David Langton

Is IoT changing the world?

Just a few short years ago, anyone involved in IoT must have believed they were set to change the world, fast. Cisco had predicted a very specific 50.1 billion connected devices by 2020. This was accompanied by an observation picked up and quoted by the World Economic Forum, that: “By 2022, 1 trillion networked sensors will be embedded in the world around us, with up to 45 trillion in 20 years.”

Such sources are highly reputed bodies who don’t just fling around wild estimates for the sake of a little publicity. Something, somewhere, therefore was not accounted for in these far-reaching visions. They were a bit blurred. This blog looks at where that predictive blurring comes from.

Preparing for growth in IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has now reached its tipping point. Current status? Approximately 21.7 billion active device connections. Although falling notably short of the predictions, this is a significant number, for two reasons:

Firstly, 2020 marks the first time that there are more IoT connections than there are ‘non-IoT’ connections such as smartphones, tablets and computers. IoT connections like connected industrial equipment, smart manufacturing, and connected cars, now represent more than half (54%) of the 21.7 billion connected devices globally.

Secondly, it suggests that those previous bullish estimates of IoT growth may have been based far too much on an assumption of ‘all things being equal’.

Source: IoT Analytics

The Internet of Things is now at a moment of celebration tempered with caution. The celebration comes from the historic marker being achieved; IoT connected devices surpassing the number of non-connected devices. The caution comes from understanding why developments and uptake were slower than anticipated. This understanding is essential groundwork for the next growth phase. All things, moving forward, must be equal with the most important part being IoT connectivity.

Estimates of the scale of the next phase vary. IDC forecasts 41.6 billion IoT connected devices by 2025, expected to generate 79.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data. IoT Analytics (providers of IoT market insights) is broadly aligned, stating: “By 2025, it is expected that there will be more than 30 billion IoT connections, almost 4 IoT devices per person on average”.

Either way, it’s big. IoT is ‘crossing the chasm’, to borrow Geoffrey Moore’s succinct description of the transition from tech resistance or laggardness, to broad adoption. Enough with the celebration, now to the caution.

How IoT developments can gather pace

If we forget for a moment the quantity of the IoT revolution and turn more to the quality, few would disagree that the IoT is changing our world, step-by-step, process-by-process, insight-by-insight. The more things change, the more we all discover they have to change. As the chasm is crossed, there has to be a clear path forward on the other side.

The initial surge of enthusiasm for the IoT, and upside expectations of its transformative powers, was based on two assumptions; that connectivity would not be an issue; and that IoT deployments – focussing on healthcare applications, smart factory capabilities, utilities control and management, and payment systems – would be concentrated in areas of population density, where, indeed, connectivity was robust.
A missing link was embedded in these assumptions. The connectivity issue needed resolution. Poor network coverage, by definition, does not support a robust IoT ecosystem. Furthermore, it limits its expansion.
Any organisation in any field looking for reliable IoT solutions, as critical underpins of its next phase of growth, must be able to rely on 100% coverage.

Solutions that depend on the uninterrupted exchange of data between devices must function continuously, regardless of network, operator, population density or any other factor that may account for anything less.

The way forward for IoT businesses

When expectations of its global adoption arise from enthusiasm – and perhaps a touch of wishful prediction – they lead to a feeling of frustration when developments unfold at a slower pace. The upside is that they also trigger a reassessment, perhaps of what may have gone wrong, but certainly of what needs to be done next to realise the anticipated benefits that sparked the bullishness of the initial industry estimates.
In conversations with customers endeavouring to find a way forward, through the complex challenges involved in any IoT project, the team at Eseye finds three recurring challenges:

IoT edge hardware device complexity

Many consider that the device is a done deal; almost a simple matter of plug-and-play. In many regards, this is the first stumbling block. It’s also the first building block in creating a robust and reliable solution by embedding connectivity into devices at production. Considerations extend beyond the SIM card since this is a component that does not work anywhere, as some imagine. SIM cards require careful configuration if they are to work with different networks, in different countries.

IoT Connectivity

When a gap opens between networks, signals drop; localisation of a solution can seem like an impossible task. To resolve the challenge of unreliable and inconsistent connectivity, you must find a way of bridging the networks; seamlessly switching connectivity from one to another, with no interruption to the functionality and uptime of your device.

Data ingestion to the cloud

Ensuring the scalability and security of data transmission to the cloud can be hugely complex. The challenge lies in securely transferring your data to your private or public cloud platform and enterprise tools.

Global confidence for the new IoT era

For many, these complex challenges escalate into problems. As they do, progress is halted, and revenues are jeopardised. Eseye has removed the impediments and paved the path on the other side of the chasm.

Our approach is to ensure that any device can connect anywhere; that IoT delivers continuously and consistently on its promise. Eseye’s AnyNet+ eSIM removes device complexity by delivering zero-touch ubiquitous connectivity from every device to the enterprise datacentre. We have, indeed, made plug-and-play a done deal.

IoT Connectivity

Our global mobile network alliance provides a connectivity backbone – a series of interconnect agreements with many of the world’s largest mobile network operators – that ensures always-on functionality. Eseye’s multi-IMSI technology gives access to over 700 networks and delivers near 100% global connectivity. The result is that any IoT solution provider can proceed with confidence; knowing that their solution will be supported by the most comprehensive localisation strategy available in the IoT market today.

Cloud integration

We provide a comprehensive, private and secure network connection into private or public cloud platforms, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. This solution allows AWS IoT customers to have automated device provisioning, including the delivery of Amazon Security certificates and identity information, device profile and connectivity profile delivered over-the-air after a device has been deployed.

The future of IoT now

Eseye has cleared away those areas of blurring, kicking the stumbling blocks to one side to enable IoT solutions to move forward unhindered. In 2020, we launched the AnyNet+ SIM: the world’s most advanced GSMA compliant eUICC SIM with in-built multi-IMSI switching technology. Let the celebration roll on as the IoT market observes this historic turning point and continues to accelerate.

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David Langton

David has over 15 years senior B2B technology marketing experience, varying from start-ups to SMEs and multinational organisations. Before joining Eseye, David successfully built and led a high performing global marketing function at cybersecurity software leader Boldon James (part of QinetiQ Plc), significantly growing its brand profile internationally, increasing marketing ROI and transforming marketing into a profit centre.

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