May 21, 2019 13:32 CET

Tele2 IoT & Sim Services: Helping Our Customers Help Theirs

Getting the most out of your data - 2DISCOVER is an essential diagnostic tool

Connectivity is key to IoT products and services, but in order to deliver the best solution you need the right tools, the right partners, and the right support.  Welcome to the wonderful world of Tele2 IoT and Sim Services, where a mutually beneficial collaboration is making 2DISCOVER an essential diagnostic tool.

For more than a decade, Dutch connectivity re-seller Sim Services has been supplying SIM cards to a global and diverse customer base who have IoT solutions, such as alarm systems and transport track and trace. The connectivity provided allows the company’s customers to remotely connect their devices and either read their status or influence their behavior. But as Sim Services CEO Rutger Stekelenburg explains, anyone can become a re-seller – in order to stand out from the competition you need to add something extra to the mix.

“All of our customer’s data is routed through our own infrastructure, meaning our own network operating center in Amsterdam,” explains Rutger Stekelenburg. “This allows us to closely follow what is going on, so if a device doesn’t behave as wanted or expected we are able to offer very good support to the customer so that together we can quickly diagnose and solve the issue, whether that issue is with the device or the backend system. We also supply secure connections between our infrastructure and the customer’s infrastructure. The security can be based on very basic encryption techniques but can also be a dedicated fixed line.

These two things – security and high quality support – make us stand out from our competitors.

In order to provide the best possible security and support Sim Services became one of the first beta customers for Tele2 IoT’s 2DISCOVER cloud-based service, which allows IoT customers to gain critical insights into their connected devices via Web GUI, API, or Event Streams.

“When we first got 2DISCOVER it was good, but it wasn’t solving some of our in-house problems. As we played around with it though, we noticed it was showing us some signaling data, which let us know that while it could help us with location it could help us more with diagnostics,” says Rutger Stekelenburg. “We gave this feedback to the Tele2 IoT team and they responded by increasing the functionality we want and require.”

One of the latest functionalities Sim Services is testing is Event Streams, which allows them to digest the creation of errors using their own software. This means they don’t have to look for an error – it pops up and tells them it’s there as it occurs. This can also notify customers that their devices are doing something wrong before they even know their devices are doing something wrong, which Stekelenburg describes as ‘really, really cool’.

With the signaling data from 2DISCOVER’s Event Streams we can instantly learn a lot about the behavior of a specific device. Then, if necessary, we can alert customers of non-standard behavior and give them detailed insights if needed

The direct use and trace in 2DISCOVER helps Sim Services’ engineers to instantly identify what is going on and also see where the device is. With the 2DISCOVER API, diagnostics can be run, so if a customer has an issue with a device engineers enter the ICCID into software Sim Services has created itself. In turn, that software checks things like the status of the Cisco Jasper Control Center (2CONTROL) and the information provided by 2DISCOVER – and then all that information from different systems is shown to the engineers in a consolidated way on one screen.

“2DISCOVER is perfect for Sim Services,” explains Tele2 IoT Product Manager Johanna Ternström.  “The event streams are all the data you have in 2DISCOVER, which is basically all the data we have as an operator, so it’s meta-data, the signaling, and everything around the actual payload, such as how the traffic is flowing, if there are any failures, and what is going on in the network”.

“We package all this data, make it look nice, and then push it to the Sim Services application, so basically we set up a pipe from our network and our storage of the data to their own. The benefit here is that Sim Services can get really deep insights into what is going on in their network – and they in turn can offer excellent support to their customers.”

The Sim Services own infrastructure is on an IP level, so when customers need support they can speak with someone who has access to and insights from all the systems. This provides real answers, allowing Sim Services to put their finger exactly on where something needs to be changed or differently configured. This lets them really help their customers along their IoT journey.

“It’s not just our technical abilities that set us apart, though,” says Stekelenburg. “Rather than a standard offering that is meant to be one size fits all, we offer flexible rate plans. We can steer our networks and we know when to swap to a different one. Essentially, we offer creative combinations that meet the expectations and requirements of all customers.”

In the future, the partnership between Tele2 IoT and Sim Services will continue to evolve – and 2DISCOVER will be an essential part of the Sim Services offering by enriching the total diagnostic tooling.

“We’re seeing a growing demand from across Europe,” explains Stekelenburg. “The IoT market is maturing and customers are developing an increased understanding and knowledge of IoT. They start with needing a SIM card but soon enough they need more and more enhanced solutions, which we can offer based on all the platforms and technologies we possess.

2DISCOVER enriches the total diagnostic tooling, so it’s an essential part of our offering.

Rutger Stekenlenburg goes on to say that the benefits of being a 2DISCOVER beta customer goes both ways. Sim Services learns more about what is technically feasible and then, when they play around with it they see other possibilities for helping their customers. They feed this back to Tele2 IoT, which then improves the offering.

“The openness and willingness of the Tele2 IoT team to work with us in this way means they can fulfill needs and deliver awesome solutions and we can help our customers in better ways – and we can both stay one step ahead of the market.”