Times are changing in the telecommunications industry. More people, devices and things are connected than ever before. And because of that, there’s a highly lucrative data boom. Mobile network operators and other service providers have the opportunity to go beyond their traditional roles and make the most of this information. Now’s the time to start dealing in data.

The big data business opportunity

With new technologies such as Low Power, Long Range (LoRa), it’s much more feasible to connect a wider array of things in our world – from vehicles and streetlights to household appliances and buildings themselves. This Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to create a massive amount of data.

And it’s transforming businesses. For example, GE has put censors in its engines to provide near real-time monitoring of the health of their engines, reducing airline spending by 10-40%. In shifting from rules-based maintenance to more predictive driven intervention, GE has fundamentally shifted its business from one of selling jet engines to airlines to providing a comprehensive, engine-as-a-service offering.

As more industries realise this kind of potential with IoT, the value in data will grow. And as data gatekeepers, it means service providers have a unique opportunity to help businesses to realise the promise of the IoT revolution. Because they’re so early in the data flow, they can start making data management data aggregation and data analytics their business.

The even bigger data market

However the opportunity is bigger still. When service providers create their own data management and aggregation platform, that means they can collect data, perform analytics on it at an early stage (which is vital in deciding what should be sent upstream) and then sell it on. The same set of data may be meaningful to different consumers and/or applications: for instance, data gathered from a car might be useful for the vehicle’s manufacturer, to an insurance company or to the driver.

Enabling applications

In order to create the kind of data management environment that enables service providers to take advantage of these emerging opportunities, they need to deploy and develop the right platform for the IoT. And crucially it means shifting to a platform that is programmable with application development capabilities, to enable the creation of multiple vertical applications.

A next generation IoT service provider

Achieving this shift is a major transformation full of challenges and opportunities. Currently network operators fall somewhere within three stages of readiness. Stage one is when they are still mostly focussed on IoT connectivity leveraging their access network and enhancing it with new technologies like LoRa. In step two, they’re transitioning towards application enablement but they’re not there yet. And in stage three, they’ve achieved it with the visioned IoT platform. Most of the operators we encounter are around the second stage with a clear strategy focused on IoT but still with some steps to go.

And that’s where Cisco can help. We partner with service providers as they embark on their Internet of Things journey by providing them with a set of solutions and platforms helping them reach their desired destination. Cisco’s experience working with end customers in various industries ensures that the solution and platforms are developed addressing the specific requirements. Our business solution group helps providers to develop the IoT strategy and the business case they need to move forward. And all of this is important for getting to step three and seeing real value from this incredibly valuable modern commodity: data.

Watch Video interview from Cisco Expert in Mobility and IoT here.


Discover more about what Cisco can do for mobile network operators here.


Eric Hamel

Senior Systems Architect

Service Provider IoT solutions