How to Buy IOT Network Services

IOT – Internet of Things is a very broad term which encompasses any device or machine that sends or receives data traffic.

Do you have a door bell which alerts your smartphone and allows you to speak to the person on your doorstep? This is an IOT application – so are remote CCTV and smart meters. Soon we are going to find everything is connected and is an IOT asset – Coffee Machines, Waste Bins, Motorways, Cars, Houses, Digital Billboards – everything.

The fact is that IOT is growing expeditiously and it may happen that you need to deploy your own monitoring kit which might not have a data connection at its site or the connection is not available to the device to use. In this case you will probably need to use your own connection probably via a data only sim.

IOT network services are very different from standard sim only procurement:

• The service will be SIM only

• Coverage is critical because a. the asset won’t move so no coverage means no coverage forever or b. the asset does move and will have in/out coverage depending on where it is

• Typically there will be more than 1 sim – so data plans are needed to combine multiple sims with different data use requirements

• Data is too important to ‘stop’ so if you use all your data you will likely approve overage costs – no bill capping = unlimited financial liability

• Assets will be remote so visibility of connection status and data usage is important

So a number of factors to consider here. There are some simple commercial principals you can adopt to deal with most of them.

Aggregated data pools.

Each sim has a fixed amount of data per month. Each sim adds to the total allowance. Each sim has access to the whole allowance as well as their own. For example:

100 sims with 1GB allowance each. 1 sim uses 50GB all other sims use 500MB (50GB total). At the end of the month there is no extra charge because even though 1 sim went into 49GB of overage the total pool of 100GB wasn’t breached. Every time you add a further sim the pool increases by 1GB. You can future proof 1000’s of assets.

Fixed Data Pools.

Each sim has an individual amount of data plus there is a pool for all sims to share once they have used their allowance. For Example:

100 Sims of which 90 have 1GB and 10 have 2GB of data. There is also a pool of 100GB for all sims to draw on if needed. During the month all sims use their exact allowance give or take 5% but 2 sims go over by 50GB each. The overage comes from the pool and there is no overage costs.

Multinet Sims

Multi network sims allow a sim to roam onto whichever network provides the strongest signal. Try to find a Multinet sim that doesn’t use network steering as the sim will lock onto a preferred carrier which may not provide the best or strongest signal.

Multinet is commonly provided via an overseas mobile carrier which has UK roaming agreements. Therefore its an overseas sim and will be more costly than a UK domestic sim – however the value is in the functionality. What is the benefit to you ensuring the best possible coverage? What difference will this make to your IOT application? Is Multinet cost justified?

Without Multinet you may find yourself using multiple sims in multiple assets in multiple locations. You cannot pool data across different networks so this will increase your costs and complexity of your project. You can however pool with MultiNet sims making your project more cost effective and straightforward.

Management portal

Viewing your sims to see that they are working and how much data they have used is usually key to the success of the project. Without this your working blind and waiting for the bill to arrive to see what happened in the previous month and to check if you have bill shock or not.

This is really important because if you spot a usage issue within the month at Everything Voice we can add data and avoid overage costs even after overage has already occurred prior to month end. Having visibility of your data use can avoid substantial overage costs which may not have been in the budget.

If you need to start an IOT project, contact EV to discuss your requirements on 0330 055 3570 and secure the very best operational and commercial model for your use case.

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