Practical, impactful and here today: An IoT system with benefits – PRTG Network Monitor and Sigfox
Despite being a relatively new technology, the internet of things (IoT) is beginning to develop some maturity, as it moves into the corporate world. .
IT departments across the industry are starting to realize that among the hype and buzz phrases, there are rich veins of value to be mined.
Creating significant business value and return on investment is gradually becoming more natural, with the IoT hardware and software specialists evolving earlier prototypes and trial deployments.
This article looks at one such type of deployment that’s firmly rooted in proven, practical experience that can produce significant value to organizations across a broad swathe of industries.
Before we can begin, we need to lay out some basics. Any team tasked with a rollout of IoT on a viable, production footing will be aware that there are, in general terms, three considerations, each of which concerns data. In brief:
— Data collation. Considerations around IoT devices’ physical characteristics, including the cost of devices, types of data collated, connectivity options, power requirements, unattended operating performance.
— Data transmission. Method(s) of connectivity, costs of connectivity, bandwidth limits, polling interval, potential interference, signal to noise ratio, and so on.
— Data collation & continuity. How data is stored, presented, processed, and utilized. How systems are monitored.
Two specialist companies have emerged which, in partnership, provide many of the practical answers to questions asked by IT teams attempting to gain value from IoT. Paesslers’ monitoring solutions are already well-known in IT circles and are available either as a server- or cloud-based (SaaS) highly scalable platform.
Out of the box, PRTG has the ability to monitor literally hundreds of devices, protocols, and technologies. It offers failover capabilities, a granularly-configurable alert system, multiple interfaces, and insightful reports in many formats.
In combination with the world’s most extensive independent communications network created explicitly for IoT by Sigfox, the outcome for organizations of any size is a price-conscious, robust, and scalable IoT solution.
Sigfox is a French company with a dedicated worldwide network catering only to IoT and IIoT deployments. It offers significant advantages over networks which piggyback existing systems such as LTE, 3G, or WiFi, and represents a robust LPWA (low-power wide area) provider:
- Star network architecture, with three points of connection (on average) per device, for extreme reliability.
- Very low network overheads. Transmitting via a narrow band (100hz) at the 200kHz frequency, its compact and optimized protocols mean low connectivity costs and trivial signalling overheads.
- Minimal power requirements. IoT devices can easily be battery operated, allowing independent operation, unattended, for years.
- Low cost of acquisition. Cost-per-device is kept low due to lack of manufacturing complexity and technical requirement.
Data from connected IoT devices is captured in Sigfox’s cloud computing arrays, via its own network infrastructure. The nature of the underpinning technology means that devices can be kilometers from a node, or mast.
PRTG represents a highly cost-effective solution for IoT based on individual sensor numbers. (An example IoT device may capture humidity, temperature, sound, and movement via an accelerometer – thus comprising four sensors.) Read more about pricing
Sensor-based pricing means sensor numbers can be assigned and re-assigned at will. Therefore, mission-critical systems (say, server-room IoT sensors and network hardware supporting the whole facility, plus the servers themselves) can be prioritized, with less essential devices assigned fewer sensors. As business needs change, the sensors can be reassigned, without licensing complications.
PRTG can either be hosted in-house (there’s a trial version to download for free) or on Paessler’s own cloud-services as a fully-managed SaaS provision. Organizations wishing to roll-out testbed IoT, therefore, will not need to experience significant CAPEX risk unnecessarily.
The combination of Paessler and Sigfox (both European companies) means that low-cost, high-impact IoT can be rolled out, with transparent pricing and a proven return on investment. This is the next-generation internet of things – known to work, safe to test and explore, and designed to bring business value.
Use-cases already exist where IoT and IIoT have been found to lower costs such as machinery maintenance bills, fleet tracking overheads, healthcare provision OPEX, and so on. Industries which have found practical IoT use include:
- Government (smart cities).
- Consumer (connected home).
- …And many more.
To find out how easy it is to integrate Sigfox IoT sensors with PRTG using the former’s dedicated network, watch this video. Alternatively, for further reading, learn more about low power wide area networks here, or the features available from PRTG, the all-inclusive, wide-reaching IT (and IoT) monitoring system here.
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