Currently, there is much chat about the Internet of Things (IoT) or M2M. A SIM is attached to a device transmitting data via the Internet to a central point for analysis.
There are simple applications such as alarms, vending machines and vehicle GPS systems. Then there are real game-changing applications like truck driver monitoring systems that operate in real time and detect if the driver has episodes of micro-sleep. Alternatively, to monitor special vehicles that carry children, young people or adults with disabilities. Safety features advising that when the car is moving doors are locked and accounting for everyone at the end of the journey.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, some 25 billion IoT devices will be out there. We are finding our clients are increasingly using SIMS to connect data only devices to the Internet. Starting with a tablet device, but we see more and more IoT devices showing up.
The big problem we are encountering is that these SIMS are very hard to trace. It’s not like you can call them and somebody answers. As you would expect with some 25 billion devices, many millions are going to get lost!
Vehicles change, tablets get misplaced, buildings leases end. Unfortunately, losing SIMs can become familiar if our client’s asset management is not kept up to date, and the risk significant if the device is disconnected. For example, if an alarm is disconnected, especially if it is personal or medical in nature. For a business that provides this technology as a service, this risk grows exponentially.
In some circumstances, the carrier cannot even tell if the device is being used particularly if it only transmits a small amount of data or none at all until its critical. We have already heard of cases where 1,000s of SIMs are going missing. Of course, the monthly fee associated with them continues to be charged every month.
Organisations need to ensure they plan to avoid this situation. It can be challenging and time-consuming to track down redundant devices and SIMS and disconnect them. Again, we recommend close attention to the process of asset management. Where possible strict commercial terms should be negotiated to ensure your carrier is incentivised to help you manage your data and IoT fleet.
Service providers tend to gear their reporting platforms around billing information. Billing reports are not helpful for asset management. It is essential that service providers can present detailed reporting of any data use and more importantly the disuse of devices.
While the IoT service providers have advanced management systems to allow clients to manage these connections directly, they tend to add significant additional cost. Select your carrier and associated systems wisely.
We recommend a monthly meeting for more complex businesses and quarterly ones for others. The agenda at these meetings should include ongoing outstanding issues, and performance related to support.
You can also let the supplier know of future events that may require their help. We often attend these meetings to support our clients to discuss ongoing spending trends, review and contract compliance.