Finding IoT opportunities

Lee Broxson, CSO, Jola, outlines how the upcoming PSTN switch off can create mobile data and IoT opportunities in the Channel.

With technologies such as PSTN, ISDN, 3G being switched off, and the current economic climate, demand for cost-effective, managed mobile data solutions from the channel, has never been so high.

We are seeing an exponential rise in demand for SIMs not only for use in 5G or 4G routers, pre-Ethernet connectivity and Ethernet back-up but also for digital signage, monitoring and smart devices.

Resellers, manufacturers and service companies are finding new uses for mobile data daily and, as we accelerate towards 5G, this is unlikely to slow down.

In the past, telecoms resellers have used SIMs for deployments and projects such as short-term internet connectivity, 4G backup and as part of PSTN replacement solutions where fixed-line connectivity is not practical. The opportunity for the channel to open this up is massive.

The challenge is finding the opportunities each partner can win. Suppliers that can help resellers target opportunities they can win are crucial. This is because the solutions need to be easy to sell, roll out and manage.

Unlocking opportunities

The NHS has rolled out iPads to ambulance crews all over the UK recently. The iPads will help them access medical records to help inform their course of action.

MSPs who help ambulance trusts roll out technology and who previously worked with mobile networks directly have found that partnering with aggregators offering multi-network services and a management portal gives them so much more control and removes the headache of dealing with multiple carriers and manual requests for changes.

There are also opportunities around digital signage. For example, AV specialists are ordering complete, secure connectivity packages for digital signage, to arrive plug-and-play to each site, and consisting of an intelligent 4G router, a SIM and some clever configurations to prevent hackers from accessing the signs.

Devices arrived pre-configured with an app, allowing auto-configuration, saving time and money.

Managing devices and usage

Within the transport sector, buses and coaches are being digitally transformed, and mobile data is key to delivering change. Specialists are providing SIMs on various tariffs and price plans with their private access point for bus and coach companies for cashless ticketing systems and Wi-Fi. End-users can manage data usage directly on their own management portal.

In addition, IT resellers are providing both voice and data and data-only SIMs for car parks. They can use aggregated data SIMs and voice and data SIMs, which means they can share data across sites to avoid data overage charges and use a Private APN for their CCTV cameras.

MSPs can also help property owners and developers to monitor carbon levels. They have created solutions to monitor energy consumption across many different devices within the home. These devices need to use 4G to report both usage information and for general maintenance of the equipment.

As-a-service growth

A key trend driving the as-a-service model is the move to IP and the imminent PSTN switch-off. There are millions of single-call PSTN lines in the UK that are soon to be end-of-life. Upgrading to broadband is expensive and capital costs of converters and 4G routers soon mount up.

Device-as-a-service models have solved this problem with no up-front hardware costs and low monthly charges, plus the added benefit of ‘advance replacement’ and free returns for faulty routers.

Finding the right partner

If you’d like to progress an offering in one of these areas, look for a channel-only supplier with a real-time, fully automated, API-enabled, white-label portal that connects to every mobile network in the world. The right partner will also have a network and internal systems that are protected from DDoS attacks, with access to global eSIM networks.

You might also want to ensure your chosen partner has financial stability and demonstrable growth, with the option to take up OPEX and CAPEX financial models on hardware. Another important factor might be a wide range of SIM options across a number of different networks, as well as cost-effective SIP-enabled PSTN replacement products.

Finally, effective channel partners are often those that can provide your business with a programme that helps you identify opportunities you can win.

This article appeared in our June 2023 print issue. You can read the magazine in full here.

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