Cellular IoT connectivity is not an internet experience, it’s a secure, dedicated connection
Analysys Mason’s research director Tom Rebbeck caught up with Arkessa chief executive, Andrew Orrock, to talk about how the barriers to IoT adoption are gradually falling, and how mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) can succeed in a market with numerous large global mobile network operators (MNOs)
Tom Rebbeck: There’s a general feeling that IoT has been a bit slower than expected to take off. Is that your feeling as well and if so, why do you think that’s the case?
Andrew Orrock: With enterprise that has been the case. We have seen concerns – around sourcing, the business case, scaling, security and platform integration – but gradually these barriers are coming down.
A lot of people think about mobile connectivity based on their experience with internet on a smartphone. This has coloured views as to what cellular means as people do not see it as a secure dedicated connection. But, once you get into the discussion about managed services, and we show that we can give customers the tools to manage and monitor the data connections, manage the billing, and provide a secure private network we can show that we are not simply connecting our customers devices to the internet – far from it. When we explain all of this to our channel partners, they realise they can go to their customers and get around the problems they have had in the past – they can show how our network infrastructure works and that it is secure and private.
TR: So it has been slow as it has taken time for people to realise what it means to using a mobile network for IoT connectivity?
AO: Yes, there has had to be some education. The idea of the traditional SIM card provided by a mobile operator essentially locks a customer in. If you are deploying devices around the world, or even across one country then the idea of single sourcing from an MNO with traditional SIM cards has been a problem.
Today the role of an MVNO is much clearer. We can provide multiple networks through a single relationship, a single contract providing commercial, technical and customer support. That creates a much better reaction in companies both small and large.
In the near future, the reprogrammable embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM) will give enterprises more comfort and more control and flexibility. The same solution will work globally with a range of different cellular technologies, from 2G to 5G and the cellular flavours of low power wide area (LPWA) technologies, like narrowband IoT (NB-IoT).
TR: Earlier you talked about the challenges of sourcing. What did you mean by that?
AO: The companies that have deployed IoT and that have shown most growth tend to be small to medium enterprises (SMEs). From a sourcing point of view, the larger enterprises manage their supplier lists quite closely and it can be difficult for SMEs to get onto these lists.
What we have found works well is to work with finished goods distributors or IT systems integrators. They are often already […]