Thanks to ‘all things smart and intelligent’, from interactive fitness trackers and smart thermostats to driverless vehicles and connected smart kitchens, the Internet of Things (IoT) has witnessed increased adoption- to make our lives smarter and more interactive, in the recent years. As the Internet of Things continues to pervade the enterprise and consumer worlds, according to a report by Goldman Sachs, the IoT is likely to connect as many as 28 billion devices (or “things” as they call it) to the Internet by 2020- connected Wearable Devices, cars, homes, cities, transportation, oil and gas, healthcare and the industrial internet.
Given all the hype around IoT and the advantages it brings along, the telecommunications industry is one of the fastest growing market- providing enhanced connectivity solutions to numerous smart devices. By combining connectivity, analysis, mobile, security and cloud to support business- this crossroads could prove to be a revenue opportunity for the telecom operators, who are increasingly making use of digital platforms.
However, owing to the fact that consumer’s data and connectivity requirement are volatile apropos to the IoT and digitization advancements, it is fundamental for telecom companies to redefine their business strategies including key offerings around IoT. Considering that the telecom players have the strongest position in the IoT value chain, they must start moving up the IoT value chain and start offering accordingly.
Hit the Bull’s Eye with IoT customized Offerings
- IoT specific price plans: With the outburst of IoT and consumers fascinate with it even more, telecom players should leverage this attention and focus on building specialized price plans and provide connectivity as per the IoT services.
- Create information pools: Considering that telecom providers will receives unimaginable sets of deep data from numerous IoT devices, telecom companies can create vast information pools which can be later used for gaining business insights, predictive modelling and, build specific solutions.
- Device cloud for effective management: With widespread adoption of IoT, increasing number of enterprises are unlocking the valuable data generated by their everyday operations which they later use to uncover new business opportunities. However, if IoT and data are the hero, the real stars are the connected devices that collect this data. It is essential that telecom players actively monitor and manage these devices utilizing device cloud. By building a platform like this, other industries and companies can use for managing their devices.
Protect IoT data with Blockchain
Growth of IoT has a direct impact on the security of data. Considering that not every system can be secured fully, protecting data becomes cardinal for all businesses in the IoT space. However, organizations can consider applying strong multiple layers of security to make it time consuming and costly for hackers. This layer of security is called Blockchain. According to industry experts, at the time of cyber-attacks, IoT devices are unable to gauge the situation and make security decision. Blockchain, on the contrary, understands this behavior and enables device networks to protect themselves by allowing devices to form group consensus about what is normal within a given network, and negate any activity that might seem unusual.
Additionally, research has shown that Blockchain is not limited to just transactional data and can record anything- which can be further used for managing assets, maintaining devices including repairs and breakdowns and, recovering device history could be used to record just about anything and is not limited to transactional data. The ‘smart’ devices are often unable to unmeasured these threats which may often lead to loss of massive amount of data ad critical failure. If estimates are to be believed, 1 in 5 IoT devices will deploy basic blockchain by 2020.
Ultimately, using blockchain for IoT transactions and data sharing could easily beef up security, remove failures, streamline processes and prove to be cost effective, considering that ‘blocks’ in the blockchain are only available to organizations with the right encryption key.
Marry IoT and Contracts for ‘Smart Contracts’
Since, in the massive IoT space it is difficult to know who you are connecting to, blockchain solves these trust issues, but ‘smart contracts’ could be a game changer in the telecom IoT space. Smart contracts define the rules and regulation of information sharing which may help complex businesses operations to track various functions of data and what happens to it at each step- especially helpful when proof is required. Additionally, not only does smart contracts- a verified set of parameters that is publically available on the blockchain, govern data, it also automatically enforces those obligations.
Partnership Is the Key to Success
Although IoT has consuming various verticals, the telecom industry is still trying to identify their role in the IoT space considering that till now their pricing model has been volume-based and not performance. This has been quite complex for the telecom industry to determine what services and how their network could add value for IoT consumers. Since the world is getting more and more consumed by telecom IoT, providers need to move beyond just providing connectivity and find smarter ways to deliver more value-based services to their customers and partners. The telecom ecosystem needs to turn towards a more rewarding revenue system rather than just focusing on connecting devices and partner with the right solution partners and system integrators.
An example to this collaboration is online gaming, wherein connection speed is critical. The connection speed determines the outcome of the game and not necessarily huge amount of data over the internet. Online gamers as compared to other internet users were not always the favorites of telecom providers- mostly prioritized cost over latency, routing traffic through the cheapest paths, which were not necessarily the fastest. Not so much for other internet users who download things form the internet at their own will and time, the difference becomes absolutely clear in real-time applications where lags affect the games. With 5G, the telecom industry can offer new levels of latency. However, more than just network connectivity, the telecom industry can offer more to gaming companies including specialized servers and routers.