Deutsche Telekom’s ecosystem for IoT developers
In February 2019, Deutsche Telekom launched its IoT Solution Optimizer: a scalable online tool that allows global businesses to model and optimize theperformance of IoT applications ranging from smart city services to asset tracking. Saft lithium batteries are integrated into the solution: the first of its kind, and one that promises to dramatically change the way IoT products are sourced and deployed – for the better. We spoke to Miguel Rodriguez, Senior Manager of IoT Device Verification at Deutsche Telekom, to find out more.
Why did you develop the IoT Solution Optimizer?
If you’re developing an IoT solution, there are many hurdles to clear. You have to consult network operators, potentially several of them covering multiple countries, to determine the network features they support. You also need to engage module or chipset suppliers. Your hardware choices must be carefully selected and integrated with components such as microcontrollers, sensors and actuators. It is especially important to find batteries that can deliver the required performance, sometimes in harsh operating conditions, over a long service life. Because in many cases swapping out spent batteries is simply not an option.
And when you have done the hardware design, you must build the actual software application. Now, if you’re running a small, aspiring business of around 50 people without a huge budget for R&D, you may not have the resources or the expertise to implement the IoT solution that your business case requires.
Deutsche Telekom created the IoT Solution Optimizer to help IoT solution developers and service providers drastically lower the risk and costs of their IoT projects by reducing their time to market, whether building their own design or selecting best-fit solutions available off the shelf.
What does the IoT Solution Optimizer do?
This cloud-based service helps businesses model the battery performance of a complete IoT solution in order to shorten development time. It provides definitive answers to questions about features, chipsets, battery technology and so on, helping customers discover the right modules, components, and devices for their purposes, and optimizing their investment. Our tool redefines the onboarding experience for IoT, digitalizing consultancy to engage thousands of customers and partners simultaneously.
It’s also about creating an ecosystem of IoT solutions and applications to serve customers of all sizes. We want to empower the industry to create and build successful IoT projects, with proven components that help to secure the desired Return on Investment (ROI).
Can you walk us through how it works?
The first steps are to select an IoT vertical from one of the two dozen we’ve integrated and choose an available Mobile IoT technology in your specified deployment markets.
Right now, the most common applications are smart metering, condition monitoring and parking. But we’ve modeled many different verticals: the IoT Solution Optimizer could be used to design and optimize waste management, agriculture, security and safety products, logistics and more.
If you decide to build your ownproduct, you pick a module or chipset and specify power consumption requirements for the rest of the hardware. Both are important for the right battery selection, so we give customers a range of options through our Battery Selection Guide – which outlines different criteria to determine the best-fit solution. You can also browse through our catalog of pre-integrated Saft batteries.
You can then specify the application payload size for device-cloud communications and decide if you want to use an IP or non-IP based protocol, with various customizations available in each case. The aim is to consider the rules of every network in the design, and to guide customers on how to build applications that communicate more effectively. Finally, you decide which power-saving features to use and specify their deployment characteristics.
Work that previously took us weeks is now delivered in just seconds. This is the new IoT industry benchmark.
We’ve received interest from operators from all over the world – and we’re already working with one of Europe’s largest metering companies. When we roll out the LTE-M (eMTC) cellular technology, we expect to see even more interest.
In the future, we’re looking to build out our ecosystem even further and keep pace with business digitalization and with customer needs as they evolve. We want to have new releases – with new features and options – every six months or so.
What role does battery technology play in the success of your solution?
In many cases, the effectiveness of each solution is directly related to the quality of the battery. If it can’t power up the chipsets in all the operating temperatures, if it can’t support the pulse currents or if its lifespan is too short, the entire experience suffers.
So, the need to partner closely with Saft was self-evident: it’s a respected leader in lithium technology and we especially wanted a supplier that emphasized and delivered quality. We love being able to tell customers that with Saft batteries on board they can optimize their design for a long service life, even up to 10 years in some cases.
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