trends in 2020. In Hyper-automation, organizations can automate various business verticals and evolve everyone in the transformation. It includes several components of automation, technologies, and tools that enhance the ability to automate work. Advanced technologies such as Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, Machine learning or ML, Artificial intelligence, and other modern tools increase its capability. Hyper-automation unlocks maximum opportunities for organizations by automating processes or tasks with little or no human interventions.

 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

 

RPA is a system that allows businesses or organizations to automate tasks across various systems and applications. RPA automates workflow, infrastructure, and back-office processes that require human intervention. For instance, Bots are the part of the RPA system that interacts with the website or application and run on end user’s PC or mobile devices. RPA offers plenty of career opportunities for IT professionals. They are concentrated on automating tedious activities such as calculating payroll, procurement, insurance claims, and invoices.

 

According to Forrester's research, the Robotic Process Automation market is expected to reach 2.9 billion dollars by 2021, which the market will continue to grow at an exponential rate.

 

Machine Learning (ML)

 

Machine learning is a subset of AI and a process where system study patterns like occurrences, experience, and enhance its skills and decision-making ability. Some instances of ML are image processing, regression, medical diagnosis, learning association. Enterprises are becoming curious and adaptive for ML because it can process an unlimited amount of comprehensive data, prediction through quick analysis, providing businesses mobility solutions, etc.

 

“Autonomous things” by Artificial Intelligence (AI)

 

This is the era of intelligent devices. For example, Amazon has already started delivering packages through drones. It also uses a completed automated warehouse for bringing orders home. AI has influenced several businesses that include retail, real estate, financial, automobile, healthcare, etc. AI is where smart systems can act as an artificial brain based on the intelligent machine learning algorithm integrated with it. With the use of Cloud Data and Big Data, the accuracy of AI apps is enhanced. Thus, businesses are developing AI app solutions.

 

Blockchain

 

Another one of the emerging technologies in 2020 and beyond is Blockchain. It is a ledger of distinct records collected using the high-secure method. It is undoubtedly a robust way to record, validate, and transfer assets in real-time without mediator intervention. Many custom blockchain development software industries are implementing Blockchain for numerous utilization cases. Business blockchain adopts practical and robust methods and utilizes only helpful elements of a full blockchain. The researcher predicts that in the future, “blockchain complete” or true Blockchain can potentially transform industries and the economy by integrating complementary technologies such as IoT and AI.

 

Cybersecurity

 

Threats are continually increasing as hackers are trying to access sensitive data illegally, and they will continue to find ways to get through even the highest security measures. It’s also in part as new technology is being adapted to improve security. Due to these threats and hackers, Cybersecurity will be an emerging technology because it will continuously evolve to defend against those hackers.

 

 According to research, it is anticipated that 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021.

 

Top 5 IoT Predictions in 2020

 

The year 2019 witnessed a continued growth of the IoT software platform, and there is no doubt 2020 will see further use cases of IoT. IoT refers to a process in which electronic devices or virtual objects interrelate and transfer data between the networks in which human-to-computer or human-to-human is not mandatory. Many eminent Software Development Companies have started to fuel their development operations with IoT strategies, which eventually explores the incredible growth for IT industries.

If you are into business, you may understand that changes are better and progressive. The new trend is coming in 2020, so It will have something exciting trends with IoT.

Following are the top 5 IoT trends predictions and their benefits:

 

Edge computing:

 

IoT adds tool against the firewall of the network. Securing cell phones is much easier than the task of securing IoT devices. It is mandatory to create protection between the network connection and software application connected to the relevant device.

 

It is cost-effective and reliable due to that IoT achieves respective success in the data processing. Fast data processing is typical in all devices.  It has lower dependency over the cloud. It manages a large amount of data which is sent by every computer. It also helps the applications with reduced latency to use less bandwidth for as faster IoT based applications.

 

Security:

 

In IoT, security remains the primary concern for those who are developing and using IoT applications today. As the network grows, the size of the data also increases and gathered colossal information. IoT tools and technologies should be balanced with IoT security awareness and training with the growth of IoT tools and technologies. Encryption can be performed from machine to machine, biometric logins will be introduced, and technologies such as Machine Learning, Big data, and Artificial intelligence will be used to eliminate the software.

