We live in a day and age where nearly everything requires steady, reliable Internet connectivity. This movement, commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT), has far-reaching implications into all of our lives. At ever-increasing rates, everyday businesses are evolving their product lines to incorporate the many benefits of Internet connectivity. Through this process, there are unavoidable pain points that need to be addressed and solved.
A fully-managed wireless platform is a solution to these pain points, enabling businesses to focus on what they do best while leaving the connectivity piece to the professionals.
What is a Managed Wireless Service?
As businesses and individuals looking to add Internet connectivity to any number of devices, the challenges involved quickly become apparent. It’s not as simple as dropping a cable in and leaving it alone.
Most hardline Internet installations will encounter many of the following challenges or concerns:
- Site surveys
- Installations costs
- New vs. old construction
- Security concerns
One of the easiest solutions to this growing problem is to utilize the vast network of cellular connectivity that is already built everywhere around us. Although this certainly simplifies the process of providing Internet connectivity to one’s equipment, where do you even start?
The natural starting point would be to work directly with one or more wireless carriers (i.e. Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, etc.).
This will oftentimes result in being sold an expensive piece of complex, unmanaged hardware that is activated on a self-managed data plan and will ultimately require dedicated resources just to ensure the connection is maintained and the costs involved remain reasonable.
Although doing this once or twice may seem simple enough, what happens when your wireless connectivity need grows to hundreds or even thousands of devices?
Here are some questions to consider before you grow beyond a handful of connections:
- How do you shield yourself from costly data overages?
- Who do you call when your hardware malfunctions?
- How do you know that the transmitted data is safe and secure?
- Who is ensuring maximum uptime of your equipment?
The answer to all of these questions is to utilize the services of a fully-managed wireless connectivity provider.
A fully-managed wireless connectivity provider will effectively manage each device individually, making sure it is constantly updated with current software, firmware, and security protocols, will offer dependable technical support for assistance in troubleshooting and will handle any and all warranties that may be required on faulty equipment.
They will also manage the relationship with the wireless carriers and shield you from unpredictable data overages that can quickly enter the realm of tens of thousands of dollars in a given month, keeping your communications expenses predictable and stable.
Another aspect of fully-managed connectivity is the need for 24x7x365 monitoring of connectivity equipment as well as the networks they communicate on.
A true fully-managed connectivity provider will have the infrastructure already built and in place for this monitoring to take place and will also put reliable tools into your hands to give you many of those same insights.
Cost of Ownership
When deploying machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless devices, there will eventually come a time when dedicated resources will be required to manage each device individually as well as some collective aspects as well.
A major risk assumed by self-deployment is that of data overages. Data overages can be caused by a number of factors. One of the most common is a rogue piece of equipment (either wireless terminal or connected equipment) that malfunctions and repeatedly attempt to gain a good connection.
The result is thousands of data consuming “pings” that take away from the data pool that is available and will eventually run out, often without warning.
As soon as that data pool is depleted, overages are incurred. It is not uncommon for the rate at which data overages are charged to greatly exceed the standard per MB rate that the monthly plan supports.
This means that in addition to the expected monthly expense for wireless service, a few problem devices could cause your bill to skyrocket to double or even triple what was expected and budgeted for.
In recent years, data breaches and cyber attacks have become an increasingly common occurrence. One of the most recognized data breaches was that of the national retailer Target, which cost them upward of $252M as of the close of 2014 (McGinty, 2015).
It’s also easy to maintain the mindset that only large, Fortune 500 companies have to worry about cyber-attacks and data breaches.
However, according to a study conducted by First Data Corporation, “the cost of a data breach for a small business merchants averages $36,000 and can reach or exceed $50,000” (First Data Corporation, 2014).
There is no shortage of attempted and successful cyber attacks. With the rate that technology advances, it’s difficult to guarantee that deployed M2M equipment is updated and protected against these cyber threats, thus leaving your organization vulnerable and potentially liable for a data breach of sensitive information.
OptConnect works tirelessly with multiple vendors to ensure the most up-to-date security protocols and standards are in place, ensuring any data communications are secured and without compromise.
Wireless connectivity comes with a slue of unknowns. The opportunities it creates are limitless and in this day of the Internet of Things, highly profitable.
Although an organization may be able to manage a growing wireless portfolio, the grim reality is that doing so detracts them from doing what they do best.
Many of the most successful companies that utilize wireless connectivity focus on their primary products and utilize the services of fully-managed wireless connectivity providers to ensure maximum uptime, reliability, and profitably of their connected equipment.
Don’t get bogged down doing what is already being done.