1. How can service providers move up the IoT value chain?

How can service providers move up the IoT value chain?

Ericsson Big Ideas Blog innovation IoT value chain

For generations, technology has transformed how we communicate, educate, entertain, consume, and conduct business. Looking to the future, IoT is set to make similarly massive and somewhat unpredictable changes to our environment.

While this strange new world is undoubtedly full of opportunities for ICT players looking to move up the IoT value chain, it also presents some new challenges. How can you avoid the pitfalls and prepare for the unexpected?

As a teenager, I remember the difficulties we faced placing a phone call to family in New Zealand from the UK every Xmas. I recall trying over and over from our home phone until we eventually would get through. Calls were sometimes dropped. It was frustrating but that was about as reliable as technology got back then. Thankfully, things picked up rather quickly.

Nowadays, there’s a generation of young people who’ve grown up in a hyper-connected, digital world. Regardless whether you’re young or old, isn’t it fascinating to consider how far we’ve come in just a few short decades? I wonder how far we’ll have come in another 10 or 20 years…

The IoT boom

Did you know there are already more connected things than people in the world? According to Gartner, there were around 8.4 billion IoT devices in use during 2017. And by 2023, we project that figure will grow to 20 billion. Big numbers, right? Clearly, digitalization is already touching almost every aspect of our world, and yet, the tech at the heart all of this – IoT – is often perceived as overwhelming for many telecom service providers. It’s time to clear up some of the confusion.

Recently, I took part in a webinar with two Ericsson colleagues: Jan Abrahamsson, Head of IoT Strategy and Strategic Customer Engagements, and Osvaldo Aldao, Head of IoT Accelerator. Together we sifted through some of the complexity facing the industry, businesses and telecom service providers, as well as the various important roles each has to play.

During the course of our discussion, a number of interesting questions were raised, not least about how telecom service providers are recalibrating for an IoT-empowered world.
Telecom operators start from a strong position as network and connectivity providers, leveraging their existing infrastructure and expertise, and this requirement for managed connectivity is needed all the more in the IoT world.

I believe many move up the value chain by becoming service enablers, providing platforms on which enterprises can build IoT solutions. As we see it, the ultimate role is the service creator, where the telecom operator provides end-to-end industry offerings. To succeed in any of these roles, telecom service providers need a flexible and scalable platform and a rich array of ecosystem partners.

Time to prepare

During the webinar, we also looked at the Ericsson IoT Accelerator, a horizontal platform that sits at the heart of our IoT portfolio and the hub of ecosystem collaboration. We summarized how the IoT Accelerator can help telecom service providers quickly realize new revenue, regardless of the role they choose to play. We also looked at how our ecosystem partners are using the platform to bolster their positions in the value chain.

Regardless of which roles telecom operators choose, we bring the necessary building blocks and can introduce them to the right ecosystem partners. To learn how we’re doing that, listen to the on-demand webinar, or get in touch with me here.

If you’d like to learn more about our vision of IoT and the future of our industry, join us in Barcelona for MWC 2018 where new revenue growth through IoT and 5G will be our key theme!

Written by Jeff Travers

Drawing on 30 years of experience in telecommunications and IT, Jeff Travers is Head of Internet of Things for Ericsson. Based in Stockholm, he has held management and sales positions in global markets, most recently with Ericsson Russia based in Moscow. Jeff holds an MBA from IMD Lausanne, and a BSc Economics from the London School of Economics.

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