Wireless Gotchas! Number Two: Global Connectivity

Bill Zujewski, Axeda Bill Zujewski of Axeda Corporation

(Blog): In this fourth post in a five-part series of blogs, Bill Zujewski (pictured here) explores the challenges of dealing with wireless technology as part of an M2M (machine-to-machine) initiative. Here he focuses on global connectivity.

The Internet of Things is a global phenomenon that’s not slowing down – it’s really just picking up speed, with impact just starting to materialise. Many of the leading connected product manufacturers build, deploy, and support connected assets all around the world, and combined with wireless, M2M technology goes a long way in helping organisations expand their M2M initiatives across international borders.

Global Connectivity
International connectivity isn’t necessarily
difficult to establish, as most carriers offer
a version of Global SIM.

International wireless connectivity isn’t necessarily difficult to establish, as most carriers offer a version of a global SIM. The challenge is that global M2M connectivity adds layers of complexity and significant additional considerations that connected businesses need to juggle – or they risk setbacks and disruptions in service.

Some of these challenges include:

  • Ensuring compatibility with various networks or carriers: An asset in Germany will rely on a different network than one in India. Manufacturers need to ensure their machines can connect to different networks in different regions – something that becomes even more difficult for mobile assets (e.g. shipping containers) that need to connect to various networks as they move throughout different regions. Otherwise, businesses risk losing sight of and access to their machines.
  • Managing economics: Rates from carrier to carrier vary greatly, so businesses need to do their due diligence to ensure their connectivity will be affordable, especially for mobile assets that rely on more than one network. Without proper research and planning, connectivity costs could unexpectedly skyrocket.
  • Ensuring reliability: Don’t assume you’ll have connectivity in all parts of the world. In many areas, even wired connectivity is not guaranteed. Manufacturers need to understand where their connectivity may be at risk, and which wireless methods are the best options. Downtime doesn’t just halt productivity — it can literally cripple profitability.

For an effective international M2M initiative that doesn’t break the budget or risk service, flexibility is key. Manufacturers should design an architecture that is carrier-, device-, and SIM management-agnostic – so that machines can smoothly rely on different networks and communication devices anywhere in the world.

The author is Bill Zujewski, CMO and executive vice president of Product Strategy at Axeda Corporation. He is also a member of M2M Now’s Editorial Advisory Board.

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