How Telcos Can Lead the Future of IoT Services

Telcos IoT Connectivity 5G

In efforts to tackle market commoditization, incumbent telcos continue to explore new business-building initiatives. Despite these efforts, the sector as a whole achieved just 28% growth in total shareholder returns in the last seven years.

While the B2B sector offers forward-thinking telcos myriad growth opportunities, market differentiation will be a core success factor. For this reason, the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to rise to the surface for telcos looking to diversify their business model and stand out from the competition.

IoT has the power to deliver new operational advantages to businesses across sectors by building a mesh of advanced analytics, automated capabilities, and real-time insights. Yet  many companies that have invested in IoT technologies struggle to realize its promised benefits. Connectivity is one of the key roadblocks to realizing this potential. 

Across industries, there is a need for IoT solutions that are quick and simple to deploy. As we approach 2023 many telcos have already upgraded to 5G. This puts them in pole position for the year ahead with the opportunity to provide market-ready mobility and roaming IoT solutions that work “out of the box” by connecting the dots from device through to network in one bundle. 

Let’s take a closer look at why IoT offers such promise for telcos and how they can deliver rock-solid implementation options.

Why it’s time for telcos to invest in the future of IoT

IoT technology offers telcos the chance to carve a new, service-provider-shaped role that will, in turn, help to increase recurring revenue margins and reduce churn. This aligns with the need of the customer to drive OPEX vs CAPEX spending. From smart hospitals and intelligent factories through to fleet management and autonomous cars, there is no shortage of B2B use case examples that demand lower latency, high bandwidth, and high reliability while roaming or in real-time motion. Telcos have the unique opportunity to provide solutions to enable these use cases to help customers realize the value of IoT very quickly.

For this reason, robust mobile network coverage is essential to the future of IoT adoption and telcos are already poised to help with their core business offering. Telcos can pull through massive core connectivity services that will elevate them from selling the “pipe” to selling tangible “business outcomes.” In this way, telcos have a strategic way to push against rising market commoditization. For example, the IoT market in Australia and New Zealand is expected to reach $24 billion by 2026. Providers who are able to help enterprises realize digital transformation goals and provide all important network connectivity will be able to showcase the true value of their services.

Adding to the story further is the lack of an all-encompassing market leader for the delivery of IoT services. Here, market fragmentation is so pronounced that analysts predict it will create significant uncertainty, as highlighted by Michele Mackenzie and Tom Rebbeck of Analysys Mason: “A firm that wanted to add connectivity to its device would struggle to choose a technology. It could simply add both—Qualcomm and others have modules that offer NB-IoT and LTE-M connectivity—but this adds complexity and cost; exactly what the industry wants to avoid with solutions for IoT.”

Telcos that act now to seize the IoT market will benefit from first-mover advantage. But with Verizon, Telefonica, Claro Brasil, and NTT Docomo already making strides in this direction, the race is on to solve the existing supply chain challenges.

How to simplify IoT delivery

IoT promises a radical improvement to the way we live, work and play. The technology is based on a network of physical objects that are continuously connected to the internet in order to send real-time updates back and forth, creating a rich data flow from edge devices to central servers.

The ability to deliver a seamless digital self-service experience to B2B customers relies on having a robust supply chain—and here lies the core opportunity. IoT service delivery is made up of a number of interconnected layers that need to be unpacked if supply chain issues are to be solved:  

Connectivity: IoT relies on high speed, low latency, and reliable internet. Ideally, this coverage should seamlessly accommodate the many use cases in play. Secure, private 5G networks are needed at scale

Telcos IoT 5G Connectivity
Telcos IoT Devices

Devices: There are endless IoT device manufacturers, which creates a complexity introduced by multi-vendor non-integrated IoT solutions across the supply chain. Logistics, inventory, validation, contract management, and support need to be assessed for each vendor. In addition, device manufacturers use varying products and standards that make software compatibility difficult to guarantee.

Applications: Similar to device hardware, IoT software applications are being produced by a large volume of ISVs. This market fragmentation creates multiple risk areas when it comes to interoperability, device compatibility, and versioning with no clear standards in play. Privacy is also a key concern, as highlighted by new EU legislation that aims to tackle cyber attacks with steep fines aimed at developers who don’t comply. 

Telcos IoT Applications
Telcos IoT Commerce

Commerce: If customers are looking to purchase simple business subscriptions for IoT solutions, telcos will struggle to realize the full sales potential of any product or service. With a fragmented supply chain, telcos are faced with manual IoT vendor integrations to their BSS and OSS systems that can take several months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per vendor. This makes the task of building an IoT product catalog that delivers value and optionality to customers an astronomical task.

