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The Future of IOT Connectivity: Control to the Enterprise

As originally published on IoT For All.

Pod Group
August 13, 2021

By 2030, analysts predict that the number of global IoT devices will triple to 24.1 billion. While some experts in the field may argue that such predictions are overly optimistic, there are already clear signs of market growth.

This assertion is true of the Asia-Pacific region, where rapid market development is particularly evident in the healthcare industry, perhaps unsurprisingly. However, the increasing emergence of new connected devices is not all linked to COVID-19 prevention and control. A significant number of APAC manufacturers are also moving to embrace Industry 4.0, whereby the digitization of processes and operations will contribute to making smart manufacturing companies more resilient to external factors, thus ensuring business continuity.

Meanwhile, in emerging markets such as Africa and Latin America, there is growing interest in IoT, with companies in the logistics sector, for example, looking to incorporate fleet and asset tracking devices into their business model.

Flexibility And Future-Proofing

Once resellers of basic connectivity, Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) have evolved over the years to become more integrated with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), and now a new class of Connectivity Service Provider (CSP) is evolving to give businesses ownership of their IoT networks: the Enterprise Network Operator (ENO).

Enterprises now have more control over their IoT SIM base than ever before, thanks to value-added management platforms that facilitate remote SIM activation, data limit configuration, and SIM diagnostics, in addition to enhanced IoT security and subscription-based billing and custom invoicing. However, it’s not just real-time connectivity management that places the enterprise, as opposed to the network operator, in the driver’s seat.

Today, the advanced technologies enterprises, manufacturers, and systems integrators have at their fingertips place them more in control of their IoT connectivity than ever before. This is especially true of the eSIM and eUICC technology, which gives device users the flexibility to respond immediately to network coverage and pricing changes. Over the Air (OTA) provisioning allows network service providers to be swapped in and out remotely, at the touch of a button, and additional network resilience can be achieved by combining eUICC with a multi-IMSI profile.

eUICC is just one example of the latest connectivity technologies that offer long-term network reliability and flexibility. Innovation within the sector is seeing some service providers develop increasingly future-proof IoT solutions that place more and more control in the hands of the enterprise.

Enterprise Ownership And Control

The migration to 4G cellular technology and increasingly IP-based networks enables enterprises to bring more and more of the network architecture under their control.

While 5G will eventually facilitate new IoT applications that require high bandwidth and low latency, there is still some way to go before this new cellular standard can fully meet the needs of the enterprise. In the meantime, the availability of shared and licensed spectrum bands has given rise to a highly flexible, secure, and scalable wireless connectivity solution: a centrally managed private LTE networking solution with seamless roaming between private and public networks. With private LTE, control is in the hands of the enterprise that can ‘slice’ the network and deploy additional packet gateways on the fly with varying bandwidths and Quality of service (QoS) requirements to optimize the network for specific IoT applications.

Giving enterprises more control of their IoT connectivity, from the SIM card right up to a completely private network, will see businesses benefit from the full value of IoT applications in years to come. Both the introduction of the eSIM and private cellular networks are proof that there is already less reliance on network operators than before, and innovative connectivity service providers are now enabling enterprises to own and manage their IoT networks by offering managed services such as Network as a Service (NaaS) accessed via a centralized platform.

There is a growing opportunity for enterprises, both large and small, to gain more control over their IoT connectivity. Such a shift in the balance of power is set to disrupt the IoT market forever.