Telecom and IoT: A Market Transition

In the last 10 years, Telecom operators have engaged with mixed results in the Internet of Things (IoT) space.

An initial focus on developing technology offerings – with the emphasis being on sensor and networking solutions – has been followed by a number of point technology solutions: Connected luminaries and traffic lights in the smart cities space, instrumented industrial devices on manufacturing floors or connectivity solutions into vehicles. The market impact of those solutions, both for the end users as well as for the Telecom operators, has been limited. An unclear return on investment for end users and an exclusive focus on capital equipment (Capex) budgets by the operators generated numerous pilots which, however, very rarely got turned into large scale roll outs.


Recently and in order to move beyond pilots, leading Telecom operators are starting to focus on consuming clients’ operational expenses (Opex) by selling business services (light instead of luminaries, predictive maintenance instead of instrumented industrial equipment) on top of digital platforms. Those platforms are effectively bringing together Connectivity, Data & Analytics, Security, Mobile, Cloud and more recently Blockchain services into a single approach. Business-focused use cases, directly optimizing costs or enabling new revenue opportunities, are at the basis of this new technology consumption model: Business clients are able to procure one use case at a time, adding new ones while business benefits get realized.

In a recently written whitepaper, authored by myself and Richard Savage, those trends are highlighted with a specific focus on smarter cities. Whatever the industry in which they operate, Telecom companies are partnering with IBM to increase benefits from platform-based sustainable IoT models. Check it out now!

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