Given my Telco background, it was logical that back in 2014, I published some of my first articles in my IoT Blog about the topic “IoT Connectivity” . I described how the optimist predictions of analysts and companies like Cisco or Ericsson, made the Machine to Machine (M2M) an attractive market to invest.
The fact that “Tata Communications have acquired mobility and Internet of Things specialist Teleena is a clear indication of the phenomenal growth rate in the global IoT connectivity market. “By 2021, enterprises’ spending on mobility alone is set to surpass USD 1.7 trillion,” said Anthony Bartolo, Chief Product Officer, Tata Communications. I hope to see Tata Communications/Teleena in the next Gartner´s Magic Quadrant for M2M Managed Services Worldwide.
There are still people who doubt that connectivity is a key component in the M2M/IoT Value Chain. Please remember without connectivity simply there is not IoT.
Obviously during these years many of my projects have been associated with IoT connectivity. From the analysis of M2M/IoT Service Providers to the conceptual design of end-to-end solutions where connectivity selection was a key component. One of the most interesting projects was the analysis that I made for the Telefonica project "IoT in a box". Without forget projects to compare LPWAN technologies, End to End Security, Identification of Uses cases for 5G. Sometimes also I had to sell IoT connectivity.
In the last years in the IoT connectivity market I have seen:
- Consolidation of the market like “KORE buys Wyless” or “Sierra Wireless, Inc. Completes Acquisition of Numerex Corp.”
- The appearance of companies like 1NCE, the first dedicated Tier 1, Narrowband IoT MVNO providing fast, secure and reliable network connectivity for low data B2B applications offering a set of optimized product features – such as an IoT flat rate and the first of its kind 'BUY ONCE' lifetime fee
- The still not bloody battle between LPWAN operators (SigFox, LoRA network operators, NB-IOT, LTE-M)
- Telco Vendors, Operators and Analysts talking about the promise of 5G
- New Wifi and Lifi IoT use cases
- IoT Security breaches
- Operators focus on key industries and use cases
- The partnership M2M/IOT Service Providers ecosystem evolution
- Agreements among M2M, MNO and Satellite operators.
- The lack of standards in the Smart Home connectivity
- The expectation for solve the real time connectivity challenges in Industry 4.0 and Edge Computing –
- Time Sensitive Networking Industry 4.0 use cases and test bed by IIC members
But in my opinion, enterprises still are confused and delaying their decisions to adopt IoT / IIOT because they need good advice about the right IoT connectivity not just the cheapest prices but easy integration or better customer support.
I want to remember again that I can help you in the selection of the right M2M /IoT Service Provider for your enterprise business requirements as a strategic decision.
IoT Connectivity - the ugly Duckling of IoT Network Operators
Telecoms operators’ more focused approach to bolstering their IoT businesses appears rooted in refining the technology inherent in their connectivity networks. And no wonder, The powerful GSMA has been helping Mobile Operators to define their role in IoT. At first sight, the best way for large telecoms operators generate value from the IoT might appear to be by providing connectivity via their networks. Additionally, they could leverage their vast experience in customer engagement, customer premise equipment (CPE) support and their robust, proven back-office systems by offering their OSS and BSS platforms externally to IoT users, using their OSS to provide users with a turnkey platform to manage their equipment proactively in real time, and their BSS to support the related billing requirements. In fact Global telcos set sights on IoT for growth in 2018.
Nevertheless, Analysys Mason, highlighted “Telcos have been working with the broader ecosystem, including developers, cloud players and hardware vendors this past year – all of which “should set the market up for an active 2018”.
Although many people think that IoT connectivity is or will become a commodity with little value for customers and along with the hardware will form the ugly ducklings of the value chain, IoT Network Operators should strive to demonstrate that IoT connectivity is vital for the global adoption of the IoT and seek to increase the income derived from its connectivity services with aspect like security and the contextual data value that their networks transport.
IoT Data is the new Oil also for IoT Network Operators
If connectivity seems doomed to play the role of ugly duckling, the data on the other hand see how its value increases and increases with each new technology.
How many times have we seen a presentation with the title "Data is the new Oil”? Even taught by me
Many Telcos are in process of Digital Transformation. The want to compete with the Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA) and avoid same situation lived with these Over the Top (OTT) vendors. IoT is giving them an opportunity to monetize the IoT data and convert their networks in pipelines of value.
IoT data is a new source of revenue without forget that will also produce incremental profit through operational productivity and efficiency.
The new stream of data coming from the physical world and the billions connected things are mostly transported by the IoT Network Operator´s networks and once these data is captured, the IoT Network Operators can monitor everything and feed their AI systems. Is then, when finally, IoT Network Operators can make a lot of money of IoT contextual data and aggregated data.
Can you imagine the opportunities leveraged by the connection of millions of devices and intelligent things over your IoT network? A vast amount of useful data generated by smart containers, smart home appliances, smart cities, connected cars, smart healthcare devices, or wearables, which for many businesses is an extremely valuable commercial tool. IoT Network Operators possess the capability of performing real-time data analytics on readily available data to determine product performance, improve customer experience and forecast network capacity, all of all which IoT-ready businesses could benefit from.
IoT connectivity is still at the core of all IoT Network Operators / M2M Service Providers. But some of them are implementing different strategies to capture more business of the IoT value chain. The idea of IoT connectivity will become a commodity with not added value is influencing the decision to invest in new IoT enabled networks (5G, LTE-M, NB-IoT).
It’s clear that there are some strong opportunities for IoT Network Operators / M2M Service Providers looking to capture the full potential of IoT, and it’s time that they open up their services to support companies from all sectors who are looking to employ IoT connectivity but also machine data intelligence as part of their business models in this IoT driven digital transformation.
Telcos offering IoT connectivity should look to monetise data and offer businesses unique insights that could potentially open doors to new revenue streams or even improve operational efficiencies.
If IoT business is about data and assets, Telcos need to shift from technology and connectivity to business value and creation of valued services.
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