An often-overlooked category of costs that can cut into the efficiency gains that your IoT program generates is the cost of data transfer. It would help if you optimized your data rate plan so that the expenses of running an IoT program do not offset its benefits. Here are a few quick ways you can do that.
Too many managers make the mistake of deploying an Internet of Things (IoT) solution without first holistically understanding how and where it integrates into existing workflows. IoT systems must be both intuitive as well as accessible if they are to work. For project managers and other decision-makers, one of the biggest challenges in IoT implementation is ensuring that their solution is working as intended. A vital component of that is optimizing your data rate plan.
Four ways you can do this are by:
- Use a standardized, one-stop platform.
- Give the system the time it needs to prove its use.
- Optimize network routing.
- Lower energy consumption.
Let’s discuss each in turn.
1. Use a standardized platform.
A standardized platform that provides bucket-style or pay-as-you-go pricing and user-friendly, cloud-based resources is a great way to optimize your data rate plan. It is best to use a cloud-based, managed solution for the IoT processes your company runs. For example, automated asset tracking across multiple functions may lead to surcharges or other overheads if you consume more data than your plan allows. If you integrate the tracking of these functions on a centralized, user-friendly hub, you can see the data you are using in real-time and set automated updates to scale your data plan up or down based on use, ensuring that you only pay for what you use and need.
By migrating your IoT systems on to a single platform, you can streamline data-related processes and eliminate areas that overlap. Such a solution can also improve internal collaboration and provide all business decision-makers with a single version of the analytics, both of which are crucial to optimizing workflows, ensuring consistency, and lowering administrative, supervisory, and troubleshooting overheads.
2. Give the system enough time to prove that it works.
Having IoT-connected systems won’t instantly fix all the problems that your facility or business faces; such systems need time to prove their value. For example, IoT-enabled route management tools can help businesses monitor product deliveries and improve maintenance, servicing, vehicle and driver safety, and digital time tracking. They need a few weeks at least to aggregate data to provide you with actionable insights on how best to improve the services or processes you run. Faster and more efficient operations in these areas can ultimately eliminate costly spend over the long run, but only if you give them the time they need to give you data-based value-added insights.
3. Network routing.
Routing involves choosing the optimum path for sending data across single or multiple networks. The data you send may machine-to-machine or machine-to-object pathways. The data you generate should route over the shortest or the most optimal path between the source and the destination to optimize your plan.
Three ways to route your data and optimize your rate plans are:
- Reactive: Here, a routing pathway is created only when the source wishes to send data to a destination. This route is classified as an on-demand routing protocol.
- Proactive: This helps maintain a routing table, which updates periodically depending on the destination list. It is also known as a table-driven protocol.
- Hybrid: This protocol combines the first two options outlined above.
You can use various methods to route data from source to destination, depending on your network’s devices and the types of data you want to transfer. For example, lightweight forwarding algorithms are used to facilitate multicast, a routing protocol that distributes data to multiple recipients. This protocol is used for service discovery in smart objects that use LLN – Low Power and Lossy Networks. These networks are made up of embedded devices with limited power, memory, and processing resources.
Alternatively, you can use content-centric routing (CCR), where routing is determined using content. In this protocol, correlated data is routed to achieve a high data aggregation rate to help reduce network traffic. By using this method, network latency reduction and the elimination of redundant data is achieved.
In summary, to manage efficient network routing, you need to understand the types of devices and data transmitted on your network before you can understand your data transfer costs. Once you thoroughly understand this, you can optimize data plans for your organization.
4. Energy conservation.
Prolonging network lifetime can help you optimize your data rate plan. You can use several energy-saving methods and sleeping techniques in your IoT applications to achieve this. Here are a few communication standards that you can use to do so.
IEEE 802.11ah: This is a wireless networking protocol that helps conserve the energy within your IoT solution. The protocol’s communication range is twice that of the standard IEEE 802.11 since it uses a 900 MHz license-free channel. IEEE 802.11ah deploys two power-saving stations – TIM stations and non-TIM stations – that allow it to save energy. TIM stations help receive buffered traffic information from an access point (APs) while non-TIM stations use a Target Wake Time (TWT) mechanism to reduce signaling overheads.
ZigBee: This is a wireless protocol that comes with two types of nodes. One is a full-function device (FFD) that serves as a coordinator, a common node for the network, and reduced function devices (RFD) that act as common nodes. Since routing is required for only a brief period in most systems, a synchronized sleeping technique (SST) helps launch sleep mode on all of the ZigBee network nodes. In this way, SST ensures that all fully functional devices enter sleep mode when the network is idle, conserving data and energy usage.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE): Also referred to as Bluetooth Smart, BLE can be found on the operating systems of mobile phones, laptops, and desktops. It is a protocol that requires ten times less power than standard Bluetooth since BLE uses a master/slave architecture. The master dictates the slave’s wake time so that the slave can hibernate after sending its information. With such a setup, your devices can reduce energy consumption after transferring their data to the master, ultimately lowering usage across the entire network.
Standard BLE, ZigBee, and IEEE 802.11ah are all currently in use in various IoT applications to help conserve energy and optimize data usage of IoT programs in a wide range of settings and industries.
Optimizing your data rate plan for your IoT solution is an essential component of lowering costs and ensuring that your business is as lean as possible. The optimization methods discussed above can help ensure that you get the most out of your IoT initiatives while simultaneously cutting unnecessary spending.
Kajeet’s Solutions Engineers can help you plan, set up, and run an IoT program that optimizes data usage and ensures efficiency across your business operations. Contact us today for a consultation with one of our IoT data experts.