It’s not always crystal clear how your particular IoT Journey will look. The steps you take along the way may follow a clear path, or you may take unexpected turns as your business grows and evolves. One thing is clear, though: with the right support and services you’ll get the most from your IoT journey, no matter where it takes you.

When you started your IoT journey you probably had a business case that would best be realized by connecting things. Everyone’s experience is different and sometimes, when devices are first deployed, controlling that deployment is not at the top of the to-do list;  maybe the deployment wasn’t so big that it needed many changes so contacting the help desk for any changes was all you really needed. It was relatively simple, and you were just happy to have coverage.

Now you had more control and started optimizing your costs, and maybe even started to see the possibilities of new revenue streams, due the data you had. Time passed and new requirements made you reconsider your connectivity provider or your choice of connectivity technology, meaning you now had not one or two but three (or even more) legacy deployments.  Your choices now have you on three parallel IoT journeys, but that’s what customers wanted, right? Complexity was increasing, overview and control was hard, not to mention all those issues with data layers. The need to unify and simplify them became apparent and you began using products that helped you do that.

Once your connectivity was unified you continued to grow, again deploying more devices and getting more data and it’s at this point that you saw that you needed to get deeper into business analytics and get better insights into how your devices were performing – after all, big data is a hygiene factor these days. Online GUI is great, but you want those insights and data delivered straight into your own systems. API and streaming are the way forward, and you now need smarter connectivity.

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IoT is not a race – but you do need to stay one step ahead of the competition. Developing the right solution with the right tools at the right time is the key.

Because you were determined to get the most from your IoT deployment you made it smarter and in turn, your business continued to grow. You might have started with 500 devices but now have 50 000 or even 100 000+ and are deploying in places you wouldn’t have dreamed of a few years ago – but which come with their own regulatory challenges. At this point you have a completely different set of requirements from both a global connectivity perspective and a quality perspective. You require low latency and probably attractive pricing beyond the retail offer.

Fragmented technologies, unpredictable connectivity costs, and regulatory difficulties might be just a few of the challenges you’re facing.  And the off-the-shelf connectivity everyone is offering is no longer enough for deployments of this nature. You need something bespoke that is tailored to your needs, but you don’t want to be heavily investing in building up an IoT/Telco company inhouse to deliver all of this – you want it delivered as-a-Service.

You’re always going to need your global SIMs with roaming agreements, you’re still going to need analytics, and you will always need to unify because who knows what technology lies around the corner? Your choices now should future proof your IoT solution, no matter what comes tomorrow .

The good news is that if you’ve made considered choices along the way you have already implemented technologies, products, and services that build upon one another, so as you reach unicorn status it’s really just a matter of adding that final layer that will make everything you’ve built work in harmony, like a well-oiled machine.

Building from the bottom up and adding layers where and when needed will take a lot of pain out of your IoT journey. With Tele2 IoT it doesn’t matter where you are in your journey – our solutions are built like legos stacked on top of one another: they fit with whatever you are building, whether that’s getting your deployment off the ground, unifying an already-complex solution, or giving you the tools you need to manage your global deployment in one consolidated access technology-agnostic platform.

While adoption of IoT technologies in the financial sector isn’t as high as in many other industries, this is understandable, given the conservative nature of the business.  But fintech startups, banks, and other financial institutions who are able to see the possibilities that will be enabled by IoT will become the industry leaders of tomorrow.

Nearly every industry is either already digitalizing or making plans to do so, and today it is no different for the banking industry. As more and more customers expect personalized experiences the need for real-time data and analysis is only increasing. In the banking industry, the use of data helps understand buying habits and financial health while also driving new revenue streams and enabling what many of us are already happily enjoying: an entirely digital banking experience.

In the US alone, 81% of consumers already use mobile banking, a number that is even higher in some other regions, such as the Nordics, where the use of online banking services is from 84-95% of the population.  With these kinds of numbers, it’s clear that it’s not a matter of if banking will embrace digital transformation into their operations, but when and how – and it’s IoT that is helping drive this change.

Enhanced banking experience

No matter if the consumer visits a physical branch or does their banking online, IoT technologies are enabling more convenient and personalized experiences. We’ve long seen ATMs at the mall, in grocery stores, along busy shopping streets, etc., ATMs are actually an early prototype of an IoT device, allowing real time transactions while doing away with the need to stand in line at the bank to access accounts, which results in reduced staffing costs.

