Extreme weather and changing infrastructure: why businesses should embrace innovation in the search for resilient connectivity
Our Head of Business Development Craig Fleming addresses the need for resilience in connectivity infrastructure in the face of increasingly extreme weather, and why innovative thinking is a must.

The ability to always connect to a network and send and receive data at will is taken for granted. But what happens when extreme weather knocks out the communications infrastructure most businesses, organisations and people rely on?

Extreme weather is more common than ever - evidenced in 2021 when Storm Arwen knocked out communications and power for up to a million homes and businesses, with power not restored to some of those for more than a week. This impact was felt so sharply that the planned switch-off of PSTN and ISDN has been postponed by BT as it works on a more resilient rollout, in part because it recognises it will ‘have more work to do on getting better back-up solutions in place for when things disrupt the service like storms and power cuts’.

So how can we ensure resilient connectivity for critical services and protect connectivity against future extreme weather events? The answer lies in harnessing multiple communications protocols from one smart solution.

R3-IoT technology does that. Resiliency is central to the company’s mission, and its solution automatically switches between multiple cellular and satellite, depending on availability. Utilising robust and proven satellite technology, which is tailored for Industrial IoT, means coverage is guaranteed everywhere. If a cellular network is knocked out, satellite will keep data flowing – providing critical, continuous insights to key industries.

Craig Fleming, Head of Business Development at R3-IoT
Craig Fleming, Head of Business Development at R3-IoT

Who could be affected by connectivity disruption?

Businesses and organisations worldwide with remote operations and assets, and those looking to digitise, need reliable connectivity – especially with about 90% of the planet lacking in communications infrastructure.

The water industry is one example of a sector with often remote assets and a requirement to be situated all over the world regardless of connectivity infrastructure. Given its importance to communities, the industry can’t afford to have fragile connectivity that could fail due to bad weather. Monitoring reservoirs and dams is a necessity to receive timely, accurate data which can inform staff of an upcoming issue and allow preventative action to be taken.

In remote locations, getting that insight is far from guaranteed, so a more resilient solution is required. In the UK, the industry is often reliant on PSTN for monitoring key assets. With the switch from analogue to digital already underway, this technology will become redundant in the not-too-distant future.

Although a significant change, this presents an opportunity for industry to embrace innovative technologies and reap the benefits of new wireless Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), a telecommunication network built-in to the R3 solution as standard. This allows hundreds of wireless smart devices to be connected to a single gateway up to 10 miles away in a rural environment, enabling fully digitised operations with increased productivity and efficiency.

While industry can benefit, core public services are just as much in need of resilient connectivity. The fire & rescue service, for example, requires a resilient paging network to mobilise firefighters. Being able to harness multiple communications through one product is an ideal solution that can save on cost and save lives.

R3-IoT's solution provides continuous data collection from smart devices anywhere on earth, offering off-grid, cellular and satellite backhauls. Bad weather, poor connectivity and remote locations are therefore no longer an excuse for not being able to communicate, collect quality data and digitise.

Resilient connectivity is available, and as weather patterns and connectivity infrastructure in the UK and beyond changes, businesses and organisations in the private and public sectors will need to look to innovative alternatives.

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