Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Cherie Howlett

Cherie has over 15 years’ experience in IT marketing and was promoted to Head of Marketing for MDNX post purchase of Griffin. She was Marketing Manager for 5 years and Head of Marketing for Griffin for 2 years setting up a marketing department and strategy for connectivity, data networks and cloud-hosted solutions. During her time at Griffin, the company won 7 Channel ISP of the year awards, 5 Sunday Times Tech Track 100 awards, 2 Deloitte Fast 500 EMEA awards, 1 Deloitte Fast 50 award and 1 Channel Expo award. Cherie built brand awareness in the channel from 0% to 95% using an integrated strategy consisting of online, print, electronic and face to face marketing. Cherie had previously spent 2 years in a Marketing Manager’s role at Pipemedia before it sold to Business Serve in 2006. At Pipemedia she built a VoIP brand called PipeCall using a combination of PR, direct marketing and an online ordering and provisioning portal with plug and play hardware and electronic point of sale units. Cherie’s early career was in International Marketing working for software house AceCad Software and IBM in the European sales division.

Recent Posts

Smart transport networks

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 07-Nov-2018 12:40:45

According to a recent report by Transport Focus, passengers listed value for money, punctuality, Wi-Fi connectivity and safety, as their main priorities. These factors are driving a rise in demand for smart transport networks around the world, creating 4G data opportunities the channel is well-placed to provide.

Smart transport networks offer significant benefits to passengers, operators and local authorities, enabling urban services to become more efficient, effective and safer. Cities from London to Singapore are already building them. Madrid is leading the way, with a central control room that receives and integrates data from 40 urban control rooms. They cover over 100 bus routes, 300 railway lines and 200,000 cameras, delivering end-to-end surveillance and security solutions.

There are many experienced providers offering end-to-end solutions to the transport industry, involving 4G routers and cameras. Trams, buses and trains are tracked, and arrival times accurately estimated and advertised, factoring in potential delays. These devices need 4G data SIMs, often with a fixed IP. On average there are seven SIMs per bus, for logging into the cameras to download relevant footage, Wi-Fi, secure card payments, passenger trackers, applications tracking hours worked, petrol levels and miles travelled.

Challenges faced by solutions providers

Service providers face a few challenges with 4G. Some networks are stronger than others in specific locations requiring relationships with multiple network providers. Secondly, they have no way of tracking data usage and if devices use more than their allocated monthly allowance, they get high data overage charges. Thirdly, they need a secure channel for transmitting financial data.

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Topics: Mobile, Mobile SIMs

3 mistakes to avoid when growing your business

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 31-Oct-2018 11:30:59

Running before you can walk

It is tempting to rent the plush office in the premier location and to bring on expensive resources too early, but it is a risk.

Entrepreneurs typically have boundless energy and big ideas for the future, however it is useful to for them to be supported by people that can not only help to make their ideas a reality but can also map the journey.

Choosing the wrong team

Successful teams typically have a diverse mix of skills and experience with a shared vision and ethos. You can’t do it all yourself when growing a business, it is not sustainable. Do what you love to do and do best and include others in the management and ownership of the business.

Hire people you know and trust, who share your work ethic and company culture, who are driven and gifted in their chosen fields. Good staff are the backbone of any business and reflect your reputation and goodwill.

Choosing the wrong customers

It is exciting to win new business, however taking time out to consider whether you should accept the new business is key. Targeting financially stable companies who you can build a long-term relationship is preferable and balance your base to ensure that if you lose your biggest customer, you can still trade.

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Topics: Jola Cloud Solutions Ltd

Top tips for channel partners launching new products

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 31-Oct-2018 11:20:40

Over the last twelve months Jola has launched on average, one new product a month. This takes a lot of detailed planning to ensure we have the right product, at the right price, which meets the specific needs of our partners and their customers. Once we have launched a new product, we help our partners launch to their customers and measure success against clearly defined targets. We have developed some top tips to help partners with their own launch process as follows.

