Nube was founded based on a vision of IoT as a combination of technologies and services with the power to deliver broad ranging and truly transformative benefits. As an IoT solutions provider Nube developed an end-to-end solution based on what they call the ‘three miles of IoT’. The first mile involves providing telemetry-as-a-service (Nube calls this “TaaS”), the second is covered by the provision of an IoT platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and the third and final mile is addressed with supporting software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. Through this model for IoT, Nube have built a solution and associated business model which they can easily apply to multiple use cases across multiple industries.
Today Nube apply their solution to the liquid petroleum gas market helping both the end consumer and companies supplying and delivering the LP gas. In Mexico LP gas is most commonly stored on the roof of buildings and whilst this is space efficient it means getting meter readings can be extremely difficult and dangerous. This makes it very difficult to know when tanks need refilled and makes running out of gas a common occurrence. Not only does this result in a poor consumer experience but it also makes supply logistics difficult and costly for the Gas companies.
Nube’s solution provides visibility to both the consumer and the supplier of the current gas supply within the consumers tanks. Previously, gas supply was mostly guesswork, with Nube the consumer can monitor their own supply levels using Nube’s white-labelled app on their smart phones. Nube also provide an admin portal for the Gas companies allowing them to monitor demand and schedule deliveries in a much more efficient way. The combined solution helps optimise operations whilst delivering a better service and eliminating the instances of their customers running out of gas.
“We help ensure the consumer will never, ever run out of gas. We do this in two ways. Firstly, we help the consumer calculate their consumption of gas, monitor levels, and set automated alerts when levels get low. On the supply side the analytics we provide tells the Gas companies ahead of time when these alerts will be triggered meaning they can optimise their deliveries and manage their orders more efficiently. This provides truly huge cost savings for the gas companies and a better overall experience for the consumer.”Chris Gnanakone, Founder and CEO – Nube
* Greater supply side visibility: With Nube’s end-to-end solution Gas Companies get much greater visibility over their customer supply requirements. Nube’s tank monitoring sensors provide 24/7 visibility of supply within customers tanks making it easy to predict when customers will require a re-supply. Nube also handles the entire deployment process making it easy for Gas Companies to take advantage of the benefits on offer.
* Higher quality customer experience: The software component of Nube’s solution includes a white-labelled mobile app which allows the consumer to monitor their own gas levels, set alerts to avoid them running out and schedule new gas orders and refills with the supplier. This significantly improves the customer experience and gives Gas Companies an additional point of differentiation in an otherwise highly competitive space.
* More efficient operations: The greater visibility of supply levels across their customer tanks combined with the analytics and business intelligence tools available within Nube’s gas company administrative portal helps the gas companies greatly improve efficiency of their operations, saving significant time and money.
The Pelion Solution
Nube picked Pelion to provide cellular connectivity coverage and a connectivity management platform for their gas tank monitoring solution. When selecting a connectivity partner Nube were looking for four key criteria, coverage, reliability, robustness and a platform able to scale with them and provide the flexibility they need as they develop new solutions. Pelion was the perfect fit, able to provide reliable cellular connectivity coverage in all their locations, a robust and complete solution from an established business and the highly flexible Pelion platform.
“One of the key things that any IoT implementation needs is a good partner who can provide stable, robust and broad connectivity coverage because it allows us to provide a reliable service to our customers. This was our number one criteria when looking for a connectivity partner and this is what we found with Pelion”Chris Gnanakone
Robust and reliable cellular LPWA connectivity
Coverage in remote areas and power efficiency are both critical to the Nube solution. The tanks they monitor are in remote geographical locations and with often no easy access to the tanks themselves. A connectivity partner must not only be able to provide coverage in these locations but also offer extremely high reliability to avoid potentially problematic and costly connectivity issues. After testing connectivity coverage in Mexico and across several States in the US Nube went with Pelion to provide cellular connectivity for their devices.
Using Pelion IoT SIMs Nube gain coverage in all of their required locations, with a choice of networks and connectivity standards all on the same SIM. Pelion’s multiple network options offers connectivity which is resilient and flexible helping Nube deliver a consistent experience and high service quality for their end customers.
Powerful and highly scalable management platform
The Pelion platform is a critical part of Nube’s solution. The platform allows them to remotely manage all of their SIMs in one place, activating and deactivating profiles as required making deployment easy. They also utilise the detailed monitoring and analytics on data usage at both an individual device level and across their entire SIM estate. The platform allows Nube to set and manage data usage thresholds with automated alerts helping avoid any data overages.
The platform also helps Nube streamline their own operations, they can manage their SIM stock and use the platforms self-service capabilities to order new SIMs, in multiple form factors, with a few clicks. All connectivity billing is handled within the Pelion platform, with a detailed bill breakdown available and the ability to download invoices all helping Nube efficiently keep track of costs.
“The Pelion platform is solid. Not only does it have the subset of tools needed to manage our SIM’s and services but it’s also ready to scale very fast when the need arises.”Chris Gnanakone
Multi-protocol support and low latency connectivity performance
One of the big advantages Pelion provides for Nube is the platforms ability to support multiple different connection protocols. As Nube scale up and adapt their model to serve other use cases they will be including devices using connection protocols other than cellular such as LoRaWAN and LWM2M. The capability of the platform to provide cellular connectivity to securely transit data over any protocol such as LoRaWAN, MQTT or LWM2Mgives them a wide breadth of options to support almost any type of device deployment in the future.
Pelion’s unique approach to carrier network integration and its APN infrastructure also helps Nube achieve optimal latency and network performance. Chris notes, “we had challenges before with other partners around where the APN was physically located causing latency issues. We tested using Pelion and now we have none of those problems.”
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Nube have big ambitions for the future as they lock to enhance their current solutions and adapt what they have to service new industries and use cases. This year they will be releasing the third generation of their sensor device, upgrading it to support CAT-M1 and NB-IoT to maximize battery life once deployed. Nube also have their sights set on international expansion, with opportunities for their existing solutions arising in the Middle East and Australia. With Pelion’s comprehensive global connectivity coverage Nube will be able to quickly scale up and respond to new opportunities wherever they arise.
“If you can’t get a good connectivity partner, and we have the scars to prove it, things are very difficult. A good connectivity partner is absolutely critical to successfully implementing and scaling an IoT solution.”Chris Gnanakone
They are also at the early stages of development of a new IoT solution utilising both LoRaWAN and Bluetooth, passing data to a gateway and then using Pelion to manage these connections and ensure data is securely transferred into the cloud. The in-depth technical expertise of the Pelion team will continue be an invaluable resource as they scale up and expand, having already helped Nube solve some of their long-standing challenges.
The future looks exciting.
“Right from the onset we never wanted to be a one solution IoT company and that is why we built our solution on our three miles of IoT model. Pelion are the right partner to help us connect and manage these different types of applications.”Chris Gnanakone