March 25, 2020 Mirza Kotorcic Go to Market Manager , Tele2 IoT

Comparison: IoT Connectivity vs. Retail Shop Connectivity

What is the right choice for you?

When talking to customers we get a lot of questions around connectivity, with one of the basic ones being, “Why can’t I just go down to my local retail shop, buy a bunch of SIMs, and plug them into my devices? It’s cheaper compared to what you’re offering!”

It’s a good question and a natural one if you’re new to the IoT game. This question rarely comes from customers that have deployed thousands of devices and maybe have a business model that requires control and overview. So, let’s clarify.

Why can’t I just buy connectivity from the local retail store, like I would do for my phone?

The simple answer is that you can buy connectivity just like you would for your phone and pop the SIMs into your devices. It’s more a matter of what you’re trying to do with your devices, how many you want to connect, the control you want to exert and how your business will develop.

If you have a very simple business model and you can easily access the devices, well then there are instances where retail shop connectivity could make sense. It is also a questions of volume: how many devices do you want to deploy? If you have low amounts of devices that will stay the same over time, a prepaid MBB (Mobile Broadband) might be the right solution for you.

On the other hand, with a professional IoT connectivity solution, you have a connectivity platform where you have life-cycle management.  You have control of when to activate and de-activate connectivity, you can automate your business, and it gives you control over your costs. Furthermore, with a professional IoT connectivity solution, you will have the help of a dedicated IoT support, instead of a traditional telco helpdesk, something that might be critical as your solution grows and becomes more complicated.

What role will roaming play in your solution?

Then we have the question of networks and roaming. If you don’t expect movement of your devices and you’re happy with the coverage the local operator provides in those instances, that might also support a retail shop connectivity case.

On the other hand, with a professional IoT connectivity business partner you have commercial options to upgrade and expand your coverage as well as to shift to different rate plans dynamically according to your data needs – all through self-service with an IoT connectivity platform.

It’s a question of balancing your current and future needs with the temptation of short-term savings.

At the heart of all this isn’t the issue of where you bought your connectivity, it’s what is the purpose of your connectivity. The solutions we offer from Tele2 IoT include but are not limited to:

  • Connectivity management
  • Business capabilities
  • Analytics & reports
  • Data usage rules & Roaming
  • Security
  • Automation & integration
  • IoT support

You might not think you need any of the above and if that’s the case you need to ask yourself the most important question…

Why are you connecting your devices?

The whole point of IoT is to gain insights and visibility into your business so that you can achieve any number of goals, from improving productivity to streamlining processes to saving time and money. In order to do all of that and more, you need to not just connect your devices, but to also manage and control them.

That means that IoT connectivity gives you the ability for business rules capabilities, such as setting limits on things like data usage. You can set communication plans (which networks is my device allowed to connect to?), change rate plans (5MB or 500MB), and put limits on the number of SMS allowed. If someone tampers with the device and puts the SIM in something else, you can track that SIM and shut it down – or better yet, set a IMEI whitelist so it only works with your device.  You have analytics and reports that give you the deep insights you need to effectively use IoT to improve and grow your business. And if you need support you have a dedicated IoT operations team at your fingertips – imagine trying to call your cell phone operator’s support team and trying to get help with an IoT problem – not going to happen!

If a device isn’t working, you’re going to know about it. You’ll have a platform that in addition to providing valuable analytics, allows you to troubleshoot when something goes wrong.

With IoT connectivity from Tele2 IoT, you get a solution that delivers critical features to those who require them.

So, that’s connectivity. What about security?

The simplest answer is that IoT connectivity has a setup for delivering security from start.

Traditional retail connectivity doesn’t usually offer built in security solutions. Most often you have to ensure security through antiviruses, operating system security, and 3rd party VPNs.  With a professional IoT connectivity you have a range of access service options, from private APNs to VPN setup and even interconnect fixed lines, ensuring your data is secure. You also get the enhanced security that comes with two-factor authentication, user audit trail, IP authentication, and other measures, keeping you and your customers secure.

You also need to think about the future: as time goes on you connect more things, you buy more things, you throw old things away – who is managing subscriptions that you bought one, two, three years ago?

Your IoT deployment will become more complex but you’ll have a solution that doesn’t meet your new requirements, if it ever did. And we all know how lock-in effects can hinder growth.

In the end, our customers that have chosen the path of advanced IoT connectivity and have used the suite of services and features available have not looked back towards a simpler setup. If you want to learn more about what they actually use, feel free to have a look at our case studies.

To summarize, yes there are instances and cases where buying retail connectivity would work. IoT isn’t black and white, there are a lot of grey areas. I feel that it’s important that customers are well informed to take the decisions they need to be truly successful.


The Guest Blogger
Mirza Kotorcic
mirza.kotorcic@tele2.com
Go to Market Manager
Tele2 IoT