Businesses across dozens of industries are turning IoT-collected data into practical action to improve operational efficiency and provide better service. From retail supply chain management to smart home solar energy to healthcare patient monitoring to tracking fleet locations and service conditions, the number of applications for data collected by IoT will continue to grow as wireless technology advances.
Solar energy usage is on the rise nationwide as the technology becomes more efficient and cost effective. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable energy sources accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world in 2016, with solar energy expanding faster than any other fuel source to surpass the net growth in coal for the first time in history.
According to World Population Clock (and UN projections), the global population will exceed 8.6 billion people by 2035. At that rate, farmers and agriculturalists worldwide will need to double their efforts in order to sustain the nutritional needs of an extra billion mouths to feed. This includes not only raising more livestock and growing more crops but also addressing challenges associated with crop regeneration, pest control, climate change, and waste.
According to The Alzheimer’s Association, more than 44 million people globally live with Alzheimer’s disease, including five million patients in the United States alone. As life expectancy increases, the number of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other diseases that affect memory is estimated to rise to as high as 16 million in the U.S. by 2050. While great strides are being made to understand, treat, and hopefully prevent the disease, there still is no cure.
Wildfires destroyed 10.1 million acres in 2015 according to High Country News, with costs for the destruction rising to $2.6 billion by the end of the year. These frightening natural disasters are difficult to manage under even the best of circumstances and pose a threat to homes, lives, and the land itself. Modern fire safety technology is improving, but there still is much that can be done to give wildland fire response teams the upper hand in battle. The Internet of Things is a powerful weapon in this war, and a linked network of IoT devices can connect any fire team across a wide range of land to improve communications, monitoring capabilities, and allow for more agile response. Urban and suburban fire response teams already are adopting IoT throughout the country, and the time is ripe for wildfire teams to join in.
Businesses have long become accustomed to utilizing security protocols such as firewalls and compliance engines to protect proprietary data on their computer networks. However, with the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), data now is regularly transferred across the internet from SIM-enabled devices to management platforms. Without protocols in place to protect IoT data transfers, sensitive operational information will be moved across the public and open internet, leaving it highly vulnerable to compromise from hacking, eavesdropping, or information leakage. To prevent these kinds of data compromise, IoT networks must employ security protocols that can extend their network across the internet to privately connect their devices. This type of security connection is called a virtual private network (VPN).
It may seem humorous to compare a vacuum cleaner to precious jewels when it comes to security, but the concept (namely, prioritization) is at the core of keeping your IoT operations safe. IoT systems are so complex and different from one another that it becomes cost prohibitive to have standardized security protocols across every application. In fact, such protocols would be overkill for a lot of solutions. (Keep in mind that protocols, as defined in this blog, are different than best practices.)
Convenience and security can make or break a business, especially in retail. The prevalence of online shopping has molded customers’ service expectations―eliminating the queue and ensuring that customer information is kept safe are cornerstones of the modern retail experience. Traditional point of sale (POS) systems, however, are not up to the task. Wi-Fi-enabled POS systems (that lack SIM-powered cellular connectivity) are prone to delays and errors, leading to poor consumer interactions. POS failures increase the chances of data loss and may compromise the security of customer information. Integrating cellular connectivity into a consumer’s retail experience sets the stage for a secure transaction, increases the speed of the transaction, and creates an overall smoother shopping experience for the consumer.
When a company decides to deploy a SIM-enabled IoT connectivity solution, it usually comes from a wide-ranging need for field asset management. Typically, after experiencing positive growth in their market, business leaders should put aside tools that are insufficient, unwieldy, or obsolete to ensure continued growth. SIM technology presents a simple, yet powerful, solution to monitor activity, diagnose anomalies, and take steps to achieve the most beneficial outcome for a business’ assets.
When purchasing SIM cards for the development of an M2M application, there are a few questions that any IoT developer needs to ask: Within what environment will the device typically operate? What is the size of the device in which the SIM card will be used? And what material grade — standard or industrial — is ideal for maximum durability? For business owners applying a ready-made IoT solution to optimize operations, these developer determinations will act as a SIM card purchasing guide to achieve the best use of a device’s M2M connectivity. In order to make SIM card purchasing decisions, it is important for developers and business owners alike to understand the advantages associated with different SIM card sizes and material grades, and how each can best be used to create and implement innovative IoT solutions.