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How IoT connectivity is reaching new heights

IoT solutions utilising SIM-based cellular technology for connectivity are not new – but the speed with which IoT is expanding, embracing ever more exciting and dynamic use cases is both compelling and creating market confusion in equal measure.

From a market which is reaching maturity – the standardised, tried and tested, M2M SIM IoT deployments – to one (e.g. 5G SIM-based IoT) which is largely in its infancy, separating between those solutions that can be bought with confidence and those where continued innovation warrants discussion and consultation, may not be straightforward. And, for these latter cases, choosing the right cellular (SIM) technology and network type will require an understanding of the technical requirements for each use case and the data profile of the asset to be connected. 

With the definition of IoT expanding almost daily and suppliers increasingly jumping on the IoT bandwagon, this is a complex landscape, requiring knowledge, understanding, and expert partnerships. Nick Sacke, Head of IoT Solutions, Comms365 explains how to navigate the maze of options to optimise and future proof your cellular IoT investments…

From M2M to 5G, a Range of Mature – and less Mature – Capabilities

Mass scale IoT Machine to Machine (M2M) deployments have been around for years, since the days of the inception of 2G cellular technology. Now bundled under (the increasingly broad) ‘IoT’ umbrella, the traditional M2M plastic SIM card we all recognise is giving way to soldered circuits inside the actual device, with data plans and automated network selection handled via software and sophisticated portals to manage the data estate. This is a mature market, with deployments that extend from payment for car washers and car valuation booths; washing machines for student accommodation, vending machines and refrigeration display units; to CCTV, access control, smart lighting, and waste bins fill levels. These M2M SIM-based services have become standardised, they are tried and tested, reliable and practical, enabling organisations to introduce the technology into their businesses with confidence.

Moving through the deployment spectrum, now using 4G and 5G where available, deployments have become much more scalable with the deployment of IoT sensors attached to machines and the bidirectional transmission of data to / from applications, allowing companies to achieve far more granular, tracking visibility and remote management of assets such as wind turbines, heavy equipment, power generation and metering infrastructure, anywhere there is signal. Rapidly expanding SIM network connectivity options now include Low Power WAN (LPWAN) variants such as Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M (Cat M), which have been specifically developed and incorporated into 5G standalone networks to support millions of battery-powered IoT devices in hard to reach places and are enabling enterprises to radically expand the scale of projects from Phase 1 pilots to mass deployments.

Now known as ‘Massive IoT’, millions of devices and assets can be connected and, with extraordinary innovation in sensor devices, the range of use cases expands daily. Soil sensors are being used by farmers to manage scarce water resources in remote regions; sensors in concrete structures can be used both during construction to track curing and post-build to measure compressive strain and concrete health. From water metering to air pollution, waste management and parking control, the combination of networks, devices and big data analytics is creating the foundation for everything from smart cities to sustainable agriculture. The SIM technology selected for all these use cases was based on a range of critical technical requirements including range, scalability, security and low power consumption.

Time Sensitive

Another fast developing and innovative use case field for SIM-based IoT Networks is ‘Critical IoT’, where applications such as real-time vital signs monitoring at home as an extension of healthcare require ultra-reliable data delivery and low delay in getting measurements to back-office systems (‘latency’). This application area is hugely vibrant in its development, with many technology firms delivering innovations in wearable technologies which record both vital signs (heart rate, Oxygen saturation) and location to keep track of individuals wherever they are, and allow care professionals to intervene quickly in an agile, targeted way.

This sector of the market will scale rapidly with the expansion of high capacity, fast, 5G networks, but given the need for reliable data transmissions typically across mobile locations, one network alone may be unlikely to deliver the quality of coverage required. Organisations will need a SIM-based technology option that can ‘roam’, i.e. work with more than one public network operator to hand off traffic seamlessly.

Conversely, for super-low latency, high-volume operations in fixed locations, such as industry automation IoT, private 5G is now a preferred option, offering the chance to prioritise specific data traffic flows – something that is not currently an option across public 5G networks. This is compelling for factories, warehouses, stadiums and large buildings which have poor or massively contended mobile signal indoors and cannot deliver mobile data services reliably.

