How to seize opportunities
Keep scalability front of mind
“For things to be scalable, it’s not just about the systems and the processes and the people, it’s also about the sustainability of the business,” says David Traynor, Head of Operations, JT IoT, USA. “And what I mean by that are things like the business models – so we can charge for the right things that have a true value prop.”
Because the more people that buy your services, the more you can invest in the infrastructure to deliver them. “This is sustainability, not from an eco-perspective, but from a business, systems and process side.”
To support this kind of sustainability, products and systems have to be easy to use and they have to be secure
“It’s not just security in the way the systems are used, but also security that can be delivered to the devices themselves to really support some of these new interesting use cases that we’re starting to see,” says Traynor.
Keep a close eye on the acceleration of certain verticals
“Two years ago, touchless payments were in their infancy, whereas now, you can’t use cash anymore,” Traynor adds. “Buskers in London Underground and the subway in New York – you’re not allowed to give them cash anymore. We’ve seen something similar with telehealth, too. People have started to realise – what’s the point of bringing the patient to the hospital when we can do a better, safer and more reliable job leaving the patient at home.”
Trends and evidence – What does the future look like for MNVOs and IoT?
“Smart cities have seen a real resurgence,” says Traynor. “Take your favourite football stadium – you’ve got to have something like 100 cameras now because you want to have four or five cameras on every single player. You can’t cable them up, and if you try and rig a stadium for Wi-Fi you end up with 50 antennas. So if you can just use LTE and 5G technology, you could have those 100 cameras in the stadium and you wouldn’t need to run any cable.
The micro mobility market
“Another accelerator – and one that probably gets the most press – is the micro mobility market,” says Traynor. We’ve seen the explosion of ebikes and scooters, with large cities that have made commitments to removing the petrol engine, or the gas and combustion engine, from their cities within 15 years. Commitments like this are going to change the way we behave.
“Take dashcams,” Traynor continues. “With my old one, you had to connect it to WiFi and download pictures. It was great for a week or so but then I got bored of it. But now you have dashcams that have a SIM card in and have LTE connectivity. So I don’t need to go to the car to get the pictures, they get sent to my cloud account and I can just connect and see what’s going on. It’s that level of simplicity that is starting to be quite exciting.”
A new focus for IoT
“Within five years, instead of IoT being focused on the ‘thing’, I think we’ll start to see it concentrating on the ‘why’,” says Traynor. “So, with the stadiums, it’s not about putting LTE in a camera, it’s about being able to design and implement a system that’s right for the stadium. Not just for the cameras, but maybe for the merchandisers, security or for access control. Why, for example, do we have to have tickets to get into events now? We’ve got our phone, we can identify ourselves with our fingerprints or our retina scan. Why can’t we do the same and just make the stadium smart enough to deal with us? Why are we carrying around bits of paper? It’s weird!
“Similarly, why do we have barcodes on products? If it became cheap enough to put connectivity into, say, a bar of chocolate, the network could tell us where it was and how many there were. I think some of these aspects are going to radically change, and fast. I think we’ll see MVNOs look at some of these verticals and ask – how do we add value, not just with devices, but how do we apply it to new business models and new mechanisms? I think it should be called The Internet of ‘getting value from’ Things.
“We’re going to see quite a change in various industries and Covid has helped show us the way. I think we’ll start to see MVNOs that deal with aeronautic applications, public transport applications or underground applications and we’re already starting to see some of that specialisation. And I think 5G is going to help us further down that whole path because you can focus what services you’re going to deliver to what group of people on what group of devices. I think we’ll more of the those vertically focused MVNOs.”
• Keep scalability front of mind
• Products and systems have to be easy to use and they have to be secure
• Keep a close eye on the acceleration of certain verticals