Telstra said enabling the Internet of Things (IoT) will raise a number of challenges and opportunities for operators at the network, application and service level, requiring industry-wide collaboration as operators and enterprises tackle the velocity, volume and variety of data generated by millions of IoT devices.
“Just because devices are connected doesn’t mean they will be able to interact in a meaningful way. Due to IoT covering a large number of different technologies and vertical markets there are many different standards and it will be important for industry to work together to ensure that the potential of IoT is realised,” said Telstra COO Kate McKenzie, speaking to Mobile World Live ahead of her panel appearance at Mobile World Congress this week.
A fundamental role of the telecoms operator will be to provide a range of networks for IoT: McKenzie noted that Australia-based Telstra today provides a number of connectivity options for its customers including cellular, satellite, ADSL, cable and Wi-Fi.
However, McKenzie noted that the role of the operator will also depend on the market: “IoT is not one consistent market: it is made up of many different vertical markets that are at different stages of development, have different requirements, and use different technologies,” she commented.
While some IoT solutions will use cellular, satellite and other wide area networks to directly connect to the internet, McKenzie said the majority of IoT solutions will use a short range radio to connect to a local gateway that then backhauls the data via fixed line or cellular connectivity.
Operators are also providing network-agnostic cloud platform service for IoT solutions, which are designed to make it easier for companies to connect, monitor and control devices via a range of physical layer connectivity options.
A further key investment area is big data analytics due to the growing demand by businesses to handle and derive insights from the large volumes of data being generated by their systems.
“IoT devices in aggregate can generate large volumes of data for a business, and ‘big data’ solutions will be needed by enterprise customers who are adopting IoT,” said McKenzie.
By Anne Morris