LIVE FROM HUAWEI GLOBAL MOBILE BROADBAND FORUM 2015, HONG KONG: Mobile operators need to take immediate steps to capture a share of the rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT) market, which is attracting competition from vertical industries, Huawei rotating CEO Ken Hu said in his keynote address this morning.
“The industry is standing at a critical juncture and needs to act now to open this new blue ocean opportunity,” he stated. “IoT is driving another revolution in our whole society. While operators have a unique advantage in terms of accessibility, many other technologies are developing rapidly and will generate more competition in the IoT market.”
To prepare for this huge opportunity, he said, the industry needs to push not only technical innovation, but also business model innovation and cross-industry collaboration.
“The IoT market will be more fragmented than the mobile market because of the large number of use cases, applications and business models,” he forecast. “It will rely on collaboration across the whole ecosystem from different stakeholders.”
He added: “In the IoT era operators need to expand their focus from managing technology to managing the whole ecosystem.”
Hu stressed that the industry has to quickly develop unified IoT standards to drive cross-industry development. Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, for example, have already taken action and set up narrowband IoT trials using existing base stations.
Huawei believes the cost has to be less than $5 for a communication module to stimulate large-scale development. “But if it falls below $1, it will lead to explosive growth.”
End-to-end data gathering and monitoring in the form of wearable devices is pushing the market from connecting people to connecting things, and this trend will continue in other sectors such as smart cities and logistics management, he said.
Shifting to the experience
“To truly be successful we need to change the way we think about network planning and operations. For example, shift our focus from network performance to the user experience,” Hu advised.
He suggested developing a set of indicators for the user experience that are measurable and manageable, and eventually operators will be able to monetise their new services.
He closed his presentation by outlining Huawei’s MBB 2020 strategy, which forecasts 6.7 billion mobile broadband users globally, with an average speed of 1Gb/s in developed markets, and one billion IoT connections.