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

4G in Buses and Coaches

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 20-Jan-2021 16:46:40

Do you serve customers in public or private transportation? Who do they buy their 4G data from? Could they be buying it from you instead?

Like many companies right now, the bus and coach industry are looking to make savings, in addition to creating a safe environment for their drivers and passengers. With the COVID virus transmitted on hard surfaces, as well as being airborne, many companies are looking to reduce cash transactions on-board. New ticketing machines process cashless transactions and contain 4G SIM cards. Many companies also want to include free WiFi as part of their passenger experience, however want to avoid expenses overages.

Jola works with MSPs to help reduce the cost of 4G data SIM estates, in ticketing machines and routers. We work with MSPs to novate SIMs where possible, to avoid the need to swap out SIMs manually. We also provide MSPs and, where required, their end users with access to Mobile Manager, to control their entire data SIM estate in one easy portal.

Jola is an award-winning, channel-only supplier of business communications, specialising in mobile data SIMs. We are a global eSIM MVNO, providing innovative IoT and mobile data solutions to MSPs, ISPs, IT Support companies and Telecommunications Resellers.

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Topics: 4G

4G in Taxis

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 20-Jan-2021 16:32:29

Do you serve taxi companies in public or private transportation? Who do they buy their 4G data from? Could they be buying it from you instead?

Taxis use 4G devices to plan their routes, record their fares and process card payments. They need their 4G to be reliable and to work anywhere.

Jola eSIMs are multi-network roaming SIMs that roam across 450 networks worldwide, including Vodafone, O2, Three and EE in the UK. By proposing Jola eSIMs, partners can provide taxi companies with reliable 4G connectivity anywhere in the UK. Mobile Manager gives MSPs the ability to manage estates of 4G data SIMs in one easy-to-use portal. Jola can provide a content filtering service to prevent drivers removing SIM cards, inserting them into iPads, tablets and phones for personal use in-between pick-ups.

Jola is an award-winning, channel-only supplier of business communications, specialising in mobile data SIMs. We are a global eSIM MVNO, providing innovative IoT and mobile data solutions to MSPs, ISPs, IT Support companies and Telecommunications Resellers.

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Topics: 4G

The 4G Effect

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 15-Jan-2021 14:01:36

Many of our partners are thriving rather than surviving at the moment thanks to 4G. When traditional leased line and broadband business dried up during lockdown, companies turned to 4G to meet the current demand.

We are getting used to working from home and many businesses have invested in dedicated 4G routers for their staff to provide continuous access to fast, reliable internet connectivity.

Students are getting used to learning remotely and the government is investing in both devices and 4G connectivity to help.

M2M/IoT is really taking off, with high demand for smart devices such as digital signage and remote tracking and monitoring.

There has been a digital revolution caused by the pandemic. We have been forced into online shopping, remote working and online classes. We have embraced the technology, upgraded our home broadband and created functional spaces to work, rest and play.

The channel had the flexibility to pivot into new products, the expertise to differentiate and the customer service to pull it off.

Jola

Jola supplies a wide range of 4G data including unlimited data packages, multi-network roaming SIMs and eSIMs, fit for purpose. They are keenly priced and designed to work in routers and M2M devices.

Jola offers a range of affordable, intelligent routers, available to order in Mobile Manager. Devices arrive pre-configured with the Jola App, allowing auto-configuration. The premium models also feature Smart Roaming Technology. 

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Topics: 4G

The Smart Meter Opportunity

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 16-Dec-2020 11:34:27

Country-wide schemes, such as the Government’s Smart Metering initiative, have helped drive demand for smart meters in the energy sector, as it helps businesses to track their energy usage and provide more accurate bills. It also helps utility companies to plan resources and improve customer experience.

Smart metering is the collection of remote data using IoT sensors in real-time, without human intervention.

Smart metering provides the tracking of any measurable parameter available on a machine, in a room or an outdoor environment. It is traditionally used to describe the monitoring of utilities such as water, gas and electricity.

 

Who are MSPs turning to for 4G data for smart meters?

Jola offers the widest range of mobile data SIMs from multiple suppliers, which are easy to order and manage via Mobile Manager.  We offer embedded MFF2 SIMs and low-power SIMs for long-life battery powered devices.

