All About SMS and IoT

Posted by on Jul 8, 2016 6:00:00 AM Dean Chang  
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SMS for IoTShort message service – or SMS or texting – is a ubiquitous method of communication in our technologically connected world. SMS is used to let your business partners know you will be running late due to traffic or weather or to let your friends know where to meet for lunch, and its influence and reach shows no signs of slowing down. A Gallup Poll from 2014 found that SMS is the dominant form of communication for Americans under 50 years old.

Internet of Texts

IoT can benefit greatly from SMS messaging in the home and commercial sectors and not just because of its popularity. While many companies are developing apps to interface with their IoT technologies to provide monitoring and updates for personal and professional use, many users are overwhelmed by the number of specific apps needed in their day-to-day life. Specific apps require development schedules and costs, have learning curves for the end user to get the most out of them, and require a data plan or Wi-Fi connection to communicate with IoT devices. The strength of SMS is in its simplicity. SMS requires no significant onboarding process, uses minimal data, and works on smartphones and feature phones alike.

Speaking the Same Language

IoT by its very nature is meant to transmit data, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there is always communication between devices. Oftentimes, hardware connected to IoT is simply sending data to a receiver to be quantized and analyzed. For IoT to send notifications and receive directions via SMS, a microcomputer such as an Arduino board needs to be programmed to interpret incoming and outgoing data. SMS works primarily through letters and words, and those messages need to be processed by the microcomputer to tell the hardware what to do in a very technical and precise manner.

If an industrial piece of equipment is programmed to send an SMS notification when it is malfunctioning, the technician receiving the SMS may reply back “Stop operation.” If the device is programmed correctly, the microcomputer will be able to process that text into a digital command that the machine can interpret with a mechanical response.

Communication Is Key

SMS has a wide range of useful applications when in direct communication with IoT hardware. If a user of an IoT-connected security system goes on vacation and forgets to give their pet sitter the alarm code, the sitter can receive an alert and disarm the system through SMS ensuring their pets and pet sitter are well taken care of. A car connected to IoT can send its driver SMS notifications when it is running low on oil or if there is an engine malfunction that requires immediate attention.

This direct access to pertinent and pressing information can also help businesses. For example, with communication between devices, a technician can be alerted about a malfunctioning machine and halt operation via SMS. IoT-SMS communication can also help users control inventory streams. When a stocking system detects a certain product is running low, it can send SMS alerts to those in charge of refilling orders and generating invoices. It can alert the stockroom to upcoming shipments so they have the staff on hand to process the order. IoT-SMS communication keeps your hardware, business, and employees connected in a meaningful, productive conversation.

We are moving from an age where our hardware needed to communicate with only us to an age where interconnected devices can communicate with each other for increased usability, profitability, and efficiency. Click below and see how Neo’s self-service IoT connectivity can help your business thrive and take advantage of a changing technological landscape.

Topics: SMS, IoT