Researchers sometimes want to use their own sim cards in METER cellular data loggers in an effort to stretch their research budgets. Historically, this was a sound practice and a practical way to cut telemetry costs. However, due to advances in technology and a more competitive marketplace, circumventing the communication piece no longer reduces the cost for the end user. While it’s true that in the past, communication was the most expensive piece of data collection, this is no longer the case. With the advent of IoT, radio technologies such as SigFox, LoRa, NB-IoT, and LTE-M now crowd the marketplace, commoditizing communication. This makes it easy and inexpensive to run a data collection network, especially because transferring research data doesn’t require high bandwidth. And, switching from one to another of these radio technologies doesn’t offer the end user any cost reduction as they are all similar to cell communication in both benefit and price, though METER continues to evaluate new technologies as they evolve.
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The IoT revolution represents a complete shift in the traditional approach to telemetry, and it means big benefits for researchers. Now that the communication piece is less expensive, it is possible to create a more sophisticated data collection experience, still at an affordable price. Today the cost of telemetry comes from the development, improvement, and upkeep of an advanced software database and front-end that makes data collection fast, easy, and intuitive, enabling the researcher to spend more time on what matters most. METER’s cloud-based data management software ZENTRA Cloud works with the ZL6 data logger to make the data collection and management process so simple, you can almost forget about your data logger completely. Below is a visual representation of how telemetry has changed with the advent of IoT.