Mobile Manager

Mobile Manager is our online management portal for ordering and managing estates of eSIMs. This white label portal communicates in real-time with 4G networks and can be used by both resellers and their end users. Mobile Manager handles SIM activations, ceases, suspensions, reports, alerts and bolt-ons.

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Topics: 4G, IoT

What is the LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area) opportunity?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 16-Dec-2020 11:23:25

MSPs specialising in transport, logistics, utilities and the public sector already have strong relationships with well-known brands in these sectors. They could also be meeting the LPWAN requirements for metering, tracking and monitoring by working with the right wholesale partner.

LPWAN enables IoT connections for remote battery-powered devices such as smart meters, containers in logistics, or critical infrastructure like fire hydrants in cities. IoT Analytics report that in 2020 this market reached 423 million IoT connections and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 43% to reach 2.5 billion IoT connections by 2025.

NB-IoT is a low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology. Narrowband Internet of Things is one of the new breeds of Low Power Wide Area Network (LP-WAN) standards.

It has been developed for devices which have a long battery life. It provides long range communication, with the ability to connect a wide range of assets.

Gas and electric companies are installing hundreds of thousands of smart meters, which require a low power SIM on a long-term contract. Usage is minimal, costs are a few pence per SIM, however the contract length is typically 5 years plus.

To win the business MSPs need to be able to control vast numbers of cost-effective data SIMs over long periods of time.

Jola

Jola is an award-winning, channel-only supplier of business communications, specialising in mobile data SIMs. We are a global eSIM MVNO, providing innovative IoT and mobile data solutions to MSPs, ISPs, IT Support companies and Telecommunications Resellers.

Mobile Manager is our online management portal for ordering and managing estates of mobile data-only SIMs, as well as Voice and Data SIMs. This white label portal communicates in real-time with multiple 4G networks and can be used by both resellers and their end users. Mobile Manager handles SIM activations, ceases, suspensions, reports, alerts and bolt-ons.

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Topics: LPWAN

LPWAN - what’s the opportunity for the channel?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 09-Dec-2020 13:21:49

LPWAN opportunities are hidden mobile data SIM gems nestled in the customer bases of resellers and MSPs. End-users are going to the networks directly for LPWANs instead of going to their trusted MSP but are disappointed by the lack of control MNOs give them over their SIM estates. These deals can be to supply thousands of devices on long-term contracts and are low-hanging fruit for MSPs with existing relationships and control panels.

Who uses this technology?

It is being used in street lighting, smart bins, smart parking and traffic monitoring, as well as parking sensors. Their devices don’t need much power and have a long battery life. The SIMs required for these smart solutions are low-cost, long-life SIM cards, which can be activated and controlled within a central portal.

This technology is also being used in the consumer space with smart metering. Gas and electric companies are installing hundreds of thousands of smart meters, which require a low power SIM on a long-term contract. Usage is minimal, costs are a few pence per SIM, however the contract length is typically 5 years plus.

Warehouses are adopting smart technologies and there are opportunities for resellers to supply LPWANs in warehouse monitoring, within safety devices such as cameras in lifts used by lone workers washing windows at height and in cranes.

In agriculture, LPWANs SIMs are being used in monitoring devices for animals, crops and soil. They need a SIM card with the same lifespan as their device.

What are LPWANs? 

LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Network. LPWANs are used to deliver IoT connectivity at low cost, over wide geographic areas, often where there is no local power source, so battery life becomes key. LPWAN deployments are often simple and cost-effective, due to device design and long battery life. With efficient power consumption and battery lifetime of up to 10 years, management costs are low.  It also delivers the added benefit of deep penetration into areas such as basements and underground car parks. The protocols used in LPWANs provide much better wireless penetration so it is possible to get a signal where a standard 3G or 4G SIM wouldn’t be able to.

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Topics: LPWAN

Making Connections

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 09-Dec-2020 13:11:49

Generating leads and winning new business is a challenge, made harder by current market conditions and strong competition. There is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy, but there are things you can try, to develop a strategy that works for you.

The Dream Scenario

A unique proposition which meets a growing need, better than the competition, that cannot easily be copied and can be easily promoted. The reality is that in most growing markets there are global brands competing for business, who have bigger advertising budgets, larger development teams and better pricing. Your job is not to compete head-to-head, but to find your own niche, targeting business not well served by your competition. The companies who require a personal service and who want to build long-lasting business relationships. To do this you need a strong proposition, pricing, service wrap and an excellent team.