Clearly, at the end of the spectrum, SIM-based cellular IoT is far more complex than the ‘plug and play’ experience we’ve come to rely on with our Smartphones, requiring design, planning and deployment by experts.

Maximising Potential

With substantial growth in IoT connectivity globally, customers are now demanding simplified contracts and service models from their providers to take care of their requirements – from low power connections for sensors, to high bandwidth applications to connect their real estate assets to provide primary and failover internet access. This is a complex challenge, especially internationally, due to different commercial agreements and service models amongst competing carriers, as well as limitations on certain types of network access on a per country basis (almost all countries have a 4G service, but 5G is a work in progress, and low power network coverage needs to be checked for availability).

Network operators need to be flexible, but have not always proven to be so, allowing the growth and development of a new generation of network aggregators and smaller service providers that are geared to cater to customer needs. Aggregators are now playing a significant role in SIM-based mobile market development and growth, particularly if managed network operators (MNO’s) are inflexible, by negotiating directly with multiple network operators to create a tailored, multi-network solution to support each use case.

There are several questions that should be asked to qualify your provider’s capability to supply IoT, including: How long is the contract? What are the data costs and do they reflect current and future data profiles? Can one network operator provide the full coverage required for all mobile assets, both now and in the future? Can the customer benefit from access to new Low Power SIM technologies including NB-IoT, LTE-M (Cat M) or other IoT connectivity types, including non-cellular, as a blended service? Does the provider offer automation tools to configure, monitor and manage the SIM-based connectivity service, including changes? Does the SIM have automated, built-in failover to a second or third network option if the primary network fails? Is the Core Network of your provider proven to be secure against external threats?

Using a confluence of different networks can be incredibly powerful as a complete solution to connect all parts of a customer’s estate, but it may require a service provider who is capable of orchestrating the multiple SIM-based technologies to acquire the right networks in the asset location and provide seamless provisioning, management and changes via automation to provide a good and reliable customer experience.


5G will transform the landscape for SIM-based IoT. It will provide a step change in capacity, allowing 100,000s of connections per square kilometre, compared to just hundreds today. It will offer more speed, more reliability and, in time, enable the market to provide real Service Level Agreements. But with so many providers jumping on the SIM-based IoT bandwagon it is necessary to ask the right questions to make the right decision for your use case.

This is a fast-evolving market. There is tremendous growth and vitality and energy in the SIM-based IoT area which is hugely exciting. However, in the quest for innovation, let us not forget the mature M2M SIM IoT deployments that offer huge opportunities for business transformation with confidence.

Fundamentally, across the broad IoT spectrum, it is vital to understand the use cases, applications, technologies and the commercials before making final decisions about suppliers and providers.

Give every asset a unique digital identity. See how!

With Brady Corporation’s complete RFID solution, assets in any industrial environment can be given unique digital identities just by applying a label. Users will be able to identify and locate labelled assets all at once, from a distance, in real time, without needing line of sight. Discover Brady’s complete RFID solution!

Your needs. Your solution.

To make RFID driven efficiency possible in any unique workplace, Brady leverages its global manufacturing capabilities and services to customise each of the components in its complete RFID solution. Label read range can be adapted, as well as all other label properties that enable labels to stay attached to any user’s asset selection in a wide range of industrial environments. Sensors can be embedded to capture environmental data including temperature or moisture levels. Scanners can be equipped with custom programmed apps that processes data to unlock the benefits a specific business needs, and Brady can integrate the entire solution with existing ICT infrastructure.

Discover Brady’s RFID complete solution >>

A major leap in workplace efficiency

Well implemented, quality RFID solutions enable a major leap in operational efficiency for many industries. With a handheld RFID scanner, multiple assets can be located, identified, tracked and traced from a 15m distance without needing line of sight. Fixed RFID scanners can even cover the entire workplace to considerably accelarate asset tracking. As a result, employees can quickly find any labelled asset they need, inventories can be automated, and outgoing cargo can be checked for completeness in seconds.

Business at your fingertips

Automatically collected data on all labelled assets can help inform strategic decision making on capital asset numbers, their locations, preventive maintenance and environmental elements. Decisions on stock levels can be supported by the latest data, all generated and collected automatically, to further drive business efficiency and profitability, all by giving assets a unique digital identity.

