Optimizing Connectivity for Your IoT Business

By Will Hart

Director of Product Management


August 25, 2022


Optimizing Connectivity for Your IoT Business

With the rapid adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and growing number of deployments over the last few years, connectivity choices have evolved, growing more complex. Connectivity is now customizable, and each use case calls for different priorities. Making the right choices for your IoT deployment can not only mean cost savings, but it can even help drive revenue.

Despite the evolving landscape, connectivity can still be seen as a commodity by many decision-makers as they make initial forays into IoT deployments. Often, companies miss the importance of the decision or do not realize there are considerations beyond price. But the initial choices made around connectivity can affect cost, customer experience, and time to market, all of which can determine whether your IoT deployment is a success.

So how do you make sure your devices work — how and when you need them to — without overpaying for connectivity? How do you choose the right provider and level of connectivity? What other considerations do you need to keep in mind to ensure your IoT deployment is profitable?

Determining the provider that is the best fit for yours comes down to five key connectivity considerations:

  • Throughput: the speed and size at which data must be sent. Autonomous vehicles and video calling need a lot of throughput. Connected e-scooters don’t.
  • Latency: the measure of response speed when data is sent. Low latency is important for video calling, but it’s also important for user-centric experiences like unlocking e-scooters or instant payment processing.
  • Data sovereignty: meeting requirements around where data is being sent – globally or within country borders. This is important to remaining compliant with local and regional laws and regulations, including GDPR.
  • Redundancy: the ability to access multiple carriers. This is most important for applications where even a moment of downtime can be an issue, like for connected medical devices.
  • Cost: how much a company is being charged for connectivity services. Costs and plan packaging can vary between countries or depend on data speeds and limits.

While it’s easy for buyers to find basic price information, first-time IoT implementers often don’t receive or use actual performance or test data. They then encounter limitations such as degraded latency and throughput during peak congestion, only after trying to scale the fleet and their IoT business.

Every IoT deployment is unique, and the devices used often dictate the best connectivity option. In addition to cost and network quality, it’s beneficial to work with a provider with deep experience with IoT devices, and in particular, with those that have a track record of helping customers quickly achieve constant connectivity across multiple countries. While educated buyers choose connectivity providers based on their own use cases, it’s useful to ask about experience with similar implementations. Slow deployments waste valuable time-to-market, and knowledgeable providers can often provide hands-on experience with the intricacies of optimizing devices for IoT deployments.

Important Questions for Connectivity Buyers to Ask Providers

When considering providers for your IoT deployment, it’s important that you can have an open conversation with your provider. Some of the questions you might want to consider:

  1. In what percentage of markets do you have redundant tier-1 operators available? This can help ensure connectivity where devices will be deployed.
  2. Where are your points of presence (data centers) located? Cellular traffic is routed to data centers, and knowing where it is routed will impact the flexibility and performance of your device.
  3. May I see measured device data that shows latency and throughput during peak and off-peak hours? As a buyer, it’s important to realize that your cellular connectivity will perform differently during different times of the day.
  4. If you are facilitating access to a carrier, is that a roaming or native connection? When working with an MVNO, it shouldn’t matter which you are actually connecting to; what’s critical is that you get the right connection for your needs.
  5. Where do you have temporary solutions to mitigate longer-term risks? The cellular landscape is fragmented and complex. Partnering with a provider that understands the landscape can help you navigate the environment and focus on your business.

How Constant Connectivity Improves ROI

Many companies are now seeing positive ROIs in connectivity by using their company’s IoT data to protect their business and lend real-time information to organizational decision-making and growth planning.

That’s why many IoT businesses frequently leverage IoT-specific connectivity service providers offering a single stop for multi-carrier plans. Buyers and fleet managers are often willing to pay a bit more to not only achieve higher levels of uptime, but also to access support that saves significant internal time. With these platforms, fleet managers can examine usage patterns, optimize backend operations, and receive continuous, proactive maintenance notifications to fully optimize the fleet’s ROI.

When IoT managers can retain visibility into devices, their locations, and whether they are working correctly and efficiently, they can reduce theft, equipment failure, and in many cases, improve device-based revenue generation.

It’s a mistake to treat connectivity as an undifferentiated commodity or a cost to drive as low as possible. Gaps in network coverage at best mean degraded customer experiences. For many IoT-driven deployments, disconnected devices immediately mean lost revenue. It’s not a question of simply buying the most powerful solution. Not every connection requirement or connectivity plan is equal — each implementation calls for different priorities.