Choosing the right data SIM for Digital Signage

With Signagelive being a true SaaS Digital Signage Apication all that is is required to update the remote device is an Internet connection. This Internet connection could be based on older technologies such as Dial-Up or ISDN, but more common is fixed line Broadband (wired and wireless) and the fast growing use of mobile communications over cellular networks using a USB modem and data SIM.

The big question is, which SIM contract do I take out? Can I use any mobile broadband package? What limitations are there? etc… We talk to Douglas Gilmour, Sales and Marketing Director at Mobius Networks Limited who exains:

“When is a SIM not a SIM? The answer becomes a little more comex with each passing day. The rapid expansion of Machine to Machine (M2M) in the last year has sucked in parts of networks and resellers who see an opportunity to report growth but have little idea of what the customer requirement is.

Some key features are accurate billing data, aggregation, bandwidth, network breadth and depth, commitment to data, technical customer service, appropriate contract and appropriate quality. If we take a brief look at the last two, which are interconnected-

Appropriate Contracts
Since increasing prices is almost certainly out, networks have been redefining their contracts in order to cut their exposure to ‘overage’.
Look for phrases such as:

“Cost refers to download only” and “unlimited defined as 500Mb per month”

Other contracts are simy consumer / business contracts sold in good faith to M2M customers with little understanding that they are not
appropriate:

“Web browsing only” and “no peer to peer” being two phrases that are a sure sign you are dealing with the wrong person.

This last is lifted directly from a customer’s airtime contract:

“We do not permit use of this service to provide modem access for a computer or for peer to peer file sharing, internet phone calls or instant messaging”

Not a lot of use then for a Signage company. So it is very easy to end up in breech of a contract the moment that you use it, even though you and the reseller were aware what that function was at the point of purchase.

Appropriate Quality
A dozen articles could be written about Network Quality and why it isn’t good enough for Industrial Apications such as Digital Signage. This can be as simple as ‘does the SIM you get work’. Up to 5% of consumer SIMs don’t, something to remember if you are anning a large roll out.

But Quality of Service is also becoming an issue- what is the response time if a data pipe goes down? How many filters are implemented as the data goes through the network? Crucially for this industry, what compression will be used on my data? If you send a 3Mb picture over mobile what guarantee do you have of the size of the file when it gets to the far end?

This is where the two come together. You have bought a SIM and use it, but your pictures are compressed to hell. What recourse do you have? None. Because the contract that you have bought supports web browsing only; so the network is perfectly entitled to compress since it makes for a faster web browsing experience and you shouldn’t be using it for anything else, should you?”

For further information:

Douglas Gilmour
Sales and Marketing Director
Mobius Networks Limited

DD +44 (0) 1530 511 182
Mobile +44 (0) 7770 882 509
dougg@mobiusnetworks.co.uk
www.mobiusnetworks.co.uk

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