Step 1 – Know your audience

It is tempting to think that every customer will benefit from your latest new product, but this is rarely the case. We encourage partners to think about problems faced by existing customers, which the new product could solve. We then get more granular in defining the problem and the characteristics of the customers that could benefit. From this we build a list of top prospects.

Step 2 – Plan your communication

Using the information gathered in step one, we encourage partners to define the problem, then simply explain the solution, outlining what the product is, what it does and how it solves the problem. We provide a lot of the basic information, but it is important to tailor the content with specific concerns and relatable solutions. We advise partners to research the competition to understand how their solution is different and promote the differences over and above what is already available. This information gets written up on web sites and incorporated into campaign materials.

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Topics: marketing

Overcoming challenges supplying SIMs to large corporates

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 31-Oct-2018 11:13:51

The challenges

Resellers providing SIM cards to large corporates often contract with more than one supplier. Their biggest challenges are lack of automation, lack of control and billing issues. Orders need to be placed and chased via email. Resellers have no way of knowing when SIMs go live and data used, until they receive their bill, which can often be late. This results in customers complaining about high data overage charges.

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Topics: 4G, Mobile SIMs

4G Data Opportunities – 4G Sensors

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 31-Oct-2018 11:06:00

The Opportunity

With IHS forecasting 58 billion connectable devices by 2022, demand for 4G data is on the rise. Enabling data analysis from a wide range of devices from trains, to agricultural machinery, the 4G sensor market has grown significantly within a short amount of time. Many resellers do not see how they can benefit from this opportunity but know that they service industries with a current requirement. Partnering with Jola, resellers are winning more and more 4G data opportunities and benefitting from a profitable recurring revenue stream.

Physical Space Analytics

4G sensors at exhibitions offer key insights into how visitors interact at events and within retail spaces. 4G sensors gather metrics about users visiting and their engagement. Sensors track how many visitors attended, how long they stayed, how they moved around the space and engagement and conversion rates. Clients can view their data in real-time to view a live graph of visitors over time, length of stay and a heat map to show visitor flow and distribution within the space.

Primary detection is via WiFi sensors powered by 4G. These pick up 3G and 4G signals from all smartphones, laptops and tablets carried by visitors. Signals contain a unique identifier, which is used to build a picture of visitor data per event. Data is encrypted and anonymous, therefore is only used for monitoring purposes.

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Topics: 4G, Mobile, Mobile SIMs

4G Data Opportunities in Retail

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 17-Oct-2018 10:02:48

The opportunity

According to McKinsey, revenues from mobile data are set to increase dramatically in the next 7 years. Factors driving growth are the availability, speed and reliability of 4G and the trend of embedding data SIM cards into devices such as routers for 4G back-up.

Retailers like supermarkets, department stores, restaurant chains and petrol stations are creating private networks to carry financial transactions over IP, from multiple POS systems, often favouring SD-WAN networks with 4G back-up. Depending on their size and the complexity of their requirement, they typically choose a trusted supplier, with experience rolling out and managing solutions in their sector.

The customer’s problem

They are not sure which network is best in each location, when the 4G back-up will be used and how much data they will use. Sending engineers to site to establish the strongest signal is a timely and expensive exercise. In addition, they regularly receive high data overage bills, which can be as much as tens of thousands of pounds a month.

The solution provider’s problem

Managed Network Providers are experienced at designing, rolling out and managing solutions, however have struggled with the 4G element, managing multiple in-country suppliers, with multiple manual ordering processes and a lack of visibility across the SIM estate. They have no direct control over SIM assets and cannot aggregate data across countries.

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Topics: 4G, Mobile, Mobile SIMs

4G Data Opportunities – door entry systems

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 17-Oct-2018 09:43:56

The opportunity

Revenues from mobile data are set to increase dramatically over the next few years. This has certainly been Jola’s experience. We have partners benefiting from the availability, speed and reliability of 4G back-up solutions for fixed line services installed in a range of devices including door entry systems and gates.

Door entry systems are popular in gyms, hotels, laboratories, warehouses, factories and large corporates. Some simply check validity of membership/room cards and grant access, others include more complex biometric systems and video.

