Commonsense Connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT)
Executive insights from 1NCE CSO Alexander Bufalino
Numerous challenges lie along the path from the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT) to its reality at scale. For early adopters, the connectivity model for IoT devices involved monthly billing for expensive connections on consumer-grade networks. With the advent of new network technologies designed explicitly to support IoT use cases, the connectivity portion of the IoT paradigm can move from treating these devices like unwelcome guests to hosting them on protocols designed for their needs.
The dedicated network technologies for IoT device support offer good coverage even in areas in which typical smartphones can’t connect. These networks offer low data rates that match IoT devices’ low-bandwidth needs and small, intermittent batches of information. A single sensor, or a gateway with four sensors, can accomplish all of its routine data-transmission tasks on a network that passes far less information than people expected to exchange on a dial-up Internet connection.
However, solving the connectivity issues only addresses part of the IoT picture. Until now, an adapter interested in adding a SIM card to an IoT product had to negotiate a consumer-grade lifetime connectivity contract for each device manufactured. “Lifetime” means very different things for consumer devices than it does for IoT devices. A consumer smartphone connectivity contract typically lasts only one year; at the most, it runs for two or three years. An IoT device’s lifetime lasts at least a decade. The ratio between a SIM-contract lifespan of 12, 24 or 36 months and a decade-long IoT lifespan is impractical for companies that run many thousands of IoT devices.
1NCE understands the disconnect between attempts to run the IoT like a consumer network and the way these processes should run. 1NCE offers 10-year contract with 500MB/250 SMS expansion options. 1NCE sells SIM cards for €10, complete with a decade of connectivity. This flat-rate pricing includes a data allowance that meets or exceeds the typical IoT device’s needs, enabling IoT device manufacturers to integrate connectivity directly into their products. 1NCE is the first source that can supply a SIM chip for direct addition onto logic boards: a testable known quantity whose behavior as part of the product can carry warranty protection just like any other active component. As a result, manufacturers’ clients no longer need to source connectivity and activation, and manufacturers’ quality promises are fulfilled with a ready-to-use product. All these advances make it possible for manufacturers to realize better profit margins because their products now include the connectivity component, which formerly belonged to a connectivity company. At the same time, the mobile network operators (MNOs) can take advantage of what 1NCE offers to scale up for IoT.
These revolutions in IoT connectivity and integration enable a host of advancements in the marketplace. For example, in Europe, insurance companies track driver behavior with IoT gateways added to vehicles. The data these companies collect enables them to lower or raise insurance premiums dynamically to reflect the safety or risk of a driver’s behind-the-wheel behavior. Now, rental car companies can extend the same data-collection paradigm to their fleets. Similarly, a waste management company can implement a remote control to summon service when a receptacle is full, rather than emptying it routinely, full or not. Because 1NCE enables these companies to save virtually all the money they previously spent on connectivity, including the costs of data allowances, their solution pays for itself.
Thanks to 1NCE, connectivity has become a component. IoT device manufacturers pay 1NCE a one-time fee for all the connectivity features they need – and obtain that connectivity from an IoT carrier that puts these technologies first. 1NCE has no interest in offering traditional consumer-grade contracts and tariffs. Instead, 1NCE wants to grow IoT usage in new and existing markets.
Just as the Internet has changed the world – and evolved itself – over recent decades, the IoT can transform what we measure and how we obtain the data. In turn, these new data markets will transform how we work and live. Without proper connectivity, however, that promise of connected machines and devices remains unfulfilled. 1NCE lifetime connectivity contract and flat-rate pricing make it simple to flatten the number of steps and providers required for IoT service and to make costs as predictable as connectivity.