In order to further improve customer experience while also reducing costs banks are turning to new IoT technologies. Some banks have started using beacons to send customized offers to customers’ smartphones as soon as they enter the bank, while some ATMs have live stream video that allows customers to speak to someone at the bank if additional support is needed. This more customer-centered approach allows banks to serve the needs of specific demographics. Additionally, the data collected can be used to create customer profiles that can be leveraged to assist in improving the customer’s financial health, as well as building trust and loyalty.

Speaking of data…

Customers are increasingly using smart devices to do their banking, and data collected from mobile banking and apps, for example, allows banks to anticipate customer needs and provide advice and solutions that help customers make sound decisions regarding their finances. This creates customer loyalty and in an ideal world increases business. Additionally, financial institutions are using IoT functionality to forecasts future trends and market conditions through data analytics and predictive modeling, and these valuable insights can be used to create new products and services. Data can also be used by key decision-makers to judge the worthiness of different features on apps and where to invest in development.

Smart collaterals

Imagine a scenario where a retail customer or SME can raise short-term financing by offering collateral, such as machinery, cars, or other assets – but without having to head down to the bank to speak with the lender in person.  Enabled digital identity, along with IoT technology, changes the whole process. The request for financing, along with transfer of asset ownership, can be automation and digital and achieved in a matter of seconds, which allows the bank to issue the loan immediately while monitoring the collateral status in real time without the need to take physical custody of it. How? Through connecting assets.  If the borrower defaults on a payment, that car they used as collateral can be remotely disabled until payment is made. Additionally, the state of the collateral can also be monitored.

Tailored insurance

Insurance companies already offer devices that plug into the on-board diagnostic port of cars and send driving behavior back to the company.  While this might not be advantageous to the more adventurous drivers among us, this data does allow insurance companies to offer discounts based on driver behavior, and also allows for tailor-made insurance based on driving habits, the health of the vehicle’s engine, and general wear and tear on it. Additionally, data can give insurance companies critical insights into the likelihood of accidents in certain areas and price policies accordingly.

A word about security

Banks and other financial institutions are, by their very nature, conservative, which tends to make them later stage adopters of technologies. Like healthcare and other mission-critical solutions, a mis-step can have drastic consequences for both individuals and society. For financial institutions, the early focus was on things like video surveillance in order to reduce fraud and improve both customer service and internal training. But as more and more IoT devices are deployed, it is vital that security measures are put in place. Encryption and vulnerability testing are essential in ensuring the secure transfer of data, while regular updates and firmware on network devices must be installed, and proper password hygiene practiced. You can learn more about security in our IoT & Security White Paper.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can enable your business, please get in touch.

There is no doubt that IoT can help improve customer experience. With the rapid growth of connected devices into nearly every area of life IoT has the capability to give you a whole new set of tools with which to reach your customer, helping ensure that you are not just meeting your customer’s needs but are also responsive to their challenges.  

Real-time information 

In a world that is increasingly dominated by online ordering, customers want to receive their shipments quickly and they want to know where their order is in the delivery process. Providing real-time and accurate information can enhance the customer experience in a number of ways.  

Placing sensors on equipment or the vehicles carrying them enables you to give real-time updates on the status of orders, making the entire transportation process transparent and hassle-free for both you and your customer. Everything can be tracked online and there will be few if any calls to ask where an order is.  

IoT also allows you to manage your inventory levels automatically by placing sensors on products and shelving, which then tells you which items are flying out of the warehouse and which ones are collecting dust. This reduces the cost of maintaining excess inventory while also automating the ordering process. And because these products are IoT-enabled, you can monitor customer usage, while also employing predictive maintenance, as well as alerting them when maintenance is required or if a new order is necessary. This maintains a direct and beneficial relationship with your customers.  

Optimize usage 

All that data your IoT device collects can be invaluable when it comes to optimizing products. You can use your IoT data to monitor a product’s performance, which will allow you to spot potential issues as well as refine and build better products. You can also use data to alert customers about the performance of the product and identify when maintenance is required. Optimizing products through data usage improves performance, which helps your customers and thus strengthens your relationship with them.  

Customer support 

By monitoring connected equipment for problems, you can improve your customer support proactively.  IoT sensors can often predict problems before they surface or before they become unwieldy.  For example, just say a piece of equipment exhibits certain small malfunctions before it completely breaks down. The human eye might not notice these small deviations but if the equipment is connected, these outside the norm behaviors will be picked up by sensors, which in turn will alert the relevant parties, allowing the equipment to be serviced long before the problem leads to any downtime.  

