Removing the Barriers to Managing Global Cellular IoT Connectivity

Nick Earle

CEO & Chairman


Cellular connectivity currently accounts for around 16% of the IoT market by volume of total connections. Its advantages over other technologies – including flexibility, robust security, and the fact that it operates within licenced spectrum – make the business case for using it strong.  

However, managing connectivity across multiple international markets, particularly as the number of connected devices expands, presents a challenge. Variations in coverage, regulations, roaming permissions and pricing can all add up to a massive headache. 

When we surveyed more than 750 enterprises about their pain points around IoT cellular connectivity, this revealed six key challenges. These highlight the major obstacles that lie in the way of a more widespread adoption of cellular technology for international IoT deployments. 

1. The complexity of maintaining commercial relationships and device fleets with multiple connectivity providers (56% of respondents).  

In addition to the hefty admin burden of managing several contracts, pricing models, currencies and billing processes, if each provider has its own separate connectivity management platform this makes it difficult for the customer to see and control all connected devices in the estate and gather accurate, meaningful data. 

2. Inadequate connectivity performance and quality of service (QoS) across international markets (51%). 

The survey findings indicate a lack of faith in the ability of IoT connectivity providers and mobile network operators (MNOs) to deliver the expected level of performance and support across a deployment. These elements are, of course, fundamental to a successful IoT project, and the achievement of ROI.  

3. Lack of robust global coverage (48%). 

Cellular technology offers significant coverage improvement over Wi-Fi, while its use of dedicated spectrum minimises the impact of interference. However, enterprises do not appear to trust that they’ll receive connectivity with the availability and reliability they require.  

4. No simplified commercial model to overcome complex integration requirements (47%).  

This is a question of technical capability. There are myriad integrations involved in an IoT connectivity ecosystem, including those between the core network architectures of the various connectivity partners involved. This adds an extra layer of risk, with performance and quality of service likely to be negatively affected if something goes wrong.  

5. The growing number of countries restricting permanent roaming (46%). 

Roaming is the technical and commercial arrangement that allows cellular devices to connect to and operate on mobile networks outside of their ‘home’ country. An increasing number of markets are prohibiting permanent roaming for IoT, due to concerns about the impact this might have on network capacity and performance for domestic customers.  

Some connectivity service providers are ensuring that cellular IoT deployments will be safe from any restrictions by forging commercial agreements with MNOs around the globe, to allow devices to roam permanently on their networks. 

On the technical side, another solution is the use of eSIMs in IoT devices, which not only enable enterprises to avoid the problems of permanent roaming but also prevent organisations being tied to carriers. Carriers can be selected, switched and optimised by customers remotely, to take advantage of better coverage and prices. Our survey revealed that 85% of respondents now use eSIM in their IoT deployments, with 71% choosing to do so because it avoids ‘operator lock-in risks’.  

6. The security of devices and the IoT environment (42%). 

Historically, few IoT devices have been produced with security built-in from the ground up, while countless devices have been shipped with default, easy-to-guess administration passwords, making them highly susceptible to mischievous action by cybercriminals, Kaleido Intelligence analysts disclose.  

Cellular technology is already built around a robust end-to-end security framework. Enterprises, though, expect their connectivity service providers to augment this with their own measures and controls, in order to protect data from the device right through to the cloud. For example, 50% of cellular IoT adopters believe providers should offer basic security features while 43% believe more advanced security features should be available, such as those that detect, alert and take action on any unusual activity or threshold breaches. 

Get the full report

Check out the full research findings from Kaleido Intelligence and Eseye’s study. ‘Serving the Enterprise: The Cellular IoT Connectivity Opportunity

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Why you need a managed IoT connectivity service  

The odds of launching and maintaining a successful cellular IoT deployment will undoubtedly improve if an enterprise decides to partner with an IoT connectivity specialist that can guide it in the right direction, while helping it to overcome any barriers to adoption. Eseye’s IoT professional services can be engaged at any point in the IoT journey, from advisory and guidance at the planning stage, through device design and onboarding, on to round-the-clock technical support following roll-out. Our Infinity IoT Platform™ also enables us to offer connectivity as a managed service, which releases teams to focus on realising the commercial benefits of their IoT deployment. 

It’s clear that a simplified commercial model for international IoT connectivity is badly needed. We designed our managed IoT connectivity platform, Infinity, to remove the need for customers to juggle multiple commercial relationships and technical integrations across markets by providing centralised visibility and control of a diverse fleet of devices and connections through a ‘single pane of glass’.  

Potential issues with coverage and roaming are mitigated through our mobile network alliance – the AnyNet Federation. This gives us access to over 700 networks, through roaming contracts with major mobile phone operators in 190 countries, which means we can guarantee near 100% uptime. Everytime. Everywhere.   

Our aim has always been to give customers complete commercial freedom. The use of Eseye’s AnyNet+ eSIMs in devices allows enterprises to customise cellular carriers to get the best quality of service and price. Our unique Bring Your Own Contract (BYOC) option enables total flexibility to bring across existing carrier contracts, billing, preferential rates and deals, while new MNO interconnects can easily be added via the Infinity platform. On any loss of connectivity, Infinity is able to directly and automatically switch a device to the best available network to avoid any disruption. 

We believe that IoT service providers like ourselves have a crucial role to play in accelerating the adoption of cellular IoT connectivity, by working to remove the obstacles of most concern to enterprise customers. While some of these issues are real, others are likely to be a matter of perception – that achieving consistent global coverage isn’t possible, for instance – so it’s likely to take a combination of ongoing technical innovation and clear communication to drive progress forward. 

Mission control for IoT connectivity, today and tomorrow.

One global partner, one platform, one contract for 100% global connectivity with flexibility and choice.

Nick Earle

CEO & Chairman

Nick spearheads Eseye and believes in connectivity that ‘just works’; that makes people’s lives and jobs easier; connectivity that’s invisible. He’s a visionary business leader with a distinguished career in technology spanning more than 30 years, spanning large corporations and dynamic start-ups and oscillating between start-ups and global IT, tech and transportation companies. Previously, Nick led organisations and cross-company transformation programs for two $50B global corporations; Cisco where he ran the Cloud and Managed Services business as well as their Worldwide Field Services function, and Hewlett Packard where he ran the global Enterprise Marketing function and the internet transformation strategy.

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