Unlike Consumer IoT, which generally involves a smart phone, a smart card or a wearable gadget like a pedometer bracelet, Industrial IoT deployments rely on industrial-strength M2M devices that are expected to last a decade at the very least, even in the harshest of conditions.

Consumer IoT involves some form of interaction between a person and a device. If the device fails, you can restart and recover the application, or simply exchange it – unlike Industrial IoT / M2M devices which can be costly to replace, in more ways than one.

Industrial IoT applications are used to automate systems, track valuable assets, monitor mission-critical equipment, manage processes and perform all sorts of functions without human interaction. Deployments are often based in remote or isolated locations, and in areas unsafe for humans. As there is rarely a technician waiting in the wings to manually attend to a fault or breakdown – the reliability of the M2M device is crucial.

The Industrial IoT requires industrial strength hardware, and in many cases consumer IoT depends on it.

Vending machines

Customers can now use their smart phones or loyalty cards to purchase drinks or snacks on the go. If there is a fault with the phone or card it is easily fixed or replaced, and the entire system will not be impacted. If, on the other hand, the M2M hardware fails, the vending machine will no longer have the intelligence to: interact with customers, signal the warehouse when stock levels are low, let security know when it is being mishandled or alert technicians when repairs are needed before trouble strikes.

Ski resorts

RFID tags in lift tickets are able to monitor skiing patterns, work out which runs are most used and locate lost skiers, while even giving skiers an insight into their performance on the day. As this is happening, temperature tolerant M2M devices work steadily behind the scenes to report on the operating performance of chair lifts and gondolas, thereby increasing safety and decreasing downtime by alerting operators about trouble to come. If the lift ticket fails to work, another is easily issued; but if the M2M hardware breaks down, the consequences could be costly.

Buses, trains and ferries

Public transport systems using smart ticketing systems also depend on M2M devices to track the movement and location of vehicles, manage ticketing, validate ticketing information, upload the data to a central database and save energy.

For the consumer's smart card to function seamlessly, industrial-grade M2M hardware must endure on-road conditions and severe vibration. When you consider the potential loss of income, and the customer dissatisfaction that could result from a flimsy hardware solution, the premium initially paid for an industrial strength M2M device far outweighs cost of choosing the cheaper option.

Achieving a low total cost of ownership all comes down to longevity. As well as being future-ready and fail-proof, it is critical that your M2M device can take on extreme temperatures, severe vibration and rugged industrial conditions.

Think about what you want to connect, where it will be deployed and for how long.

Rugged M2M devices are ideal for assets deployed in remote or unmanned areas, and are built with the durability to withstand severe heat or cold, dust, wind, vibration and other harsh environmental conditions. It also pays to choose an M2M device that offers a range of mounting options for easy installation in hard to reach places.

Designed for longevity and 'set and forget' convenience, M2M devices should support applications for up to ten years which is significantly longer than the average two year life cycle of a consumer mobile broadband device.

So what makes an M2M device industrial-grade?

M2M devices deployed in remote and industrial environments should feature a tough polycarbonate and rubber enclosure to endure demanding deployments and extreme temperatures. The M2M devices best suited to operate in harsh industrial and automotive environments should be made from a composite of hard wearing, shock absorbing and environmentally stable industrial materials. The NetComm WirelessM2M Router (NTC-140W) is specially engineered to ensure that the electrical components operate at extreme temperatures, and has undergone extensive environmental testing under extreme conditions of temperature, shock and vibration.