From Telit: "Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best IoT Module for Your Project"
Written by Ken Bednasz from Telit
The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to revolutionize the way we interact with everything. IoT has the ability to link our cell phones to our vehicles, appliances, heating and cooling systems, transportation, city architecture and more. By 2020, there will be at least four devices connected to IoT for every human on earth. Connecting to the world from the inside out, IoT will grant limitless remote opportunities for everything from adjusting temperature on our refrigerators, to tracking packages and livestock, providing faster security and surveillance and activating smart grids for entire cities. No matter the personal use or industry, IoT offers smart change. But with most great technological advancements, there are great risks to safety and security that must be addressed. The components needed to connect devices are not all created equal.
IoT modules – small computing devices that allow physical objects to connect to wireless networks – are among the most crucial components of any IoT deployment. These essential building blocks continually sense, collect, store, and transmit data. Ensuring that modules function properly, securely and consistently is of paramount importance in having a successful IoT deployment. With so many modules on the market, it is crucial to understand security risks, module sustainability, and deployment reach to ensure you choose the right module and supplier for your next project.
Which Module is Right for You?
Is your business equipped to expand a wider network of resources and consumers? Before choosing the right module, it’s important to know:
- The size scope of your project
- The projected power consumption of your project
- The environment in which you’ll be deploying connected devices
- The range, data volume, and accuracy you’ll need for your project
- A hardware and software inventory including your corporate network setup
There are numerous providers making chipsets that have fairly identical specs in terms of power consumption, size, and function. In order to find the best IoT module, you’ll have to dig a little deeper than comparative data sheets that print module specs side by side.
If you are looking to expand the reach of your business, the most integral focus on your search for the right module should be centered around risks associated with module and provider reliability, reach and scalability, and sustainability for larger projects that might require future-proofing and upgrades.
Aside from issues with limited selection, poor compatibility options, and short working life, some providers also expose users to the risks of intellectual property infringement claims and security failures. In the United States, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other intelligence agencies have banned the use of several overseas products and services that have been known to contain major security and spyware risks. Your provider should have a clean slate, and direct communication with where their parts are manufactured, and full confidence in their satellite linkage capabilities.
It’s important to work with industry leaders that can build modules from the ground up tailored and guaranteed to work for your needs. Your provider should have an established library of ever-improving products, as well as service and support with pioneering expertise in IoT.
Module Sustainability and Future-Proofing
The cellular world is fast-moving, so your partner must be prepared to handle rapid technology changes at the drop of a hat. For instance, broadband technology has recently made significant breakthroughs in reaching 5G speeds which will be crucial for North American markets. Also expect movement from LTE Cat 3/4 to Cat 1 to Cat M1 to Cat NB1 by the end of 2020. While North American companies are prepared for the changes with their network infrastructures, Europe and parts of Asia are still using mostly 2G and 3G speeds across older LTE frameworks.
Fortunately, certain modules easily integrate with those existing systems and allow for wireless future-proofing upgrades. This means sustainable modules can be used with older business networks and expand data transferring capabilities overseas to help them better prepare for the upcoming 5G overhaul. IoT module providers with experience in both North America and overseas will have the advantage over regionally located competitors that aren’t thinking globally.
Reach and Scalability
What kind of wireless network reach will your project demand? It’s one thing to have AT&T and Verizon approvals but what about Sprint, T-Mobile, Rogers, Bell Mobility, or Telus? Don’t expect much reach from modules manufactured directly by cellular companies. These are designed to work with their network and satellite systems only. Do you trust your business with unproven partners who could quickly cease to exist since they have little to no business in North America?
Providers like Telit reach into the full global market to provide the best opportunity for scalability.
Choosing the Right IoT Module Provider
Be sure to ask the following questions when choosing your IoT module provider.
A Checklist of Questions to Ask Your Potential Provider:
- What range of modules (chips and boards) and supporting software do you provide?
- Which certifications do your modules have?
- Are your modules at risk for security breaches or compliance issues?
- Can you guarantee continuity of supply and support for the duration of your deployment?
- Where are their geolocation services located around the world and do they own or have access to satellites?
- What level of global support will be provided in a crisis, for example if you needed to locate all products worldwide due to a security situation?
Telit – Your Global IoT Module Solution
Telit has been committed to cellular module technology for over 15 years – 10 of which have been in North America. Telit is first to market with Cat 1 and Cat M1 in North America enabling partners to succeed and be leaders in their market. No matter what your project, Telit’s wide selection of cellular modules are adaptable to a wide range of global solutions, reduce risk through better business practices and manufacturing, are inexpensive, and easily integrate with older designs to bring the future closer to you.
Why partner with Symmetry Electronics, a Berkshire Hathaway company? Symmetry's technical staff is specially trained by our suppliers to provide a comprehensive level of technical support. Our in-house Applications Engineers provide free design services to help OEMs early in the design cycle, providing solutions to save them time, money and frustration. Contact Symmetry for more information.
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