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Optimise Building Security with Verkada’s Access Control, AI CCTV, Alarms, Sensors and Visitor Management solutions

Verkada simplifies and modernises facility management by combining all physical security needs onto one easy–to–use platform.

Thousands of facility managers globally are utilising Verkada to protect people, assets and facilities, whilst aggregating data onto one platform for actionable insights to ensure efficiency and productivity.

Video Security: Hybrid cloud cameras offer onboard storage and edge–based processing to reliably deliver insights in real–time.

Environmental Sensors: With a collection of eight onboard sensor readings, monitor for the health and safety of all environments.

Access Control: Manage doors, credentials and users across sites at ease with global access and active directory integrations.

Alarms: Catch and respond to break–ins with cloud–managed intrusion detection. 

Visitor Management: Personalise the check–in experience for all types of visitors while integrating with cameras and access control.

Key Benefits of Verkada’s Hybrid Cloud Solution for Facility Managers

  • Oversee all sites on one cloud–based platform, easily accessible through any web browser or mobile device. 
  • Receive instant SMS alerts when a Person of Interest is on–premise or unusual activity is detected afterhours. 
  • Speed up investigations with AI-powered analytics to quickly filter footage based on what is in frame, including people and vehicles.
  • Eliminate unpredictable costs with no NVRs and DVRs, unlimited user seats, and an industry-leading 10-year warranty.
  • Monitor the usage of a space from Occupancy Trends to optimise business operations. 
  • Protect employee health by identifying environmental changes that can lead to air quality and health issues.
  • Share live feeds, floor plans or archived footage via SMS, MP4, or direct link.

If you’re interested in learning more, sign up for a personalised demo today!

Learn from the best at this month’s Facilities Management Forum

There are just a handful of free spaces left at the next FM Forum – Two days during which you can connect with like-minded peers, benchmark new suppliers and learn from insightful seminars delivered by industry though leaders.

27th & 28th June 2002

Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport

Our seminar lineup features:-

“8 steps to leading successful change”

– Tackle change more effectively at a personal level

– Lead change for those around you

– Assess those people in your teams that lead and support you with change

– Plan your approach to changes in the workplace

– Understand how to ‘live, not laminate’ your key values

Presented by Liz Kentish, Managing Director, Kentish and Co

“Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in FM”

Sofie will touch on IWFM’s equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) journey, what professionals and organisation
are doing to promote EDI, the why of action and the barriers and solutions often observed.

· What IWFM are doing as a professional body

· What Workplace and Facilities Professionals and their organisations are doing- market trends

· Why act?

· Barriers and breaking them down

Presented by: Sofie Hooper, Head of Policy, IWFM

“Occupiers’ liability and how to defend claims”

We know that compensation claims arising from the condition of premises can be costly. Naomi will discuss the impacts of the Occupiers’ Liability Acts on FM and give some useful tips for defending public liability claims.

Presented by: Naomi Bailey, Senior Risk Consultant (Liability), Zurich Resilience Solutions

“Is the 21st Century Workplace equipped with the right culture?”

As we exit from the pandemic, into the new normal, it would appear that hybrid working is here to stay, however, given some of the events even recently in the news, it seems many organisations are still struggling to understand how to get the culture right.

Productivity and monitoring software sales have boomed, but did organisations get it right? Is what some businesses done even legal? Has a pandoras box of future data protection issues been opened?

– Hybrid working is here to stay – but is the 21st century office run on 19th century culture measuring productivity – bums on seats, hours worked or actual output?

– Does productivity and employee monitoring software equal a more productive workplace?
– Monitoring, snooping and the Data Protection Act

Presented by: Mike Gillespie, Managing Director, Advent IM

Attendance is completely free, including all meals, overnight accommodation and an evening dinner.

To reserve your place, click here.

Health & Safety

Health & Safety on your agenda? Find your next supplier in the FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory

Looking for new Health & Safety solutions for your building, venue, school or company? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is home to dozens of trusted partners ready to help make your project a reality!

Put simply, there’s something to suit every requirement.