Download the free RFID Guide >>

Save Water, Save Energy – And how our experts can help you

By Water Plus

With the spotlight on energy costs and increasing focus on what organisations are doing to reduce impacts on the environment, there are small steps that can be taken now to help in the future.

Using less hot water through small steps like tap aerators in kitchens and facilities and cutting any areas of water waste helps. And using less water overall means lower Scope 3 emissions.

Tracking water use closer during a year allows those managing facilities to spot any issues early – including leaks that can be underground and not easy to spot. Data loggers, which can be attached to water meters, feed updates daily into a smart online portal to help manage multiple sites and spot opportunities for efficiencies.

Barry McGovaney, Sustainability lead at Water Plus, which is the UK’s largest water retailer and a Green Apple Environment Award winner, said: “Hot water can cost between 2 to 4 times more than cold water, once energy costs are considered, and water efficient taps, showerheads and other measures can all help there. It’s important to know what water you’re using, where and when, along with regularly checking site pipes, fittings and water meters, if they’re safe to access, ideally each month.”

Here’s the big impact data loggers, installed through the Water Plus Advanced Services team, have:

  • A manufacturing facility had a leak on one of their main site pipes, which had a fracture and was losing 21 cubic metres of water an hour – that’s 21,000 litres an hour. If this had not been identified, and quick action taken to organise a repair in December 2021, it would have cost around £10,000 a week – and £41,000 if it was running for a month. After contacting Water Plus, the Advanced Services team quickly pinpointed the leak’s location and made the repair.
  • A distribution centre was alerted to a leak that saw 10 cubic metres of water an hour seeping away underground – with a cost around £690 a day.

To contact our team, please email – and include “FM Briefing” in the subject heading.

More tips to #BeWiseOnWater at: .

Clarity, consistency, and confidence needed to deliver Net Zero

2021 was an eventful year for anyone working in the sustainable energy sector, with the Government publishing a whole host of policies and strategies, including the long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy. There is no question about how much the Strategy was needed; 17% of carbon emissions from heating buildings in 2019 came from homes. That’s comparable to the total emissions from all petrol and diesel cars. Long-term vision is what we have all been waiting for in the hope that it will result in actions being taken to reverse the tide. But does the sector have what it needs to deliver net zero?

Now that we have had the strategy for some time, Jade Lewis (pictured, right), Chief Executive at the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA), has taken the chance to explore what questions and policy gaps remain for our industry, and here is what we found…


Clarity is important. We need roadmaps, dates, and certainty from government to provide a clear direction of travel, set out over the long term. That’s how businesses justify investments, prioritise certain product lines and decommission others. To put this into perspective, the Heat and Building Strategy was originally due in August 2020, and yet the lack of clarity caused by its delay made it all too easy for our industry to lose focus and hold off on investing in much needed capacity building and innovation.

Due to lack of clarity, the questions around how we will engage the ‘able-to-pay’ sector, which makes up 60% of our consumer market, also remain unanswered. In essence, we need direction on how we can work together to transition those who are able-to-pay to willing-to-pay. But this is by no means a new question. It’s one which has challenged the industry for years, and one the SEA tackled again in our 2020 report, ‘Addressing the Able to Pay Sector’.  Yet, we are still waiting for intervention from the Government.

We have seen numerous policies published over the decade, some of which are now well established, like the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), whereas others have fallen prey to cutbacks. It’s so crucial that we get timings right. Without clarity and stability, the industry can become entrenched with rumours about what policies could be ‘cancelled’ or what may or may not be ‘delayed’. As an organisation, the SEA is in a good position to filter out rumours we know to be incorrect due to our policy insight. However, such uncertainty can stifle much-needed investments from more isolated organisations and SMEs.


