Donald Rumsfeld was right

“…because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

The former Secretary of Defence may not seem the obvious person to have an insight on the issues facing Machine to Machine (M2M) or the Internet of Things (IoT) at the moment. However, one of the issues that we see again and again in mobile is the following pattern-

The system – ticket machine, car tracking system or traffic light control is built, usually as a custom build with a group of disparate parties who may never have previously worked together. Everyone should start with a set of known knowns- that is they know that their bit of kit works (but this is nothing as like as common as it should be.)

The system is labbed up. The system does not work. All parties involved check and recheck their component(s) in the system to make sure they have addressed all the unknowns that they know about.

The System starts to work but since so many parameters have changed no one can be sure why it didn’t work but now it does. Everybody freezes but at that point there are unknown unknowns. Because no one knows what conflict stopped it working and then went away, no one can know what change of circumstance will stop it again.

But it works. And there is a deadline, and the product is then rolled out. And then it stops, sometimes. At that point the circle of blame begins because each part is known but the system is so full of unknowns that the behaviour seems almost organic in its responses.

There are at least 8 factors affecting how the SIM alone relates to a network. Unless all of those are right and tested at point of shipment, and most aren’t, then it won’t work, or won’t work some of the time, or gets kicked off, or the data going through it gets choked when it gets busy. And then you have the Mobile engine, the firmware, the AT commands, the mast, cell breathing, the filters, the self-protection, the GGSNs, loading, VPN and you haven’t even hit your firewall yet.

Mobius always starts from a known position. We know our SIMs are correct now, in six months’ time and in six years. We know that our private networks are working in real time. That concrete certainty means that when something isn’t working, we will know what it is. A known unknown either Downstream or Upstream but with Mobius as that known good state in the middle.

If you are rolling out an M2M or IoT system, then make sure you are dealing with a company that knows what they are doing. 

Written by

Douglas Gilmour

Douglas formed Mobius in 2003 after twenty years’ experience in the Semiconductor industry. He was driven by the idea that airtime could be better and more secure.