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IoT – Avenues in Telecom

Network and mobile connectivity services are mostly commoditized, but they make up the foundation of telecom provider’s services. Telecom services are comparatively the same from those provided by competitors, the only distinguishing factor being the prices. Therefore, increased commoditization makes telecom companies reduce prices to retain their competitive edge, which has the outcome of reduced ARPU. Another issue encountered by telecom companies is increased client churn – a survey indicates that approximately 20% of Americans have moved to another phone, telecom, or ISP in the previous year. 

With the progression of IoT, the telecom field is presented with an opportunity to find a solution to the client retention and revenue generating issues and develop new streams of revenue. In five years from now, telecom companies are forecasted to generate 1.8$ trillion in revenue by leveraging the IoT services market. In this blog, we will go into how IoT technologies assists telecom organizations in producing value and we will also be sharing how to tackle the implementation of IoT initiatives within the telecom domain. 

The avenues IoT provides to telecom 

Telecoms might go about amplifying a service portfolio with a plethora of IoT-driven services in such spheres like smart retail, smart city, smart manufacturing, smart home, asset and vehicle tracking, among others. 

To make these IoT capacities a reality, it is indicated that telecom organizations should develop an IoT platform for their clients to connect end-point gadgets and their central control and execute desirable IoT applications. The IoT platform for telecom organizations should be constructed on an open, modular architecture consisting of reliant APIs between the modules.  

A modular strategy with regards to the architecture design enables providing IoT services and solutions with a differing degree of involvement in the service and solution positioning, specifically: 

  1. End-to-end business solutions – telecom organizations provide SaaS utilities to provide solutions to their client’s business issues in a specific sphere, for example, fleet tracking. 
  2. Backend business solutions – telecom organizations provide a back end with the capacity of storing, administering, and processing IoT-produced information, in addition to executing basic and advanced analytics on this information. Telecom organization’s clients might have accessibility to the back-end through APIs and go about integrating it with their current enterprise applications. 
  3. Data analytics and data science services – telecom organizations provide descriptive, predictive, diagnostic, and prescriptive data analytics services for their clients to obtain value for the data produced by IoT gadgets and business information. 
  4. IoT data recording and administration services – while an enterprise application functions on the client side, telecom organizations take responsibility for the storage, filtering, cleaning, and process of their client’s IoT-produced information. 
  5. IoT connectivity services – telecom organizations assist their client’s IoT infrastructures by furnishing administered connectivity services on the basis of NB-IoT protocol, for example, while the data produced by IoT devices is recorded and administered on the client’s side. 

To facilitate the monitoring of utilization data of the IoT solutions and services for telecom organization’s senior management, research and development, marketing, and other associated teams, the recommendation is to accompany the IoT platform with an end-user app that will facilitate convenient accessibility to analytical documentation and forecasting. 

IoT value add for telecom, some examples
According to latest research, going after the opportunities presented in every service direction specified above, telecom organizations may enhance their revenues five-fold over a half-a-decade time period. Also, telecom organizations have already begun utilizing the IoT technologies and accomplished enhancements in their client retention rates, in addition to acquiring new clients. For example, the report states that upon introduction of their proprietary IoT platform, AT&T pulled off the signing of approximately 300 new deals over the course of 12-months. 

Other industry forces have also begun leveraging IoT as an avenue to take over new markets. For example, applications for vehicular on-board diagnostics have been introduced to the domain of connected vehicles, which transportation organizations now feverishly leverage. There have also been the launching of services for pet owners to survey their pet’s locations with the assistance of wearable devices administered through a smartphone application. 

Development options – the choice 

There is still a lack of readymade IoT platforms customized to the requirements of telecom organizations competing on the market, telecom organizations may opt to develop customized IoT platform from the ground up or produce an IoT platform dependent on current cloud platforms, for example, Azure IoT, or AWS IoT.  

Producing a fully customized solution imparts enhanced flexibility and the leeway to populate the platform with any desirable functionalities and capabilities. But, going for this choice, there is a drawback of taking part in a protracted development process, which may take anywhere in between twelve to eighteen months. Another critical restriction is that to produce a completely customized platform, there is a necessity to have your proprietary cloud, which may be expensive in implementation and also in terms of maintenance.  

Producing an IoT platform on the basis of a public cloud platform present in the market is quicker and less costly. Many go for this choice when collaborating with telecom organizations and begin development on the basis of either Azure or AWS cloud platforms. Both are reliable industry leaders in the domain of cloud services with their services being unique in various ways, they provide increased information security and service availability, in addition to providing a comprehensive network of services to assist cloud-native platform development from every perspective. 

A primary restriction is that both of these platforms are expensive. But, the experience of clients demonstrates that integrating the expenditure for the cloud platform into the pricing framework of their proprietary IoT solutions and services assisted them accomplish a quick return on their investments. Additionally, with relevant cloud platform configs, it’s doable to go about optimizing cloud resource consumption and avoid overpayments with regards to unused cloud services. 

Defeating existing telecom challenges 

With IoT capacities, telecom organizations get an opportunity to go about expanding their offer with fresh, innovative solutions, obtaining a competitive lead in the domain where services are mostly commoditized. 

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