 

Smart Cities:

 

IoT will change people's lifestyles, and it will be turned into a smart connected lifestyle, mostly making their civic lifestyle smarter. Automated self-driven cars and grids are some of the areas where IoT will come in the picture. It will almost mark its place in the driving innovation by integrating into Traffic management and better utility and energy management. In a couple of years, it is expected that cities will get engaged in exchanging data, which will give access to the data between public and private companies along with the citizens.

 

Cloud Computing:

 

The protection of the data is the only main thing to be taken care of. Using a smartphone with an internet connection can be much riskier in many ways, and your personal information can be easily exploited. Still, it can be secured by using certified and authorized violators and spyware. However, the future of IoT technology for smart homes, autonomous vehicles, and wearable devices would contain information about hackers, criminals, etc. Cloud computing is the future of IoT as it will keep your private data secure and safe.

 

AI and Big Data world:

 

Currently, there are millions of devices and customers which are connected to IoT. Hence, the massive amount of data transmission is required to process and analyze accordingly.  The purpose is to extract the potential data from the bulk. But for that, some Big data and Artificial engineering techniques will be in use to process the information. Merging of Artificial intelligence, IoT, and Big data would create a new advanced generation application building with security.

 

Business leaders have increased confidence in IoT. A considerable number of organizations have neglected the IoT pilot phase in favour of initial implementations. For those that are convinced, innovations have already been started and approaching on the floor sooner.

 

Wrapping up

 

Advancements in technology have pushed innovation with every passing year. In this regard, AI and automation have made their mark by helping businesses tangibly achieve what was once considered a mere dream. With the evolution of technology, its applications must be funnelled to promote ethical, smart, democratized, and secure workspaces. This is also the right time for technology enthusiasts to select one technology in which you have an interest, get trained, and get on board at the early stages of the technology, positioning them for success now and in the future.

 

Author Bio: Ayushi Sharma – Communication and Marketing Professional

Tuning an always learning and growth mindset, Ayushi Sharma is dexterous communication and marketing professional with years of experience working with custom software development companies helping in areas like project management, strategizing digital marketing, business development, software development, product marketing and marketing events.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ayushi-sharma-9392a8174/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/iFourAyushi

IoT To Keep Seniors Safe At Home And Out Of Retirement Homes

By: Larry Bellehumeur 
Friday, October 2nd, 2020

First, I do not want to unfairly criticize or downplay the incredible work done by staff in retirement homes and communities. Many of them could likely find more lucrative employment in other areas but have chosen to dedicate their lives (and risk them lately) in the pursuit of enhancing the lives of millions of seniors around the world.

I think there is a widespread phrase being used by seniors in many of these homes; “I want to go back home where it is safer.” The ease of which this current pandemic has tragically spread through many families makes the next round of seniors nervous, or even downright frightened. Many adult children are looking for ways to keep their parents in their own home; (or at least in the home of a loved one) longer to avoid the possibility of a future wave of the pandemic.

IoT is here to help: here are some ways that it is helping to not only keep people in their homes until later in life but to do so safely and to increase their level of independence.

 

Maybe you should get Grandma an Apple Watch.

 

I did a short video about this, and it had a lot of hits, so it is likely a common thought. Devices, such as the Apple Watch 4 and others, can obtain a lot of information that allows us to see what is going on. A possible change in resting heart rate may indicate the onset of a virus, while a difference in the activity level may show it as well.

However, the added ability of some newer devices (and their corresponding software) have taken this to a new level. The addition of advanced accelerometers can better detect falls, a lack of motion during the day can be determined to be a person unconscious, and some of the new on-board EKG and Pulse Ox meters (the latter becoming much more well known in the time of COVID) all help to alert to issues with the health of your loved ones, often when they cannot.

 

GPS alerts for higher risk loved ones

For some, it goes beyond just essential health as there is a concern about them being lost. While most of us carry smartphones and use them to give us GPS based information, many seniors are not as likely to carry one around. This can be dangerous as many suffering from dementia or other illnesses may become forgetful and wander off.

