Money Money Money, it’s an IOT world!

I was always brought up to believe that the best things in life are not things. A saying I have never been sure that I truly believed and looking to the future, the future is things. When I say things I am referring to the Internet of Things (IoT). A whole world of seemingly inanimate objects that will be tracking and helping us with our everyday lives.

I was recently given a Fitbit, an activity tracker. I was fairly bemused, I already have a watch and it doesn’t look much like this one. Regardless, this ‘wearable’ has quickly become quite an obsession. The amount of information my tiny ‘watch’ collects is incredible. This information passes from the device to be viewed on an app on my phone or through a web browser where I can see the data output in little charts. I can view it and absorb the information to my heart’s content.

The volume of wearables and other devices is already staggering and this will only increase in number and type of devices. A huge amount of small and large devices crammed with a whole array of sensors constantly monitoring and relaying information back and forth. If many forecasts are proven right then by the 2020’s there is going to be an explosion in the amount of information created by the IoT. Information constantly passing from people-to-people (P2P), machine-to-people (M2P), and machine-to-machine (M2M). Data that needs to be secure, devices that need protection from external hacks but nevertheless, information that holds a wealth of opportunity for Big Data Analytics and its monetisation.

CSP’s are already starting to see the opportunities that could come from offering premium services; by tapping in to the data they collect to fulfill their day to day operations. These opportunities are not limited to the consumer retail, health or business to business sectors although these markets can be and are being used as the foundation to build upon and create the skills and understand needed to take advantage of in the future.

Of course there will always be obstacles to get over to get ahead of the field. Caution must be advised regarding regulatory rules on how and when this data may be used. Data protection could prove to be a major hurdle. It’s about creating services that use the knowledge of CSPs own subscriber and customer usage, roaming, data, voice, geography etc. and use that to customise premium services, services that the user sees as a premium and is willing to pay for. We know the millennials say they want free Wifi. Free isn’t always safe, or quality and sometimes security and quality are more important. Combine the anonymised data of the network operator with consent data and you can create truly personalised services.

Another stumbling block is the security of personal information with the IoT devices. Will this security be left to anti-virus companies, individual device manufacturers or, although unlikely, the CSP themselves? The security side itself would reap huge benefits for anyone who can successfully take on and fulfill this difficult task with some serious conviction. A CSP who is able to differentiate by service security and performance with end to end SLA will without a doubt be able to take a premium and boost revenues. Another consideration is the transportation, storage and fast analysis of the data which will increase in volume very rapidly into the next decade. If you are a CSP that has untapped Datacentre capacity, a real desire to be the most secure provider and have good analytics or to have partnered with a good vendor, this will help you to steam ahead of the competition.

With careful planning and gaining valuable analytics experience now; CSP’s should be able to place themselves in a leading position by the 2020’s. A position where they are able to take full advantage of Big Data and help to continually diversify offerings away from the usual vanilla services. This is the agility that CSPs have often been criticised for not possessing. In an ever increasing ‘instant on demand’ society this will be a must. All of this can be done while quickly having the information at hand to help tap into new and ever changing revenue streams as they evolve.