Thales have introduced the Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE Terminal which vastly simplifies the process of connecting a device to the IoT. The ‘out of the box’ solution combines a cellular IoT device, network connectivity and secure automatic cloud ingestion into one, integrated and ready to use solution.
We are all familiar with consumer IoT products such as smart speakers, however the IoT is also now becoming pervasive in many other area’s including industrial applications, for instance the drive to Industry 4.0 relies heavily on connecting machines to the Industrial IoT (IIoT). Organisations are now seeking to deliver products with online features such as remote monitoring and control capabilities to meet the demand for greater functionality, service level agreements and an improved user experience. This means existing or new devices that you’d never have thought of as potential ‘Things’ on the Internet now need to be IoT or IIoT enabled to share data, monitor status and/or provide the ability to control or configure devices remotely.
Connecting devices safely and securely to the Internet for the first time can be a daunting challenge even for highly experienced design engineers. This is because connecting a ‘Thing’ (device) to the IoT requires three essential elements: a means of communication, airtime connectivity and a cloud-based platform to communicate with. These three elements all need to work together seamlessly in a secure and scalable manner.
First you need to choose or design the communication hardware and integrate it into your device, this allows the device to connect to the chosen communications network which it will use to share data, typically the preference here will be a cellular network because this gives the potential for global coverage and ability to roam. Connecting to a cellular network is the second stage and will require a SIM card and a data airtime package(s) in order to send all your data back and forth, obviously the activation, deactivation and billing of the SIMs will need to be managed across different regions and very often involves a management platform. The hardware elements are generally well understood and relatively simple to specify and implement, the SIM management is less so but still not beyond the capabilities of most design teams.
The challenges really start when you move to the third stage which involves getting your ‘Thing’ registered and connected to your chosen IoT platform provider, this IoT platform or ‘Cloud’ is where all the data generated by your device will be sent and provides functions which include data processing, storage and analytics which ultimately allow you to visualise and manage your data. There are several Cloud services available on the market, however most organisations will choose to partner with one of the well-known platforms such as Amazon AWS IoT or Microsoft Azure. Connecting devices to a Cloud service may involve writing firmware and software as well as configuring the Cloud platform services and associated security, this is where most of the design time and debugging will be spent on a typical IoT device design prior to its deployment.
Summary of the typical building blocks in a IoT solution
Choose communications hardware suitable for location of the device. Design a communication protocol.
Negotiate airtime plan with mobile network operator(s) and acquire SIMs for the device(s).
Manage the lifecycle of the SIM card(s) and manage individual airtime consumption.
Find a suitable cloud database for storing and managing data from the device(s).
Design an application to visualise the data. Monitor and manage the connected device(s).
Manage security certificates, the identity of the device(s) and enrolment into the cloud platform.
Thales have simplified the process by combining all three of the key elements into one, integrated and ready to use, solution. The Thales Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE Terminal is a plug-and-play IoT solution that ensures a consistent global ‘out of the box’ experience and behaviour for IoT deployments. The terminal has inbuilt intelligence which simplifies and automates ingestion of your device into the cloud including device security, provisioning, and connectivity into Amazon Web Services (AWS). The terminal is an AWS qualified device and is the world’s first plug and play IoT solution that automatically connects with AWS.
Thales are a leader in cellular module technology and reliable global connectivity, they have worked in conjunction with system integrator and AWS connectivity partner Eseye to deliver the world’s first integrated terminal that vastly simplifies IoT device design and deployment, significantly reducing device design and deployment timescales.
Simplified Solution Overview
The Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE terminal is based on Thales award winning PLS62-W module with its powerful Java embedded system that delivers highly efficient Multi-Band Cat 1 LTE connectivity and fallback to 3G and 2G for global IoT solutions. The PLS62-W module provides 12 Band LTE, Seven Band 3G HSPA/UMTS and Quad-Band GSM for seamless coverage through roaming across various wireless networks. This allows the terminal to deliver optimized speeds of 10Mbit/s download and 5Mbit/s uplink making it the ideal choice for IoT applications that require the longevity of LTE networks along with continuous coverage in regions where 4G is still emerging. The terminals come with Full Type Approval (FTA) and certifications from global network operators, ensuring a speedy go-to-market timeline. They also offer a highly flexible mounting concept enabling quick and easy implementation via DIN rail mounting, C-rail mounting, screw fixing, or use of cable ties.
Providing near 100% global network connectivity, the Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE terminal allows users to plug in and connect anywhere in the world. The Intelligent Cloud Connect terminal is delivered together with the Eseye AnyNet SIM which provides all the data provisioning to the AWS IoT Core. The Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE terminal has been designed to connect with any host device via RS232 or USB, further connectivity is provided using the expansion connector offering SPI, I2C, GPIO, an additional RS232 interface and 5V power supply. The terminal provides automated Zero Touch security certification with enhanced security using AWS IoT device defender, the pre-integrated device security is automatically deployed to the terminal with centralised policy management.
Click below for an overview of the Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE terminal
The Thales Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE terminal allows devices to be connected to the AWS IoT Core very easily, using simplified MQTT AT commands and an easy set-up process via the Amazon AWS Marketplace, this not only gives an efficient design but allows users with limited resources or no experience of connecting IoT devices to a Cloud to get up and running quickly with just a few simple steps.
Connecting a device to the IoT using the Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE terminal
The Thales Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE terminal makes it possible to reduce time to market by more than 50% without the need for a multi-faceted design team. IoT designs often take up to 18 months to deliver. The pre-integrated features of the Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE terminal can slash this development and deployment time to typically a few months from scratch.
The terminal and SIM card combination provides developers further convenience through a ‘Single pane of glass’ management system for their entire global ‘Things’ deployment via the AWS IoT Services. This means the data management and billing is simplified and provided via AWS Marketplace as all billing is based on MQTT messages, not Kbyte based data SIM contracts. This unique concept means the provision of airtime is transparent to the device maker or service provider. Essentially, it is much simpler to quantify data usage in terms of messages rather than kilobytes, particularly for applications where many thousands of devices may be deployed globally. Customers have just one single point of billing for their data usage via the AWS market place, no separate billing or management is required for the pre-configured Eseye SIM supplied with the Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE terminal.
Getting Started with Intelligent Cloud Connect
The Thales Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE terminal combines excellent performance, global coverage, automated security & encryption, secure MQTT client, full type approval, simplified and convenient data billing and management along with the added benefits of zero hardware design and a greatly simplified interface to host equipment that only requires two customised AT commands.
Anglia will be hosting a webinar to showcase exciting “out-of-the-box” cloud connectivity solutions for market leaders Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Renesas will showcase their Microsoft Azure platform, whilst Thales in partnership with Eseye will showcase their AWS platform. Click here to register for this free webinar
Anglia are offering customers a FREE sample of the Intelligent Cloud Connect LTE Terminal from Thales, please fill in the form below to register your interest now.
FREE samples for UK and Ireland customers only, subject to availability.
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