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Making the most of the connectivity in your moving assets

December 18th, 2017 by Anton Le Saux

One of the biggest challenges of putting a SIM card in a moving asset is that it always needs to be connected as the coverage overlaps and gaps with mobile networks. But as we all know, no single mobile network has blanket coverage and where one network offers a full signal, another may offer none.

Whilst all networks are regularly investing in their networks to enhance and improve coverage, it does cause some users a challenge if they need to be always connected.

To combat this, here at Zest4, we offer a range of roaming SIMs to our partner base. This means that SIMs will be able to access all available networks and, as such, have a greater chance of finding a network signal for moving assets to connect too.

Whilst not every communications supplier offers a roaming SIM, they have actually been around for some time. They do come with a premium price tag (as you would probably expect) but they are available if you search around.

There is, however, a slight challenge with a lot of roaming SIMs available here in the UK and that’s that they are network-steered. This means the SIM provider will have a preferential rate with a particular network which is substantially less than the rest and as such, the SIM will always try to connect with that network first, even though it may not offer the best signal at the time. In some instances, the SIM will search for the preferred network multiple times before it tries to find an alternative, which often means the device has no service at all as the SIM is tied up trying to access its preferred choice.

Another problem that this approach causes is lack of connectivity when the device moves to the edge of the coverage area of the SIM’s preferred network or there are capacity issues on a cell site. Despite the device moving into an area that is covered more strongly by another network, the SIM will cling onto its preferred network even if the signal strength is very weak, again meaning that your connected asset may not have any service.

Here at Zest4, we offer an alternative solution that takes away these issues. We now offer our partners a range of competitively priced SIM cards that are non-steered and don’t favour a specific mobile network. When they connect, they look for the network that offers them the best signal and therefore the best performance. If the mobile asset goes out of the coverage area for that network, it will look for the next available network that offers the best service. A great solution for anyone needing constant connectivity.

This is also a great option for failover devices. What’s the point in having a failover device if it’s dependent on a single network? In the last couple of months, we have seen two out of the four major mobile networks in the UK have massive outages where users have had zero service. If your business-critical connectivity fails and your failover network has an outage, it renders the failover service fairly useless. Your failover solution should be given the best chance possible to work and if it has the option to select from all available networks when needed, it has the very best chance of keeping your business running.

At Zest4, we also offer our roaming SIMs with managed connectivity, fixed IP or dynamic IP, UK roaming, EU roaming, complete flexibility on bundle sizes, and with competitive price points.

So, if critical connectivity is something that your business needs or you’d like to sell it to your end users, get in touch by calling the Zest4 team on 0161 956 3355.

How M2M and IoT can help with food hygiene in the food service industry

December 5th, 2017 by Mandy Fazelynia

Anyone working in the food service industry will know just how important food hygiene and food safety is. Not only does it mean that customers are safeguarded against potential food poisoning, but it also protects businesses from legal action against them and it protects their reputation.

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The Food Standards Agency publishes clear guidelines for food handling businesses to ensure hygiene standards are met. Their guidelines state that “good food hygiene is all about controlling harmful bacteria, which can cause serious illness”. There are 4 key things to remember which are also known as the 4 C’s of food hygiene…

  • Cross-contamination
  • Cleaning
  • Chilling
  • Cooking

Of all the 4 C’s, chilling is an area where M2M and IoT technology can really help. With the latest innovations, food services companies monitor and maintain temperature more effectively than ever before.

Chilling food properly helps to stop the growth of harmful bacteria and some foods therefore need to be kept chilled to keep them safe. Cooked and uncooked meats, prepared salads, and dairy-based desserts are just some examples of foods that must be kept below a certain temperature, or they risk becoming contaminated.

For food service companies providing large amounts of produce for their customers, maintaining temperatures at each stage of the process is absolutely crucial. Whether food is stored in temperature controlled storage facilities or is being transported in specialist vehicles out the road, temperatures must be maintained at all times.

To help food service companies monitor and maintain these crucial temperatures, Zest4 have recently launched Smart Sensors. These clever, compact devices enable food companies to monitor temperatures around the clock and provide real-time data through an easy-to-use, downloadable app. Companies can also programme their devices to send warnings and alerts should temperatures dip below a pre-defined limit, helping them to take action instantly and avoid potential disaster.

Smart Sensors operate using M2M and IoT technology which enables connected devices to continually interact with one another, collecting and reporting data 24/7.

For communications resellers interesting in adding M2M and IoT solutions to their product portfolios, offering Smart Sensors is the perfect way to start. Zest4 offer a complete end-to-end solution including hardware, connectivity and installation support.

Smart Sensors are just one of the M2M and IoT solutions that Zest4 offer. To find out more about M2M and IoT solutions from Zest4, visit http://www.zest4.com/m2m.php or call our team on 0161 956 3355.