IoT/M2M is the hottest growth sector in ICT. c7bn devices will be 20bn-30bn globally by 2030.
How can the Channel ride the IoT wave, without committing to a high risk ‘build it and they will come’ strategy?
Common to every IoT project is M2M – connectivity. This is the biggest opportunity, but presently the domain of MNOs offering single network SIMs and a BYOD solution.
Intelligent Connectivity breaks this dominance.
In an IoT project the endpoints need sensors, managed by a gateway, attached to a 4G/5G router. Significant processing power is also required to collect data and allow remote management. Every deployment is different so there must be the capability to write custom apps onto these devices.
eSIM releases the MNOs stranglehold on the M2M market. Analysts predict there will be more than 2bn eSIMs deployed in IoT projects within 5 years.
Since Jola launched their combined IoT Router/PC/Gateway in March 2020 we have had thousands of orders. MSPs are shipping our devices worldwide, pre-loaded with a 450-network eSIM that downloads a config as soon as it’s plugged in.
We recently rolled out 600 units in weeks for a faultless digital signage project.
IoT/M2M is the hottest growth sector in ICT. c7bn devices will be 20bn-30bn globally by 2030.
The Internet of Things is an innovative automation and data analytics operating system that captures networking, sensing nodes, big data, and artificial intelligence, to deliver complete orders for service. IoT systems have applications across industries through their unique flexibility and ability to be suitable in any environment. They enhance data collection, automation, operations, and much more through smart devices and powerful enabling technology. The IoT key features are the use of Artificial Intelligence, Connectivity, Active Engagement, and Small Devices. The core benefits offered are improved security, flexibility and compliance. The potential is not just allowing multiple devices simultaneously but leveraging the enormous volumes of actionable data that can automate different business processes.
MSPs servicing the logistics industry are providing IoT solutions, which include devices containing 4G SIMs, to improve efficiency and safety records in the industry as a whole.
Monitoring devices are used to provide management teams with real-time data on fuel consumption and regulatory compliance. Critical information is displayed in dashboards for management teams to monitor in real-time and analyse KPIs.
Devices track the exact location of a vehicle and accurately estimate arrival times. Tracking information is gathered in a central system and can be sent to relevant parties.
Smart Inventory Management
Smart inventory management systems analyse real-time data across warehouse distribution centres. By implementing sensors to track stock levels, stock management has been improved leading to more efficient distribution.
Typically, MSPs have partnered with the mobile carriers directly for SIMs, however many have struggled with a lack of flexibility and control.
IoT is not for me
We are told that there will be 28 billion devices in a market worth £5.6 trillion, however resellers are struggling to see where the opportunity is for them. Why is this?
It’s difficult to compete with the mobile operators in this market
The mobile data side of IoT is dominated by the Mobile Network Operators. As data usage is often fairly low, management of usage becomes less of a priority and therefore less of a benefit for the reseller to differentiate themselves. The key is to look for problems the customer has with the status quo and then find ways to solve them.
In mobile data for IoT there are two really big problems facing resellers and their end users.
It is costly for the end user to change to a better SIM deal
Even when users know they could be getting a better mobile data deal elsewhere, the thought of swapping SIMs in thousands of devices in hundreds of locations around the world is an operational nightmare, and extremely expensive. Irrespective of what they are paying for the SIMs, very often a technology refresh, such as upgrading 2G to 3G, also entails changing all the SIMs.
The retail mobile network operators know this
Because the retail mobile network operators know there is a high cost to switch suppliers, they can hold the end user to ransom over price. Either by increasing the price at the end of the initial term, or failing to keep up with price decreases in the marketplace.
Will this always be the case?
The issues above relate to SIMs that are locked to a particular MNO. They are physical SIMs that are associated with a network and a package. If SIMs were not tied to a network operator and package and didn’t need to be replaced, this would change things.
It’s challenging to set a price for roaming SIMs. Resellers need to know which countries the SIMs will roam to and how much monthly data they will need. Some countries are more expensive than others to roam in, for example UAE and Andorra. Sales people can’t always be sure how much data will be used in each country and how often SIMs will roam in more expensive countries. They run the risk of choosing a package that includes countries which SIMs will never roam in, pushing up the price.
To solve this problem Jola has launched an M2M Roaming Tariff Tool. It was designed for Jola partners to make it quicker and easier to find the right SIM tariff. Tariff Tool provides resellers with a range of options on a variety of data allowances across hundreds of countries and networks.
M2M/IoT covers a broad spectrum: from low-usage data SIMs in monitoring devices, to high usage data SIMs in 4G routers.
For many resellers, low usage, low management IoT opportunities are problematic because they require specialist devices, support and management software. Higher usage mobile data opportunities can be more complex, however can also be very lucrative, easier to win and easier to support. These opportunities include solutions such as mobile broadband and Private 4G.
