The Internet of Things (IoT) will someday connect virtually everything in our world. But what is less appreciated is how disparate industries are also connected by their need for mission-critical technology. So while the taco truck that navigates busy city streets looking for hungry office workers and the LNG pipeline that snakes through remote badlands may not seem to share many commonalities, they are bound by the same technical requirements: the need for a constant and consistent connection.
The taco truck needs GPS access, a way to process customer orders in advance, and a way to process payments. The pipeline needs an array of connected sensors to monitor flow and detect leaks. Both, in very different ways, are part of the industrial IoT, and they, like millions of other businesses and industries, rely upon maintaining connectivity at all times.
But finding a stable connection isn’t always easy. Buildings can block signals, or the signal may be lost when entering a dead spot between coverage areas. Rural or remote areas may have weak signals. That’s why so many companies are turning to LTE-Advanced networking modules, which can maintain a consistent connection to cellular towers, all while staying within the necessary bandwidth.
Global LTE-Advanced networking modules break all barriers for the industrial IoT (IIoT). These modules can be used even in the most challenging conditions.
, which makes PCs and other devices that can be utilized in some of the most grueling possible conditions, understands the challenges better than most. That’s why they partnered with Sierra Wireless. Their success shows the need to maintain connections, whether you are feeding a nation’s energy needs, or their (equally fierce) craving for delicious tacos.
OnLogic Shows the Need for Easy Connections in Tough Conditions
OnLogic has some tough customers. It’s not that their customers are challenging, rather, they are quite literally rugged. They work at construction sites, mines and oil/natural gas extraction sites, industrial sites, and other unusual environments. But they need PCs and other devices that must stand up to less-than-ideal conditions while maintaining connectivity to other devices. It’s obvious that in such conditions, a dongle is too risky due to its fragility. So this prompted the development of an internal connectivity module. To create devices with that module, OnLogic joined forces with Sierra Wireless, and they paired our LTE-Advanced EM networking module
with their Extrovert system.
OnLogic’s Extrovert 4G LTE Modem is just one piece of technology in its line of Extrovert-equipped systems, which allows users in remote locations to connect to the 4G LTE network where Wi-Fi or wired connections are unavailable.
Murat Erdogan, senior product manager at OnLogic, explained, “We serve customers in a variety of mission-critical industries where uninterrupted, high bandwidth data access is imperative. We chose the Sierra Wireless modules because they can provide these capabilities, including support for LTE Advanced Cat-6.” He added, “The company was also very responsive to us during our initial evaluation and eventual development process.”
Not only that, but Sierra Wireless modules are pre-certified, so that customers don’t need to certify their final product. While this sounds like a simple benefit, certification with regulatory bodies adds a complexity that OnLogic’s customers want to avoid. “Certifying a device to operate on the 4G LTE network requires approval from the PTCRB (PCS Type Certification Review Board), as well as individual cellular carriers, which can take upwards of six months and it costs as much as $50,000,” according to Erdogan. Sierra Wireless’ pre-certification initiative allows OnLogic’s customers to save time and money.
What Does LTE-A Bring to the Industrial IoT?
Why would OnLogic and their customers want an LTE-Advanced networking module solution? Well, there are a few reasons:
- Connection reliability. Compared to the LTE on your phone, which can vary depending upon your location, LTE-Advanced keeps you connected at the same bandwidth regardless of your distance from the nearest tower. It provides a consistent cellular connection whether you’re in the vast, remote plains or standing amidst the tumult of Times Square.
- Scalability on a global level. Every time you use a module in a design, it needs to be re-certified. That can slow scalability efforts, making it harder to expand into different markets. But with Sierra’s pre-certified module, that problem is solved. There is one module that covers all of the EU and North America, while another covers APAC countries. This makes it easier to expand and grow.
- Security. Cellular is widely recognized as being more secure than Wi-Fi, but the problem has always been connectivity. By being able to maintain that consistent connection without the vulnerability of a Wi-Fi connection, companies can have the security benefits of cellular without the signal loss.
For the industrial IoT, this is the best of all worlds. LTE-Advanced networking modules allow companies to scale in response to market demands. And this can be achieved without encountering the artificial barriers that can arise from connectivity or security issues. This is what makes the transformative powers of the IoT so very unique. This is what will prompt change and advancement on a global scale.
The Technology That Brings the IoT to Life
Global access. Modular capabilities. Consistent connection. The industrial IoT needs these factors to work effectively. And when they become universal, the IoT will really grow to its full potential.
It’s not just the taco truck and the pipeline. Consider the kiosk in the city center selling goods that people need to get through the day. Cellular connections help them run their business, from efficient inventory and supplies, to maneuvering in a cashless economy. It helps small businesses level the playing field, no matter where they are.
Reduced pollution. Safer roads. Connection no matter where you are. That’s the promise of the industrial IoT, and it can be achieved with LTE-A networking modules that allow businesses to scale up efficiently and intelligently, while maintaining security. It’s all possible with today’s cutting-edge technology.
Start with Sierra
to learn more about how your business can join the next wave of connectivity (after, of course, you flag down the taco truck).