Jonathan Smith, director of connectivity sales for Europe at IoT/M2M specialist Aeris, shares his tips on how European makers of IoT-enabled devices can successfully break into global markets.
If a European company is looking to launch an IoT offering in the US, it can, quickly become both a business and logistical nightmare, if not handled correctly. From technological barriers, to coverage issues, to certification requirements, launching a device in the country is no easy task.
The obstacles to overcome can be overwhelming, but a well-thought out plan, accompanied by expert help, can make the deployment pain-free.
It is predicted that within three years, there will be more than 50 billion connected devices and, as such, many businesses will be looking to create and globally deploy their own solutions. At Aeris, we have put together the following tips on what business leaders should consider when entering the American market.
2G or not 2G?
2G technology is used extensively by IoT devices, but this use needs to be carefully considered. 2G allows for wide geographical network coverage, which currently is not possible with 4G. The technology behind 4G still needs advancing to cover blackspots found in areas both in the US and across the world. This is a significant issue for companies looking to roll-out IoT solutions countrywide or worldwide.
Additionally, 2G is no longer supported by AT&T and is being quickly phased out by the other carriers in the US. Other countries such as Singapore, Australia, and the Netherlands have phased out 2G as well. While 2G technology provides good global geographical coverage, the technology likely will be superseded by 4G in the coming years, so businesses must think carefully about this upcoming scenario.
Should devices be designed for CDMA?
Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobiles (GSM) are shorthand for the two major radio systems used in cellular networks. CDMA is used widely in America and in only a handful of other countries. In other words, it is not popular in most other nations.
For that reason, companies need to think carefully about product design. If they are a European company, they will need to design a new product specifically for the US market if they want to create a CDMA-only device. However, this should not be the biggest consideration. What decision makers must focus on is creating a solution that can be deployed worldwide.
Device certification and frequency selection
IoT and M2M devices need individual certification from US networks, such as AT&T. This poses additional headaches for European companies looking at a US launch. Businesses must research this area in depth to ensure a pain-free certification process and to prevent costly delays in getting their device to market. Each certification must be researched prior to entering the market.
Ensure devices can connect globally
By using a global Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) and utilizing a global Access Point Network (APN), companies can ensure that their devices are operational globally and that data can be accessed constantly. This guarantees that US and global deployments run smoothly and can be managed easily, especially if all devices are accessed through a single management platform.
For example, by using an Aeris global SIM combined with Aeris IoT Connectivity Services, businesses are able to have mobile communication across more than 500 networks in more than 180 countries using a single Aeris global APN. Aeris AerPort also allows companies to have near real-time access to data usage, alerting, and management for the entire SIM lifecycle.
Think globally. Do not focus just on the US
These issues cover just some of the major considerations that face European organizations looking to deploy an IoT device in the US market. However, a global approach is necessary if these businesses want to achieve true success. Creating IoT products specifically for the US market can end up being a costly strategy, and actually could delay the global roll-out of a product, as creating country-specific devices slows the manufacturing process.
For these many reasons, we believe it is imperative that European companies create solutions with worldwide deployments in mind. Also, they must be able to access multiple cellular networks through a carrier-agnostic SIM. Furthermore, businesses must utilize a single global APN and be able to manage all devices through one platform to ensure heightened management capabilities in a dispersed deployment. This would alleviate concerns about designing new products for each separate country in which devices are deployed, thereby easing global deployment.
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