Over past years we have seen many policies and schemes launched and then cut short before the industry has had an opportunity to mobilise to deliver. We have seen various funding schemes aimed at supporting different technologies such as PV, renewable heating, biomass, etc., and now heat pumps are very much on the Government agenda. Investigations, set out in our report ‘Designing an Effective Home Upgrade Grant Scheme’, found that short-term funding terminated at the last minute distorts the market, with ‘stop-start’ funding decimating the number of installers in the market. A long-term guarantee instead instils confidence in industry to enable upskilling, product development, service offering, and innovation in the market. To frame this in our current time, we can look at the Boiler Upgrade Scheme due to begin in April this year. But how do we move from 30,000 heat pump installations a year to 600,000 a year from 2028 when there is a general reluctance to fully commit? This hesitation is easy to understand. Previous policies such as the Green Deal, and more recently the Green Homes Grant, have been withdrawn after companies had spent valuable time and resources to prepare to play their part in the delivery.


Finally, and most importantly, we need confidence. Because of the lack of clarity and consistency, the industry lacks the confidence it needs to justify investment in the necessary capacity, resources, and training. Research carried out by the University of Sussex into why heat pumps are so widely adopted in places like Finland found that it is the long-term policy environment that supports business investments and individuals to choose a career in the low carbon heating industry. We need existing installers to retrain and newcomers to commit to a path – this isn’t just about business investment, but time and personal investment. A show of faith and steadfast direction will go a long way to reassure installers, who are the backbone of our industry, that they have made the right decision and have an important role to play in our transition to net zero. We know that many installers have informed local authorities that they have no appetite for future government schemes, so providing reassurance will be a challenge. It has also been suggested that the rollout of short-term policies into an immature market has increased installation costs for eligible measures.


Whilst we welcome the Heat and Buildings Strategy, we can appreciate the magnitude of the challenge before us. We are seeing the beginnings of a momentum that will change the way we do things in the energy and the construction sectors for decades to come. Provided we as an industry seek to work collaboratively with the Government to address the questions surrounding clarity, consistency, and confidence, we believe that we will be on the right path towards a just and efficient transition to Net-Zero.

SafeGroup delivers long-term support for enhanced hygiene protection

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased expectations for clean working and living environments which is why SafeGroup has developed a suite of services to deliver enhanced hygiene protection.

There is hope that the pandemic may soon be over, but the rise of the Omicron variant is still a huge challenge, and many experts agree concern about hygiene is now set at a permanently higher level.

Specialist cleaning and waste management service provider SafeGroup has responded to this challenge by developing an integrated range of services to support clients who need to reassure workers and customers that hygiene risks have been minimised.

They include an ultra-tough, long-lasting and nearly invisible antimicrobial coating called Touchpoint Shield. It has been proven in laboratory tests and field trials to be highly effective against SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus.

SafeGroup was also one of the first specialists to provide electrostatic disinfection spraying during the pandemic. And it carries out ozone decontamination, one of the most effective ways to treat enclosed spaces like buses and train carriages.

The company provides a full range of other specialist cleaning and waste services. They include flood and fire cleaning and recovery, kitchen deep cleaning, house clearances, fly tip waste removal, hazardous waste removal and emergency food waste collection.

In terms of Touchpoint Shield, just as important as its protection against COVID-19, is its ability to destroy 99.9+% of other pathogens, including the flu virus, norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, and harmful bacteria.

SafeGroup Strategic Business Development Director Chris MacDonald explains: “COVID-19 remains the key concern for many of our clients, but they also want enhanced protection against a range of other microorganisms.

“The bar has been permanently raised in the effort to create safe and hygienically clean living and working spaces. Now technologies like Touchpoint Shield are available, employers are seeing the advantages of permanently improving hygiene standards.”

Where Touchpoint Shield has already been installed, in hotels, restaurants, offices and the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s research centre, it is proving to reduce hygiene risks and helping to reduce levels of touchpoint cleaning.

Contact SafeGroup: 0800 668 1268 |

Flooring: Play it safe

By Chris Rand, Senior Marketing Executive, Forbo Flooring Systems

There are many factors that can cause slips, trips and falls, which is why is it important to understand why they happen and how to prevent them. Indeed, slips don’t just happen; one or more common factors usually play a part in any accident. In fact, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the key factors that affect slips are cleaning, contamination, flooring, footwear and environmental and human factors; and these factors form the basis of the Slip Potential Model.[1]

The practical measures that can be taken to reduce slip risk will vary in different situations. For example, keeping floors free of obstructions that could present a slip or trip risk, having control measures in place to manage occasional spillages and carrying out wet cleaning when the space is unoccupied will reduce the risk to workers and other occupants of a building.

