Jon-Paul Clarke, Business Development Director, Wireless Logic, spoke to David Dungay recently about how he is enabling channel partners to make the most of the IoT opportunity here and now.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): Where are the business benefits in IoT?
Jon-Paul Clarke (JPC): Whilst the advantages from an IoT-enabled world continue to evolve, for connected SIM-based estates, the fundamental business benefit is ‘control’ – of your assets, your security and your costs. Managed services providers like Wireless Logic deliver a number of key operational tools that enable users to manage every aspect of their IoT application – SIM management platforms that give total visibility, usage data management and billing to every connected device with one window for multiple networks, and security via APN/VPN networks delivered on an OPEX basis with no capital costs required. It is the ability to remotely manage a connected SIM – in every respect, that changes the goalposts in terms of an application’s evolvement. Platforms and infrastructure that are now ‘off the shelf’ can enable customers to focus more on the role of their business model, with connectivity challenges all taken care of. And with the use of APIs, users are effectively integrating our ‘control’ into their own systems. It is this capability that comms resellers should major on. It’s not just a connected SIM, it’s an entire connected eco-system with multiple business benefits to your audience.
CMB: How do you (parteners) make money in IoT?
JPC: Bring everything back to basics… you need to decide whether you’re in the commoditised market or in the value-added space. By commoditised we mean the low-hanging and over-ripe fruit of low-data usage high SIM quantity estates. With no added value, it’s purely a price game where you’ll secure the business at a cost and inevitably lose it when contracts come up for review. It is this end of the market that is somewhat saturated with many brokers chasing low-margin business.
Our first recommendation is to think close to home. Don’t chase business that you don’t have any association with. Focus on your existing customer and sector base. This is where your understanding of their business will enable you to identify the right connectivity opportunities, and package ‘added value’ as part of your offering. Your customers will feel more confident. The type of applications where you’ll profit is the higher data usage, though not necessarily high SIM volume business.
With higher data volumes, it’s likely that the information being communicated is more business critical and requires layers of security and ‘bolt-on’ tools where you can generate more sustainable income. Not just a SIM, but the management platform, the private infrastructure, the fixed IP and more. Examples include CCTV, ANPR, and ADSL back-up/alternative. By utilising your sector knowledge and working within industries that you are comfortable with, it is here that you will bear new fruit – developing IoT connectivity revenues with longevity and higher ARPU, and making that business more ‘sticky’ as you integrate the vital platforms and infrastructure that will make your offering more accountable, secure and resilient.
CBM: How do you build an IoT solution for your market?
JPC: More and more customers are looking for ‘total end-to-end connectivity’. We are seeing this evolve in ADSL back-up/alternative and rapid deployment broadband opportunities. For this, pre-packaged solutions including routers, pre-configuration and connectivity are now being ‘bundled’ on an OPEX-basis. We are working with several resellers who have identified this as an opportunity – across multiple applications, not simply enterprise. Lighting up coach and rail transport, remote out of reach locations requiring rapid-deployment broadband, and the retail sector requiring resilient back-up for EPOS. The opportunities are so great that Wireless Logic Group has now acquired a dedicated hardware division. We can provide resellers with specialist support, specifying the right type of router for the application in hand – whether that be single or multi-SIM connected, enterprise or ruggedized build for more extreme environments, and connectivity tariffs that are flexible to the usage requirement. Again, this is about giving your customers a value-based solution – taking away stress, giving sound advice and delivering a bundled package that’s fit for purpose, out of the box.
CBM: Which future IoT trends are likely to affect the Channel the most?
JPC: The market is here and now. Don’t worry about the future trends as there are business opportunities on your doorstep. By you understanding the new ‘connected world’, you could well spot openings within your customer base where they haven’t even considered an M2M system.
It’s about the added value that you can bring to the table. Don’t chase the commoditised business. There will always be someone cheaper to roll out low margin, high volume connected SIMs. Focus higher up the food chain. The more sophisticated and integral applications which will become fundamental to an organisation’s operation.