Start Your Search Now

Are you an FM supplier? Get listed!

The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is the perfect platform to raise your organisation’s profile and extend your reach.

Promoted via the FM Briefing newsletter, website and our renowned meet-the-buyer facilities events – this digital FM directory offers a comprehensive list of industry solution leaders.

Your business can now be included in the FM Directory from just £99!

Click Here To Get Listed!

Or, for more information, please contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk

Water-saving will help on energy costs – get additional support from our experienced Advanced Services team

Reducing resource use and improving efficiency are key steps organisations will need to take to retain credibility on green steps they’re taking on their Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, to help lower impacts on the environment. 

Although water is under Scope 3 on your emissions, it shouldn’t be looked at last as it can help lower energy costs too. Getting more data on where water is used is an important first step.

Green Apple Environment Award winner Water Plus installed more than 400 data loggers on water meters in the space of six months in 2021 – providing further information on how it’s used across buildings.

Mark Taylor, Advanced Services Operations Manager in England for Water Plus, said: “With energy costs in the news, there are some areas where there are low-cost opportunities and options for organisations, particularly if the number of people at sites is fluctuating through a year. This is why tracking what water is used throughout a year is important.

“As there are carbon emissions linked to the water you get through taps, and the wastewater taken away and treated, it also shows that by just boiling the water you need in work kitchen kettles – to reducing water waste from any leaks, including dripping taps, running toilets from cisterns – and elsewhere at your site – soon adds up to lowering running costs, creating less carbon overall and using less energy too.”

Here’s where water-saving can make an impact:

  • In January 2022, a site had a 12 cubic metre an hour water leak but was not sure where on their pipes. They contacted Water Plus Advanced Services, who located the source of the issue and carried out the repair work. The leak, which data loggers on the water meter and the online portal also tracked, would have cost £22,000 in a month.

Work with organisations by Water Plus is also being recognised this year. The water retailer is shortlisted for Water Efficiency Project of the Year in the Water Industry Awards 2022 and was named a Finalist in the Environment Award at the Better Society Awards 2022.

To contact our team, please email hello@water-plus.co.uk – and include “FM Briefing” in the email subject heading. More tips to #BeWiseOnWater on the FM Forum website here – and at: www.water-plus.co.uk/sustainability .

Do employers need to be concerned about monkeypox?

By Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. It can pass between humans through close intimate contact, household contact or changing the bedding of someone who has it when not wearing appropriate PPE.

The Government has issued advice for anyone who has come into close contact with someone who has monkeypox to self-isolate for 3 weeks.

An important point to make is that monkeypox is not another Covid. We might be drawn to think this because of the use of ‘isolation’ but experts say it poses a very low threat to the wider public. It is not as easily transmissible as Covid, and recovery is fully expected. However, as we saw during the pandemic, things can change quickly so employers should be prepared.

It goes without saying that if an employee has a confirmed case of monkeypox, they should be treated under normal sickness rules. Most symptoms clear up within 14-21 days so they would receive SSP or sick pay, whichever is stipulated in their contract of employment, as with any other illness, if they met the qualifying criteria.

Issues could arise where an employee is advised to self-isolate – although currently this is only advised rather than being a legal requirement.

Currently the advice is that those who have had unprotected direct contact or high-risk environmental contact with a confirmed case should isolate for 21 days including exclusion from work. If the person can work from home, that appears to be the most sensible solution.

Those who have unprotected exposure to infectious materials including droplet or airborne potential route should be excluded from work for 21 days if their work involves contact with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women, or children. Again, working from home could be a solution here, or moving the employee to different duties which does not involve contact with those people.

If the person cannot work from home, then the question of pay crops up. SSP will not be payable for the isolation period unless the employee gets too ill to work during it. In a similar way to the current Covid isolation position, employers will have to decide whether they will require close contacts with a confirmed case to not come to work for the 21 days or whether they will still require them to come in.

If they require them to stay at home then this should be on full pay. Anything less than that is likely to risk an unlawful deduction claim as it’s the employer’s choice to temporarily withdraw work from the employee.

