Internet of Things (IoT) enabled technology is transforming a wide range of industries by connecting devices to make them smarter and to make business processes more efficient. As a mobile service provider, you have a major opportunity to secure new business by providing the connectivity that IoT-enabled devices require. However, to turn IoT from a buzzword to a revenue stream, you must first understand the needs of IoT customers, only then will you be able to help them reach their business goals and understand how to prepare your infrastructure to meet these needs.
Understanding the needs of IoT customers
IoT customer needs are different from those of ordinary subscribers in two ways:
- A larger number of SIMs per customer: While a normal subscriber might have one or a few SIM cards to connect different devices, IoT customer can have millions of active SIM cards. Much of the value of a targeted IoT offering lies in the ability to manage all these connections in an efficient manner. Therefore, IoT customers require tools that can automatically monitor and manage their connections and profiles.
- Low traffic volumes and low ARPU per SIM: Many IoT applications have low traffic volume requirements, sending only small packets of data to report device status or to control a device. Customers are generally not interested in high bandwidth, but are highly sensitive to pricing. This calls for new pricing models to accommodate customer needs while protecting your profits.
To meet these needs, you will need to make changes to your infrastructure so that you can efficiently manage IoT customers, serve their need for control over service use and create compelling offers suitable for this market.
Key Capabilities for IoT Service Delivery
- Real-time traffic control: IoT customers need to be in control of their traffic usage. With a large number of SIMs per customer, software issues in connected devices can quickly create major traffic volumes. Customers need to have access to real-time data on traffic use to prevent technical issues from becoming financial disasters.
- Advanced policy management: Control over connection parameters must also be in the hands of customers to ensure that devices get appropriate service quality and so that unexpected behavior from devices is handled automatically. Combined with real-time traffic control, advanced policy management gives your IoT customer firm control over their connections.
- Support for advanced account structures with a very large number of associated SIMs: As a single customer might have millions of SIM cards deployed in connected devices, charging and billing systems that handle accounts must let you manage such setups efficiently. This includes the management of differentiated service settings amongst the SIM cards deployed by a single customer.
- Support for efficient handling of different pricing models appropriate for IoT applications: With their lower ARPU per SIM and lower capacity requirements, IoT applications call for different pricing models that can handle variables such as location, connection technology, bandwidth and SIM volume into account to offer the most cost effective service for the customer.
Preparing your network to capture IoT revenue
You will need to upgrade your network to capture IoT revenue. Traditional OCS/BSS systems do not offer many of the capabilities listed above, so you will either have to develop your existing infrastructure or find new solutions to manage IoT customers successfully.
While evolving existing infrastructure might sound like a sensible choice, there are several reasons why you might consider a separate solution for your IoT business:
- No overlap with traditional customers: There is no need to share information between traditional and IoT customers, having them in the same system offers no business value from an account point of view.
- Different business and service logic: The business and service logic that is used to create offers for IoT customers is drastically different from that used for ordinary customers. It is not possible to reuse any existing logic to any large extent, so changes to existing infrastructure will be akin to bolting a new solution onto an existing one, increasing complexity without providing any real business value.
- Risks to existing business: Performing major upgrades to business critical components in your network exposes you to the risk of hurting your current revenue and profit.
Keep in mind that using a new solution for your IoT customers does not require major investment. One option is to buy an IoT platform as a Cloud service, minimising initial investment and enabling future growth. Especially when given the uncertainty about growth rates of IoT applications – cloud-based BSS capabilities help you build your capacity in line with customer growth.
Symsoft offers an IoT platform that is developed to efficiently meet the needs of the IoT market, allowing you to capture new revenue profitably. Real-time charging and advanced policy management allow you to attract customers looking for an IoT service that puts them in control, while advanced business and service logic enables you to create offers that resonate with your market.
Symsoft IoT can be offered as a standalone platform, as well as a managed service and a Cloud service. All relevant data can be moved between these different deployment types, enabling you to start using the platform in the cloud and later transition to a managed service or a standalone platform as your IoT business grows.
Want to know more? Go to our Symsoft IoT Platform page or contact us below!