A client of ours, who is getting ready to deploy hundreds if not thousands of sensors across their portfolio, came to us with this very valid question:
“What’s the life expectancy of your products and solutions both from a maintenance and product replacement stand point?”
What the client was looking for is to understand what they were committing to in the long run and what implications this would have on their operating budget annually for the foreseeable future.
To better understand the different elements to be factored in to the life cycle cost of our solution we’ve broken it down in two categories: maintenance and product replacement cost.
When it comes to the maintenance cost of our solutions, there are two factors to be considered.
Rest assured that we thought of you building operators and managers and built a suite of products that work with three 3.6V batteries to give the best possible battery performance. Now what does that mean? It means our battery operated products, depending on the use case, have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. We estimate that the battery replacement cost per device will be in the range of $15 to $20, assuming the batteries don’t come down in price over time. We invite you to also review this other blog we’ve written to better understand the implications of choosing the right product so that you are not constantly worrying about replacing batteries.
General maintenance cost:
Outside of the obvious battery replacement cost, the only other factor to consider is the maintenance cost of the solution in the event the communication system goes down locally or on premises. Here is what we’ve done on the backend to ensure the system goes un-interrupted:
Our devices will dynamically change their data rate to reduce the amount of airtime and transmit smaller data packets. The smaller the message packet, the less data that must be transmitted via LTE. Which means less chances of issues occurring.
From a gateway perspective, the gateway has a functionality that allows us to submit a so-called “whitelist” to the local memory on the gateway. This avoids other LoRaWAN compliant devices to use your gateway as a generic bridge to get out. In a normal system, the server decides if the node/sensor that is received belongs to the application or not. Having a whitelist means the rejection of unwanted devices happens on the gateway, so there is no need to forward the packet in the first place. Once again, less interference and interruption means better reliability of the network.
Our gateway also has a memory and backup battery. These gateways are time sync enabled, meaning they can store messages locally and forward them if network coverage is interrupted for a period. This feature is aimed at removing any blank gaps in the history of the system.
Once the network is running and LTE communication is established, we use a network monitoring tool called “The Pinger” . This software polls the gateways via the LTE network to make sure it is running reliably. This allows for real time intervention when a gateway no longer responds, and automated messages get sent to the person responsible for that building/gateway.
The “Pinger” software is currently used on over 4500 live LTE connections and is manned 24/7 by a team in South Africa. We can make this option available to you, the customer, for the most responsive system possible.
To conclude, we don’t envision many communication problems as we’ve done extensive work to mitigate that risk for you; however, it would be prudent to allocate a small budget for a few contractor truck rolls per annum to be on the safe side of things.
Product replacement cost:
We will break this section down in 2 segments, the first being our warranty versus what we expect from the product.
Like most electronic products sold, we have a 2 year/24 months warranty on the product. This means if, for any reason, a product would require replacement after that period of time, the client would be responsible for its replacement cost.
While we advertise a 2 year or 24 months warranty, the product was built and designed to last the test of time. We believe that the lifespan of this hardware will extend the span of the software agreement several times over. Before making it to you, the end user, the product is tested 3 times in the factory, and depending on the installation package you’ve selected, the product will have been tested a 4th time on site before it’s handed over to you.