The Internet of Things (IoT) has significantly evolved in recent years, driven by notable technological progress, such as affordable 5G connectivity and advanced data analytics tools, and widespread adoption across various industries. It’s present in our daily lives – from medical professionals collecting patient data to retailers managing inventories. Companies like UPS, Pepsi, and GE rely on IoT to reach their customers, working with Couchbase as their IoT data platform of choice to run applications, regardless of unreliable network connectivity. Couchbase Capella’s performance, scalability, security and offline data sync capabilities make it an ideal solution for IoT environments.

Today, a prominent trend in network connectivity for edge devices is the diversification of wireless standards to accommodate different use cases. The use of cellular networks provides extensive global coverage, allowing IoT devices to connect and operate in various geographical locations. Couchbase wants to make it easier for customers to capture IoT data from various edge devices in remote locations where traditional network connectivity is not always available or suitable. We’ve partnered with Soracom, a provider of cellular network solutions that enable IoT device connectivity using ubiquitous 5G, 4G LTE and LPWAN cellular networks, to help customers adopt more IoT use cases across geographies. The partnership will streamline the setup and provisioning of subscriber identity module (SIM)-based edge devices connecting to Couchbase’s cloud database platform. Soracom allows customers to use cellular networks for IoT applications where network availability is an important factor, and where traditional wireless communications, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, are insufficient. 

Why Use Soracom for IoT Cellular Connectivity? 

Even though Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are still common, more IoT devices are using cellular networks like 5G, 4G LTE and LPWAN to connect across geographies. These networks offer distinct attributes in terms of data speeds, latency, and coverage. The ongoing evolution towards 5G holds the promise of higher speeds, reduced latency, and enhanced device density, creating possibilities for more advanced IoT deployments. Moreover, certain cellular technologies within the 4G LTE standard, such as Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M, have been designed with a focus on low power consumption, prolonging the operational lifespan of IoT devices.

mobile network and nosql database connectivity

Soracom offers SIM cards covering multiple speed classes that can be used in IoT devices around the world. These SIM cards are designed to provide connectivity across various cellular networks, enabling international deployment of IoT devices. Soracom works with mobile network operators all over the world to provide global coverage, all with a single SIM card or Embedded SIM (eSIM). 

Securing Cellular IoT Devices

Security is critical in the deployment of IoT devices. Several key security measures come into play to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data transmitted by SIM-based IoT devices. Authentication and authorization mechanisms are fundamental, ensuring that only devices with valid SIM cards are permitted access to the network. Device identity management, tied to unique identifiers associated with SIM cards, enhances the overall security of IoT systems. Access control mechanisms are implemented to restrict interactions with IoT devices and ensure that only authorized personnel or systems can manage them.

Soracom allows edge devices to easily send data from a device to cloud services over a cellular connection. It offloads encryption workloads from the device to the cloud while maintaining end-to-end data security. This — combined with Couchbase’s comprehensive features covering secure network communication, access control, and secure data storage — offers customers a holistic approach to deploying a secure IoT solution across all edge devices, regardless of the underlying connectivity layer.

securing cellular iot devices

Increase Business Efficiencies with Cellular IoT 

Implementing IoT cellular connectivity offers a range of cost-saving benefits across diverse industries. Cellular-connected IoT devices streamline operations by providing real-time data and automating processes, leading to enhanced efficiency and productivity. This translates to a tangible decrease in the costs associated with manual procedures and potential delays.

Remote monitoring and maintenance further contribute to cost savings. Leveraging cellular IoT, businesses can monitor equipment and assets remotely, reducing the need for on-site inspections and maintenance. This not only minimizes travel costs but also mitigates downtime, positively impacting the bottom line.

The implementation of predictive maintenance strategies is facilitated by cellular connectivity. Real-time data from IoT sensors enables businesses to identify and address potential issues before they escalate, reducing downtime and the costs associated with unscheduled repairs. Optimized resource utilization is another key area where cellular IoT shines. Insights into the usage patterns of equipment and assets allow businesses to optimize resource consumption, leading to reduced energy costs, and improved fleet and resource efficiency.

In sectors like retail and manufacturing, IoT cellular connectivity improves inventory management. Accurate real-time inventory level tracking prevents overstock and stockouts, minimizing carrying costs and lost sales opportunities. Cellular-connected IoT devices provide transparency across the supply chain, leading to better decision-making, reduced inefficiencies, and optimized logistics — ultimately saving transportation, warehousing, and distribution costs.

Couchbase Capella for Edge and IoT

Couchbase Capella’s flexible JSON document model is well-suited for the diverse and dynamic data structures inherent in IoT scenarios. This flexibility simplifies the storage and retrieval of semi-structured or unstructured data generated by IoT devices. Couchbase supports time series data by ingesting and fitting it into JSON array structures. This gives Couchbase the ability to offer time series data access without increasing the complexity of database operations or behavior. Scalability and high availability are recognized foundational strengths of Couchbase Capella. Its horizontal scalability and robust high availability features make it adaptable to the increasing number of devices and growing data volume common in IoT deployments.

Couchbase Capella’s support for mobile and edge computing environments, including offline data access enabled by Couchbase’s offline-first model, makes it uniquely positioned for IoT deployments. Couchbase Lite provides an embedded JSON document database for edge devices as part of a complete cloud-to-edge data sync solution. This capability ensures that devices can maintain functionality even during temporary disconnections from the network — a critical attribute in IoT applications where intermittent connectivity is commonplace.Capella at the edge with iot connectivity

The multimodel capabilities of Couchbase Capella, supporting key-value, document, and query language (SQL++) models, provide developers with the flexibility to choose the most appropriate model for different aspects of an IoT application. This versatility simplifies development in environments with varying data requirements. Additionally, Couchbase’s support for eventing and trigger capabilities empowers developers to define custom business logic that responds to specific events or changes in the database. This capability is particularly valuable in IoT scenarios requiring real-time data processing and event-driven architectures.

In Summary

The Soracom partnership with Couchbase empowers customers to accelerate the adoption of IoT use cases covering edge devices in dispersed geographies. Combining Couchbase Capella’s offline-first architecture with Soracom SIM based cellular connectivity offers a comprehensive approach to IoT solutions where no edge device is left behind.

Further Resources


Posted by Yves Laurent - Director, Cloud Native Technology Ecosystems

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