GPS based wearables that focus more on this crowd are becoming more readily available and advanced. Some allow for the automatic answering of the call on the wrist, allowing them to hear a comforting voice. Alerts can also be sent to let you know when they have gone a little far from home- so, no signs for them going to the mailbox, but one if they get on the bus to go somewhere unexpectedly.

 

Keeping an eye on them without spying

There is always a balance between being observant and being intrusive. Want to know exactly what is going on at their house? Just cover the place with video cameras and microphones that will do the trick. Unfortunately, no one wants to have “big brother” (or in the case “big children”) watching them, so most will object to such a setup. However, merely knowing if a door is opened is not be enough for parents who may be at risk for leaving the stove on.

Sonar and Infrared solutions work on the idea of knowing just enough of what is going on to be helpful while not being overly intrusive. They can alert to an excessive heat source, which may indicate a fire or a cold source, showing a window being left open in the winter. They can go on step further, with the introduction of Artificial intelligence into the mix. By detecting patterns, a solution could let you know if Grandma, who always comes down for her morning tea at 8 am, has not made it down by 10 am.

 

Did you remember to take your pills?

Take this one before dinner with water, take this one after dinner and take this one after watching four episodes of “Jeopardy” … there are so many variables that there is no wonder people get confused, especially when taking many different medications.

The first way to help here is automated reminders through smart pillboxes. The box will send an alert, first to the person and then to a family member if a medication is overdue. However, overtaking of medicine can also be a concern. For this, we have smart pill bottles. The bottles can alert if the pace that pills are taken is too fast before an overdose happens.

 

Driving aids

Is it time to have “the chat” with Mom and Dad about their driving? This is always one of the most challenging conversations you can have as no one wants to give up their freedom. Automated solutions can make this conversation just a little less awkward. By showing them the data from their driving, you can see patterns and trends that show them it is time to pass over their keys.

 

Ring, Nest and Ecobee

I am sure that there are a dozen companies that can be here, but the overall idea is how smart home solutions can help automate many things in their home and alert to urgent situations. Smart doorbells allow them to answer the door without getting up. Smart Thermostats are great for maintaining temperature in their home to enable them to be both comfortable and reduce their HVAC costs. More pressing, though, is how smart detectors (both for CO2 and smoke) can provide you with an alert when they go off, to allow to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

 

In-home health care

At some point, everyone needs some health care services, whether it is for an on-going issue or recovering from a major one (like a heart attack). In-home solutions help get people home faster and allow them to stay there safely.

In-home monitoring solutions are ideal for allowing patients to return home a few days before they usually would have. These can be set up by in-home teams and provide around the clock monitoring of lower-risk items. It also is cheaper for the healthcare system, so win-win all around.

For regular on-going care, IoT solutions can also help. By automating the process, IoT makes care more affordable and safer. This includes allowing for lower cost record keeping, better interaction with family members and overcoming some of the common language barriers with many front-line workers.

In short, IoT can help to keep people in their homes longer, which is both what they want and likely a way to keep them safe.

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Top 10 things to know before buying a Cellular Router or IoT Gateway

Before You Buy 

The first thing to know is that there is no order or level of importance for each of these factors in your choice. Each may be a deciding factor in your purchase.

Next, some of these things may be features that you may not need to start but find out that you will need them in the future. One way to solve this is to buy "more gateway" than you need. For example, you may believe that your solution will always be deployed indoors in a controlled location, only to find out that you need to be able to deploy them in a tougher environment, one that is exposed to low and high temperatures. Buying a gateway that has a broader temperature specification will not add much to your cost upfront. Still, it may save you a lot down the road. Here are the 10 factors:

 

#1 - What Radio Technology to choose

#2 - Operating Temperature 

#3 - Ports and Local connectivity

#4 - How are you Powering the Gateway / Router

#5 - Selecting a Mobile Carrier

#6 - Input/output Ports 

#8- Device Management

#9 - Network Redundancy / Dual SIM

#10 - Bridge Gateway / Router Mode

#1 - What Radio Technology to choose

 

Hopefully, breaking it down into these four categories will help.

