What Are The Top IoT Platform Requirements?

Our regular readers will be aware that we have been discussing our Internet of Things platform requirements with Digi International for quite some time now. At long last Digi have revealed what they see as their top 5 IoT requirements. Brad Cole, Digi’s Enterprise Software Product Manager, explains their view of such things in this newly released video:

I don’t know about you, but I quite like the sound of this bit:

It should provide a central aggregation service to which all remote gateways and devices attach, and it should do so securely with automated detection and self healing. Devices then utilise a secure integration protocol to send and retrieve data in a variety of ways.

What should you be looking for in an IoT platform? What are the top 5 “must have” requirements? First and foremost, security is key!

With all that in mind we’ve had one of Digi’s new XBee3 Cellular LTE-M/NB-IoT Global modules in our possession since before they announced it. However here in the UK LTE-M is conspicuous only by it’s absence, so we’ve been anxiously awaiting Digi’s promised “certification of Digi XBee3 Cellular NB-IoT in October 2018”. It’s still September and Digi haven’t issued another press release yet, but nevertheless we have already managed to upgrade our XBee3 module to firmware revision C. According to the accompanying release notes:

### Release Version

1140C – XBee3 Cellular LTE-M/NB-IoT Global

### Release Date

  • September 2018

### New Features:

  • NB-IoT Support
  • Support for European and U.S. Carriers.
  • Important: Conditionally approved for use on T-Mobile NB-IoT network for evaluation and development purposes. Full certification will be completed with an upcoming cellular component firmware update (SARA-R410M-03B).
  • Added new option 1 to CP command for network configuration.
  • Added new commands BM, BN to select band mask.
  • Added new command N# to select network preference.

For some strange reason Digi neglected to mention the “upcoming cellular component firmware update” back in August. However it does sound as though their new module is now fully certified for use on Vodafone’s NB-IoT network. Digi have also just updated their XBee3 Cellular LTE-M/NB-IoT Global module specification sheet, which now reads as follows:

  • OPERATING MODES (LTE-M) Transparent and API over serial, PPP over USB or serial
  • OPERATING MODES (NB-IoT) Transparent, API, UDP

Digi’s technical support team assure me that:

Currently the updated U-Blox code is not scheduled to be certified till around Q2 of 2019.

Better late than never I guess? They have also clarified the issues involved in updating the u-blox SARA R410M module firmware once rev 3B is eventually issued:

You will not be able to perform the firmware update via the old XBIB-U-DEV board you have. It will require the use of a new board that is still in development which will provide USB direct access to that U-Blox chip.

When the new board is released, you will have access to the USB direct pins. One will place the module in USB direct mode which also puts it in bypass mode. If you are using Linux, your Linux modem manager or other options will be able to talk directly to the U-Blox chip.

Personally I cannot wait for that glorious day, because that will allow me to tick one more of the boxes on V2G EVSE’s checklist of top IoT platform requirements. To summarise, here are the top 6 entries on our current IoT platform leaderboard:

  1. LTE-M and NB-IoT global certifications
  2. Security
  3. Reliability
  4. Scalability
  5. Flexibility
  6. Simplicity

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