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From IoT Day Shanghai - Global connectivity management

We love talking shop with IoT operators about their actual experiences with their deployments - what went right, what went wrong and what they learned. Having these insights allows us to be a better partner in the IoT ecosystem. Recently, we hosted IoT Day in Shanghai and in one of many informative breakout sessions, we had an all-star panel of IoT experts, including two CEOs, from leading enterprises share their insights in an open discussion about managing global connectivity with their IoT deployments. Communications service providers in the audience got to hear, first hand, what the marketplace needs from them to help address major challenges in deployments.
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Leaders in IoT deployment at IoT Day (left to right): Ong Geok Chwee, CEO at Bridge Alliance | Kiva Allgood, Head of IoT at Ericsson | Yaqiong Tang, Vice General Manager at China Mobile IoT Company
IoT Leaders at IoT Day (left to right): Ong Geok Chwee, CEO at Bridge Alliance | Kiva Allgood, Head of IoT at Ericsson | Yaqiong Tang, Vice General Manager at China Mobile IoT Company
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Today, there are roughly one billion cellular IoT connections at work. We estimate that 20 billion IoT devices will be connected in 2024, and more than 4 billion of those will be over cellular. Managing devices at that scale is extremely complex.

Further compounding the matter is that devices can end up anywhere in the world after they are manufactured and will need to seamlessly connect to the locally available provider network, as well as any network to which the device may travel over the course of its use. We recently explored these dynamics at our IoT Day event in Shanghai.

Our panel discussion featured four executives who shared the hurdles they had to overcome as well as their keys to success in the global IoT ecosystem. Here is what we learned.

Cellular and 5G ARE the future

There are many options when it comes to connecting devices to the internet. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC have filled that role capably for many years. However, it is agreed that with the changing nature and requirements of devices when it comes to critical factors like autonomy, availability, bandwidth and mobility, these solutions can no longer fill the role. Cellular connectivity, and in many cases, 5G, are the only options that can provide industries with the high reliability and ultra low latency required to support massive and critical IoT deployments.

In addition, not only do Wi-Fi and Bluetooth lack the performance requirements needed for deployments, but they also lack the required levels of security. Only cellular offers the levels of built-in security demanded by enterprise IoT deployments.

eUICC (eSIM) technology is the master key

As previously discussed, connected devices like body cameras, automobiles, drones and even simpler ones like sensors, get shipped all over the world with a common need: connectivity. In order to more easily meet this demand, we are seeing the rise of eUICC (embedded universal integrated circuit card) or eSIM technology.

Traditional SIM cards can only host one profile, and only work on the network for which it was programmed. eUICC can host multiple profiles and possesses a richer operating system enabling it to connect to any network globally with a simple other-the-air (OTA) software update.

The software-defined nature of eUICC is the only solution that provides the flexibility and easy management of connecting devices on a worldwide scale. This is particularly important for smaller startups and enterprises who cannot make large investments in connectivity enablement and management.

The need for global solutions

Connectivity management is a global hurdle that needs to be overcome. In addition to managing a device’s ability to connect, also important is the network to which it will connect. Enterprises using IoT networks want a single point of access to the global ecosystem and will look for partners that can deliver that. Not only that, but they also want a single platform that can manage them all, while gathering data and keeping devices up-to-date with the latest software enhancements and security patches. A single platform simplifies operations, and is more cost-efficient, reliable and secure.

Collaboration is paramount

The partnerships an organization makes will determine their success. One key reason is knowledge sharing. The entire ecosystem must work together in order for IoT deployment to advance. It is still an emerging technology, which makes opportunities like IoT Day Shanghai essential for understanding how we can all work together to gain the full benefits promised by IoT, chief among them: increased revenues and stronger bottom lines.

Enterprises and CSPs need more open dialogues so that CSPs can understand how they can be a better, more capable service provider partner. The extent of understanding the different workflows and how to simplify them varies among the CSP community.

Also, everyone seems to speak different IT and IoT languages, which only exacerbates the fragmentation that currently exists in the IoT marketplace. More open communication leading to more sharing and understanding is essential to help IoT reach maturity and make success the norm.

See you in Stockholm!

Being able to meet with so many stakeholders in the IoT community and share expertise is an invaluable experience that our IoT community member has the privilege to experience. Enterprises learned they were not alone in the ups and downs of their digital transformation journeys. CSPs gained a clearer understanding of what their customers need from them, in addition to providing connectivity. Most importantly, we learned that IoT success is attainable. Not only attainable, but it will deliver on its promises.

In order to keep increasing the collaboration across the IoT landscape at the global level, as well as sharing local knowledge, Ericsson will be hosting our next exclusive by invitation only IoT Day in Stockholm in September. We hope that you will join us and learn from our ecosystem members if you are already part of our IoT family.

Or, learn more about how you can provide customers easier connectivity and device management as part of the Ericsson IoT community. 

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