Note: This article first appears on TechTarget’s IoT Agenda, found here.
When it comes to connectivity, we’ve been conditioned to think mobile-first, where a service runs on a given data package or Wi-Fi connection. But we need to change this mindset. By 2023, the worldwide number of IoT-connected devices is predicted to increase to 43 billion, three times more than 2018 and well beyond mobile’s growth.
With this dramatic increase in IoT, there is an exponential hidden change in everything that relates to it, and we need to start thinking beyond just mobile. The question is – are we ready to support this?
Going back to the drawing board
The average person will have more than 13 network connected devices by 2022, which is why things will have to change. These different IoT devices belonging to one user or household will come with different types of plans, connectivity options, monetization models, operating systems and onboarding experiences. A dumb device approach — where something connects with no real care for a consistent practice — will cause a wide range of problems.
When IoT has its breakthrough, connectivity providers need to be ready with a place in the value chain beyond just connectivity and back-end operations. This means onboarding, security, and quality assurance, tailoring IoT services to different verticals and target audiences. When we turn IoT sensor signals in a physical environment into insights, we achieve the next level in the connectivity revolution. We effectively digitize the physical world. This is where opportunity awaits, and data intelligence will be critical for its success.
What are connectivity players overlooking at present?
The IoT revolution will not only be about big consumer electronics manufacturers but smaller, niche players in the ecosystem. Connectivity providers can’t be in a position where they are only working with a handful of device manufacturers and cutting themselves out of revenue opportunities. They need to be a critical enabler, not a holdup.
So, what’s the best approach for connectivity players when it comes to devices? Ensuring they define the customer experience during the onboarding process and the ongoing service itself. This is especially important as device manufacturers have more influence than ever over how profiles are provisioned when it comes to IoT.
The most important takeaway here is this: the entire history of our industry has been viewed through a mobile device keyhole, where a service is provided with one price plan or data package. This is about to change dramatically. The connectivity providers who start planning now for the next era in our industry will have a competitive edge.