 

  1. The first group is the High-Speed Cellular offerings, including 3G, 4G and soon, 5G. For those who are all about speed, this is the only group to consider. It provides speeds that rival what is available in many homes and businesses and enough speed to allow for real-time solutions- 5G, which offers almost real-time latency levels. The downside for these faster networks is the same downside of buying a car with a big engine; you will pay more. It is going to use more gas or, in the case of the Gateway, more power. These devices are not ideal for deployments that are powered by batteries or are power conscious.

 

  1. Low-speed Cellular options are starting to emerge and will power the expected explosive growth of IoT more than any other group. CAT-1 offers the most speed of this group, allowing for enough bandwidth to download data quickly in Digital Signage applications. CAT-M is the most recently launched one, currently being deployed in most North America and many other world regions. It is ideal for applications that need a reliable connection but isn't all about speed. Finally, NB-IoT (or NB1) will be the optimal choice for the extremely cost-conscious customer. However, networks won't be ready for a bit.

 

  1. Wide Area Non-Cellular is a category that is relatively new but has become popular for specific segments. Low power networks like SigFox may prove popular in tracking and monitoring low-cost assets better than many existing technologies. As well, many municipalities and regions are using LoRa equipment to provide a reliable method of talking to remote assets that do not use the Internet. The biggest concern for these networks now is lack of coverage, so time will tell how popular they become.

 

  1. Local Area Non-Cellular includes popular choices like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. These are ideal for many consumer and business applications where the customer is expected to use another source, such as their home or business connection, to gain access to the Internet. Another area is more industrial-focused technologies like ZigBee, which can be ideal for communicating with remote equipment on a site. These technologies can be used as a standalone, but are also commonly found on many gateways, allowing you to communicate locally using them and then transmitted back to a central server using the built-in cellular connection

 

 

Finally, many manufacturers offer products with various connection options, meaning that you can often use the same product/software and change the connectivity option as needed. More about that in the section on Local Connectivity coming up shortly.

 

 

#2 - Operating Temperature 

Today's electronics are more capable than ever before when it comes to dealing with different temperatures. However, when your business relies on a product to work, you want to make sure that you are using a designed product to handle your work environment's rigors.

 

  1. Consumer-grade devices are meant for "carpeted environments." They are more prone to overheating on a hot summer day. Even though they may work at more extreme temperatures, they are prone to failure if exposed to different temperatures. If your application has zero chance of exposure to extreme temps, these devices may be all you need.
  2. Commercial grade devices offer a bit more protection. They may not fare well outside in the coldest day in a Minnesota winter, but they are sufficient for most areas. Many mid and higher tier gateways use this level as their entry point, allowing maximum deployments flexibility.
  3. Finally, you have devices that deal with the most challenging conditions on the planet, the Industrial grade devices. They work in the areas that most don't want to; extreme heat in deserts, high humidity levels are seen in places like New Orleans, extreme cold in Northern Canada. They function well in deployments that have unheard-of vibration levels, such as on a dump truck. They are built to last, wherever you put them.

 

 

#3 - Ports and Local connectivity

Out of the box, once set up, your Gateway will look after establishing the connection to the network and maintain it continuously. But that is only half of the work, as you still need to connect your device to the Gateway. In some cases, you may just monitor some simple variables via an Input port. The Gateway does all the work. In most cases, however, you will connect your chosen device to the Gateway. That can be via a variety of wired and wireless methods.

 

Here are the four common ones:

 

  • We all know the fun of using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in our personal lives. Most of us use Bluetooth technology to link together headphones and speakers to our various tablets and phones. Most households use Wi-Fi, but they are also used heavily in the world of gateways. They allow communication between devices and the Gateway, such as in the case of an EMS attendant who can now move away from the vehicle and record information on a tablet that transmits using Wi-Fi. In some cases, the distance between the devices and the Gateway can be too long, or there is too much in-between (such as walls) to allow Wi-Fi to work. In those and other Industrial cases, radio technology is used to communicate between the Gateway and devices. One of the more popular ones is ZigBee, which is a standard Industrial tool.

