IoT Value & LTE-M: Giving Customers What They Need

In the three years since it became a Tele2 IoT reseller, IoT Value is not only serving the Norwegian market, but also several European markets. What the company brings to the table is guidance: IoT Value lets its customers be experts in their fields, whether that’s computer science, electronics, or even connected livestock, while offering the IoT expertise that they need.

Three years ago, IoT Value CEO Jo Sundheim was a customer of Tele2 IoT, working with GPS tracking services in Norway. During this time, he attended IoT Talks in Stockholm, where he got very excited about the customers and the possibilities around IoT. This led to him asking a Tele2 IoT manager if there was an opportunity to become a reseller for Tele2 IoT. The answer was yes, a contract was signed, and the rest is history.

“I would say it’s been a mutually beneficial relationship with Tele2 IoT,” says Jo Sundheim, CEO IoT Value. “We sell Tele2 IoT’s offering and products and while we started with the Norwegian markets, we’ve moved into other European markets, such as Italy and the Netherlands, with the help of Tele2 IoT, which passes on leads to smaller customers and startups who have limited needs when it comes to SIM cards and who probably need a lot of assistance in their first six to twelve months.”

Focus on the customer

While a lot of IoT Value’s customers are experts in their own fields, they need IoT guidance when it comes to things like which chip set to choose, or things around batteries, antennaes, or protocol. Sundheim says customer service is at the core of IoT Value’s business model, allowing them to act as a guide in helping customers get the best from their IoT solution and also handle various challenges that arise.

“It’s important for customers to understand how they’re going to communicate with their device,” says Sundheim. “They might be downloading too much data they don’t need too often, or maybe they have a battery capacity that doesn’t make sense when it comes to getting a product to the market – these are some of the things we help our customers with. We ask them how they can make their device smarter, how they can lower their data – we ask them the questions that make things easier for them.”

Sundheims says Norway has only two major operators and neither one has 100% coverage, particularly when talking about applications that are underground or otherwise in remote or hard to reach areas. And if you don’t have the coverage you need your device is not going to work all the time. And what then often happens is companies end up having two batches of SIMs, which means they have to switch them all the time and manage two different platforms and in the end it’s a chaotic mess.

“Tele2 IoT’s roaming gives us a huge advantage over the competition,” explains Sundheim. “We talk to our customers and help them solve their challenges and this is where Cisco IoT Control Center is extremely helpful, because we can streamline our customers’ SIM management on it and see where there is a problem, such as when a device is going crazy, while also taking advantage of Tele2 IoT’s excellent tech support, which is super-fast.

When we have a challenge, we contact Tele2 IoT support and normally get an answer in around ten minutes. This helps us be light on our feet and faster ourselves, which in turn means we can serve our customers better

IoT Value also takes care of their customers’ SIM management as a service.  Sundheim says Cisco IoT Control Center is a real differentiator in the marketplace, particularly the flexibility it offers, which includes the ability to see historical behavior, as well as checking for any odd behavior and addressing it quickly.

Roaming is also important, because at least 80% of IoT Value’s customers have devices in many different areas, both urban and rural, and need the ‘best available network’ option.

“Some customers might be able to get by with a local solution when first implement IoT, but when they start to scale they very quickly realize they need connectivity that matches all their needs.”

Choosing the right connectivity

IoT Value also works to ensure their customers have the right connectivity to their requirements. Many customers today are looking at Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) options, such as LTE-M or NB-IoT, which both offer a number of features customers require. Some IoT Value customers, such as breakout livestock track and trace startup Nofence, started out using 2  and are moving to a double setup: LTE-M with 2G fallback. But now that 2G is being sunsetted in many markets, they need guidance in order to address to what is happening in different countries. The commercial implementation of roaming LTE-M is going to be extremely critical for a lot of customer’s solutions.

“One of Tele2 IoT’s competitors recommended that Nofence go with NB-IoT. We advised them not to, and instead suggested they started out using 2G ” says Sundheim. “Choosing the right connectivity from the start is part of Nofence’s success story.  NB-IoT was late in being commercially viable and the prices were crazy. Way too much data was being consumed and no one really asked the customer what they actually needed and wanted to do. NB-IoT was a cool new technology but it may not have been the right technology for a company’s needs – and many smaller companies paid dearly for the lack of customer care.”

After Nofence did a thorough market research among IOT Values’ competitors all over Europe, Jo Sundheim received a call from Nofence, saying they had decided to go forward with the cooperation and got the confirmation of approximately 29,000 new SIM cards.  Sundheim says the deciding factor was trust.

“The customer said they trusted us and Tele2 IoT to give them the correct advice, even if that was advice that was not exactly what they wanted to hear.  In the IOT market,  bad advice can be extremely costly if you make the wrong decision if you’re not receiving the right guidance from your partners.”

LTE-M is the technology customers are clamoring for because it delivers on what they need: power and cost efficiency, strong security, and a global reach, while also enabling better power and bandwidth efficiency over a larger area with less infrastructure and hardware required.

Jo Sundheim CEO IoT Value

“IoT is maturing, technology is evolving, and there have been a lot of outside factors driving the industry, including Covid,” says Sundheim. “IoT isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. It’s about the challenges you face and understanding how IoT can help you address them. As IoT continues to evolve and becomes even more integral to a company’s business model, IoT-specific technology like LTE-M will enable and make even more viable various products or services. In partnership with Tele2 IoT, we plan on being part of this journey.”