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'Turn to operators' for best IoT applications

Operators best placed to provide IoT-like services in the region, says Gemalto

'Turn to operators' for best IoT applications
Zameer: The only thing a vertical application provider can ensure is the connection itself.

Organisations looking to take advantage of Internet of Things (IoT)-like technologies would do well to rely on their local telecoms operators as partners for their endeavours, according to Sherry Zameer, senior vice president of telecommunication solutions at Gemalto.

Speaking to ITP.net, Zameer said that, although the IoT market is still in its infancy, there are still vertical application providers offering services that enable IoT-like technologies. He provided the example of a smart metering platform that would send billing information back via SMS to a utilities company. Acknowledging that these platforms are available from application providers, he said that it would be better for the end user to seek a similar solution from a telecoms operator -explaining that operators in this region are dabbling in these sorts of services.

"For the end customer it also makes sense. If I'm running a utilities company, for example, and I've got 6 million meters out in the market all sending back an SMS. I've got a vertical application provider giving me that service. The only thing a vertical application provider can ensure is the connection itself - there's no security on that, and there's no quality or SLA," he said.

"I may only pay the same as a consumer rate for an SMS, which is, what, 10 Fils. But I'm not actually paying for the value of the data. I'm meaning to say, if that SMS doesn't make it back to my application, I can't cut a bill. The value of the SMS is far higher to me than just 10 Fils. The operator can guarantee those SLAs, and it gives you a one-stop shop."

Zameer said that, in the coming years, operators will be able to offer enterprises everything from fleet management services to smart connected home services.

Zameer's comments make logical sense if indeed the region's operators can provide the SLAs required for these services to run effectively. According to research firm IDC, the IoT can be defined as a network of networks of uniquely identifiable endpoints (or "things") that communicate without human interaction using IP connectivity. It is important to note that autonomous connectivity is a key attribute within IDC's definition. In this regard, the operators are well-placed to offer these services.

However, many other service providers will also be angling for enterprise business when it comes to the IoT. By IDC's admission, the face of the connected device for the consumer is something resembling a smart watch. However, the research house believes that the real value will be seen in the enterprise world.

"Where recognition of IoT appears to begin, the real opportunity remains in the enterprise and public sector markets," said Vernon Turner, IDC's senior vice president and research fellow, Enterprise Systems.

"The ripple effect of IoT is driving traditional business models from IT-enabled business processes to IT-enabled services and finally to IT-enabled products, which is beginning to disrupt the IT status quo."

Globally, the worldwide Internet of Things market is expected to grow from $655.8 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.9%. Devices, connectivity, and IT services will make up the majority of the IoT market in 2020. Together, they are estimated to account for over two-thirds of the worldwide IoT market in 2020, with devices (modules/sensors) alone representing 31.8% of the total.

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