But what if the problem hasn’t been caught and this has led to downtime? In a non-IoT environment, the customer would need to contact support, explain the issue, and then wait for a technician to arrive on site. On the other hand, if the equipment is connected, a technician will automatically be alerted to the breakdown and should be on site before the customer even has a chance to speak with the support desk. Time, money, and effort are all saved because you now have a customer who understands that you respond quickly to their needs.  


The data your IoT solutions collects allows you to personalize many of your interactions with your customers. You can limit the marketing messages a particular customer receives to products or services your data tells you they will be interested in. When multiple IoT devices are connected, such as digital signs or self-service kiosks, personalized data can push real-time campaigns. Essentially, IoT makes digital advertising possible in any retail environment.  

This level of personalization will undoubtedly enhance and enrich customer communications, bridging the gap between expectations and what can be delivered. Data also allows your marketing team to develop relevant, personalized messaging. For example, if a customer isn’t utilizing all aspects of your product, you can highlight the features they aren’t using or maybe even aren’t aware of. And knowing which features are most used and which are underused can help you when developing new features and/or upgrading the product, as well as when developing new products.  

Develop new offerings 

Speaking of developing new products, all that data means you not only can improve existing products, you can pass the data onto your R&D team so that they can fine tune future offerings. Take a company that makes engines with built-in sensors that feed data performance. This data is used not only to improve engine design, but also to detect any flaws in existing models. This allows for optimized performance and reliability and it also means better products can be developed in the future. You can also update configurations virtually, which means your customers always have the latest possible iteration of the product. This lets them know you are working hard to serve them and that their needs are being met.  

At the end of the day, customer experience is at the heart of every business.  If customers are happy, they’re more likely to be repeat customers. If they’re not happy, well, we all know that can spell disaster for our bottom lines. Ensuring a positive, strong customer experience is essential to the longevity of your business. 

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can enable your business, please get in touch.

When managed correctly, IoT can be hugely beneficial to your business model, increasing efficiency, reducing operational costs, improving customer loyalty, and helping you to make better and more informed decisions. But once you’ve extracted efficiencies how can the right business model help you to enhance profit margins? 

Just as IoT is continuing to evolve, so too is how it is being monetized. And while some companies think about monetizing after launching IoT, an increasing number are launching products with a recurring IoT revenue model already in mind. While there is no one-size-fits-all business model for monetizing IoT, there are a number of approaches to consider. The one that will be most advantageous to you will ultimately depend on what you’re offering.

In this article, we will look at three different business models that will help you strategize monetizing your IoT solution:

  • Subscription
  • As-a-service
  • Asset sharing


Using an IoT subscription model allows businesses to generate recurring revenue through their connected devices. In other words, instead of making a one-off sale, you instead offer a subscription to your customer where a fee is charged for periodic usage, such as monthly or annually. Think of it as the Netflix model for things like health monitors or air quality monitors. Instead of selling the movie (or the machine or the product, etc.), you are essentially leasing it to the customer – and by leasing it you control the product and can offer any number of add-on benefits, such as service packages, upgrades, etc.

Subscription models also allow you to develop an active – and pro-active – relationship with your customers, because instead of throwing products out there and seeing what sticks, you are instead gathering valuable data that will help you improve your customer offering, as well as develop features for specific clients or to meet specific market demands ahead of your competitors.

Subscription models are not without their challenges, though. Offering different subscription packages, options, add-ons, and levels, and not managing those correctly and efficiently can damage customer relations. Having processes in place to track various factors such as trial period length, subscription levels and tenure, and invoicing before you put your offer on the market will go a long way towards mitigating any issues.

The good news with this model is that your customer no longer has to pay a large amount of money up front for an expensive piece of equipment that will surely depreciate in value. Instead, you own and maintain the equipment – and when it comes time to replace it, you can refurbish the old model and sell or lease it into a different market.


As-a-service models, also known as ‘outcome-based’, mean delivering the results a customer wants. While somewhat similar to the subscription model in that it replaces products that your customer used to own and operate, the difference is this: with a subscription model your customer commits to a monthly or annual fee, while with an as-a-service model, your customer is invoiced for services based on volume and/or quality.