While solving these challenges won’t be an overnight task, a solution can be found through the power of partner ecosystems.

Transforming the future of IoT with partner networks

Telcos hold an ace card when it comes to the future of IoT. With the offering of stable, 5G connectivity already in hand, telco players solve a major market challenge for all channel players keen to harness the potential of IoT.

But accelerating IoT adoption across the B2B market needn’t—and shouldn’t—be a solo journey. Trying to solve every challenge alone will not only increase the scale of the project but also cost critical time-to-market. Combined this could see telcos lose the edge that first-movers hold. 

Instead, telcos can partner up with other channel players to solve the supply chain issues from end to end. Established distributors will have logistics, inventory, and contracting covered for numerous vendors and suppliers, meaning new products and services can be added quickly. Some distributors may even have their own IoT divisions with experience building tech stacks for a variety of use cases while ensuring interoperability. 

Finally, telcos can look to join forces with a supply chain platform partner–especially those with a large set of pre-integrated vendors. This ensures that the right bundle of IoT solutions can reach the hands of customers easily and help minimize the workload associated with product fulfillment. The right supply chain platform partner will be able to automate complex subscription and billing workflows automatically or even offer a digital self-service experience that lets customers select their IoT solutions on demand.

Such partnership ecosystems offer ready access to hardware and software vendors combined with a powerful on-demand digital delivery experience. From here, telcos need only bundle connectivity and move on to sales.

Read time
Share article
Get the latest expert advice and strategies in your inbox.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Monetize your SaaS subscription business with CloudBlue! Subscribe to our newsletter for expert insights, strategies, and tips to maximize your revenue potential.

By providing my Personal Data to CloudBlue and its affiliates, I agree to be contacted for marketing purposes and I acknowledge and agree to the collection and processing of my Personal Data in accordance with the Privacy Statement.

Mike Jennett, Director of CloudBlue Platform Strategy, is an accomplished business and technology executive. With a deep focus on product development and go-to-market strategy, he plays a pivotal role driving strategic growth and market expansion. Mike’s career is characterized by his adeptness in driving technological advancements and his commitment to leading digital transformations with experience including IDC where he was VP of the Mobility and Digital Transformation IEP practices, and HP where he held numerous leadership roles. Mike’s expertise is also reflected in his published works and contributions to multiple tech publications. Mike holds a B.A. from California Polytechnic University.
Having previously to strategic product management, agile transformations, and user experience in CloudBlue, Taylor Giddens heads the Services & Solutions team where he ensures smooth delivery, operations and solution growth for our partners and customers.

The team includes technical account management, managed services, support, custom solution development, and customer enablement.

Prior to CloudBlue, his resume boasts leadership of some of the world’s largest companies during their digital transformations and marketplace launches. Taylor is a practitioner of servitude leadership when it comes to enabling his team to drive positive outcomes on the road to operational excellence.
Laurens van Alphen, a visionary entrepreneur with over 29 years of internet technology expertise, serves as Director of Technical Managed Services at CloudBlue, responsible for Operations and Delivery of CloudBlue SaaS.

As a Dutch racing champion and car enthusiast, he brings the same drive to the tech realm, steering Keenondots from a managed hosting firm to a global cloud enablement leader. Laurens is celebrated for his outcome-driven leadership, deep industry insight, and passion for balancing business innovation with client engagement.
Lincoln Lincoln is CloudBlue’s Head of Global Sales; having been with the company since November 2017. Leading CloudBlue’s global go-to-market organization, he’s responsible for driving accelerated and sustained mutual growth with CloudBlue’s customers and partners, as well as forming new customer partnerships across the Vendor and Provider ecosystem. As part of CloudBlue’s leadership team he is responsible the organisation’s revenue and continued market leadership by delivering and supporting products, services and solutions to organizations in established and new markets around the world.

Before joining CloudBlue, Lincoln was AppDirect’s Regional Director, Asia Pacific & Japan, responsible for forming, building and leading AppDirect’s business and operations across the APJ geography. He built and led AppDirect’s fastest growing and highest performing region globally within 3yrs.

Before joining AppDirect, Lincoln was EMC’s Practice Manager, Cloud Service Providers, APJ, working with the leading Service Providers to maximise their Cloud Business presence & market success. Lincoln joined EMC in 2007, and has over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, having been based out of Singapore, Australia and the UK. Prior to EMC, he was in range of sales and channel positions at Symantec and VERITAS.

