Selecting a machine-to-machine (M2M) service provider for your remote patient monitoring program is a critical, complex task. Follow this list of six essential things to consider before choosing your provider:
1. Total Cost of Ownership
Always a factor in any business decision, finding the lowest cost for your needs means examining hidden costs. These can include fees for suspending service, rounding data plans, setup fees and other special services, as well as changing your billing plan mid-cycle.
Based on our extensive experience in the business, we have found that data charges are only 40 percent of the total cost for a deployment. Device lifecycle management and troubleshooting costs are the other 60 percent. So, while competitive rate plans are important, pay attention to the total cost of the solution and consider which provider can offer the lowest TCO.
You should find a provider that can offer the strongest, most reliable coverage wherever your devices are deployed. This means not relying on just one MNO’s cellular towers or worrying about using different providers for every country where you operate. Having a carrier-agnostic solution could be very critical to the success of your remote patient monitoring service, given that patient homes are dispersed all across the country.
- Real-time Visibility and Troubleshooting Tools
One of the most critical requirements to manage a good M2M deployment is real-time monitoring and a good set of troubleshooting tools to diagnose issues over the air. So, make sure that the provider can really offer real-time statistics and status updates on device and network performance and also offers good device management and troubleshooting capabilities.
- Dedicated M2M Network
Superior performance relies on a dedicated M2M network that won't be bogged down by consumer traffic. Providers that focus on consumers first will always prioritize their traffic over M2M communications. Most MNOs and MVNOs are leveraging the same mobile core network that’s being used to support consumer smart phones, for their machine-to-machine offerings as well. This means critical patient data from your remote patient monitoring device is competing for bandwidth with applications like YouTube, Vine, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Also, SMS messages may get queued up and delayed if American Idol is on TV. A provider that has a dedicated mobile core network for M2M services does not run into these problems and that network is also inherently more secure.
- Application Integration
Make sure your provider offers a free suite of APIs that will help you leverage your customer-facing applications and back-end solutions. They should provide easy-to-use APIs that enable integration with your existing enterprise infrastructure like SAP, Exchange, Directory, etc.
- Machine-to-Machine Support
Machine-to-machine deployments are complex and many things can go wrong when you’re deploying a set of devices in the field. Having a support staff that has deep expertise in M2M deployments is critical to your success. Very few providers have knowledgeable staff that are able to troubleshoot issues in real-time as they happen in the field. This should be one of the major factors in your decision-making process
If a provider can't deliver on these prerequisites, they probably aren't the right choice for your business. Aeris operates a dedicated M2M network, and offers the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry, saving customers more than 50 percent than traditional service providers. Aeris support staff are extremely knowledgeable and have support large customers with real issues in the field on a daily basis.
If you'd like to learn more about Aeris’ services, call 1-888-462-3747 in the U.S. or +44 118 925 3202 in Europe or schedule your free M2M consultation today!