A good example of this would be a manufacturer of water pumps. Previously, the water pump company’s business model was selling pumps and success was selling a lot of pumps. But customers don’t really want pumps, they want get water from point A to point B, and then they might also want the water to do things for them, such as cool or power something. Providing an IoT-enabled water pump means you are no longer selling the pump and are instead selling the amount of water pumped, so the customer is paying for the outcome, which also allows them to scale up or scale down as needed.

So, instead of just selling a piece of machinery and calling it a day, using the as-a-service model means the point of sale is not the end of your relationship with your customer, it is the beginning, because you will now have responsibility for the performance and maintenance of the product. This brings new requirements for your company, of course, because you now also have the responsibility for the product’s performance throughout its lifecycle, ensuring its uptime and making better use of manpower when it comes to things like maintenance.

The good news, though, is that if you do this successfully, you will have built a strong relationship with the customer and are better aligned with their needs.

Asset sharing

We have already seen a lot of IoT-enabled asset sharing, whether that’s urban mobility e-scooters or car sharing. The idea is that instead of buying an expensive piece of equipment that the customer may not be able to utilize to its maximum capacity, customers instead share assets, thus reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and often helping to contribute to a more sustainable society.

If we look at cars, sharing this asset makes sense when you consider that 90% of the time your car is sitting in your driveway or in a parking garage, unused. If you apply an IoT asset sharing model, instead of the car sitting around unused for much of the day, you are instead selling the extra capacity back into the market, maximizing the utilization of the product across multiple customers. This results in reduced costs and even faster market penetration.

This same model can be applied to drones, bikes, and even power grids, where excess energy from smart commercial buildings can be sold back into the grid.

Of course, this model means changing behaviors, because a lot of people still want their ‘own’ car or their ‘own’ bicycle – but in cities in particular, asset sharing is taking off. Residents don’t want or need the hassle of maintaining a car in an urban environment, where parking is scarce, the value depreciates quickly, and there often isn’t a daily need to drive.

While all three of these models are related, they each have individual strengths, as well as some challenges. All of them can be – and are already being – applied to any number of business models. The key to understanding how IoT business models can be implemented for monetization is to look at your business from a fresh perspective, from a different angle. Where can you tweak your business model so that IoT not only streamlines processes but also generates new and often steady and sustainable revenues for your company, keeping you one step ahead of the competition and your eyes firmly on the swiftly evolving future?

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can enable your business, please get in touch.

Thanks to the Internet of Things, business models are reconfiguring how we do business from the inside out. And IoT is not only stimulating new business models, it is also enhancing and disrupting already established ones.

Plenty of companies will continue to drive significant revenues from traditional business models, but instead of solely relying on the tried-and-true one-off sales model, IoT has opened up a whole new world and there are a number of ways this is having a transformative and advantageous impact on how we do business, particularly when it comes to B2B.


We are quickly reaching the point where nearly anything can be sold as a service. Take an equipment manufacturer: with the old business model this kind of company would use its own money or raise financing to build products which were then sold to customers. The value was solely in that one transaction. When that same company moves to selling services instead of products, everyone wins. Customers avoid big upfront costs and gain the ability to make fast changes in response to shifts in the market while also accessing enhanced service and support. Businesses, on the other hand, gain more consistent and recurring revenue streams.

Asset Sharing

The asset sharing model involves selling extra capacity back into the market, allowing you to ‘sell’ your IoT-enabled product to many customers.  The bonus for the customer is that they pay a reduced price and the bonus for you is that you can grow your market much quicker and in doing so can establish a steady revenue stream.

We’re already seeing asset sharing in our cities and towns with car sharing, city bike schemes, and urban micro-mobility solutions such as e-scooters. People have begun to question whether they need to make a big, expensive purchase, such as a car, when so much of that car’s time is spent doing nothing, just parked in a space.

The Razor & Blade Model

When King Gillette created this model in the early 1900s, he inadvertently created one that is almost perfectly suited to IoT. Sell the base product – in Gillette’s case the razor handle – at an extremely low price or even give it away for free, and then sell the replaceable product (the blades) at high margins. The challenge arises when there is a gap between running out of the replaceable product and ordering new ones.

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This is where IoT enters the picture, because that ordering gap, can be of varying length or even permanent.

Take the humble ink cartridge used in your printer, which needs to be replaced regularly and quickly. With IoT, the printer can sense when ink is running low and automatically reorder it. This is win-win for everyone: the customer never runs out of ink and the company selling the ink knows it has a solid customer on the books. Take it one step further by leasing the printers instead of selling them and you bump up against the subscription model, where you provide services such as predictive maintenance along with the printer and the ink. Everyone has a better handle on revenue coming in and going out and no one is running out of ink or dealing with a broken printer.

