by Webbing Team
Earlier this year, Transforma Insights published its Communications Service Provider IoT Peer Benchmarking Report 2023 that reflects major changes the IoT connectivity market is undergoing today. The report contains deep insights into the work of network operators (including both mobile network operators and the MVNOs) in the IoT landscape, their capabilities, their strategies, and their approach to the market.
Market analysts note that it’s MVNOs that are doing the most innovative things in IoT connectivity today, especially when it comes to global connectivity and data management. In terms of innovations, they are leading the market, and many MNOs have already started to imitate them.
With some well-known technology companies leaving the IoT market recently, what becomes important is whether enterprises believe that their IoT connectivity provider can be a partner they can rely on in the long run.
Another key takeaway from the report is that there is no “the best” provider, and the choice of the connectivity provider would always depend on specific requirements for a certain industry and deployment. There are best practices though, and their thorough analysis outlines the trends in IoT connectivity that are going to define the development and success of IoT deployments in the nearest future. All these trends can be divided into two domains: the connectivity itself and the services domain.
For the connectivity domain part, the report includes the changes in the market as well as connectivity capabilities that are most important in the context of ongoing transition, like ability to scale and deliver global services.
Transforma Insights experts say the IoT connectivity market is gradually turning from relying mainly on roaming and physically switching SIMs to an environment with a well-established, tried and tested set of mechanisms for connectivity localization and a more sophisticated way of handling roaming. With many enterprises switching to eSIMs and the new GSMA SGP.32 IoT eSIM Remote Provisioning Specification just released, the demand for solutions compatible with the new standard and capable of providing continuous connectivity globally keeps growing. What matters in this regard is whether the solution provider can tackle the problems of poor cellular coverage or contracting with several carriers in each region.
Webbing’s partner network includes over 600 mobile carriers across more than 190 countries and regions, while our eSIM solution allows for using multiple mobile carrier profiles, easily changing carrier at any time with zero integration and gives an option to fall back from a failing profile to a different profile without any need to communicate with a remote server. It also is fully aligned with the GSMA SGP.32 IoT eSIM specification, which means there will be no compatibility problems when the new standard becomes ubiquitous. To date, there have been millions of Webbing eSIMs deployed globally.
The importance of scalability has not diminished as it often is the most crucial factor for IoT deployments. This is where the network infrastructure and elements would play a critical role. Scaling in IoT may be challenging, for it requires an ability to cope with millions if not hundreds of millions of connected devices and needs a set of geographically specific infrastructure. Furthermore, it is important to make sure that scaling doesn’t bring other issues, such as latency or compliance with regulations. That’s another reason why core network is a major criterion when choosing a connectivity solution.
Webbing has a distributed core network infrastructure with data centers on every continent, which makes IoT deployments of any scale and any configuration feasible in the shortest possible time. It also ensures low latency since data doesn’t have to be transmitted across the world to a distant datacenter before heading further to its destination. In combination with 600+ partnership agreements with mobile network operators all over the world it gives access to infrastructure in any region and eliminates the problem of regulatory compliance (including all data localization and sovereignty requirements), whatever the scale of the project may be.
Connectivity Management and Transparency
The market analysts say that although connectivity management is still an essential need of the enterprises, and customers may also be interested in combining device and connectivity data together to give full transparency over IoT performance, the connectivity management platforms that used to be one of the key elements at the IoT connectivity market are becoming less a differentiator. This is due to the fact that the functionality of such platforms is now relatively easily built and scaled and may be included in other solutions.
Webbing offers a centralized way to manage SIMs throughout the device’s lifecycle, allowing to set rules for automatic profile swapping, which enables devices to change the carrier independently in case of location change or connectivity loss. It also provides profile and data usage visibility across all devices, ensuring IoT deployments are transparent. Webbing is an MVNO, and our solutions include all functionality that both “thin” and “thick” connectivity management platforms can provide, offering the widest possible range of services in managed connectivity, as per Transforma Insights’ taxonomy.
As the functional part of IoT connectivity is becoming commoditized, the services are going to be the main differentiators in the future.
Customer Support and Contextualization
There is a growing understanding that IoT is a managed service rather than a product sale. Instead of short-term transactions of selling SIM cards the affiliation has become a long-term relationship with the customer. Consistent client support from day one is becoming a big deal. This falls in line with another trend of contextualization. Basically, that means providers should understand the needs of the customer and adapt accordingly, adding a service wrap-up with some customization and tailoring to their connectivity offering. Every company exists within its own vertical context and can benefit greatly from being supported by a provider that understands its specific requirements. Knowing both the client and the industry and ensuring that deployments are successful is now essential. That’s why within the operators’ teams, there is an emergence of staff members that are responsible for ensuring that the client is supported in the most appropriate way.
The team of customer success managers has been working at Webbing for several years now. Long before it became a trend, the company made it an integral part of its work with clients to focus on the context in which they deploy IoT devices and use connectivity, and provide them with support not only in a technical sense, but also in a business sense. Webbing’s customer success team members help with onboarding new clients, assist customers to ensure smooth and successful deployments, identify potential pain points and coordinate within the company to meet all customers’ needs.
At Webbing we believe that IoT connectivity is not a commodity, and the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for IoT deployments. That’s why we tend to tailor our connectivity offering not based only on how much the customer pays for a terabyte of data transmitted, or on the locations where IoT devices are deployed, but rather aiming at overall optimization of the total cost of operations for the client.
Since most countries either already enacted legislation related to connectivity and data sovereignty or are in the process of doing so, and because of the ever-changing nature of regulatory requirements, regulations may pose serious threat to IoT deployments. Some legal statutes may prohibit permanent roaming, some may mandate that data doesn’t leave the country (or even a certain city). That’s where compliance becomes an important part of connectivity services.
The transition from SIMs to eSIMs can help to solve the problem of profile localization, but there may be other hurdles to cope with. What is also important here is the network characteristics. Oftentimes it is important to have a certain infrastructure that allows to comply with emerging or changing legislation, like a local breakout, data center or a packet gateway to make sure the traffic stays within the country.
Webbing’s distributed network allows for compliance with all connectivity regulations, from keeping IP traffic inside the country to full localization. Our eSIM solution is fully compatible with the GSMA SGP.32 standard and allows for remote provisioning and a swap between profiles without carrier integration, easily turning it into any operator’s SIM. It can help to ensure that IoT deployments remain in compliance both with existing legislation and any upcoming regulatory requirements.
With major changes coming to the IoT market next year due to the new IoT eSIM standard impact and the following global growth of connected device use, it is important to keep an eye on the trends that will likely affect all companies that need connectivity for their IoT deployments. They would need to make sure the solutions they choose are future-proof and the connectivity provider they work with is capable of keeping the quality of service and support in the changing IoT environment.
Webbing offers connectivity solutions that deliver a streamlined, centrally managed, and scalable means of deploying a global fleet of IoT devices. Instead of using several SIMs and switching between them to keep devices connected, Webbing ensures continuous connectivity with a single eSIM and an option to fall back from a failing profile to another profile in case of connectivity problems. A distributed core network and a portal to manage all deployments help make them cost-effective and future ready, while providing global coverage and low latency. No less important, Webbing’s connectivity offering is always tailored to be optimal for the total cost of operations and really complement the client’s business.
Reach out to [email protected] to learn more about Webbing’s solutions for IoT.