Continuous Process

The first thing to consider is a continuous strategy. Successful lead generation campaigns cannot be achieved overnight. It takes hard work, dedication and conviction. New business should not be something you think about when times are hard and ditch for the next new idea.

Knowing your audience

This is the key to success. It is easy to buy a database and throw out a few campaigns, easy to pick up the phone and cold call a few new prospects or send bulk connection requests on LinkedIn. The challenge is understanding who you are talking to, their needs and your ability to meet them. By spending time, not just cleaning your database, but researching your contacts, you can tailor your approach. By ‘knowing’ instead of ‘guessing’ what their current issues are (and they are different at different times and levels), you will be more successful crafting your messaging and planning a strategic campaign to highlight your own unique solutions.

Working together

By joining up your sales and marketing strategies and getting your teams to work together, you will be much more successful. Marketing conduct desk research to understand prospect profiles, but sales actually talk to the audience and have a better understanding of customer needs. By feeding information back into the business you may be able to change your approach. If you share a CRM system with other teams and implement a strict process on documenting market intelligence in the system, each department has the information they need to craft competitive propositions and compelling campaigns.

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Unlimited Mobile Broadband for Homeworkers

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 02-Dec-2020 11:33:51

Unlimited data SIM cards have been available for a while. They are great for homeworkers, who don’t want to worry about how much data they are consuming each month. MSPs prefer to buy wholesale packages fit for purpose, they can control.

Jola

Jola supplies unlimited data packages, fit for purpose on 30-day contracts that will work on 5G, where available. They are keenly priced and designed to work in routers and M2M devices.

Jola offers a range of affordable, intelligent routers, available to order in Mobile Manager. Devices arrive pre-configured with the Jola App, allowing auto-configuration. The premium models also feature Smart Roaming Technology.

Suitable for mobile broadband and large scale IoT roll outs, our routers run a unique operating system allowing Apps to be installed alongside the core routing software. There is a range of off-the-shelf Apps that add additional capabilities. A Software Development Kit is available and open to enable third-parties to develop their own applications. To help accelerate IoT projects, Jola can develop Apps on a consultancy basis.

In Demand

Demand for unlimited data SIMs is high at the moment, as is demand for 4G routers. Jola resellers enjoy an uplift in revenue and margin.

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Topics: 4G, JolaMobile, mobile broadband

4G for Back-up

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 02-Dec-2020 11:26:59

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.

 

Customers

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 time consuming 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.

MSPs

Managed Network Providers are experienced at designing, rolling out and managing solutions however many have struggled with managing multiple in-country 4G 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, 4G Back-up

Why are there so few female MDs in the channel?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 25-Nov-2020 13:43:15

As a Director of a channel-only business, I am often asked why there are so few females in senior positions in our sector. It is a hot topic and something I have wondered about many times.

Some say the problem starts at school with fewer females being encouraged to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. According to recent UCAS data provided by HESA, 35% of STEM students in higher education are women and only 15% are studying computer sciences.

Others say recruitment is a problem, that not enough females are applying for advertised roles in our sector. 2019 Workforce statistics state that there are now over one million women in STEM in the UK, however the proportion of tech roles filled by women has flatlined at 16% since 2009.

So, what is going wrong? Why are we attracting fewer women than other sectors? Is it our recruitment policies? Or is it something else entirely?

Is there a myth surrounding our industry that you have to be a techie to be involved in it? Or are other sectors more appealing to women?

Maybe we should also look at promoting the opportunities available in our sector to students, apprentices, graduates and professionals in other sectors? Could we do more to mentor and promote those we attract? By working closely with CEOs/MDs/CFOs/CTOs/CMOs could we develop a more diverse management team?

The channel is made up of technical and sales professionals growing their own businesses. Many developed their careers at large telcos, others have only ever worked for themselves.

Looking at the marital status of individuals running organisations across all sectors, many are married with families. The majority have someone at home they can rely on to support them.

Maybe we should be looking at work/life balance and shared responsibilities at home to achieve equality at work. Maybe this shift would help avoid burnout and improve decision making, resulting in more profitable businesses and happier home lives across all sectors?

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Topics: Business

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