Towards the end of 2015 Kevin Price, the European Business Development Manager – IoT at Future Connectivity Solutions (FCS), spent three days at IoT World in Berlin, the first comprehensive conference on the subject of the integration and monetisation of the Internet of Things.
It was a remarkable event: leading executives from industry sectors such as transportation, lighting, security and industrial control were willing to pay more than €1,000 each to learn what the ‘Internet of Things’ is and how to benefit from it. And the event was oversubscribed!
Yet I could not help asking myself at the end, did these senior managers get value for the money they spent on their tickets? There is no denying that the IoT is this decade’s big technology story, and so it is not surprising that the Berlin event was so well attended. But after the end of IoT World, product manufacturers were left asking the question, ‘How can I get a complete solution which provides everything I need to connect my product to the IoT?’
What underlies this question, it seems to me, is the sheer complexity of the IoT ecosystem and the huge number of competing suppliers, technologies and service providers. Faced with a maze of protocols and global standards such as ETSi, 3GPP, Bluetooth®, IEEE 802.1x, Sigfox, LoRa and more, it is no wonder that manufacturers are looking for help. It’s certainly unrealistic to expect to get a comprehensive understanding of so much information in just a three-day seminar.
After all, many product manufacturers are new to the question of connectivity. A designer of domestic coffee-brewing machines, for instance, has deep knowledge of functions such as flow control, power management and temperature sensing. Why should he or she be expected to know how to ‘get connected’? And, what is more, to know exactly what benefit the manufacturer will derive from doing so?
So I left Berlin more convinced than ever that there is an important role for distributors such as Future Electronics, and its specialist Future Connectivity Solutions division, in supporting customers’ efforts to build end-to-end connectivity into their products, and in helping them to profit from doing so.
It’s why we offer the industry’s best sensors, wireless modules, microcontrollers and processors – devices which you will find in the Circuit Centre section. On top of this, it is our job to guide customers through the process of commissioning cloud services, network analytics and cloud-hosted applications.
This is Future Connectivity Solutions’ domain of expertise: customers may need support on everything from tiny, low-cost RFID tags attached to IoT end nodes, to full network services aggregating data from thousands of connected devices. A team of dedicated and highly knowledgeable technology- and supplier independent engineers understands the process and knows the building blocks. They can ensure that the customers of Future Electronics implement a complete IoT system which is both cost-effective and future-proof, taking into account questions such as the data rate required by the application, the distance between end nodes and the gateway, the tolerance for network downtime, and the integrity of the encryption and authentication technologies under consideration.
In fact, to return to the concerns of the product manufacturers at IoT World, I think that the more important question they need to ask is:
‘Who understands the ecosystem in which I operate and has knowledge of the multiple standards across many technologies? And can they use this knowledge to deliver complete, cost effective and secure implementations from the point of measurement to the end user?’
Future Connectivity Solutions can meet this need now, and we welcome enquiries today from any customer of Future Electronics, and hope that you enjoy the IoT themed content in this edition of FTM.
European Business Development Manager – IoT
Future Connectivity Solutions