Lincoln has an Honours degree in Business Administration from Kingston University in the United Kingdom.
Brent Clooney is the Executive Director and Associate General Counsel for Ingram Micro Inc., and lead counsel for CloudBlue.

Brent is a Canadian based corporate lawyer with more than 20 years of experience as a strategic legal advisor both in private practice and as in-house counsel to large multi-national companies. Prior to joining Ingram Micro in 2008, he worked at a well-respected corporate law firm in Toronto, Canada and later served as general counsel for Toshiba Canada. During his 15-year tenure at Ingram Micro, he has held positions of increasing complexity and responsibility, and since being promoted to his current role in 2022, Brent is the legal lead for both Ingram Micro’s Canadian and global cloud businesses, as well as CloudBlue.

Brent holds a law degree (LL.B.) from Queen’s University, a Psychology degree (B.A. Honours) from Lakehead University, and has been admitted to the bar in Ontario, Canada since 2002.
Anurag serves as the Head of Product Management for CloudBlue and is responsible for product direction and driving innovation. His leadership has been marked by a keen focus on customer needs, growing the ISV ecosystem, and ensuring the continual evolution of CloudBlue’s product portfolio.

Anurag joined Ingram Micro in 2017 and has been instrumental in, positioning CloudBlue as an industry leading monetization platform for MSP’s, Telco’s and Distributors. Previously Anurag worked at Oracle and Microsoft where he managed many technology projects and programs.
As VP of Engineering of CloudBlue, Rony oversees the development and engineering efforts of the company. He is a recognized leader with more than 25 years of experience in Technology and Product.

Prior to joining CloudBlue Rony lead the R&D efforts at Tripwire acquired by Thoma Bravo, and Cedexis acquired by Citrix. Rony is a leader with extensive experience in transforming both complex technology problems into products that customers love and disjointed organizations into agile high performing teams.
Coen is a distinguished leader and entrepreneur in the realm of cloud technology. Currently serving as CEO of Keenondots and the Global Director of CloudBlue SaaS. He is passionate about driving innovation, fostering collaboration, and leading high-performing teams to achieve transformative results.

With a background as Managing Director of INTO Cloud and a pivotal role as Director of Products of KPN, he brings a wealth of experience in steering organizations through the complexities of the digital landscape.

Beyond the boardroom, Coen is a marathon enthusiast, demonstrating endurance and discipline in pursuit of both professional and personal goals.
Alyson has over twenty years of experience in demand generation, marketing automation and data management. She is responsible for leading the strategy and direction of the company’s brand, performance, and digital marketing.

Prior to CloudBlue, Alyson served as Ingram Micro’s Director of Global Business Intelligence Marketing Automation driving channel partner campaigns. Her tenure in marketing leadership at prestigious companies such as Western Digital, Ocean Institute celebrates redefining marketing campaigns and building top performing teams based on trust, experimentation, and results.

Alyson resides with her husband and three children in Orange County and is an active volunteer and donor within her children’s sports and education programs.

Darek Tasak is leading Customer Success & Value Creation for CloudBlue. In his role, he looks after CloudBlue customers globally during the entire lifecycle of our relationship: from the initial on-boarding, through in-life account management, always ensuring they build successful businesses leveraging our technology. Additionally, he is also in charge of Partnership & Alliances, as well as Pricing Management for everything we commercialize.

Before CloudBlue, Darek managed Ingram Micro’s Services division for hi-tech customers in Europe & APAC. His prior experiences include also launching and leading pan-European services business for TDSynnex, as well as strategy consulting with Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

As President of CloudBlue, Uddhav is a distinguished leader and visionary with nearly two decades of platform-building experience. He is an industry leader in digital commerce, the subscription economy, and monetization platforms.

Notably, at SAP, he spearheaded the transformation of their platform business into a multi-cloud platform-as-a-service, offering enterprise and developer-friendly subscription models. At Pure Storage, he championed the efforts to successfully disrupt the storage industry by creating revolutionary Storage-as-a-service, AIOps-as-a-service, and Disaster Recovery-as-a-service offerings with cutting-edge features and establishing a sophisticated subscription commerce infrastructure that is channel-friendly.

At CloudBlue, Uddhav guides and empowers businesses to rethink their monetization strategies by unlocking the power of digital ecosystems and marketplaces. CloudBlue provides enterprises with a mature multi-tier, multi-channel marketplace and monetization platform that enables usage-based subscription models and global delivery of Anything-as-a-Service solutions. Uddhav has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of the subscription economy through his innovative thinking and impactful contributions.

Let's talk