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Is Internet Of Things (IoT) Another Promised Messiah For Telcos

Opportunity for Telcos in IoT, the buzz surrounding the Internet of Things. What's the buzz?

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Since the time telco core revenues have been under threat – starting from long distance voice revenues in the fixed world to the core voice and messaging in the mobile world – there has always been a buzz about a new saviour emerging to save the forecasted death of telcos.

While the so called demise has not materialised, there has been a steady stream of ideas that have come forth in turning around the fortunes – from managed services, to commerce to cloud to digital services to big data & analytics and IoT. On its own most of them are very powerful ideas and many of them have re-shaped the entire industry landscape; though the ket question is how much of role telcos have had in it.

On the same trajectory, IoT has the potential of moulding the entire industrial and consumer devices landscape.

The ability to provide connectivity and intelligence to all sensor enabled devices, things, infrastructure to enable two-way interaction is a very persuasive force.

The key question is on telcos role and the ability to influence the space. The telcos bring to the table connectivity and arguably little else; not to disparage telcos with non-connectivity business.

To stitch together an IoT solution invariably means system integration (SI) skills which by nature are very different from telcos competencies; notwithstanding that telcos may own/buy an SI player. In that case it is a more a conglomerate approach in participating in the IoT world than a telco capability. Beyond SI skills, the telcos would need to bring an ability to build a platform (most likely cloud based), onboard applications and then monetise the entire effort.

Now who may cases of telcos being able to do so have we noticed – and not that telcos have not previously thought/acted upon it with some telcos looking at developing their own App stores (to compete with Apple and Android) being one of the recent examples.

It seems that IoT is one more things telcos would get excited about, meander through its eco-system, take some half- hearted measures, and look for another revolutionary idea that will inevitably follow to hitch their wagon to.

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