Internet of things (IoT) has revolutionized telecom companies by enhancing their business procedures and generate more revenue. According to GSMA, IoT can generate $1.8 trillion in revenue for mobile network operators by 2026.
IoT is transforming businesses and helps them to launch new products and improve customer experiences. IoT-ready businesses are able to track & record consumer-behavior patterns which help them to launch the next level marketing/advertising strategy accordingly. The shift in the way businesses function and employees’ work is evident.
Thomas Hanappi, Vodafone’s Head of IoT Sales in the Middle East, in an interview, talked about some of the most innovative IoT projects of Vodafone in the region and the way it has opened ways for the digital transformation of their clients.
Impact IoT Will Have On Businesses
In the Middle East, 34% of business leaders have implemented IoT in their companies and 72% consider it to be the reason for the positive change of their core business strategy. The apparent change can be seen in sectors like automotive, manufacturing and retail. It is due to the IoT sensors that the one-off product sales are turning into ongoing subscriptions. IoT is used by both small as well as medium-sized businesses to scale their enterprises and intensify their operational competence.
Government-led initiatives mostly use innovative IoT projects. For instance, IoT is facilitating the MEA region to provide a higher quality of living for increasing populations and deal with resource challenges. Technologies such as smart meter networks are used by the countries having a shortage of groundwater reserves. There is a critical role of smart meters towards achieving a sustainable energy future in enabling effortless integration of variable renewable energies. An important step for the smart cities initiative of the regions is the implementation of this technology. IoT is imperative to enhance integrated city management, deliver a better standard of life and public services for citizens and economic development.
Adoption of IoT is not only benefiting businesses but it is also helping to enhance the digital skills of populations coming up with start-ups and technology companies. Over 60% of the population in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are below the age of 30, and two-thirds of the population has a smartphone, which is why the demand for connected services and faster networks like 5G is increasing.
IoT-Related Products, Services Or Projects Vodafone Been Started Working On Recently:
The focus of Vodafone is on simplifying IoT and help businesses attain high-quality, end-to-end solutions using dependable and safe global network technology. Vodafone Business Invent is one of the recent global projects. This Application provides a managed connectivity service to the organizations which help in creating a bespoke IoT strategy. It can be used to customize, manage IoT applications and services to enterprises of any size and sector, quickly, safely and economically. This was a huge leap for business connectivity and signifies a broader drive from Vodafone to eliminate the obstacles to digitalization, delivering businesses access to the latest technologies.
“Our goal is to considerably decrease cost and complexity for businesses that want to implement the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, which is highlighted by our recent partnership with Arm. This deal assists enterprises to securely organize, remotely provision and handle lots of IoT devices throughout global markets at a much less expensive, allowing them to thrive in a digital world”. Thomas Hanappi added.
Vodafone Help Its Clients To Develop Their IoT Strategy
Vodafone has 85 million connections worldwide. The global IoT leader has been a part of various businesses’ IoT-led, digital transformation journeys over the years.
Hanappi says, “Vodafone is famous for the local partnerships that we keep in several regions with other operators. Customers trust us due to our comprehensive expertise and experience to create and install IoT solutions at scale, safely. Our expertise in local specifics and partners proves helpful for the customers.
We have developed an IoT Sophistication Index to make use of our experience and knowledge completely. This index helps to understand the level of advancement of organizations when it comes to IoT. Businesses can know their own level of IoT sophistication using a self-assessing tool that we have developed for this purpose. Our assessment of about 3,000 companies and analysis reveals the importance of both strategy and implementation to get the best results”. Although there are advantages at every step, however, the most sophisticated users of IoT get the greatest returns on investment.
What Is Holding Some Businesses Back From Adopting IoT?
40% of those wanting to go for IoT adoption is hindered by a common obstacle and that is the lack of knowledge of finding the right solutions according to our research. 31% of companies, likely to start their IoT journeys with off-the-shelf solutions, found the lack of a strong business case to be the second obstacle in the process. Although this helps them go ahead with implementation to deliver quick wins, it doesn’t form a dynamic digital transformation strategy, which would allow businesses to benefit even more.
However, the right approach to implementation can help to overcome these challenges. A major step would be to regard IoT as a significant part of the wider business’ digital strategy. You can draw and action strategic insights if you bring together data from various IoT initiatives throughout the organization. You will see remarkable results if you integrate IoT with your core business systems and processes. Integration can be helpful in going beyond first, singular IoT objectives and grow your IoT goals to attain comprehensive, noticeable, business outcomes.
Changes That Emerging Technologies, Including IoT, Bring To The Middle East
There are ample opportunities for investors as well as businesses in the MEA region. It is dynamic and developing fast which is why IoT adoption is becoming a fundamental part of its digital transformation.
The use of 5G will be seen in many businesses in the near future. The largest 5G commercial roll-out in the Middle East and North Africa has already been announced by Saudi Arabia. Next in the process of 5G testing and deployment are UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar.
A central role in the 5G network will be played by Mobile edge computing (MEC). It will process the application traffic closer to users. Some adopters of IoT will take it as an indication of better application performance, less risk of downtime and faster data transfer speeds. In addition to that Narrow Band IoT allows many IoT use cases that need prolonged coverage and battery-operated devices, e.g. water metering.
Currently, we’re also seeing more public cloud providers emerging in the Middle East. UAE regions are ahead in many ways in the adoption of technology, but when it comes to cloud servers it is about four to five years behind. Yet, this is changing with larger companies moving their operations into the regions. This will make a big impact in terms of scalability and ease of deployment in line with local regulatory guidelines.
The number of cloud providers is increasing in the Middle East. UAE regions are generally advanced in several ways in the adoption of technology, but it is almost four to five years behind regarding cloud servers. This means a huge impact when it comes to scalability and ease of deployment in accordance with local regulatory guidelines.