Asset Management

When it comes to IoT, asset management is probably the one business model that has seen the most widespread adoption. Why? Because IoT devices dramatically increase supply-chain visibility for relatively low costs. And while IoT has had a particularly big impact on the logistics and shipping industries, connected devices have been used to track everything from livestock to organ transplants.

A simple connected device can identify, track, and monitor an asset pretty much anywhere in the world, and this degree of visibility helps companies forecast, increase efficiencies, and prevent against damage, loss, and theft. Additionally, the data generated can be used to further increase visibility while decreasing inefficiencies.

If we look at a fleet transport company, asset tracking and the data that is generated allows the company to not just optimize routes and staffing, but also receive vital information about usage, maintenance, calibration, security, driver behavior and much, much more.

As IoT’s reach continues to grow (particularly with the advent of 5G) more and more diverse business models will emerge and some will converge. Not every model is suited to every business, so gaining a clear understanding of what you have already and then understand how IoT can help you not just enhance that but transform your company into the future.

It’s only been a decade or so since IoT grew some roots and really started to change the world as we knew it. Early adopters were bold enough to take a calculated risk and go where no company had gone before. In doing so, they were able to not just enhance their business and hopefully open new markets, they were also able to help shape the road ahead, simply by dint of being there first.

The stakes are much higher for early adopters, though, and it means navigating pitfalls along the way. When it comes to IoT those early days pitfalls included fragmented technologies, organizational issues, lack of user experience and knowledge, and security concerns. Those who began their IoT Journey a bit further down the road or who are now about to start their IoT journey can learn a lot from those who braved the wild west early days of IoT, because despite the challenges, IoT has brought an enormous amount of value to companies that have implemented it.

• Identify use cases and business benefits

As the IoT hype wanes, focusing on developing use cases with clear business benefits is more critical than ever. Not only will this identify benefits such as cost savings, revenue generation, happy customers, and optimized processes, it will also help you avoid lame arguments like ‘everyone’s doing it’ while convincing company decision-makers to make IoT a priority

• Implement cross-functional collaboration

It’s important that your IT department partners with other functions and units; this can be an opportunity to assess skill gaps while also spreading new capabilities across your organization. It’s also important to understand that it’s not just the CTO who needs to understand your IoT deployment – C-level involvement across the board is important right from the start.

• Have a data plan

Data is the superpower of IoT but the more IoT you do the more data you’re going to have to handle. In order to keep things under control, understand where data is coming from, what you want from it, and how you’re going to analyze it.

• Make security and privacy a priority

When data is flowing the potential for it to be breached is always there, but you can minimize the risk by taking security seriously and working with your provider to ensure the secure solution that meets your particular needs.

If you would like to learn more about how Tele2 IoT can enable your business, please get in touch.

In the age of the information economy, data is the most critical asset of any enterprise. Between 2015 and 2018 Big Data adoption in enterprises soared from 17% to 59% – but the amount of unstructured data generated can mean companies becoming overwhelmed and not knowing what to do with all of this potentially valuable information.

We say ‘potentially valuable’ because it is only valuable if it is effectively analyzed and then used to support your company’s ambitions.  According to Gartner, fewer than 50% of documented corporate strategies mention data and analytics as fundamental components for delivering enterprise value. But, Gartner also predicts that number will rise to 90% by 2022 , as more and more companies understand the critical role of data as an asset and analytics as a competency in taking faster and more reliable decisions.

Knowing what to do with the data generated by your IoT solution can mean the difference between moving ahead of the competition or falling behind.

Why data matters

Having a clear data and analytics strategy is crucial to getting value from collected data. In order for companies to not get lost in the process – simply collecting data without knowing what to do with it – they first need to ask:

  • What do we want to achieve with data collection?
  • Do we have the resources we need to do this?
  • How will we turn our data into insights?
  • How will we govern the data in our company?

Where to Begin

Understanding and identifying what data you require is the first step in creating a successful IoT deployment. Depending on your needs, once you have that raw data you need to unlock its value, which means managing it, and then combining it with other data, such as product, sales, or customer data, as well as environmental data.

You then need to ask yourself how your business is performing. By analyzing your data, you can quantitively describe one or more functions of your business. The insights you get can be a key input for you, as a company, to improve processes and decisions.  Using data in the decision-making process means you’re taking better and more efficient decisions because your decisions are fact-based – and no longer based on assumptions, instinct, or previous ways of working. You improve your business based on the knowledge you’ve unlocked from your data.

