The Internet of Things faces two basic problems

– a solution could generate considerable cost savings

When dealing with the Internet of Things, you often run into two fundamental problems. A new type of IoT management can fix both of them and generate considerable savings to boot.

A company running tens of thousands of display screens had to solve a difficult challenge. ZetaDisplay has supplied announcement and advertising displays to stores, shopping centres and companies. Hundreds of these screens are supplied with content via the mobile phone network.

However, the company ran into a problem with mobile subscriptions. Although a data connection costing a few euros per month is usually sufficient for each screen, exceptionally large video files must occasionally be sent to some screens. In such cases, the tariffs for extra data can run into hundreds of euros. However, if larger-volume subscriptions were acquired for the screens, the company would end up paying for data traffic that it wouldn’t use.

According to ZetaDisplay’s CEO Jens Helin, who gave a presentation at DNA’s IoT event in March, this has been a major obstacle in the use of mobile subscriptions. Now, a workable solution has finally been found for this problem – a new kind of IoT management system that can automatically adjust subscription types.

The idea is a simple one. At the beginning of the month, the screens start out by using the most affordable type of data subscription. If they hit the data limit, the subscription is automatically increased to the next capacity level. This occurs as many times as necessary.

At the end of the month, all of the subscriptions revert to the most affordable type, thereby ensuring that data costs are kept as low as possible. Helin says that ZetaDisplay can now extend mobile connections to many more displays.

Savings of 70–90 per cent

ZetaDisplay uses the Cisco Jasper Control Center platform, which is already being used to manage over 75 million IoT devices worldwide. The system arrived in Finland in April as part of DNA’s Connectivity IoT service.

A reduction in data costs is one of the platform’s major benefits, says Cisco’s Daan de Wijs, who cooperates with telecommunications operators on Jasper projects.

He reminds us that IoT devices can use a lot of data simply because a software update has not gone through in one go.

Some of the platform’s users have achieved cost savings of 70–90 per cent on IoT connection costs.

De Wijs says that IoT management enables the construction of new kinds of services. For instance, if an IoT mobile subscription is transferred to another country, the customer could automatically be provided with that country’s services.

Considerable savings by eliminating service visits

IoT solutions also pose another major challenge. If a defect occurs in an IoT device it can be difficult to know where the fault lies – in the network connection, the settings, the device itself, or somewhere else. A technician has traditionally been dispatched to the site, which generally means a three-figure bill, or then the device must be sent back to support for troubleshooting.

IoT management largely removes this problem. Most of the things that a technician would discover from a service visit can be determined remotely. The source of the defect can often be identified immediately, and the problem can usually be resolved remotely as well. This can generate considerable savings and also improve the quality of IoT solutions.

De Wijs says that data security is a third area of IoT management that is very important to customers. “IoT management can, for example, specify that only certain devices may use specific SIM cards. If a card is stolen, others can’t use it.”

Forecasts indicate that the number of IoT devices is rising dramatically. De Wijs says that when the number of devices reaches hundreds or thousands, proper management is usually vital for the effective operation of an IoT system. The data generated by management systems also leads to better development of IoT services.

Learn more about the DNA Connectivity IoT service.