It may not have been of the same epic scale as the almost-acquisition of Time Warner by Comcast, but to those associated with Machine to Machine (M2M) communications, KORE Wireless Group buying RacoWireless in late 2014 dramatically changed the M2M landscape.
Why this matters
If forecasts are right, before long there will be billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices needing to communicate wirelessly, and companies like KORE want to be the platform that handles a lion's share of that wireless traffic. To do that the following has to happen:
- Package sensor data with GPS data and have it make sense;
- Provide interfaces between the client's IoT devices and the communications; network;
- Provide the client with usable information; and
- Create a global M2M communications network.
First piece of the puzzle: Retrieving location-sensitive data
The puzzle's first piece is found in Fort Myers, Florida. Seven years ago, two astute gentlemen realized that adding GPS-tracking information to an IoT device's sensor intelligence would significantly increase the value of the data being sent to the IoT-device's owner. As soon as they figured out how to do that, the two went into business and called their company Position Logic.
This idea from cofounders Felix Lluberes (president) and Hong Long (vice president) was so good that trying to follow the company since then gets complicated. First, Position Logic was acquired by RacoWireless, then in 2014 as part of RacoWireless was assimilated by KORE.
In the acquisition of RacoWireless, KORE also inherited Omega DevCloud and Management Suite — Raco's client and IoT sensor interfacing technology.
Second piece of the puzzle: Omega DevCloud
Since the IoT is still in its formative years, there is no single communication protocol that IoT device vendors are following. RacoWireless understood this early on and developed the expertise needed to link up disparate communication interfaces.
"RacoWireless Omega DevCloud provides a standardized and secure platform that enables web developers to communicate with virtually any device (IoT) with an easy-to-use tool," mentioned Landon Garner, director of marketing at KORE. "And considering the number of startup companies who do not have the expertise or the required equipment, this is important."
Third piece of the puzzle: Omega Management Suite
RacoWireless also developed Omega Management Suite, a cloud-based management dashboard that allows clients to control their IoT devices and view sensor data. The suite offers:
- Subscriber Insight: provides IoT-device information, usage records, historical details, billing history, and trends, allowing the sensor's owner to make better-informed decisions.
- Mobile Compatible: The platform is optimized for mobile devices.
- Multi-Carrier Support: No need to manage individual telco-provider contracts — that is provisioned in the management suite.
Fourth piece of the puzzle: Global M2M communications
KORE had a global M2M communications network before acquiring RacoWireless. Now KORE has an even bigger footprint.
Two examples that pull all of this together
California's Salinas Valley is where much of the produce in the US is grown. There are strict regulations regarding the produce's maintained temperature once it's picked. There are also regulations and contracts agreements stipulating how long produce is considered fresh after it has been picked. This is where KORE, RacoWireless, and Position Logic all come together.
The client's IoT device tracks the temperature and location of a produce shipment; the data is manipulated into the proper format and sent to a prearranged digital location over the KORE M2M network, where the data is again manipulated into a format useable by the client. In this example, the data might be a complete travel and temperature log proving the correct temperature was maintained, and the produce arrived within the allotted time.
Another example is using IoT technology in the fields. The John Deere Field Connect sensor to the right monitors soil moisture, soil conductivity, and weather and sends that information back to John Deere servers for analysis. The person responsible for the field can log into a custom, secured website and determine whether the field is in optimal condition for the planted crop — even the amount of moisture at the plant's roots two feet below the surface.
The applications are seemingly limitless — no wonder analysts are saying there will be billions of IoT devices doing their thing in the near future.
Note: RacoWireless and Position Logic are now wholly-owned subsidiaries of the KORE Wireless Group. However, each company has technical significance, and to remove confusion I retained their original names in this article.
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