3 Reasons IoT is a Game-Changer for Mobile Operators

Posted by Scott Sumner on Tuesday, September 05, 2017 with No comments

1. IoT network demands are at odds with multimedia services

For a long time now, mobile operators have invested heavily in network bandwidth and speed, in order to deliver voice, video, and other real-time multimedia services. Unfortunately, IoT services instead tend to be low bandwidth (but with potential for burstability) and low data (but high-priority), delivered to low power, low cost devices. 

Can one network serve both types of services? And if the answer is no, where does that leave mobile operators?

Some operators are responding by getting out of the IoT business, while others are looking to partnerships with low-power, wide-area (LPWA) companies as a way to stay in the game without having to build IoT-capable networks or adapt their existing architecture for IoT services.

2. Low power, wide area (LPWA) providers pose a competitive threat
For those operators that do want to compete in the IoT space, especially those intending to adapt their own infrastructure to meet the needs of IoT services, much effort is being put into creating a cost-effective alternative to competitive threats from LPWA companies--as well as cable companies, cloud providers and fixed-line players. Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the potentially very lucrative IoT pie.

For example, operators are collaborating with the 3GPP, chipset vendors, and network vendors to get NB-IoT standards pushed out as soon as possible.

Building hybrid networks that combine traditional cell and non-traditional technologies is also a promising path forward, but depends on the ability of operators to adopt virtualization.

3. Adopting virtualized instrumentation and orchestration is becoming imperative
In order to efficiently monitor and manage resources for diverse services, operators must quickly adopt network virtualization and roll out a comprehensive instrumentation layer. As with a multi-lane highway previously used by cars only but suddenly opened up for use also by trucks, bicycles, and pedestrians, there has to be some way to intelligently direct traffic according to its specific requirements. Else, chaos would ensue.

Of course, control is only possible with complete visibility into what’s happening in all parts of the network. This must be tied with real-time orchestration to quickly respond when issues crop up.

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