Case Study | Powering IoT Edge Networks
Hologram helps edge gateway provider, Rigado, reduce total cost of IoT ownership
Rigado creates devices that make building cost-effective IoT edge networks seamless. Their networks power smart office buildings that are more efficient, environmentally friendly, and easier to navigate. Rigado’s networks are also on the front lines of powering the next generation of retail experiences including online ordering with in-store pickup.
With gateways originally designed to rely solely on on their client’s WiFi, Rigado encountered difficult to diagnose issues. “The customer’s IT department might have done everything right but someone mis-labeled a port and our gateway ends up being blocked,” Lee Lerner, Director of Solutions Engineering at Riagdo says.
Diagnosing such problems required physical access to the gateway, so technicians were routinely dispatched to customer sites to troubleshoot. “We had repair people on planes daily,” Lerner says. “Costs could easily run to more than $1,000 per trip, not to mention the toll downtime takes on customer satisfaction.”
We had repair people on planes daily — Costs could easily run to more than $1,000 per trip, not to mention the toll downtime takes on customer satisfaction.
The simple solution was to put a cellular modem in each gateway to create an always-available connection for diagnosis. Having access to cellular data also gives customers the flexibility to set up their own networks in case their IT organization isolates IoT devices from the business network for security purposes.
Juggling Multiple Carriers
Rigado needed a simple and flexible way to access its equipment in the field over a cellular data connection, but the major wireless carriers were expensive, slow and difficult to work with.
Working with each wireless carrier individually was a headache. “None of the big carriers gave us a quick way to activate SIM cards, provision and get them out the door the same day,” Lerner says. “It could take multiple days or a week, but when I have to replace something in the field, I need to replace it the same day.”
None of the big carriers gave us a quick way to activate SIM cards, provision and get them out the door the same day
Rigado had heard about Hologram from multiple customers and employees who had worked with the company’s single-SIM solution in the past. Hologram’s global IoT SIM cards can connect to nearly any wireless network out of the box, eliminating the headache of configuring devices and setting up service plans for each customer.
“It seems that everyone knew about them,” Lerner says of Hologram. Working with Hologram was simple in contrast to the complexity of dealing with individual carriers, a task that once required a dedicated staff member. “They did internal testing, created an account that let us use international data plans, set up a custom plan and it was all very easy and seamless,” said Monique Delmar, a Rigado contractor. “The cards come ready to go, we can activate quickly and we’re in control of the process.” Hologram’s management dashboard is also far more functional than carrier offerings at managing multiple SIMs.
Hologram’s SIMs work with multiple carrier networks overseas, a plus for Rigado’s many European and Middle Eastern customers. “We can just send them a card and not have to worry about which network they use,” Lerner says.
Hologram’s dynamic pricing gives customers control over costs. “When customers are first starting out, they often don’t know how much data they’ll use,” Lerner says. Most carriers lock clients to fixed and inflexible usage tiers, but Hologram requires no contracts or quotas. Customers can scale costs up and down with usage and change plans or carriers without swapping SIMs or incurring downtime.
Hologram helps us get there.Lee Lerner, Director of Solution Engineering, Rigado
Rigado has been able to nearly eliminate the cost and trouble of flying repair technicians to customer sites since deploying the Hologram SIMs in November 2018. “For a few dollars in monthly charges we negate all that expense,” Lerner says. “We still put people on planes as part of the installation, but it’s now a meet and greet. We travel mainly for customer relations.”
The vast majority of Rigado’s problems can now be diagnosed remotely via the cellular connection. “Customer downtime has been reduced, satisfaction is up and we can focus more on the product experience,” Lerner says.
Rigado strives to provide its customers with an “an out-of-the-box, ‘it just works’ experience,” Lerner says. “Hologram helps us get there.”