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    Customer Story

    How In-Situ scales smart water monitoring globally with EMnify

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    About

    Founded: 1976

    Headquarters: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

    Solution: Environmental Monitoring

    Challenge

    Making remote water monitoring simple and cost-efficient

    Solution

    VuLink telemetry devices and HydroVu data services platform that leverage EMnify's connectivity solution

    50

    countries across 5 continents

    4-6x

    better battery life with LTE-M

    3x

    faster deployment using API

    Introduction

    Remote water monitoring can provide huge savings on time and costs spent on manual data collection in the field. That said, conventional systems have been dauntingly complex to set up and manage for many.

    In-Situ set out to change the game with VuLink – a custom-made, robust cellular telemetry solution that works out of the box at any customer site. From hardware installation and maintenance to data collection, analysis, and interpretation, the company’s goal is to simplify it all for customers.

    To achieve this, deep vertical integration coupled with IoT-focused cellular technologies, namely LTE-M and NB-IoT, are two core ingredients of the VuLink solution. And there are no better technology partners than EMnify.

    Why EMnify

    Connect:

    Global IoT SIM: Successful product rollout in international markets
    LTE-M: Reduced device cost and power consumption

    Automate:

    REST API: Excellent customer experience with automated device provisioning

    Operate:

    EMnify Portal: Connectivity data for company-wide operations

    “EMnify is way ahead of the game in terms of both technical integration and LTE-M support. Our partnership has been integral to the global success of VuLink.”

    Matt Trumbo - In-Situ
    Matt Trumbo

    Senior Product Manager, In-Situ

    Rethinking water monitoring with power-saving cellular technologies

    “The state of our industry is that 90% of the devices are not connected over the Internet in any fashion,” explained Matt Trumbo, Senior Product Manager at In-Situ. The pure cost of getting data for decision making is staggering, as professionals need to drive or even fly out to the site regularly.

    “Another big issue is around battery life, as people often have to install gigantic solar panels or big primary battery packs for the monitoring devices,” he added. These challenges inspired the team to develop VuLink - In-Situ’s first cellular telemetry product that leverage power-saving technologies which are LTE-M and NB-IoT.

    “Our value proposition is that what if our customers only have to go on-site every few months or even years, instead of days or weeks,” he explained. Back in 2014 when In-Situ started to build and sell cellular products, the company struggled with finding a connectivity solution that works globally.

    “We spent a lot of time trying to figure out which partner we should have in each country. At the time, I was traveling the world, and everywhere I went, I always took a bag of SIM cards and tried to test them. But nothing had worked in all countries that we targeted until we came across EMnify,” he recalled.

    VuLink global
    “As we moved to support LTE-M and NB-IoT with VuLink, EMnify was very committed and had clear plans that aligned with our launch timeline. Frankly, other providers we had talked to did not. Thanks to EMnify’s robust LTE-M service, our product rollout has been wildly successful.”

    Matt Trumbo, Senior Product Manager, In-Situ

    HydroVu screenshot
    "Our customers don’t want the hassle of connectivity setup, and our partnership with EMnify made this experience possible. There are other companies who offer similar solutions, but EMnify’s technology is the best one we’ve worked with."

    Matt Trumbo, Senior Product Manager, In-Situ

    Elevating customer experience through product ease-of-use

    According to Trumbo, another reason why customers love VuLink is how simple it is to use. The EMnify API plays a big part in this. To provision a device, all a customer needs to do is scan a QR code, press the power button, and it is ready to go. Leveraging EMnify’s API, the SIM card is automatically activated as the device is provisioned on the HydroVu platform.

    “Recently, one of our governmental partners here in the US just marveled at how a totally untrained person could onboard the device within minutes simply by scanning the QR code,” he said.

    Connectivity data for automated billing

    As In-Situ provides customers with multiple service tiers depending on the data and SMS allotment per month per device, information on connectivity usage is critical for billing. Using EMnify’s API and Data Streamer, the team can pull usage information of each device and pass along this data to its billing partner’s system. Invoices are then automatically generated based on SIM and connectivity events. 

    “Automated billing with EMnify's API helps us save hundreds of person-hours compared to our previous solution for sales and finance. But frankly, we never would have scaled our business as we are without such automation," he said.

    One connectivity portal for company-wide operations

    Having cellular connectivity intertwined with the VuLink product, a connectivity management platform is pertinent to multiple business functions of the company.

    With previous network partners, the lack of user management capability on such a platform means that Trumbo had to take care of tasks like paying connectivity bills. “It felt like I had to wear an extra hat,” he said.

    “Since we started using EMnify, all different teams in our company can easily log in to the EMnify Portal and get the information they need,” said Trumbo. Typically:

    • The support team can examine network events and connection quality and proactively troubleshoot the connectivity.
    • The software team can execute relevant integrations to automate processes and streamline operations.
    • The R&D team can test and evaluate new prototypes.
    • The finance team can quickly get connectivity invoices for payment.

    “Our team often says we wish we could have more technology partners like EMnify. Their solution makes it easy for us in a lot of dimensions.”

    Matt Trumbo, Senior Product Manager, In-Situ