While we wait for significantly more ubiquitous availability of 5G, which we believe will be an enabler of further real-time ultra low latency IoT capabilities in a few years, the IoT ecosystem remains active and engaged. Not only are there IoT applications which help detect and combat Covid 19 (see 25 March Blog, As IoT Ramps Up Will Covid19 Tamp it Down or Will the Ecosystem Find Ways to Help Detect and Combat the Pandemic?) but mobile operators have added significantly to their portfolios over the last six months to make IoT offerings more compelling to businesses. These additions include edge alliances, partnership arrangements for roaming and footprint expansion, application enablement and analytics, and vertical solutions.
Partnership arrangements and edge alliances
- AT&T announced partnership with Google to bring Google Cloud to the AT&T edge
- Vodafone announced a collaboration with AWS to bring edge computing closer to customers and developers
- Verizon announced a partnership with AWS to deliver 5G edge computing, enabling developers to deploy applications that require ultra-low latency to 5G mobile devices
- Orange Group’s Engage2025 strategic plan noted that edge computing would be a foundation of the company’s 5G, smart mobility and IoT strategy as it looks to grow B2B revenues
Roaming and footprint expansion
- Vodafone extended its partnership with Vodafone Ukraine, which continues to use its branding and will support the latter’s recently launched IoT managed connectivity service
- Vodafone announced partnership agreement with Sunrise in Switzerland, giving Sunrise customers access to a range of Vodafone Business services Including mobile connectivity, roaming and central procurement
Vodafone announced a collaboration with America Movil, KT Corp., Telstra and Verizon to collaborate on global 5G standards and interoperability to accelerate 5G adoption.
- DT announced that its Mobile NB-IoT roaming service had gone live across 18 European countries, based on agreements with Swisscom, Telia and Vodafone, with further countries planned for later this year
Application enablement and analytics
- Telstra partnered with Software AG to use the latter’s Apama advanced streaming analytics and machine learning solutions to enhance its IoT offerings
- DT launched a new construction kit (IoT Solution Builder) for IoT, enabling customers to access over 10,000 sensors
- DT announced a partnership with Swift Navigation to use the latter’s Precise Positioning product which is designed for autonomous applications
- DT announced new partners and first customers for its IoT Solution Optimizer ecosystem, including Telia, LMT (of Latvia) and Telekom Slovenije
- Orange opened an Orange Fab start-up accelerator in Russia, looking to assist in the development of new businesses, including in IoT
- Telefónica expanded its strategic partnership with Microsoft with the goal of developing joint go-to-market plans in all countries where Telefónica operates
- AT&T’s new partnerships with Brain Corp and Xenex add depth to solutions for AI and robotics and help with AT&T’s Covid-19 response
- AT&T launched a Munich-based innovation studio with Nokia to support growth and adoption of 5G-enabled IoT applications
- Orange Business Services and Abu Dhabi Municipality announced jointly developed virtualization IoT Cockpit app to enhance smart services delivery across the city
- Orange selected by Intel’s Mobileye to provide IoT for its next-generation Mobileye 8 Connect smart city data collection product
- Orange Business Services developed solutions to enable maritime connectivity, offering secure private cloud and IoT services to facilitate vessel management
- Telefónica signed a global partnership agreement with Idrica to provide IoT services to companies in the water sector.
- Verizon announced a partnership with Emory Healthcare to develop and test 5G Ultra-Wideband-enabled use cases for the healthcare industry, including the establishment of a 5G healthcare innovation lab
- Verizon announced a collaboration with Honeywell to integrate Verizon’s Managed Connectivity LTE solutions into smart meters and other edge devices
This is an impressive set of new capabilities and alliances in a short period of time. It is important for operators to remain active. The Industrial Internet of Things is seen as a significant opportunity by all major telcos. In particular, cellular operators have viewed it as a revenue growth opportunity at a time when other core services have been static or their growth is slowing. The salient issue for operators is how to monetize and grow revenues profitably at a time when the IoT ecosystem is getting more complex and competitive.
While operators may dominate the connectivity and, in some cases, the connectivity/device management segments, IT service providers, module manufacturers, network and carrier infrastructure manufacturers, and IoT solutions/application developers are all infringing on potential value-added services revenues, which operators need to make their IoT investments worthwhile. Additions to their portfolios remain highly important to court new opportunities and expand existing relationships.