Other measures may be more targeted. For example, the use of an appropriate grade of slip resistant floor covering (safety floor) in areas where continuous contamination is expected, such as cooking oil and grease in commercial kitchens or excess water in bathrooms, which cannot be controlled by cleaning alone. In such cases, it is vital that the slip resistance properties of the selected floor covering are sustainable throughout the lifecycle of the product. Therefore, it is important to understand how they are tested and what the slip ratings mean.

The Pendulum Test

The Pendulum Test is recommended by the HSE to assess the slip resistance of floor surfaces. The test can assess slip resistance in both dry and contaminated conditions and measures the coefficient of friction of a floor surface to provide a slip potential classification. The UK Slip Resistance Group and HSE guidelines demonstrate that a pendulum test value (PTV) of zero to 24 indicates high slip potential, a PTV of 24 to 35 signifies moderate slip potential, meanwhile a PTV of 36 or higher is classified as low slip risk.

R Value

Slip resistance performance here is based on ramp test ratings; and “an R Value” is often quoted.  However, it is a common misconception that R10 floor coverings are extremely slip-resistant, with some people believing that the scale starts at R1, when in fact it starts at R9. Ramp test values are based on ex-factory testing and do not take account of changes in slip resistant properties that could occur during the working life of the floor covering.  DIN51130 ramp test values should not, therefore, be considered in isolation.

The European standard

Another important factor to consider is the long-term slip resistance of flooring in use. EN13845:2017 is the European standard for PVC floor coverings with particle-based (e.g., carborundum, cork) enhanced slip resistance, commonly referred to as safety floors. The test methods referenced in this standard for determining slip resistance of floor coverings are wet tests, both barefoot and with footwear (shod), based on the Ramp test and the Pendulum test.Products can be classified as ESf (Enhanced Slip for use with footwear) or ESb (Enhanced Slip for barefoot use) to this standard (or both).

Forbo’s solution: STEP

Forbo Flooring Systems’ STEP safety flooring collection is a complete range of products that meet safety requirements across a wide variety of different applications. STEP is the perfect solution not only in general spaces, but also in more extreme areas, such as wetrooms, commercial kitchens or industrial applications.

The collection, which consists of 11 individual ranges, provides a variety of solutions which together meet European (BS EN 13845 class Esf & Esb) and HSE safety requirements; It has a pendulum test value of ≥ 36 to ≥ 50 and is available in all relevant slip ratings from R10 to R12.

What’s more, it also delivers guaranteed slip resistant performance throughout its lifetime and is available in a variety of on-trend colours and designs to give more freedom in creating beautiful interiors, without having to compromise on slip resistance.

For more information about Forbo’s safety flooring collection, visit

Impact safety with full colour precision signs

Discover BradyJet J4000 Colour Label Printer

Create a safer, more efficient workplace with compliant, photo-quality full-colour labels, signs and procedures that last. Balance the complexity of safety and compliance labels with the demands of an industrial environment while reducing your safety signage inventory and material waste. Discover BradyJet J4000 Colour Label Printer!

Features & Benefits: 

  • Create compliant labels and signs: Trust your regulatory labelling offers the colours needed for ISO, CLP/GHS, ANSI, BS5609 and arc flash
  • Extend label performance: Rely on specially formulated materials and ink designed to stand up to harsh environments
  • Maximise impact, improve efficiency and reduce waste: Stock and print only what you need, when you need it, in photo-quality full-colour every time

Watch the printer in action & book the demo >>

Best practices for a leaner and safer workplace

Visual Workplace is a lean concept that’s all about putting important information right where employees need to see it. This concept plays a critical role in some of the most popular lean tools, including 5S. That’s because it creates a sustaining base for lean improvements to remain clearly visible, readily understood and consistently adhered to.

