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February 24, 2022updated 25 Feb 2022 7:44am

IT service providers and MSOs shake up IoT ecosystem

GlobalData’s report on the IoT Services of IT Service Providers highlighted the latest services, partnerships, and acquisitions from Accenture, Atos, Cap Gemini, Cognizant, IBM, and Infosys that enhanced their IoT capabilities in 2021. (See IT Services Provider IoT Services Competitive Landscape Assessment). The companies in this report distinguished themselves with an approach to IoT that included technical and market positioning enhancements, acquisitions of strategically complementary companies, application of new technologies, new vertical niches, and enhancements to existing products and services with which to draw customers.

Mobile operators still consider IoT a highly strategic growth market. Low-cost LPWAN services on the low end and emerging 5G services on the high end are expected to produce ‘massive’ numbers of connected devices, as well as more complex, advanced applications.

However, the market entry of atypical providers without their own wireless networks is potentially disruptive. Cable companies such as Cox and Comcast compete against the operators in wireline business services and have done well in the SMB market although it has yet to be seen if they can compete successfully for a substantial share of IoT revenues. GlobalData’s latest update provides detailed insights on this market (see Alternative IoT Service Providers).

IT Service Providers

While the GlobalData report highlighted activities of six providers, two of the most interesting vendors were Atos and CapGemini, noted as Leader and Very Strong respectively in GlobalData’s rankings.

Atos

Atos has diverse IoT solutions, with a strong focus on digital transformation for Industry 4.0., and experience in healthcare and utility verticals. Atos offers platforms and products, business and technical consulting, industry-specific solutions, and managed IoT services. It has a catalogue of ‘ready-to-go’ applications such as Connected Vessels, Smart Control Room, Digital Twin for Pharma, Temperature Compliance Monitoring as a Service, and Intelligent Supply Chain. Atos has high-level IoT reference customers (such as the Hellenic Coca Cola Bottling Company, which uses its connected cooler program).

It is a trusted security provider, selected by Objenious (formerly Bouygues Telecom) to provide security for its LoRa network in France. Atos partners with IBM to develop cognitive solutions with AI and IoT to optimize operations for clients. It offers the Atos Computer Vision platform for use cases from manufacturing to smart city management, airport/retail security, and crowd movement monitoring. In 2021 Verizon Business and Atos announced a partnership to power intelligent IoT solutions with private 5G/MEC, leveraging Atos’ BullSequana Edge servers and video analytics platform.

Capgemini

Capgemini positions IoT as a key enabler in its digital transformation portfolio with two main approaches: Smart Services applies Capgemini skills in scoping out and solving business problems within targeted industries with advisory, consulting, professional services and analytics. The XIoT platform (powered by Intel) handles the logistics of connectivity, device deployment, security, edge processing, analytics, and implementation of ‘as a service’ models.

Capgemini focuses on telecommunications, utilities, industrial, manufacturing, automotive, and transportation but also offers productized solutions for horizontal processes and may apply them to multiple verticals. Market Ready Solutions, offered on Intel’s IoT Alliance Solutions Marketplace, include: Intelligent Asset Monitoring, Predictive Asset Maintenance with Edge Compute, Asset Tracking and Monitoring for Logistics, Robotics as a Service, Smart Substation, and Active Grid Management. The 2019 acquisition of Altran added leading engineering and R&D services, a portfolio of high-profile clients, and extensive sector expertise. A 2021 partnership with Qualcomm for use of 5G private networks in industrial and enterprise settings focuses on the digital enterprise, smart warehouses, and industrial IoT.

Cable MSOs

Comcast and Cox are two of the most advanced MSOs when it comes to IoT services. Both are competing against mobile operators in the US that have been offering IoT for many years.  

Comcast Business

Although Comcast is known as a cable and entertainment company, it is also well regarded for providing wireline and mobile business services (through resale agreements) to SMBs. In addition, Comcast has solid capabilities in IoT with its MachineQ business launched in 2016. It is using LoRaWAN technology to provide services rapidly and cost-effectively, with an end-to-end service proposition and a connectivity and device management platform.

Recent updates include MQCentral, its online portal, with which one can select devices to be added in real-time. Comcast has successfully drawn customers to its IoT offering in diverse industries, initially from its existing base of business customers. However, it also may appeal to new customers who appreciate its nimbleness, and potentially lower cost proposition than either WiFi or 4G services from mobile operators. Comcast Business adds wireline for IoT as well as deployment and other professional services. In January 2022 it struck an agreement with Nokia to offer private 5G networks, signaling a change to offer more comprehensive and lucrative enterprise mobility/IoT capabilities.

Cox Business

Cox is a well-known cable MSO, well-regarded for providing wireline business services to SMBs; it entered the B2B IoT space in 2018 with some unique capabilities. It is using LPWAN gateway technology to provide services rapidly and cost-effectively, it offers LoRaWAN, WiFi and NB-IoT access options. Its Cox2M Connected Asset Service bundles connectivity, hardware, and software into one package, eliminating the need to manage multiple vendor relationships.

It targets smart city use cases with a cost-effective platform for deployment, by which components plug into streetlights to provide services to improve pedestrian and public safety. It also targets industrial, tank monitoring and automotive asset tracking. Cox is integrating IoT and “Smart Technologies” for college campuses, using WiFi access, and is enabling optimal utility usage and management, well-controlled traffic, a secure environment, and efficient facilities maintenance. It gained CBRS spectrum in the 2020 auction and has begun to deploy smart city solutions, beginning with Las Vegas. This may signal a significant change in its strategy and momentum.