• To watch the full webinar follow this link

The intersection of the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile networks has become a focal point in the landscape of connectivity.

As the IoT ecosystem undergoes rapid developments, industry experts delve into crucial aspects such as price pressure, network virtualisation and deployment complexities, shaping the dynamics of how networks support IoT.

 

Recent discussions led by founder of Transforma Insights Matt Haton, CEO of Stacuity Mike Bromwich, founder of Apiro Data Nassia Skoulikariti, VP of sales at Velos IoT Graham Hart-Ives and chief product officer of 1oT Mikk Lemberg highlighted the challenges and considerations in achieving global connectivity for demanding enterprises in the era of AI and edge computing.

The need for flexible network solutions for IoT

IoT is now widespread and influencing digital transformation in various industries. To keep up, network solutions need to become more flexible, responsive and able to meet the specific needs of different IoT applications.

However, the limitations of traditional network solutions become evident in the face of IoT’s rapid expansion. A network designed for consumer devices often falls short when applied to the intricate needs of IoT deployments. The lack of flexibility, control and insight into device behaviour poses significant challenges for developers and innovators seeking to harness the full potential of IoT.

Traditional networks, buried deep within the infrastructure of mobile operators, are inherently rigid. This rigidity hinders the agility required to adapt to the dynamic requirements of diverse IoT applications. As IoT continues to proliferate across industries, from smart cities to industrial automation, the limitations of traditional approaches become increasingly apparent.

To address this, Mike shares his vision for supporting IoT connectivity involving a paradigm shift. He envisions a network architecture that empowers developers, innovators and enterprises to have granular control over their IoT deployments. This entails democratising the configuration of networks, allowing for tailored solutions that align with specific IoT use cases.

By placing the control of network configuration in the hands of end-users, be it developers, network engineers, or IT departments, the connectivity can be fine-tuned to meet the unique needs of each application. This move towards democratisation is not only about flexibility but also about providing crucial insights into how devices behave on the network.

5G and AI/ML in IoT deployments

The synergy between 5G and AI/ML is amplifying the capabilities of IoT deployments. Particularly, AI and ML are also taking centre stage in device management and optimisation, addressing the complex needs of the Internet of Things ecosystem. These technologies offer a dynamic approach to handling the complexity associated with managing a vast array of connected devices.

AI and ML algorithms empower IoT solutions to adapt, learn and optimise in real time, ensuring efficient device management. From predictive maintenance to intelligent data analysis, these technologies elevate the potential for automation and proactive problem-solving within IoT networks. As the IoT landscape expands, the role of AI and ML becomes increasingly indispensable in ensuring seamless connectivity and enhancing overall performance.

Amid the technological leaps, Mike observes a shift in the nature of AI. While it is traditionally batch-based, akin to computing in the seventies, AI could evolve to be more continuous and dynamic through real-time data streams in the context of IoT. This approach, according to Mike, allows for live, point-in-time decision-making, revolutionising the way AI applications function.

Mikk builds on Mike’s perspective by underscoring the challenge of managing the escalating number of IoT devices manually. He sees AI as a solution to efficiently handle large fleets of devices, particularly in identifying anomalies and reacting promptly to unusual events. Mikk also mentions how AI can contribute to data cost optimisation.

Nassia echoes these sentiments, summarising the benefits of AI and machine learning in terms of greater automation, optimisation, and intelligence through analytics. The proactive identification of issues as they occur, coupled with the ability to recognise anomalies reactively, showcases the potential for AI to enhance operational efficiency.

However, Nassia introduces a note of caution regarding the buzz surrounding AI. She emphasises the need to view AI as a set of algorithms, acknowledging that advanced algorithms have been a part of software development for a long time. This prompts her to advise a pragmatic approach: organisations should carefully consider the need and use case before investing in AI, given its associated costs and evaluate whether a more basic algorithm could suffice for their specific challenges.

Adapting hyperscale principles in network configuration

The success of hyperscale cloud providers like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud holds a valuable lesson, especially for sectors like telecommunications. These giants have set a high standard for efficiency, scalability and user-centric services. They present a compelling model for other sectors, including telecommunications.

First, the hyperscale cloud providers excel not only in providing cutting-edge technology but also in offering a seamless user experience. Telco companies can draw inspiration from their service-oriented approach, focusing not just on connectivity but also on guiding customers through the entire setup process. This encompasses pre-sales, post-sales and ongoing support, creating a holistic customer journey.

One key takeaway from hyperscalers is the democratisation of services. AWS, Azure and Google Cloud have embraced a “self-service” model, allowing users to access resources, configure networks and deploy solutions with ease. Anybody can do anything at any time, at any scale. Telco companies can benefit from this approach by empowering customers to have more control over their mobile connectivity networks.

Hyperscale cloud providers also offer a level of flexibility and agility in network configuration that is unparalleled. Telco companies can learn to apply similar principles, allowing for on-demand adjustments and customisation of mobile networks. This shift from rigid, project-based approaches to more dynamic, API-driven configurations can significantly enhance the adaptability of Telco services.

At scale, large organisations automate processes using tools like Terraform. Telco companies should consider automating mobile network infrastructure setup to streamline operations. For example, when they click a button, it spins up servers. But at the same time, it should also spin up the infrastructure they need on the mobile side.

On the softer side, it also requires a change in mindset and how people work. The goal is to operate more like big cloud service providers, but the challenge is that traditional approaches are deeply ingrained. So, there’s a need for a fundamental shift in thinking to take full advantage of these new approaches.

Regulatory challenges

In global connectivity, one of the most formidable hurdles faced by industry players is the web of regulations governing data sovereignty and connectivity. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the complexity of regulatory challenges has grown, giving rise to issues like data sovereignty concerns, geopolitical polarisation and the need for comprehensive control over data routes.

For instance, when deploying e-post terminals in a Latin American country, ensuring that the payload data remains within the borders is important. Achieving this requires a level of control where service providers can define policies to guide the data’s route rather than following the conventional back-and-forth route.

According to Mike, there is a need for a pragmatic approach to regulations, particularly in the context of different ways devices connect to the internet.

“If you think about a device with a SIM card in it, why should that really be handled any differently from that device being connected to a Wi-Fi network?” he said.

“You know, it’s just data. And I think that lots of the regulation in our sector has come out of a process which was driven by voice and SMS, where historically there have been lots of regulatory constraints, and the industry’s almost, or the regulators have tried to find a way to apply that to data as well.”

To address these challenges, Mike proposed solutions with a focus on managing cellular-based IoT connectivity akin to Wi-Fi networks. The idea is to simplify the management process, offering a user experience similar to handling a local Wi-Fi network. However, the speakers caution that, despite the appeal of this concept, implementation is “easier said than done.”

Nassia also emphasises the importance of clarifying who owns the data and making it easy for customers, regardless of their role, to understand, extract, or delete their data. The goal is to streamline the process, making it plug-and-play and easily comprehensible.

Discover more

  • To watch the full webinar follow this link

To learn more about Stacuity’s unique software defined mobile core network and how it can address many of the challenges discussed reach out to Sales@stacuity.com

Published On: December 19th, 2023 / Categories: Service provider News / 7.1 min read /

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