As the age of IoT beckons, the telecom industry is at the cusp of a mega transformation. The time is ripe for those who want to take a leap and truly transform their business into something spectacular. The number of IoT devices is expected to make a jump from the present-day 26.66 billion to 75 billion by 2025. Such a fast influx of new devices is only going to increase the competition between the existing players in the market. In these highly competitive times, a cutting-edge IoT platform can be the difference maker between companies and presents a remarkable opportunity for those who are willing to change according to time.
Pressing Requirements for Tackling IoT Platform
IoT, unlike other technologies, requires great versatility. For MVNOs and MNOs, it presents a unique challenge that can be only overcome by thriving in different verticals. The challenge is not simple for those who are stuck on their rudimentary work methodology. Some of the pressing requirements of IoT are:
Precise service offerings
IoT connectivity and its monetization need to be very precise. The informative and knowledgeable customers of today do not want to pay a penny more than what is necessary. They would rather switch their providers than get fleeced. As a fair share of IoT revenue comes through connectivity monetization, it is necessary to offer customers precisely the connectivity they need. For example, a parking lot IoT use case does not require a high speed connection. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to use relevant technologies like LoRa or Sigfox instead of delivering a high-bandwidth connection.
IoT use case requires you to transcend SLAs, connectivity, telecom services, cloud technology and QoS. As many telcos consider such an initiative to be risky (as they do not have knowledge of so many verticals), they never really fully exploit the new technologies.
Procurement of hardware and software
IoT requires a range of new hardware and software for its rightful deployment and implementation. From Iot sensors to batteries to powerful computers, the hardware requirements are mind-boggling. The same is the case with software as you need revolutionary BSS/OSS platforms along with a cutting-edge telecom billing system.
Convergent billing system
IoT billing is a huge challenge for telcos looking to package it in exciting bundles. The huge scope of IoT service delivery requires a centralized billing platform that allows for convergent billing. By employing a convergent telecom billing system, it becomes possible to simplify the invoice generation task. Convergence allows for the creation of a single invoice that reflects all service charges and makes the whole process more transparent for telecom operators.
Versatile IoT Development
IoT extends to a plethora of devices and sensors. All these new entities added to the IoT universe require a versatile IoT development platform for their smooth operation.
By incorporating all the above mentioned elements in their IoT platform, a telecom operator can expect to be successful in the coming years.
How to Handle IoT Platform the Right Way?
Despite all the challenges, IoT provides immense opportunities to telecom operators. As mentioned before, the influx of new devices will add to the IoT universe and lead to an increase in competition. Such a rise will also offer great benefits to telcos that are already proficient in handling different IoT use cases. Below are a few competencies that are needed to handle the IoT use cases in the right way:
Partnership and its monetization
As mentioned before, IoT has a wide scope and it pushes telcos to operate in different verticals. As all telcos do not have the capabilities to start new services from the scratch, it makes good business sense to use vendors for getting the job done. By associating with capable internet of things companies, it is possible to access pre-existing relationships via APIs. Application Program Interface (API) can be installed on client systems for fulfilling different requirements. For example, it is possible to use a shipping service for the distribution of IoT SIMs to customers without venturing into a new partnership.
A myriad of devices are connected via an IoT network. Zillions of bytes of data is generated every other day and this data generation can increase or decrease at any time. To handle an ever-changing requirement, you need an IoT platform that can effectively monetize, track and bill a wide gamut of IoT services conveniently and scale according to the future requirements.
IoT generates vast troves of information that is transmitted readily via the air interface. This information, if not secured properly, is vulnerable to hack attacks. Any loss of customer information like account data, email address, credit/debit card info can lead to major customer fallouts. Therefore, it is the responsibility of telcos to secure this information by employing stringent encryption. It is vital that the IoT data is secured both at the datacenters and during transmission. Also, it is important that the IoT platform comes with pre-designated user access rights, so that only the people with appropriate credentials can access the data.
Room for new functionalities
IoT is a ground breaking technology and it requires cutting-edge methodologies for it to function correctly. For example, in order to perform firmware updates, you need OTA (Over the Air) firmware update feature, so that automatic update can be done on all the relevant IoT devices and sensors.
Relevant connectivity solutions
The concept of connectivity for IoT devices is very different from regular Internet devices. In general, high-speed and low-latency connectivity is preferred by users, but an IoT business use case may have different requirements. For example, in cases where sensor discharge is a major concern of the business owner, one needs to use low-latency and low-powered IoT connectivity solutions like Sigfox and LoRA. Therefore, a telecom operator trying to maximize IoT revenue should look for a versatile IoT platform that can work well for different clients.
IoT Penetration across Industries
IoT has already become a phenomenal technology that is changing the way industries operate. In agriculture, there is an influx of Smart Agriculture techniques along with IoT drone monitoring for improving the production. The same way healthcare industry has seen major IoT breakthroughs in the form of sensor implants like IoT pacemakers that have made the task of doctors monitoring the patients considerably simpler. Retail industry has also benefitted greatly with IoT incorporation. It has become a lot easier to account for inventory and monitor the status of perishable food items with temperature sensors.
Apart from various industries, human life has also improved with the employment of IoT in household functions. Nowadays, remote monitoring can be used for home surveillance when the occupants are away. People can now switch on/off their daily use appliances from afar. Every IoT innovation is adding to human life, which is why; it is expected to reach greater heights in the coming years.
IoT is all the rage nowadays as telcos look to leverage it for improving their revenue. However, running an IoT platform does come with its inherent challenges like thriving in different verticals. To simplify IoT application and improve the revenue generated, it is best to partner with internet of things companies that are expert in their field and can offer completely scalable solutions and have provisions for multiple vendor partnerships via APIs.