Connectivity Guidelines for Complex IoT Projects

13.04.2022 by Ümit Günes

Green labyrinth from bird's eye view

Be it hardware, data volumes or wireless technologies, companies must clarify many details when designing an IoT business model. The IoT Connectivity Guide provides answers.

A shipment of coffee – fresh Arabica beans from the hill country of Sul de Minas – has just arrived at the port of Santos, around an hour and a half’s drive from São Paulo, Brazil. It is a valuable commodity because harvests have fallen due to unfavorable weather. That is why, inter alia, the cost price of a pound of coffee beans has more than doubled within two years, according to the International Coffee Organization. The pandemic has also taken its toll: more employees were sick, not enough containers were available, and freight rates rose.

Smart Technology on the High Seas

To retain an overview of shipments and supply chains logistics enterprises are increasingly relying on the Internet of Things (IoT). They ship the raw coffee in ventilated containers that are fitted out with an IoT tracker before departure. The tracker contains sensors and a wireless module and collects information about the air circulation and temperature inside the container en route. There is thus a continuous record of whether the beans are protected from harmful moisture and heat. This data is transmitted to the cloud via the cellular network and all concerned have access to the data via a Web portal, are informed immediately about fluctuations or external influences and can take immediate remedial action. If, for instance, there are unscheduled stops en route or system readings indicate that the goods may arrive perished, the recipient can notify his customers in good time.

Global Connectivity on the Internet of Things

To really make full use of the IoT tracker’s benefits coffee importers must first clarify further issues. Over a distance of 10,000 km, factors such as global availability or a tariff that functions without hitches across borders make a big difference. 

Shipping coffee is an example of the complex requirements of an IoT project. That is why globally active enterprises must start by defining their own needs and expectations and then implement an individual matching solution. The right mobile communication standard for tracking containers will depend, for example, on both the deployment location and the volume of data to be transmitted. 

The NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) mobile communication standard scores points with very low energy consumption and a very high level of building penetration. These are especially important factors when transmitting from the belly of a container vessel or the depths of a warehouse. To monitor the transportation of goods LTE-M is a further contender. In addition to low-cost hardware and enough battery life for lengthy shipping routes it provides sufficient bandwidth for midrange data volumes.

Iot Roaming for a Smooth Connection

To ensure a fail-safe cross-border connection and seamless data transmission the tracker’s wireless module must be able to rely on roaming. On crossing borders the SIM card must log into the next network automatically.
Mobil roaming for IoT applications makes sense if…

  • IoT devices such as tracking modules attached to containers, pallets or packages on trucks or trains cross borders,
  • Manufacturers equip their devices with SIM cards and market them internationally or
  • Connected vehicles or video drones are used that cross borders.

Although international network operators conclude roaming agreements with each other, problems can occur en route, such as if countries prohibit permanent data roaming or the transmission of positioning data. In these cases local breakout solutions and eSIM cards solve the problem by automatically adjusting profiles to comply with local regulations. Once all these challenges have been dealt with, the forwarder in the port of Hamburg can take delivery of the Arabica beans and send them on by truck to the roasting house.

Working With a System

What is already in use in logistics or construction, in energy supply or digital farming can also benefit companies in other industries. The focus of technological development is on networked work that is simplified by smart applications. The overview that is required is then provided by the internal IoT platform, which bundles all information on the individual sub-processes as an interface between hard- and software.

IoT Connectivity Customized for You

Deutsche Telekom has the right solutions for IoT projects of all kinds. In addition to the hard- and software they include our IoT tariffs, which are geared to specific requirements in terms of bandwidth, frequency, security or payment model.

Would you like to know more about what you need to be aware of in connecting your products via the cell network? Which hurdles you need to clear in an international rollout? Or how best to manage your connections and their IoT components? You will all the answers in our free IoT Connectivity Guide whitepaper.

Download Whitepaper Here


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Ümit Günes
Ümit Günes

Marketing Manager IoT

Ümit has been working at T-Systems since 2015 and knows a great deal about many facets of the Internet of Things. He is particularly interested in topics related to the digitalization of the business world. For the blog, he reports on new developments and trends in the IoT world that offer real added value for customers.