Do More with Your Data

Data isn’t just about fact description, though – it’s also about predictions. Predictive analytics are set to be the most common IoT data analytics use case, reflecting a gradual shift in emphasis from basic data preparation to actionable insights.

According to a recent report from GSMA Intelligence, while the majority of current IoT deployments use IoT data analytics, it is mostly used for data management and discover to perform basic statistical analysis. As companies expand their IoT deployments, though, the potential for data analytics lies in extracting targeted business benefits.

Take a company that needs real time data, such as a healthcare solution. A patient wearing a connected medical bracelet or wristband, for example, will generate data that allows you to start looking for patterns of usage and behavior.  You can then begin making predictions and then take actions based on that data, whether it’s an alarm citing an emergency or addressing health patterns that need to or should be corrected.

Even more interestingly, particularly if we’re talking about healthcare, is data gathered from a wide swathe of people – this can be used for research purposes, which in turn could lead to medical advances.

Another example could be fleet management. Real time monitoring tells you things like location and travel routes, but data will also help you improve your processes, which means not just getting data on things like fuel consumptions, safety, and number of stops, but also to optimize things like employee schedules and vehicle maintenance. When it comes to public transportation companies, data is used to optimize route planning and keep the public informed in real time. From a longer-term perspective, a lot of planning and processes can be improved.

The long-term predictive possibilities are nearly endless: agriculture data allows you to see patterns in weather and climate over a number of years, while a utilities company can look at peak and valley usage.

Deliver Value

The data generated by IoT has enormous potential to transform your business and relying on the knowledge built from data is crucial to being on top of the market’s changing demands. With analytics impacting everything from product development to identification of unmet demand and supply gaps, workflows and process are being transformed. This could be anything from operations management systems to hospitality companies using what they’ve learned about customers behaviors to improve sales and marketing operations.

IoT data has to be looked at in relation to other sources of data, and each data set has to be analyzed not just on its own but as part of the larger picture. By taking a deep look into everything in their current architecture and then defining how data will be integrated into their existing setup, companies can do anything from enhance pricing and user experience to optimized lead generation process, improve customer efficiency, and limit production downtime.

At the end of the day IoT is all about the data and what you can do with it to enhance your business. Having a clear strategy will help you get most from it.

If you would like to learn more about how data and IoT can enable your business, please get in touch.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a buzz word ever since it first entered the Gartner “Hype Cycle” in 2011. By the time it first peaked in 2014 experts were predicting 50 billion connected devices by 2020, with investment topping $20 trillion. People thought everything from lamp posts to clothing to our bodies would be connected.

But whenever there is hype people tend to jump in feet first, instead of first dipping their toe in to test the temperature. It’s no different with IoT – five years on from it first peaking in the Hype Cycle the smoke has cleared and a different picture has emerged. The expected number of connected devices is now closer to 20 billion, with investment likely to be in the billions, rather than trillions.

So, what changed?

The US-based research and advisory firm Gartner first published its annual Hype Cycle in 1995. According to Gartner, new technology goes through five cycles: Innovation Trigger, Peak of Inflated Expectations, Trough of Disillusionment, Slope of Enlightenment, and Plateau of Productivity.

When IoT made its 2011 debut in the Hype Cycle it was part of the Innovation Trigger, before moving into the Peak of Inflated Expectations in 2014. Two years later, Gartner created a separate Hype Cycle for IoT, a move many speculated was based on the idea that while some IoT uses were maturing, others still had a way to go – and a separate hype cycle would better reflect the fragmentation.

When it comes to B2B, it’s clear that IoT is maturing. Streamlined processes, cost savings, possible new revenue streams – these are all proven benefits. Many companies see it as an essential part of their business strategy, but instead of going full steam ahead, their IoT solutions are based on a business case and they often started with a pilot, rather than with full implementation right away.

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Even as companies gain increasing understanding of IoT and how to best utilize it, challenges remain.

Despite IoT being a key strategic priority for companies, far too many solutions either fail or are not wholly successful.  Penetration is high, but utilization is low. Integration challenges, cost and duration of implementation, lack of skills and knowledge, fragmented markets, security questions – these are all reasons why an IoT solution can struggle.