The customer’s problem

4G data SIM cards on a single network can fail if there is an issue with, or congestion on, the local mast. It costs money to send out an engineer to look at the problem and swap the SIM card to another network.

The solution provider’s problem

The solution provider needs to establish the mobile network with the best signal in each location. They then need to contract with multiple providers to be able to provide the strongest mobile signal in each location. They have no visibility or control over the whole SIM estate and regularly receive high data overage charges, when single sites use up more data than anticipated.

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Topics: 4G, Mobile, Mobile SIMs

Mobile solutions for lone workers

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 08-Oct-2018 15:13:32

There are over £6 million lone workers in the UK. Lone workers are employees who conduct tasks without the supervision of colleagues. Employers usually provide lone workers with a basic mobile phone to make calls. Typically, they bought from the networks, but with the availability of low-cost phones and the flexibility of 30-day SIM-only contracts, employers have started shopping around.

Channel partners are providing SIM cards to employers with lone workers such as mobile vets, healthcare workers, postal staff, social workers, drivers, estate agents, construction workers and agricultural workers.

The opportunity

Lone workers typically need a cost-effective voice and data SIM, they can use in an emergency. Employers want the best deal they can find.

The solution

For this type of solution, many channel partners use Jola, as they have very cost-effective SIM packages on 30 day contracts.

The next opportunity

To stay safe, lone workers are increasingly equipped with GPS location devices, with alert buttons and/or smartphone apps, enabling them to raise an alarm if they run into trouble. Some lone workers are being provided with body cameras, to capture conflicts, similar to dash camera technology.

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Topics: 4G, Mobile SIMs

What is 5G?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 08-Oct-2018 14:57:26

5G is Fifth Generation Mobile Networks. It is set to be much faster than 4G and could open up new uses for mobile data, creating an exciting new opportunity for the channel. In the UK, 5G is due to start rolling out in 2020, however we may not see widespread 5G until 2022.

What benefits will it bring?

Speed

5G is set to be as much as 100 times faster than 4G. We can expect to see speeds in excess of 1Gb/s with many estimating speeds of 10Gb/s.

Lower Latency

With lower latency, users will see little or no delay, which creates opportunities in industries, such as the car industry, who require no latency to connect their devices. Because it is set to be such a revolutionary technology, it is likely to be used to create services and applications we haven’t yet imagined, capturing the interest of the channel.

Greater capacity

With greater capacity, many high-demand applications can be managed simultaneously. This should provide a fast, stable connection in any device, in any location. 5G will support a wide range of services from HD video streaming, to monitoring devices in every industry.

Efficient, money saver

In the channel we hear a lot of noise about IoT and struggle to see how we will ever make money from smart fridges and electric autonomous vehicles yet are seeing mobile data opportunities for 4G. Blue light services are rolling out SIMs in push-to-talk radios. Couriers are using data SIMs in PDAs. Hauliers are using SIMs in CCTV cameras and security and tracking devices. Companies in both the public and the private sector are using data SIMs in CCTV cameras. Supermarkets are using 4G as a back-up solution and to power POS kiosks and digital bill boards etc.

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Topics: 5G, JolaMobile, Mobile SIMs

The benefits of a single supplier

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 03-Oct-2018 16:28:12

It is five times easier to sell to existing customers than it is to attract new business, so it makes sense for resellers to sell their customers as many complimentary products as they can. This also stops competitors gaining a foothold in their customer base.

One person to call

For customers, having a single-source supplier makes sense, as they only have one person to call to report an issue. Often when resellers only manage the hosted voice solution and not the underlying internet connectivity, it is more difficult to analyse the fault and fix it quickly. Similarly, you can only guarantee an improved SLA if you buy the primary circuit and 4G back-up from the same supplier. Customers often feel fobbed-off by suppliers when they ring to report a fault with their telephony, only to be told to re-dial their internet supplier, as there is no known fault their end.

Lower churn

As a business if you feel valued and rewarded for buying several products from one single supplier, you are less likely to churn away, especially if you have a good deal and experience great service.

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Topics: Jola Cloud Solutions Ltd, jola

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