As a number of research organisations are predicting, we will soon be finding ourselves amidst more than 50 billion connected things by the end of year 2020. This is a phenomenal figure and is being powered by a number of Internet of Things commonly known as IoT concepts around connecting multiple planes of devices, objects and getting the best from information driven intelligence.
In today’s scenario, the whole segment of IoT is quite real, we have a number of IoT driven deployments that are powering ideas and innovations around smart cities, smart homes and smart grid solutions. This is where it is getting interesting.
As IoT becomes more and more seamlessly integrated into becoming the new normal – enabling connectivity for such a complex IoT ecosystem is perhaps a big challenge and this is exactly where Wi-Fi is coming to the fore and can enable CSPs to script a new age revolution in IoT.
As a preferred and quite matured access technology, Wi-Fi is increasing becoming the first choice for a number of CSPs to connect IoT ecosystems and deliver resiliency connectivity at the hands of end users.
Opportunities Unlimited, with Internet of Things
IoT is perhaps one of the little technological advancement that is touching upon business as well as consumer side of things striking a perfect equilibrium.
At the same time, IoT is now pushing a lot of previously unexplored segments to test the boundaries of imagination and derive innovation for the end user segment. Looking at this from really a big-picture perspective, IoT might actually redefine the global economy itself.
Here are some of the scenarios where IoT play even bigger role in the near future:
- End users will use smart home utilities and automotive applications to check, shield, and control their abode surroundings, to sustain their wellbeing, and to remain connected to home and work when on the go
- Enterprises and small businesses alike will drive new efficiencies into their operations and develop entirely new business models enabled by IoT applications
- IoT will also power e-Governance initiatives and governments will also be able to collect revenue and monitor mission critical smart grid driven transit, public safety, and sanitation systems
- Industrial and commercial manufacturing facilities will improve their efficiency through IoT apps, benefitting users across the globe through lowered prices and better and timely delivery of service
- In the developing world, Internet of Things has the potential to raise standards of living by improving healthcare delivery and hygiene, improvise education, enabling quick adversity management, enhance connectivity and much more.
Wi-Fi: Unlocking the potential with Internet of Things
With years of reliability, Wi-Fi stands out as a preferred access technology that can ideally power seamless connectivity for various IoT ecosystems. Most importantly, Wi-Fi is a mature technology and hence, it already has security, interoperability and authentication processes – hence with Wi-Fi the stakeholders do not need to reinvent much on the connectivity front.
As more and more devices and things get connected, Wi-Fi can become a single source cloud that can become the linking bridge to seamlessly integrate IoT ecosystems on a single platform and enable really low cost, resilient and secure connectivity. This could be a boon for communications service providers who are actually looking for triggering such IoT ecosystems for their subscribers.
Role of MNOs in Internet of Things (IoT)
When it comes to providing IoT driven connectivity for their business users as well as end customers, CSPs are right at the helm of this change as many of these services rely on networks they provide and Wi-Fi is the first choice to connect such network of things.
The following elements could become an integral part of an operator’s broad ‘menu’ of IoT capabilities:
- Connectivity: an operator should provide with connectivity, even if this connectivity is not using its own network. This will involve roaming agreements, fixed connectivity and may even involve taking connectivity from other wireless networks
- Billing and Support: Telecom operators should provide transparent billing and support to their customers and also expand their envelope of offering by enabling their customers to create or modify their service of choice
- Security: With IoT being communicating over cloud, protecting privacy and delivering security becomes prime focus. With Software Defined Networks (SDN) unified policy enforcement over Wi-Fi can be made secure which CSPs can adapt to.
- IoT Application Enablement: This is an active segment today as a number of CSPs are assessing application enablement and some of them already have offerings or have developed platforms internally. Essentially, this fits with the model of strengthening the platform – using the operator’s scale to provide a more complete solution
- Hosting: Not only for supporting internal products, but also for IT services for external clients, CSPs typically have environments suitable for hosting applications, including IoT/M2M applications
- Professional Services: Once an operator has the IoT or M2M offering, there are a number of service driven activities that can be managed around these IoT offerings. However, for CSPs with professional services, typically large operators with a strong enterprise focus (e.g. AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange Business Services), systems integration and even managed services could be included as part of the list of capabilities to be offered to potential IoT customers
- Evolve with Ecosystem: IoT being an emerging segment, CSPs must treat it as an area for growth and help in creating and nurturing the overall ecosystem. Operators should partner with their potential Ecosystem partners and adopt a flexible approach in their go-to-market strategies to address the growing Internet of Things (IoT) opportunity
Wi-Fi leading the IoT revolution
IoT is here now and not a distant future – and hence CSPs must seriously look at having a IoT strategy. Wi-Fi is a preferred technology that can enable the connectivity with IoT universe for operators
With IoT, operators can easily look at giving a whole new meaning to innovation – and start launching concepts such as ‘IoT in a box’, cloud based connectivity solutions, play a critical role in a number of smart city, smart home concepts
No single strategy emerges as the best method for addressing the growing IoT opportunity, and we recommend that operators and their potential partners adopt a flexible approach to their go-to-market strategies along with reusing existing network infrastructure and backend ecosystem platform over Wi-Fi.