The Importance of GREAT Network Diagnostics for IoT
Let’s say that you’re a Director of Connectivity at a start-up. Your customers are in IoT, they have various use cases from tracking and logistics, to intelligent sensors, smart city projects, and more. It’s 9pm, and it’s been a long day. You’ve put out the odd small fire, you’ve been congratulated on a few victories here and there, and you’re just about to call it a day. Suddenly, you get an alert from your #1 customer. This customer works in logistics, and their high-value cargo container was supposed to be in port two days ago. Unfortunately, there’s no sign. The customer can’t find its location, and in fact – they can’t even connect, so they don’t know if the IoT sensor is still functioning.
If this scenario keeps you up at night, you’re not alone.
The Difference Between Diagnostics, and GREAT Diagnostics
Most platforms will offer you some level of diagnostics. At a basic level, many partners will say that they offer device-based diagnostics, which give you intelligence when the device is connected. However, sometimes – devices only connect once a day, once a week, or even less. If your diagnostics are reliant on those periods of ‘awake’ time, you’re in the dark for the majority of the time. Here are just three problems that come from this limited insight:
– Context: In a situation where your device is supposed to check in, and it doesn’t, there’s no way to know why.
– Tracking: If the device is in transit, you can only pinpoint its location to the last time it had a signal.
– Accuracy: Your information is always from a past state, which means you can’t make real-time changes that have any impact.
Network diagnostics is obviously a superior level of insight, but even with network diagnostics, you may not have the clarity and visibility that you think you do. A partner may offer network diagnostics for specific parts of the technology stack, or in certain situations, but IoT is a new and fast-paced industry, and you can’t guarantee that anything will stay the same for long. As models change, and you add providers for new parts of the technology or to enable new use cases, it can be hard to stay on top of everything that’s happening under your roof.
Ask your provider, will they be able to show you device issues? Configuration challenges? A problem with the underlying core network? An application error? What if the problem is at the server level, with the network, as a result of the carrier?
Also, demand context. When a request is denied, or a device can’t connect – your provider needs to be able to give you insight into why this problem is occurring, and help you to automate smart responses such as auto-healing, that keep business continuity running smoothly, and ensure your devices can be monitored and managed at all times. With these kind of tricks up your sleeve, your customer isn’t calling you at 9pm to say that their cargo is missing, you’re calling them ahead of time to let them know what the issue is and how you’re managing it, or better yet – no one is calling anyone, because the customer can see clearly that their cargo has arrived as planned.
The Benefits of Owning the Technology Stack, End to End
At floLIVE, we own the whole technology stack, from start to finish. If a problem is coming from one part of the stack, you’ll see it. If instead, it’s a matter of converging issues from more than one system, you’ll see that too. With disparate providers, each individual service may appear to be working fine, and there’s no way of visualizing the communications between the two. With floLIVE, interdependencies are automatically managed, as you can visualize everything from a single screen.
When it comes to complex and critical IoT systems, successful connects are not enough. You need deep, real-time views into all elements of the network and what they are doing. When you’re thousands of miles away, you can’t just run out and see physically what is happening for your customers, so you rely on your connectivity provider to give you that visibility and control through real-time reporting, and always ON connectivity.
Want a connectivity partner that works as hard as you do? Let’s schedule a call.