Going from millions to billions of connections with the Internet of Things (IoT) will see deployments with massive, multi-region footprints. However, each of these connections will need to be managed with capabilities installed, activated and maintained. The challenge here is that traditional connectivity is not sufficiently automated, is inflexible and, often as a result of management complexity, too costly to be used in support of many IoT business cases.
Old connectivity management therefore must be reconsidered and approached in new ways so that management pain can be minimised and the costs contained while deployment speed accelerates.
As the number of IoT devices deployed grows, management of the connections becomes more and more complex. A washing machine manufacturer, for example, may design its products in Europe, manufacture them in APAC and distribute them globally. It’s expensive to retrofit a SIM card as each device arrives in its new home market. The retrofit options are to install a physical SIM at an import warehouse or retailer, or to engage in costly truck roll to the end user’s home to get the machine up and running.
Both these options are counter-productive and require relationships with individual carriers in each market. It could be some much simpler if capability is embedded into the washing machine in the factory. The machine would then have the ability to automatically connect to the most suitable network when it is first turned on and at a fixed cost, ideally for the whole lifetime of the machine.
If this happens, new opportunities are quickly enabled. The washing machine maker can reformulate and enable a new business model. To achieve this, it needs to ensure that the data on the machine’s performance and the amount of washes it completes are communicated back to the manufacturer, along with billing and any maintenance data that could enhance the user experience and future iterations of the service.
Selecting a provider who enables this global connectivity capability to be embedded into the device at the factory means the washing machine provider is assured of the connectivity it needs. The benefit is to have accurate visibility and transparency into the costs it will incur in its new connected laundry-as-a-service business.
A washing machine manufacturer shouldn’t have to become a network expert in order to participate in Internet of Things opportunities. Instead they should be able to turn to a single service provider who will deliver them effortless connectivity at a fixed price. This means that connectivity no longer becomes a fluctuating factor of the pay-per-wash proposition; the washing machine provider can accurately calculate the likely costs of running the service and therefore price it attractively to users and start building its new business in IoT.