Mobile broadband is an element of most tenders these days, either for remote workers, as a back-up, or as a primary solution where fixed line is unsuitable. Resellers submitting compelling bids ensure their suppliers offer; all the MNOs; online asset control; and a suite of products to enable them to build bespoke solutions.
For customers wanting additional security on 4G devices, fixed IP SIMs are available, but can be very expensive. Private APNs are available from the carriers but do not give the reseller control over their assets. Jola is the first channel mobile supplier to launch self-serve, Private APNs. The products address security concerns by avoiding the public internet and offering a secure, remote access platform that lets resellers seamlessly extend their existing IT security controls to their end users’ mobile workforce, wherever they are.
According to a recent report, global spending on IoT in manufacturing is predicted to grow from £1.3 billion in 2018 to £9.9 billion in 2024. IoT is enabling M2M devices, which Capgemini estimate will worth £5.45 billion by 2020.
Four key elements driving demand for IoT in manufacturing are cost reduction, shorter-time-to-market, mass customisation and a desire for improved safety.
Optimising asset and inventory management can reduce machine downtime, make operations more agile, improve energy efficiency and lower operational costs.
Shorter time to market
Faster, more efficient manufacturing and supply chain management can reduce production times and get products to market faster.
Products can be tailored and produced in volume. IoT facilitates mass customisation by becoming a source of real-time data.
IoT can help to make workplaces safer. Wearable devices can help to monitor potentially hazardous substances, giving employees early warning signs to put on protective equipment or evacuate the area.
Bus and coach companies are installing dashcams in vehicles to improve safety. 4G streaming devices are mounted on dashboards. They capture 12 seconds of video and audio when incidents take place. Systems record events which cause a higher than normal G-force automatically, as well as recording footage on demand.
The objective for many companies is to identify risky behaviours, to prevent accidents and improve safety. Companies installing dashcams have reported a 23% reduction in preventable collisions.
Typically, MSPs and specialists serving this market with M2M and IoT solutions, have partnered with the mobile networks directly for SIMs, however many have struggled with a lack of flexibility and control.
Jola is proposing an alternative to dealing with mobile networks directly. We offer a range of competitively-priced mobile data SIMs, including unique products you can’t buy from the mobile networks directly.
Our 1GB SIMs are cost-effective and meet common requirements, alternatively multi-network roaming SIMs are available. Using Mobile Manager, partners are able to order new SIMs and pools from a single supplier, add SIMs to pools, set up alerts and monitor the pool to monitor data usage.
M2M SIMs have different qualities for a variety of industrial uses. M2M SIMs can have greater storage capacity and a higher number of read-write cycles (up to 8 million), meaning they have a longer lifetime than a standard SIM. With data retention of up to 17 years, M2M SIMs outlive standard SIMs. Additionally, M2M SIMs are built with materials that enable them to operate in harsh environmental conditions such as deserts or arctic weather.
In summary M2M SIMs offer:
- Real-time data reporting: this significantly reduces the risk of expensive, overage data charges
- Superior ‘Control’. controlled in real-time e.g. bars, changing roaming zones etc.
M2M SIM cards are manufactured to a superior specification:
- They are robust (‘ruggedised’) and so able to withstand corrosion, vibration, shock and extreme temperatures (-40°C to 105°C). This means they can be used in environments such as Industrial IoT (‘IIoT’) where ‘standard’ consumer grade SIM cards would quickly physically deteriorate and fail.
- A longer life-span of up to 17 years. Useful for all installations in long-term projects and large but particularly important in hard to reach locations.
- Superior number of read-write cycles (up to 8 million). This again means these SIMs have a longer life span.
What to consider when choosing a SIM package
Think about what you need the SIM for, what you need it to do, how much data it will require, how long you need it for, where the SIM will be located (in which device and country) what network it needs to be connected to and whether it always needs to be connected.
IoT is set to be disruptive and far reaching. It is predicted to transform entire business models and lead to competitive advantage. IoT provides the connective infrastructure, that lets companies collect information from disparate devices, store it, visualise it, analyse it and use it to make smart decisions. Customers looking to invest in IoT solutions are turning to channel partners for help with mobile data. Demand for mobile broadband, 4G back-up, 4G failover and 4G data for M2M devices is increasing. How can the channel benefit from this rise in demand?
Create bespoke solutions
By identifying new requirements from customer bases, resellers can productise solutions to upsell. For example, resellers serving construction companies with a need for fast, reliable 4G, on short-term contracts, are packaging mobile broadband solutions, using robust routers and cost-effective SIM packages. ISPs selling Ethernet and broadband are productising 4G pre-ethernet and 4G failover using Private APNs, routers and flexible SIM packages. Resellers managing logistics companies are providing bespoke 4G data packages for mobile tracking devices.
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