At the Mobile World Congress in 2021, Taoglas launched its System-on-Module (SOM) “EDGE” portfolio, comprising three multisensor precertified boards, a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) module, and a starter kit board for the earliest stages of Internet-of-Things (IoT) device development exploration.
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At the Mobile World Congress in 2021, Taoglas launched its System-on-Module (SOM) “EDGE” portfolio, comprising three multisensor precertified boards, a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) module, and a starter kit board for the earliest stages of Internet-of-Things (IoT) device development exploration. The three commercial boards are designated as EC55, EM15, and IG25, and each is different in its component composition and intended application. All of Taoglas’s SOM EDGE boards are intended for prototyping, that is, for IoT application Proofs of Concept (POCs) by enterprises and for IoT device development by manufacturers. The boards are conspicuous in their integration of many different technologies, incorporating sensor packages for event detection; GNSS for location tracking; application processors for edge computing; and cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth for wide-area and local-area connectivity.
Hurdle Unfamiliar Technical Obstacles
As with all module-type products, Taoglas’s intention is to accelerate the development of IoT devices for manufacturers by providing ready-to-integrate hardware subsystems. This saves time, reduces research and development costs, and simplifies the manufacturing process for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). As is becoming increasingly common, Taoglas is not limiting its modules merely to being an assemblage of hardware features and is bundling in cloud-based platforms to manage devices as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence software to develop actionable insights from the IoT data a device gathers, processes, and communicates. This allows Taoglas not only to help customers hurdle unfamiliar technical obstacles from IoT but also to help them solve the mission critical business problems they face—namely, what to do with their data and how to use it to transform their business.
What’s different about Taoglas’s EDGE portfolio is the customization that is offered. Each OEM customer can request modules to be tailored to their specific needs by adding or excluding hardware and software features. IoT device OEMs must carefully control their bill-of-materials costs, and they do not want to pay for anything they will not use. Similarly, a one size fits all approach to modules is not always appropriate as device OEMs may not be able to arrange general-purpose hardware into precisely what they need, preferring a third-party specialist help them. To Taoglas’s credit, not all module manufacturers would be willing to do this. In fact, as module vendors’ products become more mass market, it is increasingly less economically viable to carry out bespoke development, even when the contracts to do so are lucrative as seen by Telit’s and Sierra Wireless’s recent exits from the automotive industry.
Taoglas’s position is not the same as Telit’s and Sierra’s. The vendor is keen to offer customization to become a bulk supplier of bespoke module components to OEMs as the result of a successful POC. It is in Taoglas’s interests to be as flexible as possible and to go the extra mile for its customers during the early stages of its customers’ IoT product and service development; this will pay dividends for the vendor in the future. That large numbers of IoT POCs are known to fail does not actually matter; what matters is that those POCs took as little time as possible to conduct and to cost the respective investigating companies with as little money as possible. And it is this outcome that Taoglas’s SOMs are designed to achieve. The vendor’s publicly stated intent is to “[make] the IoT design process as simple as activating a SIM card” and claims to reduce IoT solution time to market by up to 80%.
Create Joined-Up Opportunities
Taoglas’s off-the-shelf products are easily accessible for enterprises curious about IoT and act as a conversation starter for long-term engagements that will strategically embed Taoglas within its customers’ IoT plans. Failure to focus on the business problems to be solved and correctly comprehending the effective use of IoT data are the biggest reasons why so many IoT deployments don’t move beyond the POC stage. But, as a rapid IoT device and application prototyping development tool, Taoglas’s SOM EDGE portfolio allows the inclusion of customer-specific modification that vendors of high-volume products will not undertake. And this opens up Taoglas’s SOM buyers to the vendor’s design and testing services—its professional services arm that assists enterprises in developing application-specific SOMs for commercial production and deployment.
Taoglas’s professional services exist to provide customers with the knowledge needed to apply IoT data to their business. Therefore, the vendor’s SOM EDGE portfolio fulfills three joined-up commercial opportunities: the manufacturing and shipment of bespoke hardware, the sale of value-added cloud-based platform subscriptions, and contracts for professional services and systems integration. All work in unison or in a modular fashion alongside other parties’ products and services to build an end-to-end IoT solution. Ease of access to an IoT vendor’s products matters, and quotes for SOMs can be ordered online, with the cellular-enabled variants being precertified with a selection of Tier 1 wireless carriers. Typical IoT applications are targeted by the vendor as including (but not limited to) connected health, energy and utility, agriculture and industrial, and construction services.
The need for prototyping IoT devices is not something that is going to die down; it is only going to increase as the variety of use cases and independent device manufacturers grows. The IoT is a market fragmented into niches and is in aggregate a long-tail service opportunity. How to successfully address the IoT through horizontally reusable products is a question that tests all IoT hardware and software vendors. Accessibility, affordability, and customization all help but can also be loss-leading exercises that serve as hopeful investments for future business opportunities. Ultimately, all IoT systems are business problem-solving exercises, and one of the most valuable things that can be done is to quantifiably confirm the impact on an enterprise’s or municipality’s bottom line to allow full-blown deployments to occur via rapid and cost-effective prototyping.