IoT is Future Blueprint for CIOs: Neil Carey, MultiTech

“IoT is not what CIOs see upfront in IT infrastructure but it is what they see round the corner. IoT is a journey than a mere product push,” says Neil Carey, Sales Director, EMEA and India, MultiTech.

Yogesh Gupta Feb 25th 2015 A-A+

MultiTech, over the past four decades, has delivered industry-leading communications technology platforms including fully certified and carrier-approved external and embedded modems, routers, and gateways. The company—unlike many networking vendors—enables cellular, analog, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and other communication capabilities for industrial IoT & M2M applications for organizations.

“With the Indian government’s initiative on IoT and the adoption of M2M technologies, we are strengthening our alliances with key eco-system partners to help support this initiative,” says Neil Carey, sales director, EMEA and India, MultiTech.

What are the clear opportunities and possible roadblocks for IoT in India?

The Indian government’s IT aggressive plans around IOT and smart cities will yield many opportunities for MultiTech and our partner, One Network in India. We need to understand how we can be a part of how the plan will be deployed from technology and partnership stand point. Government will be the catalyst driving IoT adoption which in turn will encourage many industry players including MultiTech to help enable this roll out.

MultiTech is aligning with key systems integrators, utility companies, carriers, VADs, and resellers within the ecosystem to emerge as a valued partner.

From roadblock standpoint, there are other technologies competing with us. But our key focus is primarily on cellular and long range low power radio frequency technologies. Another challenge could be the actual adoption of governments’ IT initiative, how fast it gets enabled and then physically rolled out.

Besides government’s role as a catalyst, which verticals will be the early adopters of IoT and why?

There will be many verticals adopting IoT. One of the main drivers are the opportunities for economies of scale and greater management of information. Other drives include things like asset management, externally located or remotely deployed assets in the field, things like metering, power management, which includes intelligent street lighting and control.

All the sensory information and the controls required will lead to better economies of scale and cost savings, which will be beneficial to hotels, government buildings, and large housing infrastructure projects. Also the ability to remotely monitor a person’s health in the healthcare industry will benefit from new technologies and better sensor information. Agriculture with the water management for the field, crops, machinery will benefit from IoT.

Cellular technology (3G, 4G, LTE from back haul technology standpoint) will play a big part to help accelerate M2M and IoT adoption. Also low power, long range RF technologies such as LoRa from SemTech, which MultiTech supports within its IoT Gateways (Conduit, Gambit) and end nodes (mDot), will play a key role in sensoring applications during the roll out of smart cities, smart metering, agriculture, building automation, and other ability management verticals.

What are the key concerns of CIOs with regard to the IoT route?

CIOs need to believe that any investment made will give them a cost effective, easily manageable, and scalable IoT infrastructure solution. Another key factor for them is having the ability to future proof any deployed solution to help minimize reinvesting. They want to have as near perfect IoT platform as possible that will be able to evolve with their organizations’ requirements. Their requirement, today, will likely not be the same in one year, two years, or maybe ten years’ time.

For CIOs, IoT is the bigger picture. It is not what they see upfront but what they see round the corner. IoT is more of a journey with a future blueprint and not a mere product push. Where do they want to be after five years and how do they get there? What is the IoT strategy and the platform that enables that?  These are the key concerns for CIOs and IT teams of organizations.

With MultiTech’s IoT platforms, CIOs have a path forward for utilizing multiple technologies without necessarily changing the central gateway. The highly configurable, extremely secure and scalable platform will afford great business continuity. If CIOs can improve economies of scale, make cost savings, make better business decisions due to the received information, there is a direct correlation and tangible RoI with IoT.

Is M2M similar to IoT? What types of machines are connected in M2M today?

M2M and IoT are converging, merging, and in certain areas overlapping. The previously classified M2M applications are now evolving to be covered under the wider IoT umbrella. Overall, the two have same principles. The good news is MultiTech has products that fit both depending on the application or deployment environments.

Some M2M application environments could be trains, trucks, remotely operated fuel tanks, remote security cameras, digital signage, and general monitoring applications. It is quite vast with the amount of applications that are controlled or influenced by cellular connectivity.

How does MultiTech Solutions score an edge over the competing vendors?

The things that give us a competitive edge are: The breadth of the cellular connectivity technology we offer within both embedded and external box products and our IoT platform based on products including Conduit, Gambit, and Dragonfly along with the end applications that it will effectively and efficiently support. 

Our IoT product platform incorporates technologies such as IBM’s node-Red design environment, ARM mbed OS and software libraries. It supports multiple different backhaul technologies and other wired or wireless technologies through accessory cards that fit into expansion slots within the gateway itself. This ensures an easily configurable, highly flexible, and future proof IoT gateway platform.

One of the wireless technologies we are heavily focusing on is LoRa, a very low power, low range, RF technology. The link budget of 164dB helps enable long range connectivity circa 16km externally and up to 4km in building penetration. LoRa has benefits over other RF technologies, like Zigbee, which lacks good building penetration and range. We see a strong take-up of LoRa as these products are ultimately more cost effective and more in-line with IoT sensoring requirements.

To be accepted and command credibility, we and other vendors in this ecosystem need to have strong partners each with their own areas of expertise. We have relationships with IBM, ARM, SemTech, and carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Orange, Airtel, Vodafone are all very important. For example, ARM mbed OS with the software library and end nodes called mDOT are integrated in the MultiTech Conduit.

 

Yogesh Gupta is executive editor at CIO India. You can contact him at yogesh_gupta@idgindia.com or follow @yogsyogi1