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Choosing the right IoT devices to speed up proof of concept and scale quickly

IoT devices by Digital Twin

Digital transformation is a key factor of modern business improvement, but to succeed at it, first you need data. To obtain this data you need IoT devices to harvest it, connectivity for the device, and a way of presenting this data to the business.

Developing an IoT solution from scratch is a costly exercise that can take years and is fundamentally usually not necessary due to someone having done it before.

Choosing the right IoT devices to speed up proof of concept and scale quickly will bring valuable advantages today that make for the key ingredients of tomorrow’s market leaders.

IoT devices are a critical ingredient for any IoT solution. These devices quickly give the business a clear picture of the value of their data, but knowing the value of that measurement is only the first step. Having an out-of-the-box internet-connected device that will simply and reliably transform that information to a cloud application and address common use cases at scale is the ideal solution.

Looking for ready-to-deploy IoT devices?

The challenge is the know-how

Part of the challenge is the know-how. The enterprise might not know how to build and develop a device of their own, and likewise, an IoT sensor manufacturer isn’t necessarily a specialist in the Internet of Things ecosystem. They may not have the capability nor capacity to provide their sensors in an easy-to-connect format for upstream makers, design houses, and product manufacturers to easily work with to build prototypes.

Businesses looking to remotely connect sensing devices also need to consider the connectivity aspect. Using a Thingstream Ready device is a quick way to build a prototype network that not only works anywhere in the world but also enables the easy processing and transformation of the binary data into meaningful information for any upstream IoT application.

u‑blox’s Thingstream Device Partners answer the ‘know-how’ challenge by offering Thingstream Ready devices for popular use cases. These devices can be enabled within minutes to send their data to the enterprise cloud platform. This rapidly accelerates the process of proving potential IoT use cases.

Giving IoT devices what they need

Thingstream Ready devices include the benefits that constrained IoT devices need in order to unlock the potential for global enterprises seeking a simple, cost-effective way to reliably connect fleets of devices wherever they are in the world.

u‑blox offers a comprehensive solution for global IoT connectivity based on the industry-standard MQTT (message queuing telemetry transport) protocol, widely used for data transfer in IoT networks, and its variant MQTT-SN, specifically designed for the efficient operation of large low-power IoT sensor networks. The MQTT Anywhere IoT communication service provides a secure end-to-end solution that addresses cost and power efficiency challenges that can cripple large sensor implementations, making it easier to deploy reliable, highly efficient IoT networks.

Many ambitious plans for IoT solutions flounder because costs are unpredictable, particularly if the IoT network is large. While the cost of individual IoT devices can easily be known, the cost of operations, which can vary depending on the amount of data transmitted and the volume of power used, is much more difficult to predict and can become a major issue when the network scales to hundreds or even thousands of devices. At this scale, the network may transmit millions of messages per year, and the seemingly small per-message costs soon add up, as do the associated costs of power.

That is where the MQTT Anywhere service comes in. MQTT-SN is designed specifically for smart IoT device networks with scale in mind and provides efficiencies in both data transmission and power consumption. MQTT-SN achieves this by ensuring that as little data is transmitted as possible, only sent when it is needed, and allows large networks of devices to communicate in a distributed manner through a publish-and-subscribe model.

The advantages of MQTT Anywhere extend beyond the efficiency of its data transmission architecture. The service includes data transfer by transmitting MQTT-SN messages over 2G, 3G, LTE, and LTE-M networks, across 600+ GSM carriers in 190 countries, without necessitating a cellular plan. MQTT Anywhere also streamlines how connectivity service rates are assessed. Instead of a traditional data plan where costs are determined by the amount of data transmitted, the MQTT service assesses charges based on the number of MQTT interfaces that go back and forth to the cloud. As MQTT-SN can be programmed to operate with very low messaging levels, this further reduces the operational costs of a large-scale IoT network.

With convenience and scale

The MQTT Anywhere service also offers customers more convenience and reduces the operational headaches of tracking multiple vendors for IoT system deployments. Without a Thingstream Ready IoT device available for rapid proof of concept, companies building IoT solutions from the ground up would need to deal with hardware vendors for the wireless modules, contract with software developers to develop and optimize the solution and sign up for a connectivity service with a telecom provider.

MQTT Anywhere removes the entanglements of multiple contracts and vendors, making the scaling of large IoT networks as seamless and quick as possible. The u‑blox Thingstream platform also simplifies the cost of ownership and management of complex IoT solutions for customers looking for the benefits of a smart IoT device network, but not the challenges of deploying one from scratch.

Choosing the right IoT devices

With a vast multitude of diverse types of sensors available in the market, choosing the right IoT devices that speed up proof of concept, scale quickly, and come in an easy-to-use package brings tangible value that can be a competitive advantage to the next generation of IoT smart device market leaders.

u‑blox’s IoT Communication-as-a-Service offering is another step along the path where our products will be combined with services that enhance functionality, improve quality of service in challenging conditions, and help solve the problems of complexity, cost, and availability.

Looking for ready-to-deploy IoT devices?