There is no legal requirement to inform an employer that you are a close contact with someone with monkeypox, but employers can make it a contractual requirement if they choose. Data on this should always be processed in line with rules on processing health data.

Although monkeypox is not generally passed through the air, colleagues may be concerned if they become aware that someone they are located near to is a close contact. Employers who don’t require close contacts to isolate should consider some adjustments to where they sit or work. This is particularly pertinent if any colleagues are immunosuppressed or pregnant.

Close contacts with a confirmed case are advised to notify the contact tracing system. Employees claiming to be a close contact should be able to provide their employer with evidence of their contact with the contact tracing system.

Lithium batteries for emergency lighting: What you need to know

By René Joppi, Managing Director, Mackwell

Rechargeable lithium battery technology first emerged in commercial products in the early 1990s and has since grown in popularity. The development of lithium batteries was driven by the need for higher energy density, with portable electronic devices and electric vehicles being the main application areas.

However, lithium batteries are now also one of the preferred solutions for powering emergency lighting standby applications. Not only will this article uncover the many reasons behind why lithium batteries are popular when compared to alternative technologies, but it will also outline some of the considerations that must be made when specifying battery technology…

The Rise in Lithium Technology in Emergency Lighting

Lithium technology competes with the more established Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) technologies, and is often specified due to its potential for longer cycle life and increased energy efficiencies. This, in turn, allows for longer warranties to be offered. Furthermore, due to its lightweight and compact design, the technology is easily installed and can operate at high temperatures.

In today’s emergency lighting market, only one type of lithium chemistry – lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) – is recommended as opposed to lithium-cobalt and lithium-manganese systems more commonly used in portable electronics and electric vehicle applications. This is due to the ‘standby’ nature of emergency lighting applications, where the batteries are not regularly charged and discharged, instead operating in a state of ‘constant top-up’. LiFePO4 batteries are less prone to internal degradation of electrodes and electrode-electrolyte interfaces when used in this way compared to the other lithium chemistries.

Barriers to Safe Lithium Batteries

When handling emergency lighting batteries, safety must always remain front of mind.

Lithium is highly flammable in air and moisture, and great care must be taken when manufacturing and using lithium batteries – especially ensuring temperature limits are not exceeded to prevent fires. Lithium fires result from thermal runaway and are dangerous as they can be particularly difficult to extinguish. This is another reason why it is favoured to opt for LiFePO4 as it has a lower temperature rise in a thermal runaway situation compared to other lithium systems, making it inherently safer.

Instilling Robust Thermal Management

It is highly recommended to only use lithium technology in emergency lighting applications where there is a robust method of thermal management implemented, in particular, thermal monitoring of the battery case temperature through life. Where only a small number of suppliers of lithium battery systems for emergency lighting currently offer this, it is a safety measure not to be overlooked.

It must be noted that the extended lifecycles offered by lithium are still prone to be reduced by poor battery charge regimes and unintentional cycling of charge and discharge during the construction and installation phase. In this respect, lithium systems are no different to NiCd and NiMH. Therefore, choosing systems where the emergency driver has smart-charge and construction protection features is crucial to ensure that the benefits of choosing lithium can be fully realised. 

There is no doubt that the emergency lighting industry can benefit from the implementation of lithium battery technology due to its many benefits, such as long cycle life and increased energy density. This can often result in extended warranties being available, something that has traditionally not been offered for other emergency lighting battery systems.

Yet, lithium batteries do not come without their challenges. Great care must be taken when manufacturing and using lithium batteries within the industry, especially with respect to thermal management. Manufacturers need to adhere to safety compliance in the form of temperature monitoring circuits to ensure 100% safety!

Facilities managers looking to reap the benefits of lithium batteries without the safety concerns can look to specialised suppliers of lithium batteries and technology that offer thermal monitoring of the battery case.

Workers want their managers to have leadership skills

New research by LMS provider Digits into skills in the workplace has revealed a list of the most important skills that workers expect a manager to possess, with leadership right at the top of what they want.