It has taken far longer for companies to develop a firm understanding of the complexity of IoT, and even more importantly, many companies implement a solution without fully understanding or identifying which problem IoT will address, and how they will extract value from their IoT solution.

Additionally, the complexity of implementation varies from industry to industry. It’s easy to see and derive value when you slap a tracker on a car: you know where it is, you know when it needs maintenance, and you can measure everything from fuel consumption to road conditions.

On the other hand, connecting an airport is in many ways even more complex than connecting a city. There are systems for shops, airport tax, services to airline companies, support for the elderly or infirm, parking, WiFi… the list goes on and on. On top of that there are operational requirements, such as knowing where the baggage is.

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If we look at car trackers vs complex airport ecosystems it’s plain to see that there is no one-size-fits-all IoT solution – and the more that this is understood the quicker IoT will mature.

As IoT has evolved the smart IoT provider has learned that focusing on core capabilities, with the understanding that no single company can deliver the entire IoT solution on its own, puts them in a better position to serve their customers. Acting as a partner to customers by helping them identify where IoT will deliver real value and then drawing upon an external partner ecosystem to being together the right ingredients is a big part of IoT being where it is today. IoT providers are now thinking long term; the solution that works today may not be the one the customer needs tomorrow. Both businesses and technology evolve, and IoT is now acting proactively, prepared and ready for what is heading our way.

Another area where IoT has matured is understanding how to manage data and offering solutions to customers.  Realistically, it doesn’t matter how much data is flowing – if you don’t have a clear understanding of what you want from it and then a way to extract value you’re not getting much of anything from your IoT solution.

At the end of the day, IoT hype is well-deserved. It is the kind of technology that can truly transform a business, from an operational standpoint as well as a business development one. As the rate of maturity increases, companies will no longer implement solutions without enough foresight or knowledge because providers will be on hand to guide them through the process and act as a real partner.

For more than 25 years the SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card has been fundamental in the development of mobile telecommunications. First introduced in 1991 SIMs began life about the size of a credit card and were designed to store information used to identify and authenticate users.

SIMs were also used to connect devices to 2G GSM (Global System of Mobile Communications).  SIM advancements have developed in close parallel with advances in cellular network evolution – but not all SIM cards were created equal.

SIMs & IoT

The rise of IoT meant the development of a different kind of SIM. While an IoT SIM acts similarly to a standard SIM, it does a very different job, offering features and functionalities that you won’t find on the SIM you have in your phone.

One main difference is the subscription type; among other things, an IoT subscription allows you to monitor data usage and SIM activity, you can activate and deactivate it, and you are able lock it to a device. You can also share data across all devices and have multi-operator coverage.

Another difference is the robustnes, since SIMs are often found in harsh environmental conditions. While standard SIMs only possess a 25°C to 85°C temperature range, an industrial IoT SIM can operate to temperatures as low as -40°C and as high as 105°C. Industrial IoT SIMs also enjoy a much longer life span than standard SIMS, due to their 17-year data retention capability, increased storage capacity, and as many as 16 million read-write cycles. Industrial IoT SIMs can come in any form factor, depending on the size of the device and the purpose it serves.

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As SIMs continue to evolve, particularly in the IoT arena, the impact on business will be tremendous.

New SIM technology

With everything from smart homes to autonomous cars and Industry 4.0, the integration of IoT technology into both our everyday lives and a company’s core business is inevitable. But first we need to turn on the eSIM, which in many ways holds the key to the connected world.

Unlike with smart phones, where you can connect to WiFi and download an eSIM profile, with IoT there is not a person to connect and download the eSIM locally, so it has to be done remotely.

And there-in lies the beauty of the eSIM: everything can be managed remotely, including switching your connectivity provider, which offers tremendous savings when it comes to logistics and field support. And having a solution based on the global GSMA standard means you ensure both compatibility and future proofing.

Speaking of the future, what is next in store for IoT when it comes to SIM cards? Will they even be with us in five or ten years’ time – or will we have already moved on?

Predicting the future

In the future, we could see all devices connected through secure connections enabled by SIM technology, and it will be possible to change a subscription model remotely for optimal connectivity. eSIMs introduce a truly digital distribution of connectivity which enables new business models to evolve.

We’ll also see a higher degree of embedded SIMs, meaning SIMs that are built-in, where essentially there is no plug-in SIM at all in the connectivity-enabled devices.  These will play a big role in how quickly and seamlessly tracking devices connect.

