As the “internet of things” market continues to gain pace, there are still significant challenges to be overcome for service providers as they look to solidify their position in the IoT ecosystem. IoT connectivity in and of itself is becoming a commodity, so service providers that want a piece of the pie will need to look beyond simply providing the pipe and instead begin looking into the applications and services their customers are demanding, both on the business front and on the consumer side.
However, there are challenges and questions for service providers, as they navigate this path.
Which are the services that will help providers make a real impact, and which are a bad move? Where should service providers place their bets?
Will the end reward justify the time and financial commitment that service providers must make in infrastructure and back-office systems?
How can providers make the most of their data as well as provide solutions that help their customers do the same?
Looking ahead in 2017, the rubber will meet the road for service providers when it comes to the IoT. Here’s five key trends that we’ll see emerge in the industry.
2017 is the year we’ll see a change in the way service providers approach the IoT market. There are a few exceptions, but to date many service providers have let the market drive their IoT direction. Over the next year, we’ll see a shift by many providers to become stronger leaders in shaping the future of the IoT. Several large service providers have already staked a name for themselves in the IoT space, and in 2017, several more will step up their game.
Service providers will turn to partnerships to help mitigate some of the risk in entering different areas of the IoT. Service providers know they need to be more than just the dumb pipe or they risk losing out on the full benefits of the IoT. Partnerships in vertical markets will help them dip their toes into the water without making full-scale investments. One area we’ll see a lot of this is in the smart home.
Service provider bundles and a-la-carte services will begin to take on a new look as services providers increasingly add partners and partner services to their portfolios. However, to find success with these new offerings providers need to be able to offer not just a one-stop shopping experience, but also a one-stop billing and one-stop customer support experience. That requires a new level of flexibility in their business support and operating support systems.
Service providers will work with customers to break down the barriers preventing further development of big data analytics as a service. Both customers and service providers have been struggling to balance the trade-offs between privacy and the business value of the customer’s data. Business value will win out over privacy concerns.
Infrastructure optimization will become critical as IoT traffic continues to grow. The benefits of infrastructure optimization are clear: operators will be able to launch new services more quickly, cut operational and maintenance costs and more importantly develop an ongoing process that will sustain optimal infrastructure configurations for the future. Providers will also look to newer technologies such as software-defined networks to gain maximum efficiency.
It’s an exciting time in the IoT market, and as 2017 shapes up we’ll see many more success stories from service providers across all industries. Providers will break out of their defined roles and embrace the opportunity that the IoT presents.