|Some telecoms even build separate networks for their IoT platform. These platforms can serve as the foundation for developers and businesses to develop their own IoT products and services / Photo by: 36clicks via 123RF|
Michael E. Raynor and Phil Wilson of multinational professional services network Deloitte said communication services treated their network providers as mere “dumb pipes” that provide bandwidth. However, the IoT revolution allows the telecom industry to create new value by delivering a collection of products and services to their existing networks, wrote Connor Craven of Sdx Central, a leading news and resource site for Software-defined Everything (SDx), SDDC, and more.
Some telecoms even build separate networks for their IoT platform. These platforms can serve as the foundation for developers and businesses to develop their own IoT products and services. Interestingly, the telecom industry is one of the largest potential players of the IoT market, noted Marc Bielas of IoT news website IoT for All.
Statistics on the Telecom Industry
The telecommunication services market, including fixed-network services and mobile services, was valued at $1.4 trillion in 2017, reported Arne Holst of German statistics platform Statista. The said market’s value is expected to grow to almost $1.46 trillion by 2020. The biggest markets are the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and North America. Mobile and wireless technologies have proliferated in the telecommunications industry in the last 15 years. Hence, the number of global mobile connections is forecasted to reach nine billion by 2020, which is twice the amount back in 2009.
Tata Consultancy Services, a global leader in IT services, consulting, technology, and digital solutions, found that out of 13 sectors, telecom ranked fourth on IoT technology spending as of 2015. In the same year, the companies in the survey spent an average of $110.7 million on IoT per company and expected their budget to rise to $169.5 million by 2018, a 69.5% increase over three years.
Tata Consultancy Services also found that 33.4% of this money was spent on monitoring of telecom products and services after selling to customers, 30% was spent on customer monitoring, particularly the usage of products like smartwatches or mobile apps, while 18.4% was allotted to on-premises monitoring or tracking customer-specific businesses like Amazon Go. Finally, 18.1% was spent on supply chain monitoring.
How IoT Is Leveraged In Telecom
Planning, Monitoring, and Maintenance
Telecommunication firms can take advantage of IoT-enabled remote monitoring and maintenance considering there are costly cellular base stations and data centers deployed across the globe. Remote cell towers include many pieces of auxiliary equipment to enable the telecommunications systems to function and prevent network downtime.
Sensors can be installed on equipment such as backup generators, air conditioners, and energy meters to help telecom operations teams in remotely monitoring the condition of individual towers, make adjustments to boost the efficiency of operational processes, and selectively deploy crew from a centralized location. Unfortunately, this infrastructure is vulnerable to theft. Hence, an IoT-enabled access management and intrusion detection system will add an extra layer of protection.
Let’s not forget that there are remote sites in harsh environments. Thus, sensors play a significant role in avoiding prolonged exposure to elements, which may cause irreparable damage to the core infrastructure. IoT can be employed to ensure the network design is optimized and efficient when planning to build network infrastructure. For example, Ericsson’s Network Design and Optimization group utilizes AI to “simulate networks and predict optimal connectivity.” This technology is already being used by large corporations like Softbank.
Providing IoT Infrastructure and Services
Telecom companies can develop their own digital and physical infrastructures, including IoT services. These include creating an IoT platform to manage devices and their connectivity to the firm’s infrastructure. IoT companies can also develop new connectivity options in their current coverage areas. Such options include proximity sensing and the deployment of Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) from their pre-existing assets.
Promoting IoT Solutions Development
Telecom companies have pre-existing access to large enterprises. When these enterprises want to implement IoT into their core operations, they tend to gravitate toward the internet or communications company they have worked with before. However, telecom firms have the opportunity to collaborate with current clients and formulate specific solutions to them.
Some of these solutions are factory optimization, cold chain management, energy utility monitoring, and vehicle tracking for dealerships. While the aforementioned businesses may not be the core focus of telecom providers, they allow them to increase the number of their current contacts with clients. This can be tested by collaborating with any of the existing IoT solutions development shops and systems integrators in the market who may agree to a joint development or white-labeling solutions.
|Telecommunication firms can take advantage of IoT-enabled remote monitoring and maintenance considering there are costly cellular base stations and data centers deployed across the globe / Photo by: Aleksandr Davydov via 123RF|
4 Telecoms That Utilize IoT
IoT devices are capable of connecting to the network through data, SMS, or voice communications, all thanks to the Orange Global Connectivity portfolio. Management for IoT connections is conducted centrally via web-portal or API in the Orange portfolio.
Additionally, Live Object, the name of Orange’s IoT platform, is cloud-based and an open solution that adheres to market standards. The software enables organizations to control devices by monitoring the activity and status of devices, setting up and updating devices, performing diagnostics, and adding new ones.
Sprint designed an “entirely independent network” called Curiosity IoT for IoT devices. Curiosity is composed of the Curiosity Core and Curiosity OS. The former is reportedly 5G ready and is also a virtualized and distributed network core. Meanwhile, the Curiosity OS grants organizations the ability to manage all connected IoT devices, make the development of IoT devices and time to market faster, automate business operations, and obtain real-time intelligence base on generated data.
Sprint also leverages Curiosity IoT to deliver several solutions such as visualizing vehicle fleets, tracking goods in transit, and enabling smart cities and smart video analytics.
Verizon utilizes its IoT platform called ThingSpace to enable smart utilities, smart cities, smart retail experiences, vehicle fleet management, asset tracking, and IoT security credentialing. Its platform allows businesses to prototype, test, and link IoT devices to the Verizon network. Moreover, ThingSpace helps organizations enable device diagnostics, secure activation, device location, and lifecycle management of all the company’s connected IoT devices.
The retail, healthcare, and manufacturing industries use Vodafone’s telecom IoT platform for various purposes. In retail, the sector utilizes the platform to generate data from interactive retail displays, using them to deliver highly personalized marketing campaigns. The healthcare industry takes advantage of Vodafone’s IoT platform for sending medication alerts as well as tracking ambulances in real-time and heart monitoring devices. In manufacturing, the platform boosts productivity, enhance safety, and minimize costs.
The telecommunications industry is one of the largest potential players in the IoT market. This is evident as more companies invest in IoT-enabled solutions to monitor and maintain cell towers and other infrastructure. The industry should venture further into IoT to operationalize processes and deliver the best possible service to users.
|Verizon utilizes its IoT platform called ThingSpace to enable smart utilities, smart cities, smart retail experiences, vehicle fleet management, asset tracking, and IoT security credentialing / Photo by: Jonathan Weiss via 123RF|