By Ouanès aiouaz, head of innovation - August 20, 2018
Operators operate in a market with user experience requirements. Often strong, contradictory and simultaneously satisfying, they must provide very high-speed support for home video streaming of 4K, along with billions of smart, energy-efficient, dispersed objects with low transfer rates.
In a world where connectivity is seen as a flow, a commodity, just as water or electricity is: we are often tempted to limit our thinking to the only things we want to connect. And sometimes we risk taking for granted the "connection lines" that make the Internet of Things (IoT) reality.
On the surface, it all comes from the vision of a smartphone user, who expects that data connectivity is always available, tamper-proof, high-speed, uninterrupted, no matter where the user is and what is the condition of use. It is therefore expected that IoT will be available whenever necessary.
The mobile world is clearly not focused on the world of IoT. These applications are still considered by operators as a niche market, sometimes very fragmented in several segments and unable to bring substantial value.
Things started to change for the operators since the big digital players have entered the market data management platforms from objects connected to networks. These actors are still prolix to sell to those who want the promise of a predictive analysis of their data. They are waiting for a massive network deployment to reaffirm the mass of data generated to their data store.
Solutions are already available on the market and can be used today with very short implementation and commercialization deadlines. LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) networks are an ideal solution for low bandwidth, high coverage projects; they are real solutions that can be used today at a lower cost.
As Mobile operators begin to seriously consider IoT as a real business opportunity, they will need to invest heavily in technology and marketing, designing business models that can truly represent a significant competitive advantage, potentially offering business solutions differentiated to different market segments ranging from raw connectivity to networks operated as a service.
Already, IoT-specific requirements have been introduced in telecommunication standards. At the same time, operators are beginning to include offerings in their service portfolios that integrate connectivity and processing solutions for B2B solutions in a single package, such as fleet management or similar medium and large scale solutions.
Despite this, it is still quite difficult for a user to find a mobile phone contract that would include an IOT service offer. The contrast between this reality and the growing volume of devices that should use cellular solutions for connectivity (eg home or car protection) is simply striking.
Mobile operators saw their revenues grow more strongly on usage volumes than access. It's a safe bet that the major players in the Internet will be able to generate revenue from data queried via their API. And to hide the multiplicity of APIs and the complexity of charging for end-user use, it is certain that mobile operators will remain ready to offer their service to manage the customer experience and/or the mobile payment.