The IoT dilemma: Do telcos have the ‘internet’ but not the ‘things’?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to become the next big battleground for tech and telecoms companies, which isn’t such a surprise considering that it’s predicted to be one of the main revenue generating opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution. However, according to Ericsson’s Exploring IoT strategies, a large portion of telco’s simply  don’t ‘get’ it’ and in light of this, several questions have been raised on whether operators are appropriately equipped to monetise all of the opportunities presented by the IoT.

The dawn of IoT

Businesses from various industries are all looking at ways to utilise and incorporate IoT focused services into their business models to expand their offering and increase revenue. Telcos shouldn’t be any different. Providing communications services is at the core of what telco providers do, so this puts them in an advantageous position in terms of offering new connectivity solutions and services catering for the IoT. Telcos should look to forge partnerships with businesses looking to embrace this new form of connectivity and look at the different ways in which they can monetise their services. The telecoms industry is fast-moving, and amidst the increasing competition for business within the space, it’s only a matter of time before operators extend their offering and reach out to new customers to ensure relevance and long term sustainability.

Opportunities in the IoT marketplace

There are a number of ways in which telcos can benefit from the IoT ‘revolution’, and by offering and monetising their services to businesses, they will be able to unlock new revenue streams and extend their customer base beyond the telecoms sector.

The evolving media value chain: The potential of IoT in digital content delivery will mean that content providers will be able to move beyond traditional content and entertainment delivery. Telcos can provide an IoT connectivity service that will enable content providers to package up and deliver content to millions of connected smart devices simultaneously across a wide range of digital channels. Telcos should look to take advantage of this capability, as media companies will be evaluating the potential of IoT to enhance and reshape their content delivery strategies.

Security and customer care: Security is an important focus for most businesses, and keeping their IoT networks free from any external threats should be at the top of their agendas. IoT enables the connection of millions of devices, but the volume of data sourced from these connected devices makes it difficult to track, identify and filter out any suspicious traffic over the network.

Telcos have long been offering customers security services and are therefore in a strong position to deliver a secure offering to protect IoT networks. By providing services such as data encryption, anti-phishing and other adaptive security countermeasures, telcos can monetise their IoT offering and cement their reputation as trusted partners.

Data and analytics management: The connection of millions of devices over an IoT network produces a vast amount of useful data, which for many businesses is an extremely valuable commercial tool. Telcos 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 which IoT-ready businesses could benefit from.

Telcos should look to monetise this and offer businesses unique insights that could potentially open doors to new revenue streams or even improve operational efficiencies.

Device management: An IoT network has the capability of connecting millions of devices across an extensive region, making it possible to manage multiple devices efficiently and easily irrespective of their location. This is something many businesses today have struggled with historically, especially as devices are often prone to damage and malfunction.

By establishing partnerships with businesses and joining their IoT networks, telcos will be able to monetise opportunities presented by management and monitoring of the lifecycles of connected devices within a company network. This includes restoration, fault-detection, troubleshooting and fixing of malfunctioning or out-dated devices. This way, telcos can unlock a new revenue stream by managing a plethora of connected devices within a network, ensuring businesses have control over their device networks, making them more resilient and helping lower operational costs.

Conclusion

It’s clear that there are some strong opportunities for telcos 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 as part of their business models in this IoT driven digital transformation.

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