Unlike Ethernet or wifi, the fickle nature of cellular makes it diabolically challenging to manage its cost; The developers of Jasper, a cloud-based enterprise solution, say it’s designed to help organizations get a grip on it.
“Think about Ethernet. You kind of just plug it in and you walk away. With cellular, you could walk 10 feet and the signal changes. And the fact that the carriers still charge for every kilobyte--and that’s not a typo!--makes it much more important to know the true cost,” Macario Namie, head of strategy for Cisco Jasper stressed.
At a press conference at the Hannover Fair this week, Namie was speaking about the dynamic nature of cellular technology and the importance of getting a handle on it, particularly as more enterprises look to adopt it for the IoT.
He should know. Namie was marketing director at Jasper Technologies, a provider of a cloud-based enterprise solution for users to launch, manage and monetize an IoT deployment, before its recent acquisition by Cisco. The platform has over 100 API calls into enterprise backend systems keeping a tight hand on network events.
“Our technology is deeply embedded in the network itself, so we have real-time visibility into and control of anything that is connected to the network. We know when something is on or off, we know when data is being used and when voice is being used—we know it all,” he stated.
That value of all that information is that it can be used as a diagnostic tool and translated into an immediate response, leading to a potentially dramatic reduction in OPEX costs. Jasper’s experience has proven that true with some 3,500 enterprise customers.
“Most companies do a complete swag when it came to estimating the cost of cellular – in part because people often think of as just the place a SIM card goes into their phone. And cellular plans are complicated.” Namie explained. Without a way to dynamically control their cellular costs, Jasper found that companies were spending an average of $5M annually to manage 1M IoT devices.
Their data shows that network communications make up about 20% of that total cost. “Companies don’t realize that when you build an application that is not network efficient and it uses cellular, they can wind up using way more data than they need. And cellular rates are constantly changing – think of your own bill—and then consider the impact when you dealing with a million devices, not just one,” said Namie.
Administrative labor costs chew up another 65% of that $5M, resulting from an average number of 15 interactions per year per device, with a typical 5-minute interaction each time.
“The thing companies don’t realize is that these devices are not homogeneous and in any given month 5 to 10% of them don’t behave as expected—that’s a ton of touch points!” exclaimed Namie. “The problem is that with no visibility into the network, you won’t know if it’s a problem with the network or the device or whatever, but someone has to go and check it out.”
The remaining 10% is spent when the heavy technical hitters (usually the vendor) need to assist—a cost that might have been avoidable in some cases had internal staff been given the right diagnostic information.
Compellingly, Jasper’s own data shows that enterprise customers can reduce these costs by as much as 50% by integrating their system with the Jasper Control Center platform. “Since all the information is integrated and designed to allow companies to take action on the fly, it reduces the kind of costly, chair-swiveling that typically takes place when problems do come up,” said Namie.
Using the platform, an enterprise can program in its own unique trigger points and the desired, automated reactions to them. One such scenario could be programmed for a device whose purpose is to wake up once a day and send a packet of data. A programmed response will kick the device off the network it it should wake up more than once in a 24-hour period, thereby avoiding unnecessary data charges until the problem is solved.
Likewise, should a device fail, the system can determine if it’s a network problem, and then initiate the appropriate response.
Cisco Jasper’s full white paper The Hidden Costs of Delivering IIoT Services is available on its website with registration.