Around half (51% of men and 45% of women) of the 2,048 working-age adults polled thought leadership skills were the most essential.

Verbal communication and teamwork skills ranked joint second for over a third (35%) of people, closely followed by empathy and problem-solving skills (30% and 29% respectively).

Surprisingly, written communication skills came last on the list (8%) – proving to be less popular than a strong work ethic (21%), good time management (18%), and conflict resolution (15%).

Just one in 10 of those surveyed reported having no specific skill requirements of a manager, suggesting that most people do have pre-existing ideas around what makes a good or competent manager to them. Whether their actual managers meet their expectations, on the other hand, is a matter for another survey.

The most important skills needed by managers, ranked by popularity, are:

  • Leadership skills (48%)
  • Verbal communication skills (35%)
  • Teamwork skills (35%)
  • Empathy (30%)
  • Problem-solving skills (29%)
  • A strong work ethic (21%)
  • Good time management (18%)
  • Conflict resolution (15%)
  • Written communication skills (8%)

Of course, ‘leadership skills’ is an umbrella term that can mean different things to many people. And it can encompass a range of hard skills (job-related knowledge) and soft skills – transferable skills that help individuals work and interact with others – such as adaptability, flexibility, communication, teamwork, time management and problem-solving.

There is no one-size-fits-all, explains Bradley Burgoyne, head of talent at Digits: “We’ve got more generations in the workforce today than we’ve ever had. And, each group of workers prefers slightly different managerial styles and leadership qualities.

“Every individual has their own expectations about how they want their managers to lead them, coach them, support them, relate to them, and empower them. Those skills don’t just happen, even the best managers need to receive regular training and development from their employers.”

He adds: “The challenge for HR and L&D teams is to ensure that their training strategy is broad enough to cater to all levels of employees in the organisation because, I think, everyone benefits from leadership or management development.

“It’s important that employers actively listen to their workforce and find out where the skills gaps are – what training do employees think they need? What training do employees think their managers need and what leadership qualities do they respond best to? They can then utilise the data to create training courses or a series of engaging development activities in their learning management system, that are really relevant to the people within the organisation rather than something that could, potentially, be seen as just a tick-box exercise.”

According to Burgoyne, some of the core leadership skills of a modern manager include:

  • Vision setting – having clear business goals for the team and being able to influence and gain buy-in from team members to work towards that vision. This also includes some change management skills, as setting a vision and taking a team on a journey to reach it, inevitably involves helping people work through change.
  • Empathy and listening – builds trust and connection between individuals and their managers. Managers need to be mindful and show their team that they understand and relate to them as human beings, that they recognise that each person has different needs, different skills, and a different perspective on how they approach different situations at work.
  • Inclusive leadership – managers that want to create a high performing team need to be able to provide high levels of psychological safety within their teams, where feedback is welcome and encouraged. An environment where everyone feels included and safe enough to provide feedback, feels that the feedback that they provide is valid, and that action will happen as a result, helps to build a team with a sense of purpose in what they’re doing and a growth mindset.
  • Coaching skills – rather than always telling people what to do, good managers trust and empower their teams to use their skills and knowledge to find the answers and achieve an outcome. A quality coaching conversation will help someone to realise that they knew the answer all along or feel empowered to go and find the answer. This can support an employee’s sense of purpose and self-validation and create a far more autonomous team.
  • Self-awareness – to lead others successfully requires managers to reflect inwards and understand their management style and learn how to adapt it for different situations. There are multiple challenges facing managers today, many that they may not have experienced before, so it’s important to be really agile, adaptable, and constantly thinking about the wider world and how that might need to change your approach.
  • Collaboration skills – managers don’t need to have the answers to every question. The world of work is too complex and fast-moving for one person to be able to come up with all the solutions all the time. Encouraging collaboration – with other individuals, other teams and other departments – to find answers by working together or reaching a shared goal through a collaborative process, will help improve the performance of the entire organisation.

