Improving IoT Performance and Quality of Experience with Remote Module Services
Innovation and the Internet of Things (IoT) are fueling a new industrial revolution that is quickly transforming the way we work, live and enjoy our lives. From manufacturing to transportation to farming, real time data available at your fingertips, and the ability to remotely manage assets is optimizing process, improving productivity and helping to save resources. For instance:
If you’re a farmer, economical use of water and fertilizer are essential to make tight profit margins. By installing smart agricultural sensors, food producers are able to closely monitor and manage fields based on real time weather, humidity and sunlight. At harvest time, yield is increased while the cost of crop inputs is reduced, even with challenging environmental conditions. This success is made possible by the growing network of connected sensors and objects that are able to collect and exchange data using embedded IoT technology and wireless networks.
Realizing IoT benefits in a world of technology fatigue
IHS, a market analysis firm, forecasts that the IoT market will grow from 15.4 billion installed devices in 2015 to 30.7 billion in 2020 and 75.4 billion by 2025. Almost everyone is now interacting with the IoT, whether they know it or not. Both enterprises and end users want the convenience and savings the IoT promises; however, not everyone wants more technology in their lives. The pace of technological innovation is frenetic and many people don’t have the desire or bandwidth to learn how new systems work. Customers want a smooth experience, especially when managing fleets of devices deployed across geographically diverse locations. They need to trust that IoT solutions will perform as expected, providing 100 percent reliability without customer intervention or physical maintenance.
Improving performance and quality of experience for the IoT ecosystem
To ensure seamless reliability and realize the full potential of the IoT, device makers, service providers and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) need new solutions to enhance the quality of experience for implementers and end users - a key factor in driving IoT adoption and customer retention.
The good news is new software solutions are emerging that leverage existing embedded IoT technology to allow ecosystem stakeholders to remotely monitor and manage their solutions improving connectivity and functionality. And they don’t require a complete overhaul of existing IoT hardware. Software solutions can be introduced and integrated into already deployed assets allowing remote monitoring, maintenance and troubleshooting for a whole fleet of deployed devices. The solutions are used to optimize performance from the time of installation throughout the entire lifecycle of the device.
Improved insight into how IoT solutions are using wireless networks opens the door to improved quality of service and experience for customers by identifying, reporting and, in some cases, repairing potential connectivity issues before they cause service disruption. By enabling remote monitoring and control of IoT solutions, reliability of applications can be greatly improved, lifespan of devices can be extended through timely over the air updates, and cost-savings can be realized by eliminating expensive and time-consuming maintenance visits for swarms of devices.
How does it work? Examining new solutions for managing IoT performance
IoT solutions and devices are comprised of four basic elements: sensors that collect data, a communications module and SIM that enables connectivity and sends sensor data securely over wireless networks, a cloud platform that analyzes the data, and a user interface that delivers information in easy to understand formats. Solutions are often deployed in remote locations and as fleets spread out across different regions, this creates challenges for monitoring performance. For instance, connected car solutions are installed in vehicles at the time of manufacturing, and then sold and distributed in regions around the world. These solutions operate on a variety of different wireless networks using different types of technology standards. What they all have in common are wireless connectivity modules and SIMs or Machine Identification Modules (MIMs) that play a key role in ensuring that cars stay connected and that vehicle data is shared seamlessly, no matter where they operate. It is at the IoT module level where new solutions can be introduced to improve device monitoring and enhance IoT solution performance and quality of service.
The benefits of IoT module monitoring
If we map the solution flow in a smart car, the benefits for all stakeholders in the ecosystem become clear. The latest connected car systems include advanced telematics that constantly monitor engine performance, as well as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that can take control of the vehicle in specific scenarios to improve driving outcomes. They send alerts when service visits are due, prompt improved driving behaviors to enhance safety and fuel economy and enable a suite of value added services including 3-D navigation, entertainment, mobile WiFi, concierge services and automatic eCalling when accidents occur.
By leveraging a software agent running on the solution’s connectivity module, the OEM or service provider can monitor and manage the performance of the connected car system to improve end-to-end system performance. The solution can fully automate device data collection and uploading so that no human interaction is needed for reporting. This is essential to drivers who want and need to be fully connected on the road but who have no interest in comprehending and managing another connected system.
These solutions proactively measure and analyze a range of device indicators and events in real time including: connectivity thresholds, reboot counts, radio parameters, cell IDs, radio access technology, GPS and geolocation parameters and more. This data is useless to the driver but when securely shared with the OEM and service provider, it’s key to guarantee that the connected car system behaves as expected.
To be successful, solutions must be extremely flexible so that the data collected can be defined to meet varying Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which are customized to meet the needs of different types of customers. The solutions should also include real time alerts that can be pre-defined to generate alarms and warnings for proactive issue detection allowing repairs before the customers notice an issue. The software solutions can also be embedded on the SIM or MIM of the connected car solution to offer support and monitoring that is reported directly to the Mobile Network Operator. In this way, OEMs and service providers can work together to ensure drivers and end users get the service they depend on.
Improved experience with zero touch
Unbeknownst to the driver, the software solution can detect changes in parameters caused by emerging events like heavy network traffic during rush hour drive time. As the vehicle nears a potential white zone, the solution automatically analyzes the wireless ecosystem based on quality of service findings and selects the best service provider in the area to meet the SLA. The solution would then make a seamless network switch to ensure free flowing bandwidth. And just in time too, because the car hits debris on the roadway and gets a flat tire. Before the vehicle has come to a complete stop, the vehicle’s eCall system has alerted the nearest public service answering point and within minutes, the vehicle’s concierge service indicates that help is on the way.
In this scenario, the software solution works like a scouting entity to find the best wireless network while it easily integrates collected indicators and data with any backend system. Best-in-class solutions should provide the service provider with a history of network connectivity issues and Key Quality Indicators (KQIs) per region, per operator, for specific devices and for specific SLAs. In the case of connected cars, SLAs are rigorous and penalties can be costly. Solutions that help fine-tune and improve the quality of service, ultimately improving quality of experience for the driver are essential for meeting SLAs and avoiding fines.
The technology provider, in this case the connected car OEM, uses KQI data that measures customer care elements for specific vehicles and VIPs to improve service on their end. This makes it possible to reach out to customers and receive feedback following events, which ultimately helps to build closer customer care connections that strengthen brand loyalty. With this type of solution in place, end users can happily ignore the complexities and inner workings of IoT technology while receiving first-rate service they can count on.
We are standing at the precipice of a world transformed by the Internet of Things, an interconnected world of convenience, efficiency and safety, where enterprises and people have confidence in the reliability and security of connected devices. As solutions for monitoring and managing IoT modules and MIMs make their mark on the marketplace, the entire IoT ecosystem benefits. And perhaps most importantly, customers can rely on the IoT to provide reliable and trusted services that simplify and ease the way we travel, work, and live.
 IoT Platforms: Enabling the Internet of Things
Juan Carlos Lazcano is Vice-President of M2M for North American and responsible for developing Gemalto’s M2M and security portfolio and delivering solutions to device manufacturers and system integrators. Providing strong expertise in mobile communication, Juan was formerly Vice President of Telecommunication Sales at Gemalto where he handled mobile payments accounts and innovative connectivity projects for global mobile network operators and service providers. He joined Gemalto in 1998 and has held various positions in business development and marketing in the U.S and in Latin America. Prior to Gemalto, Juan was a systems consultant and Internet service manager for Monterrey Tec and a consultant for Softtek. He received a Bachelor’s degree in electronics and a Masters degree in Management of Information Systems, both from Monterrey Tec.
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