Even though it may seem like we are living in a completely connected world, we’re not. And, as the Internet of Things dramatically expands the number and scope of connected devices, the traditional communications connectivity model no longer delivers the kind of flexibility and autonomy that managing multi-country IoT projects require. Enterprises need a single, global mobile network, or at least the appearance of a seamless one!
Here’s the reality: The Internet of Things is still in its infancy. Right now, connectivity is often limited to carrier presence. For example, if AT&T isn’t in a certain region, AT&T enabled devices will have a challenge connecting. With a global IoT platform, devices can stay constantly connected – no matter the location – for the lowest possible price or can be constantly connected for the best possible connectivity quality.
Data usage is growing at a very fast pace and most mobile carriers can’t deploy their networks at the same pace. As a result, there is an opportunity for companies who can build global connectivity networks. A global virtual network provider can operate in all key jurisdictions where most mobile carriers don’t reach thereby providing global and pervasive access to connectivity needs.
A global impact
The Internet of Things provides insight and “light where there was darkness” – offering transparency and insight into activities, that was previously unavailable — from enhanced commercial vehicle fleet management and efficient operations for airlines to enhanced medical care and connected vehicles. Fulfilling the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) is now a key element in digital transformation programs for enterprises.
Let’s look at the freight industry. You give a package to DHL or FedEx, and it ends up at the delivery address. While it is possible to go online and see when and where it was accepted, if it is at a shipping depot and if it’s on the way to the destination, that is just part of the story. With a globally connected network, various sensors relaying location will be able to tell you exactly where the package is on its journey as well as environmental conditions en route – which may be important if it’s perishable.
Now, companies in the logistics and shipping sectors can ensure their drivers are always connected to home base. And managers can use analytics software to track and analyse key performance aspects of their fleets anywhere in the world, at any time. This has derivative effects such as lower insurance premiums and better up-time with maintenance data.
For instance, Thailand-based DRVR is helping companies in Europe and Asia to manage their dispatching of vehicles and cut fuel costs. DRVR’s connected sensors can identify if a vehicle’s door was left open for a period of time, or if a certain location is outside acceptable perimeters. The challenge is there are multiple local cellular network service providers in the areas in which DRVR’s customers travel, and the only way to access data across all those regions is to have a contract with every mobile network operator in each region. This would be expensive and an operational nightmare. With a global network that offers connections across borders, this wouldn’t be an issue.
Another example is the airline industry. Staff need a connectivity platform that enables them to provide a superior customer experience while running operations across multi-country deployments. Our MOVE platform is helping a middle-eastern based, global airline ensure their operations are functional in any part of the world. We provide local mobile network operator connections, and the best, operator agnostic roaming cost base and signal strength. This arrangement helps them deliver the best quality of service across all continents where their fleets operate.
The auto industry provides one of the best, yet most challenging examples of the potential of a global network. The ability of a vehicle to connect with the outside world will undoubtedly enhance the driver and passenger experience, as well as creating new service opportunities. Automotive manufacturers, insurance companies and telematics providers all have a vested interest in the types of benefits of a vehicle that can optimise aspects of its own operation and maintenance, provide next generation infotainment services, with additional safety and security as well as adding additional value to the vehicle owner.
But new connected vehicle solutions, particularly those in their infancy, are complex and created from a fragmented combination of expertise from disparate providers. The challenge for the automotive manufacturer is in developing use cases which best suits the needs of their customers and successfully implementing them with the highest efficiency and lowest degree of complexity. With a global, single integration platform like Tata Communications MOVE, access is provided to 600 mobile networks, across 200 countries around the world. This ensures the communications connectivity that is vital for ‘connected’ devices is firmly under control, while the ability to swap out providers no longer has the logistical and operational impact it has had until today.
In the healthcare industry, the Internet of Things offers everyone (doctors, patients and staff) access to the data and applications they need, wherever and whenever they’re needed. This allows healthcare organisations to maintain consistent patient care standards and extend their services to encompass tele-health, which is a vital and economical way to reach patients in remote areas.
We’re seeing connected healthcare come to life in Asia where TaiDoc Technology, which manufactures premium medical devices to improve people’s health and quality of life is using a global network to extend the reach of its devices to countries such as China, Thailand and the U.S.
Here’s the bottom line: In order to reach their full potential, IoT devices require borderless, secure and scalable connectivity to enable the capture, movement and management of information worldwide. While cellular connectivity is an effective foundation for IoT services, today’s mobile networks are inherently local. We must build a global ecosystem of connectivity to spur IoT adoption by businesses worldwide.
Read about the evolution of IoT as we know if today.