The Internet of Things (IoT), at the heart of which sits any number of connected devices, presents new revenue opportunities for the telecoms industry. This presents a new challenge because capitalizing on it is exclusively a matter of generating revenue from data.
While this isn’t complex per se, and communications service providers (CSPs) have long since been leaders in enterprise-class monetization solutions, what is more problematic is that traditional billing and online charging systems aren’t entirely fit for the purpose of IoT monetization. For one thing, they take an expensive sledgehammer to the task of cracking a simple nut; not a cost-effective approach. So it’s fair to assume that today, as IoT becomes an increasingly important revenue source, CSPs need to prioritize the identification of newer support systems, ones better tailored to the IoT economy,
What might such a solution look like? One answer is an agnostic IoT device billing solution for the telecoms market based on the use of a data SIM card profile that can track, monitor and manage data usage in real-time. Such an approach would enable mobile network operators to fully exploit new B2B revenue streams in a simple and cost-effective manner, streamlining the billing process without undesirable integration and deployment costs.
Shoehorning innovative services and business models (with non-traditional characteristics) into legacy infrastructures doesn’t result in commercial success
Considering the nature of IoT, these advantages are important. Remember, IoT business models require the management of potentially millions of SIMs (and devices) with differing access technology characteristics. These, which mostly yield low ARPU, need to be managed by a similarly low-cost infrastructure to maximize return and yet, in cases where high ARPU usage exists, a differentiated billing process must ideally be supported. Bearing in mind that a single IoT B2B company may generate millions of bills, this flexibility is critical.
Furthermore, all IoT devices are not created equal. Consumer-type devices such as connected cars, smart watches, drones and others have a high data consumption average without operational restrictions. In contrast, industrial-type devices such as sensors and smart meters tend towards lower power consumption, limited data and restricted operation time. Billing must cater to all, and in a cost-effective manner. Low ARPU or not the size of the global IoT market - already over $175 bn and expected by some analysts to grow at a CAGR of around 40% by 2025 - demands focused attention.
SIMpleData: A simple solution to a seemingly complex challenge
What, then, is the answer? At Evolving Systems, we believe it’s SIMpleData. Utilizing a data bucket concept (with shared quotas), the billing lifecycle is simplified and becomes far easier to manage. It is API-based, which means the provisioning process is straightforward and integration less complex and less challenging. It also allows IoT providers to reuse MSISDN resources.
Most important of all, perhaps, SIMpleData simultaneously removes the need for further costly investment in legacy billing systems not designed for the IoT purpose, and removes the need for investment in IoT-specific management platforms of Online Charging Systems. In a market where ARPU is lower, cost-effective solutions to overriding challenges can be the key to commercial success.
To learn more about SIMpleData, please click here