IoT and CSPs in the Future

The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionised the business world and reshaped how enterprises work. Undoubtedly, the Internet of Things is assisting businesses in becoming more productive, regardless of whether they’re using smart shelving to manage inventory or providing remote patient care.

Communication service providers (CSPs) are recognising the growing demand for IoT and capitalising on this opportunity. Service providers offer tailored solutions for enterprises that seamlessly integrate IoT into their core operations. Healthcare, manufacturing, retail, public utilities, and smart cities are among the verticals targeted by CSPs, with the most prominent sectors being healthcare, industry and manufacturing, and retail.

IoT offerings diversification for CSPs

Currently, CSPs offer basic data plans for IoT device connectivity using SIM cards and narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) over cellular networks. 

CSPs recognise that adding more value to their offerings and positioning themselves as key players across the IoT value chain is crucial to their growth. As a result, CSPs are considering offering services such as:

  • Cloud connectivity
  • IoT application hosting
  • IoT Security-as-a-Service
  • IoT integration services within enterprise campuses

According to a survey by RAD, when enquiring about their IoT service offerings or imminent plans, 43% of respondents provide data plans. However, 70% prioritise IoT cloud connectivity for seamless and secure linkage of smart devices to IoT applications hosted on public clouds. 

Furthermore, 57% are keen on IoT integration services, thus addressing the needs of many of their customers, primarily small-medium businesses (SMBs) and small offices-from-home offices (SOHOs), who lack the expertise and manpower to handle such projects themselves and are looking for turnkey solutions. 

This presents an opportunity for CSPs to provide tailored solutions for their customers in various applications. These solutions range from optimising manufacturing processes to powering smart city initiatives. Comprehensive end-to-end solutions typically include everything from smart sensors, the IoT gateway and network connectivity to the backend servers and cloud-based dashboards:

Private 5G

Private 5G has become an attractive alternative to Wi-Fi for enterprises. Dedicated coverage, high reliability, and ultra-low latency are just a few of the benefits. 5G private networks give businesses more control where optimising connectivity for critical applications is the goal. Using closed, isolated networks reduces external cyber threats, enhancing data security. 

Private 5G & IoT Driving Industrial Digitalisation

As private 5G gains popularity, CSPs only naturally offer it, especially since it’s a good fit with IoT.

The Internet of Things and Private 5G are key components of industrial digitization. With 5G and IoT, CSPs can offer customized network slices to their customers. For example, data transfer speed (latency), data transmission capacity (throughput), and network coverage –– ensuring latency, throughput, and connection security becomes crucial in the case of smart vehicles.

The Role of IoT Gateways

The majority of CSPs include IoT gateways in their private 4G/5G ecosystems, and an additional 2% plan to do so, to aggregate IoT devices to WANs and private networks. 49% of this cohort are integrating existing brownfield sensors into their 4G/5G networks. Energy and Oil & Gas sectors are especially reliant on brownfield sensors (53% and 53%, respectively). Having been among the first campuses to implement IoT, it is natural that they will have a substantial installed base of smart devices and sensors. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they top the list, as they need to easily integrate brownfield devices into OT networks.

Apart from cost, service providers are looking for IoT gateways that support WiFi APs, LoRaWAN and 5G uplinks. CSPs typically opt for a single SKU (stock keeping unit) strategy because this simplifies inventory and makes it easier for them to serve a wide range of verticals and business cases.

In Conclusion

5G is becoming the standard network for operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) within campus environments as IoT and 5G merge. With IoT, CSPs will be able to innovate, create comprehensive solutions, and generate new revenue streams, unlocking endless opportunities for businesses.


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