Generational divides

Further analysis of Digits’ survey results showed clear generational divides between what people at the start of their career considered to be important managerial attributes compared to those who have been in the workforce for a decade (or two). Almost twice as many people over-55 (who’ve probably experienced a few different managers during their working life) than those aged 16-to-24-years-old think leadership skills are a must-have for managers (56% vs 28%).

Although leadership skills are ranked the highest across all age groups, what comes next varies. A strong work ethic is popular with a quarter (25%) of 16 to 24 year-olds, verbal communication skills are preferred by 24 to 34 year-olds and the over-55s (36% and 44% respectively), while teamwork skills are highly rated by over a third (36%) of those aged 35 to 54 years old.

Digits’ soft skills report, including the latest soft skills training statistics for 2022, is available to view at https://www.digits.co.uk/soft-skills-statistics. The results include a survey of 2,048 people in the UK, conducted by Censuswide for Digits, in March 2022.

Do you specialise in Physical Security services? We want to hear from you!

Each month on FM Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the facilities management market – and in June we’ll be focussing on Security.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help FM industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you specialise in Security and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Paige Aitken on p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk.

Here’s our full features list:

Jun – Security
July – Air Conditioning
Aug – Waste Management
Sep – Asset Management
Oct – FM Software
Nov – Intruder & Alarm Systems
Dec – Fire & Safety Equipment

FM market set for £3bn sales boost in 2022

A new report on the UK’s facilities management market from MTW Research has found that whilst the cost of Covid-19 will exceed £11 billion in lost revenue by 2026, prospects for the market are positive with a £3 billion sales uplift in 2022.

The 100 page report reviews the legacy of Covid-19, highlighting near term labour, profitability and other operational challenges but places this into context within wider positive FM market trends and opportunities, forecasting double digit growth over the next 4 years.

Proptech represents a key positive FM market trend in 2022 according to MTW, with growth in disruptive technology boosting healthy sales opportunities. Discussing this trend, MTW’s director Mark Waddy said: “Trends in FM technology and process innovation are enabling FM providers to develop an ‘empathic response’ to service provision, boosting added value by more closely integrating with the client and anticipating their needs.”

Public sector FM grew share of the FM market in 2020/21 as commercial demand slowed in response to the pandemic.  MTW identify that this trend is now reversing in 2022 though public spending plans published in March 2022 were further revised upward by 2.8%, on top of a real terms increase of £150bn announced in 2021.  This growth, coupled with a steadily strengthening private FM outsourcing sector underlines a fundamental strength in the FM market for the medium to longer term with MTW forecasting the market will reach 98% of pre-Covid sales in 2022.

Despite high inflation, real term growth is set to return in H2 2022 with full year 2023 growth expected to outpace inflation as international and domestic inflationary pressures steadily ease.  However, MTW also identify a number of issues dampening growth prospects.  One example is the trend of insourcing, with caterers, cleaners, security and maintenance contractors having become so well integrated that they are viewed as the ‘lifeblood’ of the organisation and so are adopted as employees.  This trend is often also supported by unions and so has gained further traction as a result.

The report also highlights growing challenges in the TFM market, with a growing trend of FM contractors focusing on specialism rather than broad spectrum service delivery in order to develop more defined brands and enhance margin opportunities.  More selective tender submissions and enhanced margin protection continue to become increasingly evident across the FM market in 2022 as the quality of service rather than volume of contracts grows in significance.  Nevertheless, bundled FM services continue to dominate the market in 2022, rising by more than 13% over the entire review period.

Best performing sectors in recent years according to MTW include the contract cleaning market and security sectors whilst the property maintenance and catering markets performed generally in line with the overall FM market.  By 2026, sales from these 4 sectors alone will generate more than £55 billion of sales in cash terms.

The report also identifies some of the more recent mergers and acquisitions and forecasts M&A will grow rapidly in 2022, underpinned by private equity which continues to price trade buyers out of the market.  As private equity continues to grow share of the FM market, M&A activity is set to rise by some 35% in 2022 compared to 2019 levels.

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.

Conclusion

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.