For many IoT application users, it was a very black Thursday as O2 and other major networks were affected from the Ericsson outage.
Whilst it was consumer devices that hit international headlines as the ability to browse and email became life stopping experiences for the connected person, there was less focus on the millions of IoT and M2M applications which were equally affected. Though a namecheck went out to London Transport’s real-time bus timetables on many news streams, the reality was that business processes, medical provision, asset tracking and multiple other applications all fell victims with the inability to communicate their mission-critical data. At Wireless Logic, we also felt helpless. Our IoT platform relies on the resilience of mobile network technology and it is testimony to the thousands of customers who choose to connect with us, that their patience and understanding were palpable. Indeed, in a global situation such as this, we saw true British and European spirit displayed as users brought in emergency procedures to maintain services.
So what lessons can be learnt?
Whilst many users had crisis plans in place, for others the outage which ran into the night was just too long. Reconnecting via 3G and 4G could not come soon enough. It also exposed the sheer vulnerability of applications that use a single network. Whilst the day was unprecedented in terms of the length of outage, the reliance on one network with no back-up was and remains a big talking point. The focus for a number of users seeking total resilience is now turning to unsteered, in-country roaming SIMs. In simple terms, a single SIM that will connect to any of the major networks, without steering or preference to a given network. With competitive and flexible tariffs – even on high data usage applications, developers and customers are realising that for ‘always-on, no fail’ requirements, a ‘one SIM fits all’ solution may be the answer. With security at the heart of many IoT applications, one SIM can be delivered with our NetPro private infrastructure solutions with full visibility and control via the SIMPro SIM management platform.
In light of the outage, we are engaging with customers across multiple verticals to re-examine their IoT data SIM requirements. Stress-testing is vital in relation to all organisations who have not allowed for a plan B. The lack of planning was understandable given that the situation was so unique. The sheer scale and length of outage exposed many weaknesses across industry, commerce and public services. We have addressable solutions and I would urge organisations to start the re-evaluation process now.
Matt McPherson, UK Sales Director