Download the free 5S Plus Guide >>

BRADY Corporation

How to prevent slips and trips in the workplace

By Coral

Did you know that the most common cause of non-fatal injuries to employees is slips, trips and falls, on the same level? In fact, it accounts for 29% of all accidents[1]. As such, specifying solutions within a building that can prevent accidents is vital. Indeed, there are many ways to proactively avoid the possibility of slips and trips, but one of the easiest ways is to install an effective entrance flooring system.

An entrance flooring system will prevent dirt and moisture from entering a building, which in turn will reduce accidents and protect interior floor coverings. But that’s not all. The WELL Building Standard states that an entrance flooring system can also reduce pollutants entering a building, which will help to create a healthy and better indoor environment for all occupants[2].

While there are many solutions available on the market, Forbo Flooring Systems’ Coral collection has been the market-leader for over 50 years. Whether facing rain, snow, sand or soil, it keeps the outside from getting inside. Testing by Cleaning Research International has also shown that Coral can stop up to 95% of dirt and moisture from entering a building, with each m2 of Coral able to remove up to 5kg of dirt or 6 litres of water, which in turn can reduce the time spent cleaning interior floor coverings by up to 65%.

Forbo’s Coral collection has also recently been updated. It now consists of four existing products: Coral Brush, Coral Classic, Coral Duo and Coral Welcome a colour refresh, as well as two new solutions: Coral Grip and Coral Interior.

Coral Grip is a robust dirt and grit remover for inside and outside use, ideal for areas leading to and from leisure or sports environments, while Coral Interior is a unique concept that completes an entrance flooring system. To prevent dirt and moisture from being tracked into a building, prolonging the life of interior floor coverings and reducing maintenance costs for end users, it is suggested that a three-zone entrance flooring system is designed – and this is where Coral Interior comes into play.

Available in eight colourways, Coral Interior has been developed for use in zone three, such as in reception and larger circulation areas upon entering a building. The innovative modular design, which comprises a mix of planks and tiles, can also be colour matched with other Coral products. And as there is no pattern, tiles and planks can be laid randomly to create a unique design.

The update now means that there are a variety of ranges to suit all applications and locations. For example, for projects that require minimal downtime and a quick turnaround, Forbo’s Coral Click range is the perfect solution; the interlocking mechanism of the tiles means that they can be simply ‘clicked’ together using a rubber hammer. Available in a selection of Coral Brush colours as standard, Forbo also offers a plain PVC tile, which can be used as a perimeter fill-in for matwells or as the initial matting where it will remove coarse dirt from the soles of shoes and treads of wheels.

For more information about Coral, please visit 



A farewell to manual processes

By Evotix

What’s wrong with health and safety manual processes? A lot of it has to do with the word “manual.” It conjures up images of grabbing a shovel and digging a ditch. Think about how you do everyday tasks: open an app on your phone and you can almost instantly start ordering the family dinner or managing your finances.

So, if you digitally manage every other aspect of your life or business, then why are you still using manual processes to manage your health and safety program?


Smart item supply, engagement and authentication…

…With reliable dual frequency UHF and NFC RFID labels from Brady

Brady Corporation presents a new, highly reliable dual frequency RFID label that combines the advantages of UHF and NFC RFID technology. With a single label, companies can improve product and item supply chain management, authentication and end-user engagement.

Visualize your advantage in the infographic >>

Improve product supply, engagement and authentication

Track, trace, and engage with almost any item or product via a single, reliable and industrial-grade label with dual frequency UHF and NFC RFID technology. Locate multiple items at once from a distance and access additional information up close. Easily add more data anywhere, including birth and maintenance records, shipment dates, product manuals, authentication data and warranty information.

Provide an extended product reality

Simply tap the label with an NFC enabled smartphone to read and write data. All products or items with a dual frequency RFID label can enable entire supply chains to participate in track & trace programmes, from part manufacturing, assembly, logistics and distribution to installers, maintenance and end-users. Data added may include codes, links to online information or to documents stored in databases.

Fast inventory management

Multiple labelled products and items can be counted and identified at once from a distance up to 11 metres with portable or fixed UHF RFID readers. Signals ignore line of sight to considerably increase inventory management speed and flexibility. Relevant traceability data can also be accessed quickly per scanned item, and scanners can guide professionals to the right items.

Watch the short video >>

Brady Corporation