Thanks to the Internet connection provided by the operators, many companies have been able to offer basic IoT services without the need for other telecommunications services.1 2 3
However, telecommunications companies are going further, helping their customers develop capabilities for analyzing data retrieved from their Internet of Things devices. Operators provide interactive platforms to collect data, analyze it and glean more insights.
This collaboration also extends to IoT learning. Many companies are hesitant to go this route for reasons of cost and complexity, or simply due to a lack of knowledge in data analysis. Telecommunications companies are constantly evolving to offer support and share their expertise in IoT services tailored to their customers.
IoT, Telecommunications and 5G
Today’s cutting-edge IoT applications demand faster and more flexible Internet connections, available only through new 5G networks.
In some areas, the IoT has been limited by the lack of 5G. For example, the traditional Internet cannot convey the large amounts of data generated by IoT devices fast enough to enable real-time automated responses. On the other hand, with higher bandwidth, 5G will increase the speed of data transmission, which will allow more devices and software to be connected to the Internet.3. This better coverage is the result of 5G’s decentralized structure: small cells typically placed on urban infrastructure, such as streetlights and bus shelters, bring the Internet connection source closer to users, reducing latency, the time it takes devices to communicate with wireless networks.4
This is the next step for telecommunications companies: provide the digital infrastructure needed for 5G and ultimately the IoT. Pioneering operators have already created networks IoT dedicated to certain sectors. Their efforts include managing pilot projects, creating testbeds and innovation hubs to create the next generation of Internet products and services. This involves working with government partners, start-ups and software companies. For example in China, one of the world leaders in 5G, led the first-ever government trial of new technologies in 2017-2018. This partnership has enabled local and international companies to test products before they are marketed, on the 5G pilot, and contributed to the development of the first standards.5
The rise of low-speed IoT (NB-IoT)
The whole world is working on combining 5G with Narrow Band Internet of Things (IoT) technology. This standard is designed to provide highly efficient and cost-effective connectivity by exploiting low bandwidth. It has the particularity of facilitating the connection of objects located in places that are difficult to connect to the electrical network, with limited use of batteries.7 This allows the connections to operate without the need to update them manually for a long period of up to 10 years. 8
Although lower bandwidth restricts the amount of information that can be transmitted, it is not limiting for most IoT devices; on the contrary, industry experts suggest that by 2028, low-speed connections such as NB-IoT will account for more than 60% of all IoT connections.9
For telecom operators, 5G allows them to be “present from the start, in terms of service offerings that help companies understand current and future IoT”says Matthew Kendall.
Internet is everywhere
The IoT will bring US$1.1 billion to the global economy by 2025.
what can i do today business leaders to prepare for tomorrow’s “second phase of the Internet”?10 The fundamental message is to stay proactive:
• Collaborate with technical experts to better understand how IoT can benefit their business. Leaders should consult experts in this field. These can be innovative companies or internal working groups specializing in the IoT.
• Invest in digital infrastructure and skills as part of any new strategy. The IoT is an expensive solution and, in some cases, it will require radical rethinking of processes, equipment and personnel. Leaders must invest upstream, in particular to ensure that the most secure components are used throughout the process.
Prepare for how the competition could adopt IoT and could disrupt the industry. Whether or not a business chooses to implement IoT, adoption rates are expected to increase over the next few years. Sectors that have not yet experienced disruption from start-ups in the first phase of the Internet could see new technology companies appear in their markets.
There are supports for those who are inspired by the potential of the IoT, who are unsure which way to go. As they prepare for the world of the Internet of Oblets, business leaders should remember the lessons learned in the first phase of the Internet: those who drag their feet risk finding themselves in the same situation as a Kodak .
1 The “Bank of Things”: The Application of IoT in the Financial Sector, Cyberstartup Observatory
² Nanosatellite Telecommunications: A Market Study for IoT/M2M applications, London Economics (2017)
3 Telecom Crimes Against the IoT and 5G – TrendLabs Security Intelligence Blog, Trend Micro (2019)
4 The road to 5G: The inevitable growth of infrastructure cost, McKinsey (2018)
6 China has taken the lead in the 5G race, EY (2018)
7 Low Power Wide Area Technology, Thales
8 Specialized Narrowband IoT Services, Vodaphone
9 Growth in the IoT market will be sizeable, but challenges remain for operators. Analysys Masson (2020)
10 How the world will change as computers spread into everyday objects, The Economist (2019)
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Telecommunications, partners of the Internet of Things
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