The use of mobile GSM connectivity in the security sector is nothing new. Since the early 1990’s mobile connectivity has been part of security technology, especially in fleet management and logistics.

In the early days this was primarily driven by the vehicle tracking industry, using the GPRS & 2G mobile data network to relay location data to tracking platforms. Then came other applications such as GSM alarm modules, gate and access controllers as well as GSM modules connected to a wide range of security equipment.

The introduction of 3G data networks allowed for some more slightly more advanced security technology applications to be rolled out. Although many of those technologies (including 2G devices) are still delivering a reliable service to the security industry, the arrival of LTE and “real” mobile broadband connectivity is a game-changer.

Although theoretically capable of hitting data transfer speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s (and LTE-A up to 1000 Mbit/s), in South Africa the average LTE connection delivers speeds of 20.39 Mbit/s. This speed, together with affordable routers and good reliability has created a massive opportunity for new-age security applications. As at the end of 2017, LTE networks cover almost 70% of South Africa.

The first sector that has seen rapid uptake in LTE use has been in CCTV and remote monitoring & surveillance applications. Remote sites and vehicle fleets can now be equipped with good quality video streaming solutions to assist in the live monitoring of vehicles and property. LTE is also used as a backup connectivity should fibre or ADSL breaks occur. It is ideally suited for this its wireless nature makes it highly resistant to tampering. It can also be instantly deployed to sites.

With data prices on a downward trend the business cases around high-data applications are also starting to make much more sense. This will further be improved by the imminent implementation of longer data expiry rules by the regulator (ICASA). New LTE-based security applications are set to reshape this leading-edge industry. The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and image recognition is further driving innovation in high data use applications.

But with new technology comes new challenges. The rate at which mobile data can be consumed on LTE means that good SIM-level control and tools to manage large numbers of deployed SIMs are becoming critical to avoid excessive costs and “bill shock”.

Traditional offerings and APN-based solutions built for low-data M2M applications are not always suited to high-data use devices. Using a SIM management platform to manage mobile data spend is critical to ensure costs don’t escalate to a point where business models are no longer feasible.

– Hein Koen

LTE Statistics Source: