The Internet of Things (IoT) has changed everything. For businesses, it establishes an unprecedented way to capture, process and analyze data 24/7 – except when the network fails. Regardless of the type of disruption, a traffic accident, severe weather or heavy network congestion, the inability to communicate in real time hurts operations, sales and profitability.
According to Gartner, the cost of network downtime averages $5,600 per minute or more than $300,000 per hour. For Amazon, 49 minutes of downtime in 2013 cost a whopping $4 million in lost sales. While 99 percent of retailers are smaller than Amazon, uptime is just as crucial.
Downtime also has its soft costs. Think how annoying it is for someone to walk out of a coffee shop empty-handed because a gift card can’t be processed. Just as annoying is getting stuck with a cart of grocery items only to find out the credit card information won’t go through on the first, second or even the third time. After less than three minutes, customers become frustrated without progress and nearly 50 percent of customers avoid a retailer or brand if they have to wait more than five minutes. Reliable network connectivity is essential to business continuity.
In the past, whether a retailer, financial institution or branch office of any kind, the primary solution was to bring in a second form of wired network as backup. The problem with this option, besides cost, is that the cable typically comes in from the same point as the primary connection. It isn’t really a fail-safe solution for constant connectivity.
The alternative is a wireless solution. Previously, businesses expressed concern that cellular is too expensive or unreliable. Based on the hard and soft costs noted above, choosing the cost of downtime rather than a wireless failover solution is not a balanced trade-off. First, the claim that wireless is too expensive doesn’t add up. Thanks to hardware and wireless carriers investing heavily in new technology and working with partners to find creative ways to bundle solutions, the cost of both equipment and data is much lower than it once was. Second, results prove that 4G LTE wireless networks are as good as, and in some cases even better than, wired connectivity.
A wireless 4G LTE network provides a viable solution for network diversity. These are the most advanced networks in terms of performance, reliability and simplicity. Moreover, it comes at an extremely affordable price. For small and medium size businesses, this is the easiest and most cost effective solution for protection against a potential outage.
Windy City Red Hots, a multi-location restaurant in Northern Virginia, is an example of a retailer that needed a consistent and effective wireless backup solution to protect against a network failure. As a small multi-location restaurant business, it is extremely important to have a cost-efficient and reliable Internet connection to process credit card transactions, monitor sales activity and replenish inventory through online ordering anytime and anywhere.
The business chose ORBCOMM Enterprise Connect for its affordable turnkey bundle that combines world-class connectivity, hardware, management capabilities along with network and deployment. The IoT service solution includes end-to end 4G LTE wireless failover connectivity that integrates with a Cisco ISR for automatic failover and remote management portal.
In addition, ORBCOMM’s Out-of-Band Management (OOBM) functionality provides IT departments with a way to remotely troubleshoot, configure and reboot firewalls, routers, bridges, switches and servers without going through the same network that data travels through or relying on a separate and costly telephone (POTS) line. OOBM creates an environment that increases network uptime and reduces costs associated with technicians traveling to remote assets and branches to diagnose and fix equipment. The ROI on such solutions can be realized almost immediately.
This type of solution is ideal for providing secure primary connectivity as well as backup connectivity for ATMs, kiosks and digital signage. It also ensures connectivity for connected vehicles, such as buses, as Wi-Fi and cameras become the norm. It is even effective for industrial M2M applications related to trucks, containers, heavy equipment and other remote assets. Everything depends on the Internet – from placing orders to processing payments, monitoring shipping and managing logistical systems.
The IoT is impossible to ignore. Connectivity and communication is essential to keep machines and processes moving forward. Business continuity demands it. Today, world-class connectivity, hardware, management capabilities along with network and deployment support are within reach for businesses of any size.
SandHill.com is proud to be a media sponsor at the upcoming IoT Evolution Expo, January 25-28, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Use the discount code “SANDHILL” when you register, and receive a 20 percent discount. Peter Dunn is a presenter at the event. The conference draws an international audience of IoT software companies, large enterprises, SMBs, network service providers, platform providers and device manufacturers.
Peter Dunn is an advanced IoT solutions consultant for ORBCOMM. He works directly with businesses to identify and address telemetry, M2M, wireless backup and business continuity needs. This includes developing end-to-end cellular networking solutions with carrier and hardware partners including Cisco and Cradlepoint.