Cellular IoT (NB-IoT)

Traditonal IoT (a.k.a. Industrie 4.0) is deployed as Sensor > Gateway > Cloud, but innumerable applications exist where a local IoT gateway isn’t viable. For example, an IoT Gateway passing through…

Traditonal IoT (a.k.a. Industrie 4.0) is deployed as Sensor > Gateway > Cloud, but innumerable applications exist where a local IoT gateway isn’t viable.

For example, an IoT Gateway passing through data from a lone environmental sensor device deployed remotely is commercially impracticable – energy providers need to connect directly to their Smart Meter, not trust the consumer to offer (and maintain) local WiFi access.

Even larger devices such as Panel PCs or Industrial PCs demand direct connection to the ‘cloud’, their deployment sites not having or allowing use of the local internet connectivity – think a BMS solution in a bank or tracking your temporary staff in their deployed factory.

For these applications the IoT Gateway is easily bypassed by employing integrated cellular 3G/4G/LTE modems and a SIM card, enabling a direct connection to the cloud. This methodology is labelled Cellular IoT or Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT).

Currently existing 3G/4G data networks are utilised, DSL offer multi-roaming SIMs to take advantage of which network offers the best local reception and to allow shipping devices around the world, that connect to local networks and just work. The near future will bring true NB-IoT, Cat-1 and Cat-0 networks that trade bandwidth (IoT devices don’t need 4G speeds) with even wider coverage, even underground. DSL’s solutions are all future proofed to this cellular revolution.

At a glance they provide real time (and historical) graphical representations, showing analog or digital states of environmental or machinery conditions worldwide – through SIM tracking these can even be shown on a map for asset tracking.

DSL’s off-the-products instantly support 3G/4G/LTE connectivity via our mPCIe modems and our client specific designs employ such connectivity more often than not in our increasingly connected world.

1. We’ll need to access the raw data. How?

However you wish…

Simply, the integrated 3G/4G/LTE modem emulates a serial port so you can send whatever data in whatever format you wish to the cloud, and translate it there. How much pre-processing you wish to undertake on the device means finding the perfect balance between device complexity and data bandwidth requirements.

You can even elect to use the 3G/4G/LTE modem to emulate a local network connection and treat your device as any locally networked PC.

2. We’ll need to process the data. How?

The integrated cellular connection with multi-roaming SIM card transmits sensor data to the cloud as regularly as you desire.

To reduce cellular data usage requirements, you can process as much of that data as possible within the device itself prior to transmission. It’s possible the vast data gathered has zero relevance to you, all you’re interested in is an unexpected value (perhaps 40°c in a refrigerator) that will create an alarm state – that alarm signal is all you need to transmit.

Your own software, or software recommended by DSL monitors (in real-time) that incoming data – both retaining the latest data and logging to enable historical review of past states.

3. We’ll want to see the data, and easily interpret it. How?

We create a customised dashboard around your variables to provide real time (current) and historical monitoring to give you the data you need to run your business more effectively.

This could be anything from raw machine or sensor data (completed cycles, on/off times, failure warnings, temperature, humidity etc) or algorithms pre-applied to them to give the calculated data you really need – or as simple as an ‘all is OK’ or it isn’t, and presenting exactly why.

The GUI is presented via a purpose-built dashboard, so can be viewed on any authorised device anywhere in the planet. This can be as basic or as complex (even animated) as you desire.

4. We might want to control as well as monitor. How?

Why stop at monitoring? Our solution equally supports control, particularly effective in minimising visits to remote sites to undertake work that can be done from the comfort of an office, or a sofa!

5. How secure is this? I can’t risk hackers opening a dam in Peru!

The first step is securing the cellular connection, DSL achieve this via M2M/IoT specific multi-roaming SIMs with non-fixed IP addresses and deployed with security in mind.

The second step is securing the device, for Windows based products you may decide that the OS built-in security is sufficient. For lower complexity devices we can design to meet your security needs including any proprietary solutions your company already trust.

6. What if I don’t have a local (reliable) power source?

Off-the-shelf, our ARCHMI Panel PC range now offer 30-90 minute integrated backup batteries to protect against temporary power outages.

In bespoke product, DSL are well experienced in integrating battery backup capabilities to satisfy your application need.