 

  • Ethernet is the old stand-by, the old reliable, whatever you wish to call it. There is something that gives people a sense of security and reliability when there is a physical cable connecting things. It still works well for many applications, but it is not without its issues. Running cables can be expensive, and they are prone to damage. As well, it can reduce the amount of flexibility in deployments. Still, it is heavily used in many industrial and in-vehicle communications and has a long life ahead of it.

 

  • Serial ports, on the other hand, are starting to disappear. However, many applications, especially in the Industrial world, still heavily rely on ports such as RS-232 and RS-485 to communicate. The serial port may be going away, but it is not dead yet.

 

  • Finally, we have a USB. Like Serial, it is not as popular as it may have been for IoT devices, namely, the emergence of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth's increased speed. However, like Serial, many devices use USB, including gateways connecting to routers as a backup, something we will cover in a bit. One issue with USB has always been the lack of a locking mechanism, so it never did find its way into many rugged applications where vibration may be an issue.

 

One thing to remember is that you may not know what port offerings you need for the next 3, 5 or 10 years for your devices. To help, most gateways offer more than one of these offerings on a single device, and some even offer the ability to expand at a future date if your needs were to change.

 

 

#4 - How are you Powering the Gateway / Router

 

One often overlooked decision about a gateway is how you are going to power it. Here are three main types:

 

  1. AC power is the most common power source we have in our lives. Depending on where you live, there may be a different number of prongs on the plug.
  2. DC power requires the product to be a bit more flexible. Many DC sources have more fluctuation in their offerings, so most gateways powered by DC are designed to deal with this. This is the method of choice for in-vehicle installs and most industrial applications.
  3. PoE, or Power over Ethernet, was once the domain of the IT world. By sending both power and data across the same cable, installers are given more flexibility as to where to place devices. In the world of IoT, this means that you can potentially move the Gateway closer to the outside, allowing for a shorter antenna cable, which maximizes coverage.

 

As mentioned, most gateways offer AC and DC power choice, and more and more are offering PoE as an option.

 

#5 - Selecting a Mobile Carrier

 

A cellular gateway needs to have an active connection from a cellular carrier. Otherwise, it is a very nice-looking paperweight in most cases. In the past, carrier choice often had to be done at the time of purchase, as devices on some legacy networks were tied into one provider.

With the emergence of 4G, switching carriers has become much easier. If your deployment is always going to be in the same country, you don't have to factor in this into your decision.

However, suppose your application may need to cross over into different parts of the world. In that case, you need to factor in that other parts of the world use different frequency ranges. To help, many gateways can work in multiple areas, but you will want to verify this before you purchase.

 

 

#6 - Input/output Ports 

 

Without a doubt, one of the most under-utilized portions of a gateway is the Input and Output ports. They can be used to gather many key pieces of information, but few know much about them. Inputs are used to take in either an on/off the signal or reading of key items. Examples may include how many times a door has opened, the level of grain in a storage container or how many marathon runners have gone past a distance marker. Outputs are a bit different, as it originates from the Gateway and a signal is sent to a device. It may be to open a door, such as a door at a secure remote location.

There are two different forms of Inputs and Outputs, Digital and Analog.

 

  • Digital inputs have only two states; they are on or off, like a light switch. In the case of a marathon, an input can be received from a motion sensor. This laser beam is broken by the runner or when they step on a mat. That signal is then sent to the Gateway and can be handled in a couple of ways, which we will talk about shortly. Digital outputs are similar, in that they only have two states. However, the difference is that the Gateway (on behalf of the user) is initiating the interaction. It will send a pulse to create a state change on the device, like opening a gate at a parking lot.

 

  • Analog inputs. They work on various ranges, as opposed to on-off status. So, they can work with sensors to determine the level of key things, such as the amount of grain inside one of these silos. In the past, the Gateway acted only as a conduit or a transport method to bring back the different input results or to send the Output request. The most recent gateways batch has become incredibly smart, allowing for both onboard programming and extensive computing power to write scripts and coding. This enables the Gateway to execute "if-then that" commands, record essential information, and replace many expensive computing devices.

