M2M: Build vs. Buy?

Blog by Numerex

There are many considerations that companies must make when developing an M2M solution. Those discovery considerations deal with the following areas: Devices, Network, and Application, or what we at Numerex call, Numerex DNA.

When a company considers adopting an M2M Solution to help solve a business problem, one of the questions that must be asked is; Should I design-and-build a solution, or should I rely on a partner to help me develop the solution? The path that one takes depends upon a number of factors, and involves some key questions for the proposed development team. Listed below are three significant questions that should be answered before deploying any M2M project.

Question #1:
Q: What sensor/device will we use to gather and transmit the data?

A: Having the right sensors or devices will determine how well the application captures key data. Choice of the right device will determine important data gathering capabilities. The data originates at the device level. Without it, there is no data to capture. Key device considerations include the following:

  • Does the device have a long battery life?
  • Will the device have OTA/FOTA (over the air/firmware over the air) update capabilities?
  • How will the device provisioning and programming be handled?

These are all great questions that when properly understood and answered, will start the process towards a successful deployment. Moreover, identifying devices that are FCC and PTCRB certified will dictate whether the device can even connect with the cellular or satellite network. Otherwise the process of going through certification can be extremely rigorous, costing thousands of dollars and perhaps hundreds of man hours.

Question #2:
Q: How do I get the sensor data transported over a communications network back to the application?

A: This question is critical and one at which Numerex is very adept at handling, since connectivity is the backbone of all successful M2M deployments. Having someone who understands the subtleties of connecting a device to the network will give you a huge advantage when launching your solution and can be the difference between success and failure. Considerations include the following:

  • How much data or SMS usage will the application use and which is the best choice for the application?
  • What is the network coverage area where the solution will be installed and is it sufficient and economically viable for the solutions being considered?
  • How should my device be configured for efficiency and effectiveness?

If one is not careful in this area, the choices made here can become very costly over time totaling as much as many thousands of dollars per year in unwanted and unnecessary data usage. In addition, there are also considerations in choosing the right carrier for support, data security, redundancy, and accessibility.

Question #3:
Q: How will we capture all that data and turn it into actionable intelligence?

A: “When it comes to the software application that will convert the data into useful information, there are a few significant considerations:

  • Will the application display the data using built-in a user interface, make it available via API for an enterprise application, push the data into an ERP system, or some combination of the above?
  • Should the application be hosted on a vendors platform?

As you can see, there are many considerations for any M2M deployment. The perfect solution depends on what you want to accomplish, what information your customers need, and what kind of internal resources experienced in M2M you have readily available. Few companies have the necessary expertise within their IT or Operations departments. The many decisions that go into crafting the perfect solution are easiest to make when companies turn to an M2M expert. Who has access to the information and how will it be kept secure?

For more information visitwww.numerex.com

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