An embedded SIM is a hardware-centric SIM integrated into the chipset. These SIMs will, among other things, simplify supply chains, enable smaller devices, improve power consumption, reduce costs, and maintain high security levels.

Chipsets, modules, and other hardware components will be produced with eSIMs, with provisioning connectivity profiles, which means the end product can connect directly.  The connectivity provider profile can be remotely changed if and when needed, and we thus move from a linear to a circular SIM lifecycle.

Because an eSIM can store multiple connectivity profiles we will also see more functionality being developed on top of the SIM – so-called SIM applets. SIM applets are small programs inside your SIM dedicated to fulfilling a particular task. This could be implementing the business logic to change a connectivity profile based on rules, such as when one network is not available.  This would provide redundancy for high-availability solutions, such as alarms.  Another business logic could be to automatically change a profile based on which which country the IoT device is trying to connect in.

SIM technology will continue to evolve to support new business logic and value creation – and SIM functionality will remain critical to your IoT solution in securely identifying and authenticating every device.

How can a prospective IoT business differentiate the qualities of one Telecom operator’s connectivity offer from another? Which connectivity provider gives best all-round value when it comes to reliable machine to machine connectivity, IoT expert service, and pricing? Here are top 5 tips that we recommend you to take a look at in order to optimize your data consumption and find the best IoT connectivity partner. 

The communication between things provides significant value for most industries today, such as lowering service costs with remote access, efficient energy utilization through real-time monitoring and creating new revenue streams by selling differentiated services.

We use connected machines to perform variety of different tasks to achieve this business value. It can be using car sensors that enable pay-as-you-drive auto insurance. The ability to monitor equipment remotely or GPS tracking that monitors vehicles/containers location and activity. The use cases are endless.

As connectivity is a crucial part of all M2M/IoT solutions and one of the potential cost drivers, it is important to make sure you choose a Telecom operator that can help you optimize your data consumption. Below you find five tips on what to look for.

1. Understanding the units you’re using

Does the telecom operator understand diversity in M2M/IoT devices? Is the connectivity service provider experienced in dealing with HW units and how they are being used in field? In example, some tracking units uses Binary for data format that uses much less data than ASCII. If you have units that support both then make sure you set the unit to use binary as the data usage will be lower.

2. The configuration of your device

Depending on your needs, you should configure the best optimal setting on your device. Because actual configuration of your device will affect the amount of data being used. For example in GPS tracking devices, the way you want to have the tracking interval/polling and heartbeat are very important. If you want to set tracking time down to seconds, then the device will push a lot of data. Using heartbeat and/or sleep mode (if supported) would save cost.

3. Rounding effect (the handshake cost)

If you configure the device to be always ON (learn how long a data session can be with your telecom operator and CDR creation maximum timeout) instead of starting a data session, sending few bites and closing the session down, will save you up to 15% cost. This means you can lower your costs by aligning according to the rounding policy of your telecom operator for around 5-15% depending on how often you send data.

4. Reliability of the cellular connectivity

Static devices sending non-critical data may only require single network SIMs if the coverage in given location is good (do not forget that coverage also depends on the traffic at base station in a given time). But if the device is roaming/mobile, operates from areas with shaky signal coverage, or involved in sending business critical data, a single network SIM (or a SIM with roaming steering to the “cheapest” network partner) presents risks of connectivity failure. Multi-network SIMs go a long way in addressing this risk by automatically switching connection between networks to retain best signal connectivity. So, ask if you are getting full roaming without network steering and access to the best signal in a given location?

5. Automation to prevent overage charges

Most of the connectivity service providers also have some sort of SIM management platform. Check if your platform can be pro-active and take action if something un-expected happens. Inability to do anything beyond simple email alerts on potential issues is a possible extra cost and/or customer dissatisfaction for you. Real-time ability to de-activate rogue devices or push a notification into existing IT systems via APIs means devices with problems can be fixed before they become customer support calls to you.

All in all; you should look for the competence level of your telecom operator before signing an M2M/IoT deal with them. Most of the network and connectivity issues can often be resolved online or over the phone. But sometimes the M2M devices themselves malfunction or may experience network signaling issues. Check if your Telecom operator has testing skills that can work with you to physically examine the M2M device to ascertain the most likely cause of the problem? Will the service provider be able to help get you back up and running quickly if anything goes wrong?

At Tele2 IoT we have a long history in connectivity. We can help you to optimize your costs and go global. If you would like to learn more about how we can help enable your business, please get in touch. 

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