 

 

 

In this fast-paced world of business that we are in, things can change quickly. Devices in a static deployment situation are now expected to work in a mobile environment. One example is in the food industry; people are ditching the old brick and mortar restaurants and moving towards pop-up restaurants and food trucks at an incredible rate. Many are hoping to use as much of their current equipment as possible in these new ventures. Most reliable enterprise-grade gateways can work in either environment, although some designed to use in fixed environments may not have all the features you need in a Mobile gateway.

To recap, this is a decision that you will want to make and take your time to do so. If you have any doubt about which type you may need, you may wish to opt for a mobile gateway, as you will have an increased level of flexibility. Just make sure that AC, which most can power the device.

#8- Device Management

IT departments are in kind of a dilemma when it comes to IoT gateways. Along with the business teams, they love the flexibility it gives them, and most appreciate the reliability and security level that today's gateways offer. However, it brings up something they hate: more work. How do you manage devices that never come back to the office? It is hard enough to control phones and laptops, and now this? Luckily, today's gateways offer some incredible tools to manage things like firmware levels, settings, and security levels.

 

The fundamental way that most devices do this is what is referred to as one-to-one management. An administrator can remotely connect to a device and make all the required changes. This works great if you have one, two or a few devices- not so great if you have hundreds or thousands. You can use a script to streamline this, but it is still cumbersome. This is the default offering, usually free, for most Gateways.

One-to-many is the other method, and this has many things going for it. You can make changes to all devices at once, such as changing a setting or upgrading firmware. As well, these offerings usually allow for an easier way of gathering data, such as uptime and location, from your devices immediately. The downside is that it usually is not free. Still, when you factor in the costs of managing many devices on a one to one basis, it is not a hard cost to justify for most IT teams.

 

A couple of other factors in your decision; how often do you need to make changes? The more often you do, the more that a one-to-many solution will make sense. The other is your security level. More specifically, do you have any issues using cloud-based software offerings to manage your devices? Most organizations have everything else in the cloud, so there is no issue, but some (especially government agencies like police forces) may have policies against doing this. Many companies are offering one-to-many management tools that can be purchased and deployed internally.

 

#9 - Network Redundancy / Dual SIM

 

Most of the time, a landline connection is providing connectivity. If it is not available, the implantation of a router detects this and switches over to the backup (or wireless) connection. When it detects that the mainline is back up, it switches back just as seamlessly. This will allow you to continue taking Point of Sale Transactions at a busy retail store, even if the connection is cut. It is increasingly done on the cellular Gateway, which has the built-in ability to handle the switching between the two. For many deployments, a single cellular connection is more than enough. However, in the case of deployments that require a maximum amount of reliability, such as at a railroad switching location, a 2nd cellular network is often used. It is from a different provider and one that uses an additional network infrastructure from the primary connection.

 

Many gateways can accommodate this by implementing Dual-SIM technology. The Gateway can use the SIMs to provide a failover method. In some cases, it can use both SIMs simultaneously and load-balance to maximize data throughput.

 

#10 - Bridge Gateway / Router Mode

 

In most cases, you are provided with an Internet gateway by your landline provider. These Gateways often have built-in routing and Wi-Fi capability, so you do not need to purchase your Wi-Fi router. If this is how you deploy it, the Internet Gateway is working in Router mode. It is the one that is slicing and dicing your connection to provide connectivity to many devices.

However, many people choose to deploy their router instead of using the one from the provider.

 

Bridge mode is when the Gateway from the provider passes the IP address to the router that you bought, and the router handles everything.

 

In many locations, there is no router on-site. Hence, organizations use the routing ability inside of the cellular Gateway to do this. At more significant sites, such as at a retail store, the IT team may want to use specialized routers to handle traffic, so the cellular Gateway is just used to provide connectivity or a "bridge" to the Internet. It is also common when working with Industrial equipment at remote sites.

 

One important thing to note here is that cellular gateways have seen such huge advancements in their routing capability that many are now competitors to most traditional routers and are replacing them at a staggering rate. Finally, there are scenarios where you don't have an existing router on-site and still need to use the cellular Gateway in bridge mode, but those are becoming less common.

 

Novotech is a great place to start your IoT journey. We have great material on our web page, offer industry-leading service and expertise and have a local presence through our vast reseller network.